Perception or Point of View?

I don’t know what made me start thinking about the word perception this morning; it just popped into my head and said, “Write something about me today.”

Hmm. Weird. Like everyone else, I think in words, but I don’t normally have one of them make demands of me that way.

As an author, I am extremely conscious of POV–that’s “point of view” for any of you who are non-writers. A good writer should only be inside one character’s head at a time. If he wants to change the point of view, he needs to make a smooth transition to keep from confusing the reader by committing the dreaded sin of “head hopping.”

Head hopping was almost the norm in novels of long ago, when the omniscient POV was still popular. But it’s a HUGE no-no in contemporary novels.

“Ooops!” My unconscious mind punched me in the tummy, which is still tender after last week’s gall bladder surgery. “Uhh! Why did you do that?”

“Roger, you’re already off-track. I told you to write about perception, not point of view. They’re not the same, despite the similarities.”

They’re not? “I’d never thought about that.”

“That’s because of your perception.”

“Not my point of view?’

The unconscious part of my mind seemed to hesitate. “That, too.”

Now I was really confused. “I give up. I’m healing from surgery. I’m not thinking very clearly at the moment. What are you trying to tell me?”

I could almost hear a sigh of satisfaction. “Before you had surgery, you thought the removal of your gall bladder would be a piece of cake. I believe that’s the cliche I heard you use a time or two. Nothing to it. Just because it would be laparoscopic.”

I groaned in agreement. That little punch in the tummy had left me in pain I’d thought I’d already moved past.

“What do you think now? Was it as simple as you’d thought?”

I laughed. “You know the answer to that. I thought I’d be back to normal in just a couple of days. I’m feeling better every day, but totally normal is still a number of days away.”

Was my mind chuckling at me? “So what’s your opinion now? Is laparoscopic surgery as, uh, pain-free as you’d expected.”

I rolled my eyes. “Do you even have to ask? I know better now.”

“But why? What has changed?”

“Besides being rid of a worthless gall bladder, you mean?”

No response.

Then things fell into place. I knew what my mind was pressing me to understand. “My point of view is still the same–it’s mine–but my perspective has changed. From anticipation based on someone else’s point of view to the reality of what I’ve experienced during the last six days.”

The pain in my stomach calmed instantly. And almost completely. “Now you’re talking. And why don’t you take a nap before people start thinking you’re crazy for talking to your unconscious mind this way.”

I chuckled. “Thanks. I think I will.”

[NOTE: When the idea of writing about perception first came to mind today, I thought I would write about the fact that I look at so many things differently now than I did fifty years ago. I hope you’re not disappointed that I got a bit carried away going in a different direction.]

I’d love to have a comment about this weird little bit of fiction.

NOTE: Various people have complained about not being able to find or leave comments. Go all the way to the bottom of this post, beneath my “Best regards, Roger.” On the very bottom line of that last section just above the previous post you’ll see “Leave a Comment” if yours will be the first or “X Comments,” where  X denotes the number of existing comments.

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I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,
Roger

A Pleasantly Unexpected Answer to Prayer

I’ve been a Christian more than fifty years, and I’ve believed strongly in the power of prayer ever since surviving acute viral encephalitis in the eighth grade and learning that many people–including people who didn’t even know me or my parents–had been praying for me.

I don’t doubt the power of prayer, but I recognize that God has the knowledge of everything going on here on earth and that some prayers are in accordance with His will at the time, while others must wait until the time He deems best. Then there are prayers which He simply is unwilling, in His infinite wisdom, to answer at all.

The answers to prayer fall into the categories of “Yes,” “Wait,” or “No.”

For several years I have been praying for relief from a particular pain that the specialist hadn’t been able to determine the source of–or to help me get rid of it. He even performed a minor surgical procedure in the hopes that removing a particular item that had some cysts might help, but it didn’t. Major disappointment.

Not one to give up easily, he had an MRI done earlier this year. Everything looked normal except for one very small hernia. He seemed confident that pain from the hernia had radiated to the nearby area where I could really feel it. He told me I could either have the hernia repaired–that didn’t seem like a very pleasant prospect–or go see a pain management specialist.

I was torn. So I started praying about which way to go. Specifically, I prayed that God would do something to make clear which choice would be the best one. I’ve been praying that prayer for many months now. I felt that an answer was near. But what was it?

Flash forward to last Sunday night. After getting home from church and having a light supper, I almost immediately started having severe chest and abdominal pains. Stronger than anything I could recall ever having had before. Although I didn’t have any other heart attack symptoms, that was still the first thing that came to mind. After waiting a little while to see if the pain would lessen, I shared my concerns with my wife, and she drove me to the ER.

The ER doctor quickly confirmed that my heart was fine. He thought my acid reflux was no longer responding to the medicine I’ve been taking for a number of years and gave me a new prescription. A “GI cocktail” gave me relief from the pain, and we headed home three hours later.

I went to see my primary care physician the next day. He thought it might be an intestinal bug and gave me samples and a prescription for something to help with the pain if it flared up again.

