2012 Volume 11 Issue 1 Pages 45-62
To understand the social problems confronted by adult patients with congenital heart disease we conducted interviews to underscore their experiences of their illness within their overall life histories. Although many participants presented stories of a "turning point" experienced in the past, the full meaning of their stories was not always selfevident because these responses emerged not only from the setting and framework of the interview but also from using a narrative approach in the research. Although narratives offer an understanding of individual experiences over time, a story presented on a specific occasion from a particular point of view cannot include all the important aspects of the experiences of the actor or narrator. The events comprising the main plot do not include the ostensibly empty periods. Yet, these apparently vacant periods must be considered in order to understand explicit narratives involving turning points because changes in life trajectories require not only trigger events but also conditions that are sufficient for such events to make an impact. Stories of turning points must leave room for our imaginations to compensate for the blank spaces in a narrative, which are sometimes interpreted as "stagnant times".