Elayne Riggs' Journal (for Leah)

Friday, January 23, 2004

Dave Cockrum Update

I spent much of the afternoon in the company of Naomi Basner and Ken Gale as the three of met at the Bronx VA hospital to visit Dave Cockrum. I brought Dave a full-sized copy of Alan Davis' donation to the book Cliff Meth's putting together (Robin's since finished the inks, and it's lovely) as well as a get-well card Robin had made after speaking with Alan, which featured this Byrne/Austin panel on the front:

Dave smiled broadly at the panel as, indeed, he's far from dead. In fact, Ken noted that he's quite noticeably better than he was even two days ago. When we arrived he was sitting kind of slouched in a wheelchair holding the end of a thick blue breathing tube, and I think he took two more breaths out of the tube before putting it down pretty much for the rest of our visit, which was almost four hours. After about an hour he decided to have the orderlies move him back to the bed, where he seemed quite comfortably propped up (once we all got the hang of the raising and lowering controls) for the majority of our visit. While Dave wasn't particularly animated his Southern-drawled speech was lively and steady, quite strong (there were a few coughs here and there but mostly from a dry mouth, no coughing fits or anything), and we talked about everything from TV shows (both old and modern) to Marvel in the old days to household pets to his new home in South Carolina.

Dave got a few phone calls while we were there as well, one from a Herb (Trimpe, I believe), one from a fan who didn't give his name, and one from Cliff, who'd actually called to talk to me (don't ask). He's certainly well enough to speak with friends and fans if anyone cares to call; just bear in mind that his arms and hands are still shaky at this point and he needs both arms to hold the phone, so try to keep the conversations short so you don't wear out his upper body too much. He also welcomes visits (he reckons he'll be at the hospital at least a couple more weeks), even from folks he doesn't know, so fans shouldn't be shy if they can make it up this way to pay him an in-person call. He could use some fresh fruit (he was waxing almost nostalgically about fresh-cut pineapple from Shop-Rite) and decent yogurt drinks (stuff like Kefir), so don't come empty-handed! The usual stuff like cards and flowers would probably be good too. And someone get the man some tape so he can hang up the picture Alan drew. :)

By the way, anyone who's attending the Big Apple Convention this weekend should look for Ken; he'll have a card for attendees to sign (and sketch in) that he'll be taking to Dave next week.