If it’s not ‘all in the mind’ quite a lot is.

Gavin Francis’ book Recovery — GP’s take on the neglected art of convalescence –:

has a brilliant example of what good, or harm, our minds can do as part of our well-being; worth quoting. Francis talks about two middle-aged men who ‘a few weeks apart both suffered a cardiac arrest and collapsed, ostensibly dead, but who were successfully resuscitated with electric shocks. Both were then fitted with portable electronic defibrillators …[that were] about the shape and size of a matchbox’. If either man collapsed again, ‘the portable defibrillator would sense the change and shock the heart back into a healthy rhythm.’

‘For one of the men, the intimate experience of the proximity of death, the fragility of life and his new reliance on the implanted defibrillator was utterly traumatic. He began to suffer panic attacks and fiddled ceaselessly with the swelling beneath his collarbone. He couldn’t find a way to stop fretting that it might fail. At the time of his cardiac arrest he had been working as an administrator but he found himself unable to go on working. He was afraid to be alone, and his nights became a torment of insomnia.

‘For the other man, the almost identical experience of collapse and then resurrection became an epiphany of gratitude. His new life was a gift, he said, for by rights he should now be dead, and all the tedious, niggling irritations that once troubled him seemed to dissolve. It was enough to be able to breathe this air, walk on this earth, see his grandchildren. He had always lived modestly, but now began to emjoy sumptuous meals, fine wine, and booked holidays to places he would never before have considered visiting.

‘He had died, but then he lived again, and that new life into which he was born seemed one of richness, tenderness and gratitude.’

One thought on “If it’s not ‘all in the mind’ quite a lot is.”

  1. Hello Glenn,
    Thank you for mentioning the book ‘Recovery’. Having fractured five vertebrae in recent months I decided to buy it and found the ‘permission’ I needed to take time to recover adequately – an ongoing and longer than anticipated process. Your examples from the book today resonate with me in that, like Mr.A, I am fearful (of slipping in the shower and breaking more bones) but by God’s grace find myself relating to Mr.B’s attitude of letting go all the stuff that doesn’t matter and seeing this as a place of growth, of gift. I don’t know about the sumptuous meals, fine wine, and holidays to unexplored places, but a slow walk to the end of the drive and back – my current limitation – yields a pleasure to the senses hitherto unnoticed.
    Sorry that I didn’t reply to your 18th July email regarding ‘More Than Bananas’. Good to know that it’s on You Tube so I’ll follow it there.
    Thank you for your weekly posts, much appreciated.
    No need to reply

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