The Beat has been reporting over the last few weeks on Ty Templeton’s severe heart attack and I’m pleased to report that he’s home and recovering. In Templeton fashion, he made a comic out of it, but he also revealed the severity of his health issues—he was brought back to life three times and wasn’t expected to survive.
My wife updated the internet about what was going on, so folks knew what was happening, but she kept how bad it was a secret so my kids didn’t know how the real details of it all until I was out of danger. It seems the staff didn’t expect me to survive more than a day or two, and I ended up earning the nickname “Miracle Man” from some of the doctors there when I woke up from the medially induced coma a little earlier than they saw coming. That’s kind of cool. My first professional inking job was in the back of a Miracleman comic from Eclipse, back in the day, so it seems only fitting.
Recovery is slower than I expected. I have to nap every time I climb a set of stairs, and drawing still isn’t back up to speed (hence the stolen panels in the above Bun Toon), but never fear, I’m getting better slowly, and expect to be putting pencil to paper in a week or so, just as soon as I can go more than an hour awake. There’s probably another Bun Toon or two in the whole experience (you people need to know what it’s like to be awake for an aortic stent operation, science is COOL!)
I’m going to close with this: For everyone who needs to think about changing their lifestyle, please use me as the poster boy, and don’t wait until your own wake up call. I’ll take the hit for everyone if they just learn my lesson. NO PROCESSED FOODS! Raw veggies, water and fruits, and no meat until after sundown, and it’s a long life for all of us. Oh, and walk around a bit, not just back and forth to the fridge.
While thankful for Templeton’s survival. it’s worth heeding his closing thoughts as well. As someone who makes her living sitting down for 12 hours a day I can tell you that is extremely unhealthy and I’m not alone. No sleep deadlines backed up by caffeine and nicotine and performance enhancing energy drinks are an industry norm. It’s a good idea to take care of yourself in some way. A couple of ideas:
I’d like to recommend this book, No Pain: Injury Prevention for Cartoonists by Kriota Wilberg which has important information on how to sit if you’ve got to do it. (And just a few minutes ago we reported on one well known cartoonist’s arm injury, so this is a real thing.)
Everyone wants to lsoe weight but there’s love handles and there’s a serious issue. For those who are thinking “I’ve tried and this is impossible” I’d like to point out this inspiring public post by Action Labs’ Jamal Igle who has instituted a lifestyle change that has yielded incredible results for him:
I’ve recently made some health changes myself, going from a diet that was high in sugar and carbs to cutting out bread and sweets about 95% of the time and reintroducing more weight resistance exercise into my life style. Finding the time for all this is hard, but my discovery was that feeling better makes me MORE productive as opposed to sitting and fretting and chugging more and more coffee as a hedge against time. I have a ways to go, but something is better than nothing.
Reporting on health issues for cartoonists is a once a week feature of this site and others. Some of it is chance, but some of it is preventable. Take a few moments to think about yourself and what changes you can make that are achievable to improve your health—if not for you, for the people you love. They’ll be glad you did and so will you.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.