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Brain Surgery and the Dalton-What’s the Connection?

October 1, 2013

One week from today I’ll check into Cleveland Clinic in order to have brain surgery.  

The thought constantly hovers around me. I’m not scared.  I’m not nervous.  I am concerned that it won’t work; that it’s not going to help alleviate the PD.  By all means it should.  I was put through a gauntlet of tests, interviews, and evaluations before I was accepted as a deep brain stimulation candidate.

I know I have PD, but I do not accept it.  It is not welcome in my brain. I’ve fought it  for over ten years; I describe my fight as a “tactical retreat.”  Yes, it is winning. I shuffle.  Food gets lodged in my throat.  I stutter.  I fall. I feel so weak.

And what do I want to do about this?  I want to ride the Dalton Highway from Prudhoe Bay again.  Not all the way to Anchorage this time; just to Fairbanks.

I think about one time in particular. It was getting late in the day and up ahead I saw a truck and trailer pulled off on the side of the road.  The driver parked the trailer almost as if he was trying to hide it.  He had pulled into a dried creek bed that was a couple of feet below the road grade.  When I first saw him, my thoughts flashed back to the older couple i camped with on the ride’s first evening.

So i rode up to the trailer and dismounted the bike.  The trailer’s windows were heavily tinted, but i could just make out the figure of a man, sitting in a chair across from the door.  I could see him watching me as I walked up to the door.

I knocked on the door.  No response.   I knocked again, harder, and called out, asking if I could camp next to him.

Again, no response.  He just stared at me.

Now I was getting a little freaked out.  This guy was weird.

So I pushed the bike back up to the road and started riding.  After five or ten minutes he drove by me, and stopped alongside the road.  I was having none of him  and rode past as fast as I could.  This happened one more time.  Now I was really freaked.  I rode as fast as I could , and came across a quarry.  I dismounted and started pushing the bike up a hill.  I heard his truck coming again.  I ducked behind some rocksand hid from him.  after he passed, I continued pushing higher looking fo a place to camp where I would not be seen.  And then I heard him again, driving slowly north.

I never saw him after that.

But that night a truck did drive up the quarry road.  It was a nice young couple and they offered me a ride to Cold Foot.

I thanked them but declined.  They did give Barb, the woman who drove me up to Prudhoe, a message for me.

Why brain surgery reminds me of this, I don’t know.

Maybe I am frightened.


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  1. My prayers are with you, my dear friend.

  2. T D Culver permalink


    Lots of cave-men had holes drilled in their skulls and they survived, so I hope the trepanning will release the bad spirits in your head like it did in theirs.

    Good luck, buddy.

    • I am aware of the practice. I’ve given a lot of thought to asking the doctor to do it with no anesthesia, but worry that he would write me off as a nut case.

  3. Anonymous permalink

    It’s almost here. You’re going to be fine, Doug. DPF is rooting for you! Much love from your Victory Crew girl.

  4. Dina Doughtry permalink

    Praying for you today Doug. Hope all went well!

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