Michael Kinsley’s Deep Brain Stimulation
Michael Kinsley had brain surgery last week in an effort to alleviate the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease. He wrote an amusing column reflecting on the fact before they started drilling little holes in his skull.
Self-indulgently, I’ve been dropping the conversational bomb of brain surgery more often than absolutely necessary just to enjoy the reaction. And why not? I deserve that treat. After all, I’m going to be having brain surgery.
The operation is called deep-brain stimulation (DBS). They stick a couple of wires into your head, run them around your ears and into batteries that are implanted in your chest. Then current from the batteries zaps some bad signals in your brain so that good signals can be heard by the rest of your body. When it works, as it generally does, it greatly reduces the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. I wrote in Time 41/2 years ago about having PD and adopting a strategy of denial: pretending to myself and others that I didn’t have it. By now my symptoms are past the point where dishonesty and self-deception are a useful approach. But maybe this operation will get me back there.
Let us hope. I usually disagree with Kinsley on matters of public policy but have always liked him personally (insomuch as you can like someone you’ve never actually met) and respect him as a thoughtful analyst.