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-