LJWorld.com weblogs Dakotah Drives
Dakotah Drives - The Sun Sets
http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2009/Mar/29/Dakotah_into_the_sun.JPG (Photo by Jennifer Edwards)
From the satellite view provided by Google-Earth, Red Bluff, California, is surrounded by mountain ranges that make this little central-California town seem like a pin on the green of par-six eighteen hole golf course.
Today, the wind was formidable and the clouds, perched high in the atmosphere, took on an other-worldly purple and pink hue that sat on the horizon like a backdrop from a high-school play.
White-capped Mount Shasta appeared high in the north sky and Mount Lassen was clearly visible to the east; both standing as a reminder that, even though all is calm now, this part of California, in geological terms, had a violent past.
http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2009/Mar/29/Dakotah_Leaving_Red_Bluff.JPG (Photo by Jennifer Edwards)
The past few weeks have been unpleasant for Dakotah. Local police departments, not schooled on every aspect of the California Vehicle Code permitting any mode of “animal” travel (either ridden or driven) on California highways, just can’t wrap their minds around this mode of travel in a modern age.
If a man perched on the deck of a modern-day Conestoga wagon causes consternation for the men and women in blue, imagine the shock of seeing someone driving a cart led by a team of swine or lama?
The most powerful foe in a person’s life is not necessarily from external forces, but those entities that rise up from within. Maladies, that lay dormant for such long periods of time that we tell ourselves they no longer exist, on a fateful day reappear as if to say, “we’re not done yet, you and me”.
http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2009/Mar/29/Dakotah_6.JPG (Photo by Jennifer Edwards
Tic douloureux n. (del-ah-rue) [also called, facial neuralgia, trifacial neuralgia, trigeminal neuralgia] causes shooting pains of the facial area around one or more branches of the trigeminal nerve, of unknown cause, but often precipitated by irritation of the affected area. Or as Dakotah put it, “it is like someone is stabbing me in the jaw with a sharp object, and it hurts so bad I can’t eat, drink, or sleep; and don’t make me laugh.”
When asked what triggers an occurrence, Dakotah said, “…it comes and goes when it pleases. I literally can be talking or eating and feeling just fine, and pow. It stops me in my tracks. Then, I have to just wait it out. Sometimes it is a few seconds or several minutes; I never know. It can start simply by washing my face in the morning. I just never know.
Dakotah is an honorably discharged Army veteran, and has a prescription in his possession that helps him cope with this unpredictable and un-curable condition. Tegretol®-XR (carbamazepine), a powerful anticonvulsant medication, was prescribed by the Veterans Administration (VA) for Dakotah; however, the side effects make him look sleepy and talk very slowly.
Additionally, I couldn’t help but notice that the prescription Dakotah held in his hand (more than half-full) was dated 2005; now four years past expiration.
When I asked Dakotah why he hasn’t sought a follow up visit with the VA, his reply was classic Dakotah, “…whaaat! I’m going to just drive my team through a main street in a city big enough to have a VA facility and leave my (now five-horse team) parked in front of the building as I go in? Oh, maybe they’ll have a valet parking service too. Whaaat, this is life on road ole Chuckie-boy”. Well, he had a point, and the thought of leaving his team with a valet did make me laugh a bit.
Now that we’re back home in Eureka for a few days, my wife and I will attempt to wait out the phone maze, that is now standard procedure for any under-staffed organization, to see if we can get Dakotah another prescription filled. I wish I could tell you that I am optimistic.
So much can be taken for granted. Even a simple trip to a pharmacy can be an event for those on the road; especially for an otherwise very healthy sixty-eight year old man living each day in front of the next.
The California sun will soon be setting on Dakotah’s wagon. He is currently camped along a section of Highway 36, approximately twenty-five miles east of Red Bluff, California.
http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2009/Mar/29/Geological_Scape.JPG (Photo by Jennifer Edwards)
The terrain bares the remnants of California’s geological past with sparsely populated scrub-oak trees rooted in reddish clay among the remnants of rocks scattered as though tossed with the wrist-flick of a giant hand.
“If I ever come back this way, Highway 36 is the way to go. No traffic, lots of grass; it just couldn’t get any better than this. I’d tell everyone that ‘this’ is the way to come into California…”
Dakotah spoke of heading toward Montana or Idaho this summer and the possibility of spending next winter in Texas. His brother still lives in Arco, Idaho and Dakotah said he might go by there too.
I suspect Dakotah will follow the winds of freedom, as he knows it; taking nothing, as he goes, but the experiences of the day. Leaving nothing behind but the memories we mortals, bound by our choices and apprehension to live outside the world we have created, hold in our heart of the man and his wagon.
Drive on Dakotah http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2009/Mar/29/Setting_Sun_on_California.JPG (Photo by Jennifer Edwards)