Day 542: Making Meaning

When something happens we can’t understand or explain, what do we do? Often, we try to make meaning of what just happened.

Sometimes, we can’t.  

If something upsetting happens, we often look to ascribe blame — against ourselves and others.

I actually don’t know why I’m writing these words right now. They do relate to a discussion I witnessed in a therapy group yesterday, but I can’t make meaning of how this topic fits with some photos I want to show you.

I think I should have stuck with my original title for this post: “Some photos I took on Wednesday.” That would have worked, really easily.

Why did I change the title, the way I did? I can’t make meaning of that, right now.

Now what should I do?  And who is to blame for this less-than-optimal blogging situation? Me, you, or somebody else?

Who cares? Let’s just look at the photos.

Here’s a little item I got many years ago, which I keep in my office:


How do we make meaning of THAT?  What the heck is it?  Is it animal, vegetable, or mineral?

I’ll tell you this: it’s made out of wood.

Any guesses?

I’ll give you a hint. It’s a kind of transformer.


 I mean, it’s like a transformer because it (1) has moving parts and (2) turns into something else.  However, I may have misled you with that last image, or raised your expectations too high. My thing is not quite that intricate, flashy, or up-to-date. I hope you still like it, though.

Here it is:


Here’s the meaning I ascribe to that: it looks, to me, like a wondrous, special and unusual place to stay.

Sometimes I do stay in unusual places. Like, last night  I had a sleep-over at a hospital.


Now I’m misleading you, again. That is NOT where my sleep study was.  That’s actually a hospital for children.

I’m not a child, so I don’t belong there. How do I feel about that?


If you have trouble making meaning of that, I’ll be more direct. I’m very glad I’m no longer a child.

One of the many advantages of being an adult? You get more freedom of expression.

For example, you can take whatever pictures you like and present them as you choose:





I’m actually not sure what I’m trying to convey in this post. Which might make it difficult for you to make meaning of it all.

I will tell you some feelings I had while I was writing this post: I prefer being home to being in hospitals. I don’t like medical machines attached to me, at night. And, based on this part of my sleep-study, I will, most likely, getting a CPAP machine, to bring into my home:


(I found that image here.)

Eeek!  I just freaked myself out, just as I did when I googled “sleep study” in March.

Now I want to show you something I saw at home before I left before my sleep study,  asleep without a machine:


Right before I snapped this photo, my boyfriend Michael said this about Oscar:

I can’t make head or tails of that cat.

 Which, of course, is another way to make meaning.


Before I end this post, I want to tell you this:  I wrote most of this last night, before I left for the hospital.

I’m writing this ending at yet another hospital, where I work.

The sleep study went better than I expected.  I slept fine with the CPAP machine. And I think it’s actually going to help me feel better (despite my old, childhood-acquired negative feelings about medical machines).

I will probably write more about this, perhaps in tomorrow’s post. For now, here are some images from this morning (and feel free to make meaning of them, or not):





Thanks to transformers of all kinds, to Boston-based hospitals and medical centers; to  people who do their best in making meaning (and changes in their lives); to sleep-study expert Lori, her daughter Allie, and Allie’s friend Isabella; and to you — of course! — for the meaning you are making, today.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , | 16 Comments

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16 thoughts on “Day 542: Making Meaning

  1. oh man, my husband needs one of those CPAP machines… He has sleep apnea and snores like you would not believe. I try to tell him that he sounds like a dying wildebeest, but he just says that I have no idea what a wildebeest sounds like, alive or otherwise, and maybe he’s right but OMG! Best sleep of my life was the night he borrowed his father’s old CPAP machine to try it out.

    • Melissa! I thought I responded to this comment (which I loved) when you posted it. I’m sorry that you’re still dealing with a dying wildebeest and I hope that you have figured out how to get the good sleep you deserve.

      • thanks ok, I lost track of comments sometime too! Yeah, still dealing with it…he works midnight shift so it’s only three nights a week that I have to deal with it : )

  2. I have a couple of friends with CPAP machines – and after the first bit and they’ve adjusted to them, they are so much happier!

    But, my favorite part of the post “Who to blame?” “Who cares?” 🙂 That’s the right response! Loved it!

  3. Gene Phillips

    After reading Kate’s comment, I can see that a CPAP device might make a great, positive change in your life, so.. YAY. Matters of meaning, which I must address in my job quite often, sort of haunt me because I am given to wanting “correct” answers while knowing that there are vast areas of questioning in which they do not exist. (“Haunt” is probably much too strong a word…”give me pause” might be better. When I think about meaning these lines from an old Dylan song often come to me:

    At dawn my lover comes to me
    And tells me of her dreams
    With no attempts to shovel the glimpse
    Into the ditch of what each one means
    At times I think there are no words
    But these to tell what’s true
    And there are no truths outside the Gates of Eden

    Although I would never go quite that far.

    • So maybe you want to bring out a little more of your inner Dylan, Gene. I will say this: i did find a lot of meaning in your comment.

  4. I think this post is a breath of fresh air, Ann. I give it an APAP.

  5. Hi Ann, Here are random thoughts after dinner and a glass of wine …. My best friend has one of those CPAP machines. She is still my friend … and she sleeps well at night. Yep she is married and it isn’t attractive … but you know what … sleep matters!! Move to daytime dalliances!
    Meaning come from our thinking brain. We can create stories to give anything meaning. Its up to us. Get creative and make up a story that works for you 🙂
    Oscar has the answer.

  6. I enjoyed making meaning of all the photos you took Wednesday. But mostly, I’m glad that your sleep test went well and that you found something that was helpful.

  7. Pingback: Day 544: Themes | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

  8. Pingback: Day 577: Dopey | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

  9. Pingback: Day 624: Yesterday, today, and tomorrow | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

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