The term R & R is something we all have come to understand, and in most cases look forwardto. Although the orignal term as applied to our armed forces is “Rest and Recuperation,” for me – as a plastic surgeon– the term means “Rest and Recovery.”
Recovery is about time. And time is our most precious commodity. None of us can add another hour to our days (even if we work nights), another day to our months or another year to our lives. So we are naturally careful and jealous of our time. Just ask my wife what she wants most; it’s not a ” thing” but time together. And, yes, I feel the same way.
The time of recovery from surgery — time away from work and normal activities — is a major concern for my patients. Frequently finding the time to recover is the major stumbling block when it comes to scheduling an operation.
And I understand this. We all lead busy lives, so it’s very hard to get enough time off from work to recover fully. And because time is at such a premium, many of us try to trim down, or cut short the time that we need to recover. Trying to get back into the swing of things before you are ready can sometimes cause your recovery to take longer. If there were ten commandments about surgery, one of them would be “Honor thy recovery.” Those who do will find the whole process easier, and the ultimate outcome better.
Rest is interesting, especially for athletes. People who work out regularly want to get back into their work outs as quickly as possible. But the one thing these people don’t get enough of is rest. Especially serious weight lifters. When do you get stronger? The day(s) after you lift as your muscles rebuild and repair. It is not uncommon for someone to come back stronger after a week off than they were before.
So, rest and recovery is good for you. And guess what, it’s good for me, too. And that’s why I’m going on vacation! With some time off with my wife and with different winds blowing through my hair, I will also rest and recover from what has been a busy time for our practice. I look forward to returning to my patients and my practice refreshed with new memories and experiences from a different land.
Whether in the thick of it, or on R & R, I wish you all the best.
David B. Reath, MD
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