‘We need to respect the process of healing’: a GP on the overlooked art of recovery
As I embark on a third year of general practice under Covid, I am more conscious than ever that recovery is different for every illness and every patient
Over the past two years I’ve spent much of my time as a GP assessing and managing the fear, fever and breathlessness caused by coronavirus, but I’ve also spent more of my time than ever before talking to people about recovery and convalescence – not only from the virus, but from the damaging effects of repeated lockdowns. I’m a GP in central Edinburgh and, with three other doctors and two nurses, provide medical care to about 4,000 patients.
The words “recovery” and “convalescence” were rarely mentioned during my six years of medical school and seven years of specialty training. Many of my tutors seemed to assume that once a crisis of illness has passed, the body and mind find ways to heal themselves. But nearly 20 years as a GP has shown me time and again that the reverse is true: guidance and encouragement through the process of recovery can be indispensable.