04/27/11 A Meal For The State


***EDIT*** I am recovered and have finished the strip (below I mention that I only posted the pencils), but for those curious, here still are the pencils. ***END-EDIT***

Monday I had to go to the hospital for an unexpected surgery (I’d prefer to keep the details private, so please don’t ask). I’m recovering fine, there were no complications, but right now I have two options:

1. be in enough pain that I can barely work
2. be on oxycodone — and be headachey, nauseous, sleepy, and unable to think, let alone work.

Sigh. Anyhow, my apologies for only having the final pencils for today’s strip ready. Hopefully by Monday I’ll have today’s strip as-well-as Monday’s strip done.

And although a good portion of it will be covered by insurance, now would not be a terrible time to VISIT MY STORE or DONATE if you’ve been meaning to.

Here’s a picture of me right after waking up from surgery, hopped up a lot of local anesthetic. Those were the good ol’ days. πŸ™‚


  1. People have peculiar reactions to opiate painkillers. Thankfully I’ve managed to avoid them, despite a surgery and a trip to the oral surgeon over the last few years. Hope you manage to titrate the dose or find something else that’ll work better. Plus, you know, get well soon.

  2. Thomas S

    Well Chris – It appears your funnybone was not removed, nor your artistic muse tendon, possibly it was your wisecrack ass but I just could be confusing it with your now dessicated wit … from personal experience those painkillers really dry up your mucus production eh!

  3. We all want to see more Spacetrawler, but we want to see Chris get better even more. Don’t stress over the comic. Take care of yourself first.

    And if you need any filler, you have my pen (who’s with me?)

  4. Oh goodness and you looked fit as a fiddle this past weekend. Glad to know you’re on the mend. Rest up! Spend time with your furballs – they’re good at helping with recoveries. Thanks again for the cross post/mention. You rock! Had a sweet time laughing and discovering your comic Thursday of Artist’s Alley. All the best!

  5. War Pig

    I cannot offer my pen, I can’t draw any better than a 2 year old making stick finger men and trees with eleven legs. But you should not mention surgery and not tell, as then we are free to speculate. Just say you were ill. Get well, and enjoy the painkillers, they’re much better than the pain they’re masking. All opiates do for me is take away the pain and let me sleep. If I can sleep, I do not use pain killers. Pain is just fear leaving the body – if it lets you sleep as it is leaving, I leave it to do its thing. I’ll poke around and buy something this month. OBTW: I didn’t know cartoonists could even GET insurance. πŸ˜‰

  6. foghome

    I’m sorry, this is the 21st Century you can’t keep the details private. You are suppose to Twitter it, update your Facebook status, Blog it, take pictures with your camera phone and upload video of the surgery to YouTube. or so I’ve been told.

    Get Well.

    PS. You’re very cute.

  7. foghome

    I’m sorry but this is the 21st Century, you can’t keep the details private. You are suppose to Twitter it, update your Facebook status, Blog it, take pictures with your camera phone and upload video of the surgery to YouTube. or so I’ve been told.

    Get Well.

    PS. You’re very cute.

  8. Niall

    Sorry to hear about your hospital visit Chris. Hope you get better soon. In the interim of recovery, McGee’s right, you could try some guest strips. The correct protocol is to e-mail every single one of the most famous webcomic artists then act shocked when they reply. I would suggest starting with everyone else at TopatoCo. You will be sure to get dozens of guest strips. I can see no other possible outcome.

    Also, this strip is one of my favourite strips, gag wise, of late. Cheers!

  9. Who needs inking and coloring? Your pencils alone are awesome!

    Sorry to hear about your pain. Maybe we could get a “sick and delirious” week, like we had for Dee? Of course, like I said before Spacetrawler in pencil-only is still awesome.

    Lastly, “now would not be a terrible time to VISIT MY STORE”
    Yay! T-shirts! wait…

  10. JKCarroll

    @Warpig, “trees with eleven legs”? Hmmm… that qualifies you for drawing Yuri, she’s got only seven. Anyone else in?

    And as for “cartoonists with insurance” (that almost sounds like the title to a new webcomic), his sweetie is a nurse. Obviously she was able to sneak him into her hospital as an abandoned corpse (hey, they live in the Pacific Northwest, where vampires and werewolves chase each other in the forest — OF COURSE corpses moan and thrash — try to keep up) where she got a couple of surgical interns hopped up on ether and asked them to “see what they could do, just for giggles.” (I mean, they’re on ether, they’re giggling anyway.) The anesthesiologist was a good friend named Jack Daniels.

    As for the opiates, she obviously traded some of his hidden Little Dee stash for the good stuff. So he’s taken care of.

    (Just imagine what hoops she would have had to jump through if he DID have insurance. My dad was a doctor; I should know.)

    Sending healing-wave-thoughts your way. I recommend The Three Stooges, Harold Loyd or Buster Keaton, and Marx Brothers to aid in the healing process. And while you’re on painkillers, don’t mind the mini-mihrgoots slithering around on the floor. They’re imaginary. Mostly.

