July Update

Hey Folks…

I know it has been awhile and to tell you the truth, I’m not really sure how many are still reading this post but since I have posted significant details in the past, I will continue.

Yesterday I went down to Gainesville and had my first PET (Positron emission tomography) Scan.  As I have stated in the past, the CT or CAT (computed tomography) scan is a basic scan of your body.  A PET scan is more in-depth and is more detailed.

Anyway, I get down there around 8am, of course with just about every procedure I have been through, I cannot have anything to eat or drink past midnight the night before.  It’s pretty bad when you have to turn your car radio up to drown out the sounds of your growling stomach.

So the first thing they do is inject you with  a tiny amount of a radioactive substance, called a radionuclide.  To quote the website…. “The radionuclide is administered into a vein through an intravenous (IV) line. Next, the PET scanner slowly moves over the part of the body being examined. Positrons are emitted by the breakdown of the radionuclide. Gamma rays are created during the emission of positrons, and the scanner then detects the gamma rays. A computer analyzes the gamma rays and uses the information to create an image map of the organ or tissue being studied. The amount of the radionuclide collected in the tissue affects how brightly the tissue appears on the image, and indicates the level of organ or tissue function.”

(Figured they could say it better than I…)

So they inject you with this radioactive stuff.. and unfortunately, you do NOT get super powers.  Then you get to drink some barium… (YUM) and SIT STILL FOR 90 MINUTES.  Anyone that knows me knows that for me, that was the hardest part of the whole day.  However, they put you in a dark room with a recliner and cover you with heated blankets so you do get pretty cozy and relaxed.  After the 90 minutes are up, they bring you in the examining room and you lie down on this very thin table and they cover you up again and for the next 45 minutes, you are scanned by a big machine and you are supposed to lie as still as possible during this procedure.  It is basically a big MRI machine if you have ever had one of those.



What the image looks like….

Scanner image

After the test was over, I went to see my radiation doctor, Dr. Mendenhall.  He always looks like he just stepped out of the river while doing some fly fishing.  He poked and prodded on me… then his assistant prepared this tube that they then proceeded to stick UP MY NOSE AND DOWN MY THROAT.  This is about the 4th time I’ve had this done and I still don’t like it.  No fun at all.

Long story short… (you know I can never tell a short story)…. the test done by the doctor and the PET scan showed that I am clear of cancer.  Yay!

He confirmed that I will be battling the side effects for the next 6-12 months but I can handle that.

I will get PET scans done every four months for the near future.

So that’s the latest.  I’m not sure when I will post something else but will let you know.

Thanks to everyone out there for the well wishes and prayers.  They have been much appreciated. Thank you.

I’ll talk with you soon…..

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Update 06/17/2013

Que pasa?

It has been a couple of weeks since my last post.  I promise I’m not ignoring anyone or refusing to post… its just that there is really not a whole lot to report.

During my last post, I reported that I was still feeling some dizziness when I stand up, which is a result from a drop in blood pressure.  The question is/was… why the drop in blood pressure?  Well, we think we have figured it out.

Usually…. whenever a patient exhibits those symptoms, it is a result of dehydration.  I’ve been drinking over three liters a day (over 90 oz) of water.  Some of it has been because I get very dry mouthed, and will forever, but I’ve been pounding the water because the doctors have told me that I am dehydrated.  One of the results of this is that during the night, welllll… lets just say that I don’t get a full nights sleep.  Getting up 3 or 4 times a night gets old.

Anyway, in the meantime, I have been weaning myself off the methadone.  I had been taking 2 pills a day.  For two weeks, I cut back to one a day and now I’m taking one every 2-3 days.  Amazingly, my dizziness is dissipating as well.  If one were to look under “methadone side effects” (as the missus did), one of the first one it mentions is… “may experience a drop in blood pressure”.  Well imagine that.  Maybe this was something the doctors would have told me?