I had been home only a few minutes when his nurse called. He’d been thinking about it some more and wanted me to have an ultrasound ASAP. I had that on Tuesday afternoon, and–sure enough–the problem was my gall bladder.

On Thursday I had an appointment with the surgeon my PCP wanted me to use. This guy was great! When I mentioned the little hernia to him, he said he can repair that when he removes the gall bladder!

Can you believe it? I’d been praying for a sign about which way to go about the hernia, and now it’s become a non-issue. I can hardly wait for the laparoscopic  surgery–too bad I have a writers conference to attend before I can have it done. But I feel so strongly that this is God’s way of guiding me gently into the best possible of solutions that it’s going to be a real pleasure to replace those prayers for His help with praise for His loving care.

What about you? Have you ever prayed for something that turned out to have an unexpected outcome? How about sharing in a comment?

NOTE: Various people have complained about not being able to find or leave comments. Go all the way to the bottom of this post, beneath my “Best regards, Roger.” On the very bottom line of that last section just above the previous post you’ll see “Leave a Comment” if yours will be the first or “X Comments,” where  X denotes the number of existing comments.

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Links you might be interested in:

I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,
Roger

I See

cataractBefore     cataractAfter

Dr. Everhart smiled after examining my eyes. “Mr. Bruner, have you noticed your vision getting more blurred?”

I wrinkled my brow. “Not overly. But if I hadn’t felt I needed new glasses, I wouldn’t have come to see you.”

She nodded. “Have you noticed little flecks crossing your field of vision?”

“Now that you mention it, yes. My left eye only, though. I’ve almost reached the point of ignoring them, but they really bothered me at first. It’s like watching a tiny insect crawl across my glasses. In fact, that’s what I thought it was at first.”

She continued in a sympathetic tone. “I’m not surprised. Your left eye needs cataract surgery. Your right eye will need it eventually.”

I felt my mouth fall open. “What? Cataract surgery? Surely you’re kidding. I’m just in my lower sixties. Cataracts are a problem OLD people have.” I wasn’t about to admit I was feeling more like an old person with every passing day, and I’m sure my vision contributed to that feeling.

She patted me on the shoulder. “Not restricted to old people at all.”

Hmm. Then why was her waiting room full of only old people. People a lot older than me, that is.

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While that dialogue is partially fictitious, my need for cataract surgery in my early sixties wasn’t.

I knew that cataract surgery was such an established routine that I shouldn’t have anything to worry about. Dr. Everhart was not only a sweetheart of a lady, but a well-established eye surgeon.

I won’t bore you with the details, but the front office scheduled me a few days later to be fitted—probably not the correct word—for my replacement lens. Other than having my eye dilated once more, that was no problem. I was scheduled for the procedure itself for several weeks later.

I awaited that day with a combination of confidence and terror. I prayed a lot for God to replace all of the terror with confidence, and I believe He did—to whatever degree I was willing to trust Him.

The big day came. Kathleen had to be there to drive me home, and we had to be there at the break of day. The outpatient surgical unit liked to get Dr. Everhart’s first few patients ready early so she could move through them quickly. Great idea…except it meant an hour or two of waiting and wondering.

Reading wasn’t really an option. Not with those drops they kept putting more of in my left eye. I almost fell asleep a couple of times, but I was in a busy area. Between receiving more drops, having a visit from the anesthesiologist, and who knows what else, sleep wasn’t practical.

The time came. A couple of nurses rolled me to the operating room. I didn’t receive general anesthesia, but was sedated enough not to give Dr. Everhart any problems.

During the actual surgery, I heard her and her assistant talking, but that’s all I was conscious of. A short time later, I was in the recovery area, where I spent maybe fifteen minutes.

Dr. Everhart checked on me before letting Kathleen drive me home and gave me a bag of “stuff,” including three types of drops I would have to use four times daily until I’d used them all up and a high power set of sunglasses that would fit over my regular glasses. I wore a patch home, which I was permitted to take off at noon; I had to wear that at night for a week.

I had a checkup call from Dr. Everhart that evening and went in for a quick followup visit the next morning. From that point on, I was permitted to drive again. I made an appointment for a regular eye exam for those new glasses I’d expected to get a month or two earlier.

I could see again. Quite well. Maybe it didn’t matter whether the thought of cataract surgery had made me feel older originally.

So, when I learned the right eye needed it now—this was about a month ago—I shrugged. Okay. Let’s get it done. I’m thankful to say I didn’t experience any apprehension this time, and everything went just as smoothly.

In some areas, I suppose I’m aging more gracefully than in others.

What about you? Have you experienced health problems that weren’t super-serious, but made you feel a little older?

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Please leave a comment if something in this post has spoken to you. I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, just go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

By the way, “On Aging Gracelessly” isn’t my only blog. On “As I Come Singing” I post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years. Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. Check here to see the list.

Because I’ve already posted all of my songs, I revise and re-post a previous post each Wednesday. If you’re interested, please check that blog out here.
Best regards,
Roger