Sunday, November 14, 2010

Visual Misgivings, Oliver Sacks - compensation and limitations we deal with....

I first heard of Dr. Oliver Sacks the same way millions of others did - via the 1990 movie "Awakenings", a wonderful film that I wished could have delved more into the frustrations and limitations that the characters were portraying but alas, only so much can be dealt with in two or so hours.

The next time I was to reacquaint myself with Dr. Sacks was when I was living in Oaxaca and my friend Richard Orlandini turned me on to Sack's book Oaxaca Journal, a must-read for anyone interested in Ferns and micro-environments such as one finds on Oaxaca's Highway 175, a road that I never tired of exploring and experiencing. Sacks also captured many of the other delights unique to the Oaxacan culture and geography that at that time I was embracing wholeheartedly and at present miss quite dearly.

And then there was today, this afternoon, listening to one of my favourite radio programs, CBC Radio's "Tapestry"'s episode entitled "Face Time" - a nice montage on faces, sight, perception and featuring an interview with Sacks no doubt due to his latest book release "The Mind's Eye" which further explores the notions of perception and how some compensate for various shortcomings. Sacks also shares his experiences dealing with a particular visual ailment he suffers from as a result of a cancerous eye tumour.

No, this is not a freebie for Dr. Sacks courtesy of me but rather an acknowledgment and at times confessorial with regards to the hiding of certain afflictions and the problems that in turn can occur due to lack of understanding and empathy by those with whom I deal with on many levels.

Sometimes the impatience of others, that inability to "see" beyond their own experiences can be more vexing than the malady itself.....I must rest now for awhile. I do promise to expand upon this essay. Unfortunately, fatigue is but one of many symptoms that I go through on a daily basis.

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