I went to see my chemo Dr this past week.  It had been about 5 weeks since I had seen him.  He is the one that prescribed methadone to me.  I had told him about the dizziness during my last visit and he joked that it might be “old age”.  When I told him that the dizziness has been going away coinciding with the reduction in methadone usage, he said….. “well I thought you knew that.”  Great.

Anyway… quick update on my Dr visit…

WEIGHT… 153 lbs.  They told me it is not like losing weight like you are on a diet and immediately gain it all back.  If my appetite returns to what it was pre-cancer, then I can expect to gain my weight back in 6 months to a year.  Wow.  Thought it would be sooner than that.  I guess I need to go out and buy some more skinny clothes.  I would guess that about 3/4 of the clothes in my closet do not fit.  I know… 1st world problems….right?

FATIGUE – still an issue and again was told that it would be 6-12 months before I’m back to as much of my old self as possible.  I’ve been going to the gym and that has been depressing.  Only able to do about 1/4 to 1/3 of time or weight of what I did pre-cancer.  As I was complaining about this to my Doctor…. remember… he is the smart aleck one…. he listened to me bitch and moan for a little while and when I was done… he said… “Mr. Finley… you just battled cancer and survived.  Do you know how many people can’t say that?  You are able to go to the gym and work out and you will get stronger and better, it’s just going to take some time.  I would suggest you quit focusing on what you can’t do now and focus more on what you will be able to do in the future because you survived cancer.”

Ummm… yes sir.  Message received.

Then he said I didn’t need to see him anymore.  (I’m not sure if its because there was no need or if he was just fed up with me.)

So current status?  Between 150-155 lbs.  I don’t want to gain the 35 lbs I lost back but maybe about 20.  Hair will eventually fill in (I h0pe).  Fatigue will eventually go away (I hope) and the other stuff I will just learn to deal with, because the doctor is right… I’ve become fixated on whats not right or “normal” compared to my life pre-cancer instead of being grateful that I survived this ordeal with only minor issues and have received many, many, many prayers and good thoughts from all of you along the way.  So basically… I need to take a big ole drink of shut the “heck” up.

There is a movie line I am reminded of…. (for those that know me… this is no surprise.  Just about everything reminds me of a movie line.)  It is from the movie “Shawshank Redemption”.  (HIGHLY recommend if you’ve never seen it.)  Anyway.. the line in the movie is…. “Get busy living or get busy dying.”  Basically, I need to move on with my life.  My body is not the same as it was.. and it may never be…. but you know what?  I’m alive and still have my warped brain intact.  Physically, I will continue to push forward, knowing that I may never reach the goals I have set for myself, but it won’t stop me from moving forward.

OK… enough of that.  Next on the agenda is a PET scan in early July.  This is the 3-4 hour in-depth scan for cancer that I will go through every 4 months or so.  Also on the agenda is the removal of my Port.  That is the thing they inserted into my chest for shots and infusions.  Since I won’t be getting those with the same frequency as I have been, they will schedule a procedure to remove that soon.  Other than those things, its just living my life.  There won’t be much to report.  I’m not sure what to do with this blog.  It has been a great way to keep everyone informed and it has been therapeutic for me to use to express myself.  I still enjoy doing that.  I may keep this up just to tell stories.  I’ll let you know.

One last thing before we get to the unrelated story…  there is no way I can ever express to all of you how grateful I have been for the prayers and well-wishes I have received.  People I don’t even know have been praying for me and it has been a humbling experience.  Thank you all so much.  I am truly blessed.


As you know, I like to finish these posts with an unrelated story.  I’ve tried to keep them PG-13 and for the most part, believe I have succeeded.  However, while I still have many, many stories in my memory… I’m starting to run out of the PG-13 ones.  I might have to start a different blog to share the others.  I’ll let you know.

This particular story is true….you can look it up if you don’t believe me. My dad used to comment that “you never let the truth get in the way of a good story” and I agree… but this is factual.

If you are a primate, you don’t want to live in Dallas.

