Turning up the brain

The sounds echo in the low-lit operating room at Shands at UF — sometimes static, sometimes a pinging sound like a submarine. And sometimes, silence. Everyone is still and quiet in the dark, except for John McCabe.

McCabe’s feet, dressed in the standard hospital-issued baby-blue footies, stick out from underneath a white sheet and blanket on the operating bed. The tremors in his right leg and foot kick the covers out of place, and the nurse pulls them back down so he stays warm. McCabe is awake as an electrode is slowly lowered through his scalp and skull and into his brain. He’s counting on the deep brain stimulation surgery and the team of specialists with the UF Center for Movement Disorders and Neurorestoration to restore his ability to control his movements.