Monday, October 15, 2012

Back to Work

On Friday morning just before the operation my neurosurgeon, Dr. Chris Kalhorn, stopped by the pre-op room where Amy and I were waiting to have a little pre-op chat. I'd gotten an email on Thursday night from my friend, colleague and fellow Parkie Peter Dunlap-Shohl with a link to a video  of bluegrass banjo player Eddie Adcock playing his banjo during surgery and some advice- Take a pencil and paper in with you so you can draw while they operate.

When the opportunity arose during our pre-op chat I hesitated but Amy jumped on it. She told Dr. Kalhorn I drew cartoons and we were hoping the procedure would restore control of my hand. "Can he draw something during the operation?" Dr. Kalhorn was delighted. He pulled a pen out of his shirt pocket. "Will this one work?"

My surgery officially started at 7:30., so it was around 10 when they woke me up. My head was securely bolted to a halo so I wouldn't wander off during the proceedings. It was like wearing a car grill, which I've never tried. Plastic sheeting stretched away above me and I could hear Dr. Kalhorn behind it chatting and keeping up a running commentary. The anesthesiologist, Dr. Tran and his team was to my left and the neurologist, Dr Mandir and his team were on my right. Both were exceptionally kind and thoughtful  as was Dr. Kalhorn. Nobody treated me like a part of a car grill.

Dr. Kalhorn counted off how deep he was positioning the first wire. When it got to where it'd do the most good he'd turn on the current ask me some questions, like it was an especially intrusive eye test. Dr. Mabdir held up a clipboard. "Richard's a cartoonist," he said, "and he'd like to draw something for us." He moved the clipboard to where I could reach it and carefully handed me the pen. "This'll be without any current." I couldn't see too well without my glasses, but this is what I drew-

Then I signed it and, at the doctor's request,  drew a spiral. Ten seconds later I drew this, but with a little current going through the wire-

It's a brain saying "Whee!", my signature, "Not to scale" and a spiral. Not the best I've ever drawn but far from the worst. Well, ten seconds from the worst.



59 comments:

Hirayuki said...

Simply astounding; this fills me with so much hope. Keep up the great work!

Jeff Overturf said...

This is awesome and beautiful!

Cius said...

Mrs. Denneldoff said...

Wow!! Hope springs!!

gilda92 said...

I'm not sure about the condition of the spiral but the brain sure seems to be in working condition! Well done!!

Mike said...

So good to "hear" your sustained voice, and the drawings are nice, too! Keep working at it.

Tom Franklin said...

YAY YAY and HOORAY!!!

Nathan J. DiPerri said...

Wow. I've been thinking about you a lot this past week, Richard. I wish you the best and will continue to pray for you and your family.

Barbara Hanson said...

Just marvelous! Good luck, Richard, my thoughts are with you.

David Apatoff said...

Richard, your art director called; said these drafts are getting closer, but they still show a little too much influence of the medulla oblongata while the client was looking for more of a neocortex treatment. If you'll just do three or four more prelims, she's sure you can get this into shape for tomorrow's deadline.

The Wifely Person said...

From strength to strength, may you have speedy, complete and exciting recovery. We all believe!

chris said...

I had surgery once on my bladder while I was awake. I didn't think to draw during it, but I doubt that the bladder has much effect on how I draw. I hope your recovery is quick. I continue to pray for you.

jdigriz said...

Great news! Was hoping all weekend your next blog post would have a title like that.

Unknown said...

Well done, now you're ready to reach my best in drawing...

Daje, Richard, we love you!

marco&sara

Hinzi said...

Woo Hoo - I mean, Weeee....

alecia sf said...

This is wondrous and humbling that you would share this with us! Thank you for that, kudos for your courage and thank you, at the end, for your smile! Love to Cul de Sac and to you! Lucy Wharton (fbook) aka alecia sf

Sandy Jarrell said...

We're thrilled, and Raymond hopes your hair grows back.

Mister Fweem said...

Give 'em Oyl, Richard! Give 'em Oyl!

Freddy Letrange said...

Hair is overrated.

(And by the way: Wow. Just wow.)

John Harris said...

Oh best of luck through this process. I've just been reading through the first Cul De Sacs at gocomics, they are so wonderful.

John R said...

I do like that second drawing. It's enough to make a brain jump for joy! Thanks for sharing with us about your operation, Richard, and I hope for a continued recovery.

