I've shared before on this blog that my wife has battled breast cancer. About three years ago she discovered a lump and then, when the doctors did test, they told us that there were in fact two lumps and one of them was large. Our surgeon told us that they were going to "throw the kitchen sink at her." And they did. Surgery, chemo, radiation, and then more chemo. During all that I discovered that it is easy to become almost resentful towards the ones who are trying to help. I did not enjoy walking into those doctor's offices and suddenly finding myself having to identify with what I called a cancer culture. The waiting rooms have cancer flyers, cancer magazines, cancer this and cancer that. There were puzzles waiting in the waiting rooms so that during the long waits you can work on them - cancer puzzles I would call them. I don't think my attitude was right or justified, but it's what I felt. Instead of puzzling, I would take my drawing pad. A lot of the work you see on my blog came from those days.
Along our cancer journey we met my wife's Radiologist, "Dr. J". Maybe because I already was not in the best frame of mind I found Dr. J's personality to be rather... uninviting. He wasn't mean, or anything, just rather... ummm... stuffy. Later on I discovered that he was a fairly nice fellow, but on first impressions I thought he could use a little comedic lightening up.
So imagine this scenario: My wife and I are in one of those little examination rooms with Dr. J. It's not a very big room, and from where I'm sitting I have a profile view of him. I've carried my drawing pad in there with me, and before long I find myself sketching the profile of his face that you see here. I think my wife thought I was crazy - glancing back and forth from the doctor to the paper. But I'm thinking, "Hey this really looks like the guy!" But I had to be careful as to not draw attention to my drawing.
After we left, and because I thought Dr. J needed to relax a bit, I decided to complete the drawing by illustrating him in a "Ghost Busters" like get-up; fighting a cancer monster - with his... "RADIATOR!!!" (Say that in a deep echoing voice for the full effect.)
"Did I ever show it to him?", I hear you asking. Yes, but not directly. I wasn't sure if the good doctor was the kind of fellow that had any kind of a sense of humor, but I just had to let him see it. The drawing had turned out so well. So I showed it to his nurse, who then she showed it to him.
The end result is that now, if you go to Dr. J's Radiology Office, and walk into the inner waiting area, you will find a frame copy of this caricature hanging on his wall. It turned out that he was quite pleased with it. I won't tell you where his office is, but you'll know you're in the right place when you see it hanging right next to the table that has the cancer puzzle sitting there waiting for you.
Let's hope and pray that you never have to see it.