  11. Christopher

    Thank you everybody! I’ll consider asking around for a guest comic, but the story moves so slow already at twice weekly that if I can write a script and get even pencils done (which is enough for Frank), I don’t want to hold it up. πŸ™‚

    That said, I have been known to push myself too hard (“but, but, it’s only SURGERY”), so maybe I should consider it. Hrm. :-/

    Afford insurance? Heh. It probably makes no sense because you’re thinking of it the wrong way. I not only can’t afford it, but I make so little that I qualify for state assistance. πŸ™‚

  12. rodpba

    Oh man! The surgery removed the colors of the strip! What a strange side effect! hehehe (bad timing for a joke?)

    We all wish you get better more than to post more frequently. Chill, and recover. By the way you are looking very good post surgery. Usually people look like sh*t.

    Cheers from Brasil (thatΒ΄s how we write it)!

    ps: sorry for my bad “engrish”

  13. Recovery > Comic

    Guest strips are an idea to consider, anyway. They might even drive more traffic to the comic, and will be humorous and interesting enough to make the story delay worthwhile. (Just sayin’… πŸ˜‰ )

  14. Julia

    Regarding the pain…are there really no other options but suffer or oxycodone? Everyone is different, and every surgery is different, but there are usually alternative drugs. What if you were allergic to the oxycodone?

    Well, I’ll be sad if I have to wait past Monday for the next installment, but I, like everyone else, will get over it. Take your time, recuperate, come back strong.

  15. Christopher

    Thanks again everybody!

    @Stewart, oh, I’ll recover either way. With something like a flu, it would be good to lay and sleep all day. This, it’s okay to do minor stuff, just woozy and unpleasant and difficult.

    @Julia, for better or worse, the side-effects of the oxycodone fit into the “normal” side effects category. I’m taking a lower dose now, and am doing better at finding the balance between the two evils. I spoke with both the floor nurse and my girlfriend (who’s almost a NP) and have decided to keep with this one.

  16. mrgrooism

    Heal up, Chris, feel better and don’t push yourself. I want new Spacetrawler 7 days a week MINIMUM, but hey, if I have to wait a week or three for you to recover properly, no prob, we’d rather you take care of yourself!

    BTW, of course you should keep your private life private, so no pressure about disclosing your medical condition, we’ll all just assume you had your extra nipple removed and replaced with a blowhole. Routine surgery, really…

  17. JKCarroll

    Ahhh… would there be any relationship between your medical problems and the fact that the web advertising bot is pushing a “Medical Quality Protein”? Or is it that your site’s webbot detected you were writing about medical issues and pull that ad out of its statistically irresponsible orifice?

    (Mayhaps your site’s webbot is related to pottybot? Given the ads I’ve seen pop up on other sites that’s not too far of a stretch…)

  18. AG

    Best wishes for a speedy recovery with no lingering after effects.
    Hospital stays are never fun, I know, and surgery even less so.
    However, the wheelchair races can be exciting- at least until the nurse catches you and schedules you for a barium enema in retaliation.

    Word of advice- don’t get caught. πŸ˜‰

    Get well soon, please.

  19. Tom

    Wish you all the best. I have to undergo surgery in May, too. Wish it is nothing serious, for both of us. These things can be pretty frightening, especially when you are still young – but it also makes me think a lot, about how I lead my life and if I’m spending my time for something worthwhile. Thanks a lot for your great comic, it always helps me on workdays to get out of bed with a laugh.

  20. Donation made, now here’s to hoping for a speedy recovery!

    Also, personally I’d prefer if you returned to Spacetrawler when fully up to it, rather than post sketches (for this–hopefully one-time–emergency that’s fine).

    I’m happy to wait for quality (which you’ve been delivering throughout). Keep up the great work!

  21. Galane

    Yay! Drugs! After an incident with a power tool circa May 1989 I got to experience the wonders of an IV drip of Demerol. That stuff shuts yer brain off. You can hear and see fine (until the medicos remove your contact lenses) but *think*? No way. Just some nada going on. They know you’re at the right dose when they ask you questions and all you can do is ***NO CARRIER***

  22. Badger

    We all know you went in to get a second dick, Christopher, so that your physical body could match the double-magnificence of your superb webcomic.

    A very Dmitri (and a little bit Yuri) thing to do! Good show!

    …And trust me when I say that oxycodone works far, far better than tramadol. The unfortunate part is that oxycodone actually works too well, which is why it should pretty much never be prescribed for longer than a month, tops. There’s a reason it’s known as “hillbilly heroin”. I’ve been prescribed it (thankfully only for a month, after severe pancreatitis), and I’ve also worked at a pharmacy that was repeatedly robbed of it, and it has the potential to quickly become very dangerous, life-ruining stuff… Tramadol, on the other hand, isn’t horribly, devastatingly, criminally addictive (although it’s still fairly noxious, can gradually become fairly addictive, and can still cause physical and mental problems, including insomnia, irritability, and mild but disturbing hallucinations–plus, I’m rather fond of my liver and kidneys, and I worry about the long-term effects).

    Even with the side-effects, tramadol works much better than most opioids for long-term pain management, mainly because while it’s effective, it’s less addictive, and simply has less enjoyable effects in large doses, making it less seductive and less dangerous. I’m currently taking it, and personally I hate the stuff, but it’s the best thing out there for my back pain and arthritis, and it keeps me from knocking over Walgreens.

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