Back in 2000, while I was still with the Dallas Police Department and on the SWAT Team, the SWAT team received a call on a Sunday from the Dallas Zoo asking for help.  It seems that the Zoo was preparing to open a chimpanzee exhibit the following Monday featuring “Judy” a 13 year old chimpanzee.  While they were getting stuff prepared, Judy escaped.  At first, they thought they had her contained within the zoo but eventually realized that the had escaped the confines of the zoo and they needed help locating her.  Typical of the police department, they didn’t want to pull patrol officers off the street so they called the SWAT team for this duty.  So the guys drive to the zoo neighborhood and are given assigned areas to search for this chimp and are told that if they locate Judy, to call one of the zoo vets with the tranquilizer gun.  So the SWAT guys are walking around the neighborhoods when they hear a commotion and sure enough, Judy is on top of a house.  The neighbors start to gather and bring their kids out to see Judy.  Judy sees the crowd and having been in captivity for a long time, knows the value of a crowd and starts putting on a show.  She starts walking back and forth across the roof, hitting her chest.  The crowd gets larger, especially with kids.  They are thrilled to see Judy and Judy is thrilled to see them.  The SWAT guys notify the zoo  officials and they say they will be right there.  By now, the crowd has gathered to about 40-50 people, half of them kids, when the zoo official arrives.  He gets close to the house, sights in his tranquilizer gun and pulls the trigger.  He is a good shot and the dart hits Judy right where he aimed.  Unfortunately, it freaks Judy out and she immediately jumps from the roof to the nearest item…. which happens to be electrical wires.  Judy lands on the wires and is immediately electrocuted.  I say immediate… it probably kills her immediately.. but Judy’s body remains on the wires and continues to get electrocuted….. big buzzing sound… sparks shooting out of her body… burning flesh…. BBBBZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ…. all for the kids to see.  Parents begin hollering… kids are crying and screaming.. and there is nothing anyone can do.  Judy’s corpse remains on the wires for over 30 seconds continuing to fry.  Eventually, this smoldering mass falls to the ground… again.. in front of the kids.

The next day.. the newspaper headlines read… “Dallas SWAT Team Kills Zoo Chimpanzee”.  The SWAT guys had nothing to do with it.. but you know how the media is.

So that is enough for one story.. and a pretty good one… but it doesn’t end there.

With this chimpanzee escaping, a zoo official begins wondering… what would happen if a larger, more dangerous animal escaped?  The Dallas Zoo had no plan for that so this guy begins working on one.  He goes through all the necessary procedures they need to do but when it comes to how to stop the animal, he is drawing a blank.  So he decides to call the experts in killing… that’s right… the Dallas SWAT Team.  He eventually gets in contact with my Sergeant, Sgt. Newton, who is also in charge of the Dallas SWAT snipers.  As you know, the snipers are equipped with high caliber rifles that are effective from long distance.  Sgt Newton has a brief conversation with the zoo official and tells him he would love to help but is too busy, thank you very much.  The zoo official is determined so he calls his boss, who calls the Chief of Police, who calls the Deputy Chief over Special Operations, who calls Sgt Newton and tells Newton to help out in any way he can.  Meanwhile, we are eating this up and giving Sgt Newton grief.  Calling him Marlin Perkins (from old Mutual of Omaha shows) and just making his life miserable. Eventually, Newton calls the zoo official back.   During this conversation the zoo official tells Sgt Newton of his plan.  He is naming it… “Plan Alpha”.  He describes Plan Alpha to Sgt Newton and gets to the stopping of the animals part.  He wants Sgt Newton to teach his zoo people how to operate and utilize sniper rifles.  By now, Sgt Newton has had enough of this and tells the zoo official that, yes, he would love to help, but gosh darn it, it takes years and years of practice to become proficient enough to use a sniper rifle and plus the zoo people aren’t legally authorized to use a sniper rifle so wish he could help but he can’t… bye bye.  Again, we are hooting and hollering over this and making up as many jokes as you can imagine.  Newton thinks this is over but the zoo official is one determined SOB.  He calls Newton back and said that he has revised his plan and now the Dallas SWAT team is responsible for shooting any escaped animal.  Newton is ready for this and tells him that yes, legally that would work but gosh darn it, the Dallas SWAT team is just not prepared to do that because their rifles are made to shoot humans not animals.  The SWAT rifles just don’t have the stopping power to kill a large animal.  When the zoo official asked what kind of rifle they need, Newton told him the Winchester .458 magnum.  These are the rifles people use to shoot elephants and rhinos.  Newton is chuckling to himself knowing that there is no way the City of Dallas would consider buying such a rifle for the SWAT team.  Again, Newton tells the zoo guy.. so sorry I couldn’t help.  Good luck.. bye bye.  We congratulate Newton.

