Recovery is really a dress rehearsal for senility: the slow shuffle to the footlights clad in an ill-fitting costume of dressing gown and slippers, and then the hoarse delivery of your single line soliloquy: "Can someone help me with the toilet, please?"
It's not a great role. Indeed, audience members may be unpleasantly reminded of your previous performance in that other dreary, one-act tragedy: Chronic Back Pain, originally written for Lon Chaney declining years by Samuel Beckett in his most minimalistic mood. Lights, camera, medication.
This imitation of old age is the result of a doctor's stern caution not to exert oneself, coupled with anxious contemplation of the long vertical scar running down the center of your chest. Major incisions take an eternity to mend and are extremely uncomfortable during the healing process, mostly from hourly aches and pains and the tedium of restricted movement. It's like walking around with a Fed Ex address label securely stuck to your breast bone and "Handle With Care" plastered between your shoulder blades. Simple, everyday tasks are now physical problems and frustrations of the most mind-bending kind. Putting on a shirt becomes a course in advanced Tai Chi concentration and technique; threading your legs into underpants is like trying to navigate an M C Escher maze; and wiping one's backside is, well, let's just say that a friend in need is a friend indeed.
Fortunately, being a student of the Stoics, I am not grumpy or downhearted like the aged often are. I strive to play the part of a grand old man rather than a mean old one. As Marcus Aurelius said, "Nothing happens to any man that he is not formed by nature to bear" - which almost sounds Shakespearean, albeit a lecture to his son by the doddering Polonius.