The year was 1999, the technology stock market was exploding, and businessmen in Silicon Valley were getting richer by the hour. Meanwhile, back at the metaphor, anesthesiologists practiced their essential healing profession, and hoped HMOs and hospital administrators would not decrease their anesthesia quantum wage any further.

The cartoon won an Honorable Mention award at the ASA national meeting in 1999.

The original is a 24 inch X 36 inch panel which hangs in the office at my home.

Rick Novak, MD


P.S. I do believe it’s healthy for physicians to express themselves in print, in art, and via the spoken word.


The most popular posts for laypeople on The Anesthesia Consultant include:

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The most popular posts for anesthesia professionals on The Anesthesia Consultant  include:

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Published in September 2017:  The second edition of THE DOCTOR AND MR. DYLAN, Dr. Novak’s debut novel, a medical-legal mystery which blends the science and practice of anesthesiology with unforgettable characters, a page-turning plot, and the legacy of Nobel Prize winner Bob Dylan.


In this debut thriller, tragedies strike an anesthesiologist as he tries to start a new life with his son.

Dr. Nico Antone, an anesthesiologist at Stanford University, is married to Alexandra, a high-powered real estate agent obsessed with money. Their son, Johnny, an 11th-grader with immense potential, struggles to get the grades he’ll need to attend an Ivy League college. After a screaming match with Alexandra, Nico moves himself and Johnny from Palo Alto, California, to his frozen childhood home of Hibbing, Minnesota. The move should help Johnny improve his grades and thus seem more attractive to universities, but Nico loves the freedom from his wife, too. Hibbing also happens to be the hometown of music icon Bob Dylan. Joining the hospital staff, Nico runs afoul of a grouchy nurse anesthetist calling himself Bobby Dylan, who plays Dylan songs twice a week in a bar called Heaven’s Door. As Nico and Johnny settle in, their lives turn around; they even start dating the gorgeous mother/daughter pair of Lena and Echo Johnson. However, when Johnny accidentally impregnates Echo, the lives of the Hibbing transplants start to implode. In true page-turner fashion, first-time novelist Novak gets started by killing soulless Alexandra, which accelerates the downfall of his underdog protagonist now accused of murder. Dialogue is pitch-perfect, and the insults hurled between Nico and his wife are as hilarious as they are hurtful: “Are you my husband, Nico? Or my dependent?” The author’s medical expertise proves central to the plot, and there are a few grisly moments, as when “dark blood percolated” from a patient’s nostrils “like coffee grounds.” Bob Dylan details add quirkiness to what might otherwise be a chilly revenge tale; we’re told, for instance, that Dylan taught “every singer with a less-than-perfect voice…how to sneer and twist off syllables.” Courtroom scenes toward the end crackle with energy, though one scene involving a snowmobile ties up a certain plot thread too neatly. By the end, Nico has rolled with a great many punches.

Nuanced characterization and crafty details help this debut soar.

Click on the image below to reach the Amazon link to The Doctor and Mr. Dylan:






  1. Have you any pointers to info on cognitive probems after Versed? I had that years ago for what turned out to be hiatal hernia. For months thereafter I fell down on the street while walking. I also got lost once walking in Berkeley where I have lived since the 1970s. My dad had a lifelong problem waking up from anesthesia.

    I recently had a groin hernia repair with no Versed; I told the anesthesiologist my family history and personal experience. After the surgery the surgeon asked the anesthesiologist who said “no Versed” which seemed to surprise the doctor.

    Also had a colonoscopy with no Versed by request. All propofol. In “shopping” for that all the colon doctors’ offices I talked to said they formerly used Versed and no longer use it.

    Is there anything beyond gossip? I did search your site. Pointer welcome to any comments you have.

    I’m 70, and I’m a fan of your books.

    1. Hank,
      Your story is not common, but does occur. Versed (midazolam) has been used liberally as a sedative for 30+ years with minimal problems. But some individuals are more sensitive to benzodiazepines, especially older individuals. In your case, you are absolutely correct to inform your doctors about your experience. There is no predicting who will have this adverse reaction. As I said, it is not common, but it does occur. Good to hear from you.

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