Joyce said...

Incredibly exciting! Even perhaps, wow-WHEE!

Hildigunnur said...

Whee!

Jim O. said...

Lithographs, please. Signed and numbered, with proceeds going to Team Cul de Sac.

Yes, I'm serious.

Sonny Moon said...

Congratulations on the successful surgery! My Mom had the same procedure many years ago, and it proved to be extremely beneficial.

Brett said...

Great news, very hopeful for you.

Tylerw said...

This is awesome! Not only because it makes me excited at the prospect of more Cul De Sac, but it makes me think of how this could help someone I know with Parkinson's. Man, that is awesome

capty26@aol.com said...

So glad you made it through it Richard! Your sense of humor is an ideal for the rest of us mere mortals to strive for :-)

David Jacobson said...

Wow. Wow. Wow.
Absolutely unbelievable.
I am very happy for you.

Matt J said...

I usually use coffee to jump start my drawing capability in the morning but this looks much better!

Garrincha said...

Awesome!
So happy for you.

John Schutt said...

Congratulations on the successful surgery. There are a bunch of us who are wishing you the best.

Polar Star said...

In the first one, did you know it was bad when you were drawing it?

diego ceresa said...

As I said before,Richard: "Long live Cul de Sac!"

diego ceresa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
arcticcircle said...

This reads like the sequel to Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. Drawing From the Inside of the Brain?

Robert Gidley said...

Wow! Modern medicine rocks!

Eric M. Smith said...

Lithographs, please. Signed and numbered, with proceeds going to Team Cul de Sac.

Yes, I'm serious.


Seconded. So amazed and inspired by you, Mr. T!

Stephen said...

Fascinating and inspiring. Thank you for sharing this.

So much better than that old Star Trek episode "Spock's Brain".

richardcthompson said...

Okay, so we may do some kind of prints as a PD fundraiser. I'll let you know...

Shaunterria Owens said...

That may be the best haircut you've ever had :) Best wishes to you and your family.

--shaunterria
ca11i0pe.blogspot.com

Poliman44 said...

It's great to see your sense of humor operating while you're being operated on! :) You're the funniest Mr. Thompson; we all wish you well!!

JoeyCee said...

Rock on bro!!!!!!

H.V.Lukas said...

Thank you so much for sharing this! It's almost like a covert magic trick with Parkinson, of sorts. This makes way for much optimism.

If I may ask? Is an operation/therapy like this one-time-only, or ambulant?





D-squared said...

Boogity, boogity, cheese!!!

Nightgaunt said...

I'm so happy to hear all this. I have never had surgery much less brain surgery but it is gratifying to hear about the caring specialists who were helping you. Science can be used for good and this is so very good! May you recover swiftly and without incident sir. I salute you and all those who made this possible.

Darren said...

I Love the new haircut... Reminds me of Dill!

Sonny Moon said...

Now ALL the kids are going to want to shave their heads, just to be cool like Richard Thompson.

Derrick Cantrell said...

Looking good Richard!!!!

skittybob said...

Seriously, how am I only hearing about this now? I thought my local paper was just screwing around again by replacing CDS.

Cul de Sac has become one of my all time favorites, and I'm very particular about my comics.

What will I do without Alice????? She is SO a little freak and I adore her!!

I'm sorry to hear of your condition and wish you all the best.

Dan Steffan said...

Wow. Now that you've been live wired your car will never need a jump start again. Congratulations.

Dan Steffan said...

Rats, I wrote that before I read Nick Galifiniakis' item posted on that excellent Searle website. Great minds and all that... Hah!

David Hagen said...

Your new haircut suits you!
Let it SHINE!
Best wishes as always.

Darlene said...

Lol! Love the brain! Whee indeed! Now, where's the manual?
Best wishes !
Darlene

Tom Dougherty said...

This is fascinating and really hopeful. Fantastic, my man!

Mike Blake illustration said...

My father had the same surgery and it made a world of difference. I would just say avoid chainsaws and climbing ladders (long backstory) and you will do fine with this newfound energy and abilities! ^_^

Brian said...

Gee Whiz - the doctors never shave *my* head! Lucky lucky lucky.
(and I'm SO glad you are on the mend RT.
Lets not repeat this year... either of us.)
BN

city said...

thanks for sharing..

Lewis pawl said...

I Looked your post it's impressed me very much.Great job!!

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