LaLa Land versus the Big Sleep

Published 8:19 pm Sunday, February 4, 2024

  I’m no doctor and I haven’t spent the night in a Holiday Express, but I am a pastor and know a little bit about LaLa Land. Medically and technically speaking, LaLa Land is that place where we go when we are having a medical “procedure,” and are unconscious and without feeling. Such as in a colonoscopy.

            The drug that is administered is easily given through a breathing apparatus and sedation is quick. Nothing is felt during the medical “procedure” and re-awakening is usually quick and probably nothing is remembered.

            As a pastor, I am very familiar with LaLa Land. At about the five minute mark of a sermon, I begin to see a few congregants’ eyelids becoming heavy and sedation is near. It’s almost as if I am dangling some pendant-like piece of jewelry before their eyes, enchanting “Your eyes are becoming heavy and you will enter a hypnotic trance very soon.”

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            It is true. LaLa Land, so far as a pastor’s sermon is concerned, is quick, painless, re-awakening is easy and occurs before the benediction, and nothing is remembered.

            LaLa Land is different from the General Anesthesia that is, most of the time, used in more serious surgeries. Like the kind I had last Wednesday. It is, generally, administered through an IV and a tube may be placed down your throat to enable breathing. You are absolutely “out of it,” with no movement, and the period of sleep is longer and deeper.

            Rarely, do I see this type of sleep as a pastor, but it occurs periodically. At first, there is LaLa Land, but, at some point, the mouth opens and a deeper breath is taken. There may even be some sort of guttural sound akin to snoring. This behavior is sometimes interrupted by the person who is sitting near the congregant; such as a sudden and violent elbow to the side.

            Usually, I hate to see this interruption of deep sleep. I’ve been in the pastoral business long enough to not take the naps of congregants personally. As they say, I’ve been there, done that, too! If I had to listen to me, I might choose La La Land.

            You’ve probably heard that it’s not the crime that gets one into trouble, it’s the cover-up. Analogies don’t always work, but so far as surgeries go, it might not be the surgery, itself, that is most problematic. It could be the recovery. That might be true in my case.

            The repair of the rotator cuff tears in my right shoulder seemed to have gone well. At least I was unaware of anything that was happening. I was “out of it.”

            Yet, when it came to waking up, well, I’ll refer to the late, great English playwright, William Shakespeare. He might have been the one to coin the phrase, “a horse of a different color, meaning there is a relationship between the surgery and the recovery, but the recovery has been, well, a horse of a different color!

            One might think after a Big or Deep Sleep, I might awaken to find myself “bright-eyed and bushy tailed.” Not so fast, Rip Van Winkle!

            Getting back to normal, whatever that may be, is taking more than just a little time. They wrote a song about it and called it “One Day at a Time.” Thankfully, the surgery is over and the pain has been manageable. Everyone who talked about shoulder surgery warned me that it would not be easy. As my daddy used to say, “You got that right!”

            At the same time, it’s Day Six after the surgery and that’s better than Day Three. Thanks for all the prayers and the well wishes. Keep sending them.