Two weeks later, the zoo official calls Newton back.  GREAT NEWS…. the zoo official has used the zoo budget to buy four! of these rifles for the SWAT Team.  When can they start?

This is too much for all of us.  Other members of the department are stopping by the office asking when the safari is…. safari pictures are posted on the walls..   pictures of elephants and cheetahs are reproduced with a target site over them… everyone is having a great time with this.  Meanwhile, Newton is a defeated man so he assigns these four elephant guns to four of his snipers and they get trained on them, waiting for the “Plan Alpha” call that will never happen.

However, a few years later, in 2004… yep … you guessed it… a large animal escapes its enclosure.  And its just not any large animal… its a 350 lb lowland gorilla named Jabari.  Jabari gets out of his cage, hurts a zoo person and swoops down on the main walkway and knocks some lady aside and takes a bite out of a kid.  Word goes out and the zoo official, probably not without a little bit of smugness, initiates “Plan Alpha”.  The call goes out to the SWAT team… officers respond Code 3 (Lights and sirens) and the snipers are called and told to bring their elephant guns.  The zoo is evacuated and somewhere inside, lurks Jabari.

The first SWAT guys on scene gear up and are sent inside to locate Jabari and wait for the snipers as well as the zoo official with the tranquilizer gun.  Everyone is on their way, just locate and wait.

So these three SWAT guys start walking through the deserted zoo and eventually end up near the scene of the attack on the kid.  They see a kids shoe and blood on the ground.  They hold their position, listening for any noise.  About 75 yards away, one of them sees bushes moving.  Jabari steps out of the bushes and begins looking at the SWAT guys.  They get on the radio and report but don’t move as Jabari stares at them.  Jabari takes a step forward and to the side, and without taking its eyes off the SWAT guys, rips up a bench set in concrete and throws it about 30 feet…. basically saying…. “This is what I can do..what do you have?”  My buddy there told me he looked down at his 9mm sub-machine gun and thought to himself… that is only going to piss him off.

During this stare-down, behind the SWAT officers one of the snipers is running toward them and rounds the corner and asks… “What do we have?” when his actions apparently startle Jabari and Jabari begins leaping towards them.  Originally the distance between them was 75 yards and in a little over one second, Jabari has covered over 1/3 that distance and is coming fast.  The sniper skids to a halt and without time to get into a prone, sitting or kneeling position, raises the rifle to his cheek and gets off one shot when Jabari is about 40 yards away, on a dead run.  The shot hits Jabari in the shoulder.  Jabari stops, lets out a bellow and begins charging again.  The sniper gets off a second shot, this time, a little more accurate.  Jabari stops, takes about two steps and falls to his death, all within 25-30 yards of the SWAT guys.  Of course, 10 seconds later, the zoo vet with the tranquilizer gun arrives and begins screaming at the SWAT guys,…. “You didn’t have to kill him!”

That night… and I am not making this up… grieving citizens of Dallas held a candlelight vigil for Jabari and the next days headlines read, “Dallas SWAT Kills Zoo Favorite”.

That was almost 10 years ago.  Lots of people have come and gone.  Sgt Newton is retired… the zoo official is retired.. I believe all the SWAT guys that were present that day have moved on.. but I believe Plan Alpha is still in place and new snipers are now proficient on the elephant guns.

