Thursday, March 21, 2013

When Self-editing Is Not Enough

You've worn eyeglasses for most of your life, with the exception of a time in your early teens.  Then, the mother of your sister's boyfriend, a practitioner of the Bates System, took you in hand.  She  gave you a series of exercises which allowed you to navigate the world without the heavy horn rims or metal frames seeming to grab you by the ears.

By then, reading caught up with you in serious ways, following your immersion at the University, where glasses--bifocal glasses--returned with a vengeance.  The recent discovery of a photo of you in your last year of UCLA reminded you the extent to which you saw things through reading lenses as well as the rose-colored ones of youth and the politically tinted ones you'd grown into.

By early 1980, you were ready for contact lenses, which have been with you to this very day.

Today may well be the end of an era.

Today, once again, you have been edited.  Some unworkable material deleted, some revisions of high functional value inserted.  And more to come.

You checked into the Santa Barbara Surgical center, across the parking lot from Trader Joe's on De la Vina, were ushered into a curtained stall, thrown a hospital gown, then told to "Get into these."  In due course, a spry, athletic--he bicycles to work every day--opthamologist had at your left eye, removing the lens, which had become cloudy, a condition known as cataract.  In its place, Douglas Katsev, M.D. placed a toric 25.5 diopter lens which, even before he fitted it into its permanent resting place, afforded you sight the equivalent of the lens you came equipped with at birth when covered by an 8X magnification soft contact lens.

The prognosis is good for an eventual settling in after a month or so of a vision potential that will require dime store reading glasses, if those.  Since the same cloudiness remains in your right lens, your interest in round two of cataract surgery is sharp,

Essential as eyesight is for navigating in and about the world of Reality with relative ease, it is also a powerful metaphor in which aspects of person obtain.  What do you see within yourself?  How do you see others?  How is your perception of relationships, say those between you and others or between individuals you know at some social or professional level?  How accurate is your vision of self and the world about you?  Have you in metaphor been able to do for your artistic and intellectual awareness the equivalent of what Doughas Katsev, M.D. has done for you on a more direct, optical basis?

When you find yourself in a conversation with another, reaching a moment where you find yourself saying, "I see your point," will you be reminded of the magnificent editing that has been performed on your body today? And will that association help you be a better listener and conversant?

 Is your enhanced interest in having your dominant right eye edited purely a matter of physical expediency? Might this dramatic shift and its potential for even greater drama be the equivalent of a kid with a new toy?  Will you, accordingly, come to the point of taking the change for granted?   Is there some realistic hope that better lenses, better vision, and most assuredly, a greater yet peripheral vision capacity, will provide you a greater source of insight into your own and human behavior?

These are more than speculative questions when you realize you are fast moving toward the hundred twelfth month anniversary of yet another kind of surgery, wherein Dr. Alex Koper, with skill and success, rid your body of a portion of tissue in which rebellious, driven tissues were staging an Occupy Lowenkopf movement?

As regular check-ups and various imaging tests confirmed your cancer-free state, you were aware of resolving to be a more deliberate person, a better person, a more engaged person.  Now you add to that calculus a vision of a super-hero-type character who can already, after one day, see a bit better, bound to a place where you will see better yet with both eyes.  You are asking for ways to achieve the gift of greater cognitive vision as well, aren't you?  You're looking for ways to effect an editorial process on your empathy, your abilities, your generosity, your appreciation.

The University of Southern California Dental School and, later, Paul Avolese have worked some remarkable editorial work on your teeth and gums.  Alex Koper has done some skillful editing in your lower abdomen, D. Ross McNaught and John Gainor have edited your hips, and now, Douglas Katsev has added his talents to your eyes.

You have a challenge before you, which is to understand and accept your newly edited self, then carry it, word by word, to your computer screen, notepads, and lectures where, word by word, you must rise to the edited version you have become.

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