Why did you stay awake for the whole time you were having surgery?
"Well, you have to stay awake during most brain surgeries, but I had to stay awake in order to have him guide the four electrodes on the end of a wire down through my brain. However, there is no feeling in the brain, so I didn't experience pain from that."
"Well, from the beginning of the operation, I could not play at all. My tremor had gotten so bad I couldn't play. At the end of the operation, I was playing normal."
You were hooked up to a couple of pieces of equipment--you've got a pacemaker, and electrodes? Explain how that actually works.
"Actually, it's called a generator, in this case. It sends a small amount of voltage to my brain. It's a wire that's planted in my chest, runs up my neck, and into the brain on the top-left side, because it is a right-side motor skill. It puts in a program, I mean a certain amount of electricity, and it has to be programmed to get it to work exactly right.
Did they make you sterilize your banjo?
"No, that was a funny thing. I never had to sterilize anything. They were very carfeul themselves not to touch it, you know, or do anything like that. But, I never sterilized it. I laid it on my chest and they pushed the bed in the operating room. And, watching out for the neck of the banjo, I had my little small practice Deering banjo, so it wasn't really a regular big banjo, which would have been really hard to do."
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