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The Fine Art of Recuperation.


Illness is a challenge, and the time spent in recovery could be useful in changing a period of crisis into one of new opportunities.

There exist all kinds of advice for the recuperating patient in regaining physical strength, but seldom is anything said about reorganizing one's life in relation to mental and physical well-being. Ryan has produced a valuable book that can serve as a guide through the periods of illness that will turn "waiting time" into productive time.

Most people spend several weeks a year in a state of semi-invalidism. Watching television or groaning through respiratory distress can be improved upon, the author believes.

The book recounts true life experiences of people who have been through serious surgery such as open-heart surgery, encounters with deadly cancer, and operations that left the patient missing organs or limbs. Regina Ryan outlines her ability to help these sufferers manage and reduce their pain, cope with the fear and stress and use techniques for reducing boredom and hopelessness.

The author explains that although the recuperation process includes grieving for some loss of independence, diminution of energy, and more forgetfulness than usual, the ability to recognize emotions that surface and to realize that they are transitory is important. "Fellings that are razor-sharp get rounded over time," she says. "Instead of trying to avoid, deny or repress our pain, we learn instead new ways to breathe with it."

Although the reader may at first question her optimistic conception of illness as "a gift," Ryan succeeds in proving that there are positive side effects and that if opportunities are grasped, the recuperation period can be a turning point in one's life.

"Our thoughts, our words, the images we form in our minds can enhance our recovery or discourage it. We can literally think ourselves well," Ms. Ryan suggests. But tapping this source of power, she cautions, will require retraining of the mind. The book succeeds in making a strong case for that assumption.
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Copyright 1989 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Nutrition Health Review
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Sep 22, 1989
Previous Article:Love Your Disease.
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