Blog Archives

An Exciting Documentary Project Called The Animated Mind of Oliver Sacks

In the medical world, it is a rarity to uncover a medical anthropologist and an ambassador of compassion who writes with humor, tenderness, truth, sensitivity, and frankness. Dr. Oliver Sacks was all that and more. To this day, I don’t know of a greater contributor to the world of Parkinson’s disease. He was a tenacious advocate and Levodopa researcher, as documented in his book Awakenings and then movie starring Robin Williams. Over 50 years later, Levodopa remains the gold standard drug for Parkinson’s patients.

On a personal note, I started taking Levodopa in 1991, had I not had access to this medicine, I can only guess what my life would look like.  This life-changing drug has given me the ability to move, to speak, and to function. Like millions of Parkinson’s patients around the world, I am and will be forever in Dr. Sack’s debt for the gift that he has given me and the Parkinson’s community.

The Animated Mind of Oliver Sacks

The Animated Mind of Oliver Sacks

Oliver Sacks left us in 2015 but his numerous books, writings, lectures, and interviews live on and on. Now, thanks to the passion and vision of documentary film-maker Dempsey Rice, comes The Animated Mind of Oliver Sacks. There is just over two weeks left to complete this important Kickstarter campaign and bring over ten years of exclusive interviews to the big screen. Through the beautiful medium of animation, Dempsey and her team will show us Oliver’s refreshing and revealing outlook on medicine and compassion, music, gratitude, and the down to earth attitude that made Dr. Sacks so revolutionary.

Dr. Sacks connected with his patients. He deeply cared about people and their care. Oliver Sacks understood the uniqueness of every patient and took a fresh approach to the doctor patient relationship. Both a compassionate neurologist and a tenacious investigator, Sacks believed that the patient should be more empowered and in greater control of their care—an uncommon and somewhat controversial opinion for many physicians. You can hear his compassion in this quote:

“My note was a strange mixture of facts and observations, carefully noted and itemized, with irrepressible meditations on what such problems might ‘mean’, in regard to who and what and where this poor man was – whether, indeed, one could speak of an ‘existence’, given so absolute a privation of memory or continuity.”

― Oliver Sacks, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales

Dempsey says, “Animation is a great art form.” The medium of animation adds a whole new dimension that will elaborate on Sacks’ insights. Meshing Sack’s spoken words and powerful visuals of the stunning animation enhances the thoughts and concepts that are discussed onscreen. Through the power of film, we will see Dr. Oliver Sacks in what I believe to be a memorable moving documentary that encapsulates the immense impact that he had and continues to have on medicine, our medical care and our perception of medicine in general.

I think that this quote summarizes Dempsey’s passion, drive, and appreciation for Sacks’ works: “Throughout our time together, I was consistently awed by Oliver and his deep compassion for all living things.  His unfailing curiosity drove him to explore the magic of how our brains work and delve into the extreme joys and sorrows that come with human existence,” said Rice.  “My hope is that this film inspires new insight and deep compassion for the human experience, in addition to celebrating Oliver’s irrepressible enthusiasm for, and curiosity about, the human mind.”

Upon completion, Dempsey hopes the theatrical release will be available in early 2020.

I encourage you to learn more about Oliver Sacks and Dempsey Rice’s film, The Animated Mind of Oliver Sacks at the following links:
Kickstarter campaign page: http://bit.ly/animatedmind4,
Website: http://theanimatedmindofoliversacks.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheAnimatedMindofOliverSacks/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/oliversacksfilm
or Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/oliversacksfilm/

My Zelapar Follow Up

To my few but loyal followers, I apologize for the brief hiatus that I have taken in keeping my blog up to date. I am publicly making my declaration that I will try to commit more time to keeping this space current and relatively entertaining. I ask only this, of you the reader, if you think this, my blog, to be of worth, that you pass it on to a friend, a collegue, or even just someone that you feel a need to get back at–well, okay that might be a little cruel and unusual punishment. 

I realize that I never got back to you, my friends, what the final outcome was from my nightmare account with Zelapar, a drug that I only took for 3 days but stayed in my bloodstrem for over 21 days. If you missed my saga with this drug, just check out my earlier postings to learn how this drug dragged me through the proverbial ringer.

At this time, I think that I can honestly conclude that I have no residual side effects or known damage from my stint with Zelapar. Yes, it caused weeks of frustration, weeks of aggravation,  and much more dyskinesia than I am normally accustomed to, but in the end, I came out alright. As best as I can tell, I seem no worse for wear.

I can’t say it enough: Every PD patient is different and every med is going to help, do nothing, or challenge him or her.  If I can offer any advice, from personal experience and not from a medical perspective, the patient can best serve themself if he or she monitors his or her condition closely as to best be aware of any encroaching side effects or changes in condition. What works for some may not work for all–it’s just that simple with this disease–at least from where I sit.

No thanks to the makers of Zelapar or the FDA, both with whom I filed concrns with, only to be lost in the vapor. No follow-up call, email, or contact of any kind. I would think that there would interest by someone in one of these large institutions that actually give a damn–but no! Then today, this piece of news slippped below my radar:

Aug 20 (Reuters) – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Friday it will examine the potential heart risks of Novartis AG’s (NOVN.VX) Parkinson’s drug Stalevo, a combination of two treatments for the debilitating brain disease.

I am not on Stalevo but I have many friends who are taking this drug. I encourage you to keep up with the constant flurry of PD data, breakthroughs,and warnings through the power of Google and the web, whether you are on Stalevo or not. If you are on Stalevo, I would suggest that you closely monitor the outcome and keep in touch with your Neurologist about where this goes.  Remember, that’s just my humble opinion and not medical advice.

Let me know what you think and please subscribe to my blog. Thanks!

%d bloggers like this: