In Monster Hunter (particularly old-school MH), you can measure how well you're doing in a quest by how many parts you've broken off a monster. Conversely, you can measure how badly you're doing by how many healing items you've consumed (i.e. no longer in inventory).
Tonight I prepared to take on Akantor, one of the largest things not to be classified as an Elder Dragon. The usual full complement of healing potions, plus everything in the Supply Box (which is stocked for 4 players, but I was hunting solo, so....)
This guy was causing so many ragequits ... I don't have much experience fighting him and I kept getting caught off-guard by his sweep attacks. Nonetheless, I was having the most success with Sword & Shield (over other weapons, like Charge Blade or Insect Glaive) so I stuck with it. (S&S doesn't have any long or complicated combos, so it's easy to cancel out of an attack. Plus, you can use items on VERY short notice, without having to put the weapon away first.)
About 25 minutes into the fight I still have yet to be defeated once (get defeated 3 times and you fail the quest, per standard rules), but I've used up literally all of my healing options save for 2 Potions and 1 Mega Potion. Nonetheless, I've broken claws, chestplate, and lopped off Akantor's tail, so I mentally announce "okay, I gotta save these for my next attempt, for now you'll just have to cart me" -- well, he did. Nonetheless, we came back in fully topped off, stayed in the zone and beat him.