Friday, April 19, 2019

'We Undergo Any Misery'

“Health indeed is a precious thing, to recover and preserve which, we undergo any misery, drink bitter potions, freely give our goods: restore a man to his health, his purse lies open to thee.”

Well, not quite open but certainly with my Aetna card handy. The good doctor is right: we willingly undergo much unpleasantness in order to feel pleasant, or at least reduce the pain. Robert Burton knows nothing of germ theory or anesthesia but I’ve come to rely on The Anatomy of Melancholy, as I do on Gray’s Anatomy.  The passage above is from Part Three, Section 1, Member ii, Subsection i, “Love of Men, which varies as his Objects,Profitable, Pleasant, Honest.”

This morning I’m scheduled for spinal surgery. I expect to spend four or five days in the hospital and won’t return to my job for an indeterminate time. Recovery, I’m told, will be slow. I’ve never failed to post something at least once a day since I started Anecdotal Evidence more than thirteen years ago, until now. As Douglas MacArthur said in a very different context, I shall return.

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