the gradual recovery of health and strength after illness.
the period during which one is convalescing.

1480–90; < Late Latin convalēscentia. See convalesce, -ence Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
convalescence (ˌkɒnvəˈlɛsəns)
1.  gradual return to health after illness, injury, or an operation, esp through rest
2.  the period during which such recovery occurs
n, —adj

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

late 15c., from Fr. convalescence (15c.), from L. convalescentia "regaining of health," from convalescentem, from convalescere (see convalesce). Related: Convalescing (mid-17c.).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

convalescence con·va·les·cence (kŏn'və-lěs'əns)

  1. Gradual return to health and strength after an illness, an injury, or a surgical operation.

  2. The period needed for returning to health after an illness, an injury, or a surgical operation.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Example sentences
It is as good and refreshing as convalescence from a malignant fever.
Post-operative convalescence normally involves recovering from the access
  incisions made in the abdomen.
Eight surgeries on his arm followed, and months of pain-racked convalescence.
Dengue involves high fever, severe headache, joint and muscle pains and usually
  a long convalescence.
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