So be warned if you are a primate… there is just no monkeying around in Dallas.

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Follow up to Status Quo

Just a quick follow up to my visit to my GP yesterday.  They took my blood pressure from three positions:  Prone, sitting and standing, to see if there was any variance and if so, how much.

Prone, my BP was 110/60.  Sitting, 90/60 and Standing, 80/60.  Juuuusssstttt a little bit of change.  :-)  Dang, no wonder I’m getting dizzy.

My GP Dr. also believes that is is due to dehydration, along with the methadone I am taking.  If you look up side effects to taking methadone, one of the first things you see is, “May cause low blood pressure.”  However, my Dr wants to make sure there aren’t other factors involved,  such as anemia, so I’m taking a blood test tomorrow.  Guess I better study hard tonight.

Oh…. and he also said… “Mr Finley, since you just turned 50 and with all that you’ve had going on recently, I strongly suggest you get a colonoscopy as well.”  Super.  Great.  Thanks Doc.

I’ve often wondered how people get so educated on medical terms and procedures and how I didn’t know what this or that really meant.  I must say that in the last few years, with a pacemaker and now cancer, and getting older, my knowledge of medical terms and procedures has definitely increased!

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Status Quo…and quo…and quo

Howdy all,

It has been awhile since my last post and figured I would bring you all up to speed on the latest.  (It won’t take that long.)

In no meaningful order…..

Overall, I’m doing OK.  My throat is not hurting as much so I’m weaning myself off methadone, taking one pill a day instead of two.  I will do this for a couple of weeks and go to an every other day kind of thing.  So throat is doing OK.

Hair – my hairdresser is doing what she can to blend in the absence of hair at the back of my head with what is there.  It still sort of looks like Johnny Knoxville from Jackass buzzed my head with a razor but maybe its not so noticeable now?  (Thanks Deanna!)

Appetite – The good news is that my appetite is returning.  I can eat most things I used to eat.  The bad news is that my taste buds are still out of whack.  What is delicious this week tastes horrible the next.  Also, ketchup tastes like Tabasco to me.  I was not an exotic food kind of guy before all this started but I’m sure not one now.  Spicy is a no-no.

Weight – While my appetite is returning, the weight is still staying off.  I still weigh around 155 lbs, about 30 lbs less than my normal weight and about 35 lbs less than I weighed when all this started back in February.  People tell me that it will come back and I’m sure it will.  I’m not really worried about how much I weigh.  I figure about 175-180 is probably where I need to be.  What is aggravating me right now about all of this is the lack of muscle mass.  I wasn’t Charles Atlas when this began but my arms and legs have atrophied to the point where I can lift about half of what I used to.  The muscles in my back scream at me toward the end of the day because I am slumping over and this is causing them to be out of whack due to the lack of support.  I’m able to go to the gym 2-3 times a week and am slowly trying to build up some strength.  At the end of the day, I am very fatigued and, no pun intended, am very tired of that. Also, a side effect of the side effect… (a side-side effect?) is that with the lack of weight, I get cold awful quickly.  My kids laugh at me for wearing a sweatshirt when it is 75 degrees outside.  I envy Mr Rogers for wearing those cardigans.

Dry Mouth – still here… always will be.  I look like I have a water bottle permanently glued to my hand.  Sometimes I feel like Tom Hanks at the end of the movie “Castaway” when he is driving around in his Jeep with about three cases of different kinds of water with him.  It’s become part of my check routine whenever I go somewhere… KEYS?  Check!  Billfold? Check!  Phone?  Check!  Water?  Check!


As mentioned… fatigue is one of them. I’m working on that and hopefully will be able to build up some muscle fitness over the next few weeks and am thinking this will not be an issue in the near future.  (Right?)

Dizziness – this is probably the main issue I’m dealing with right now and the most aggravating.  Whenever I am sitting and stand up to go somewhere, a wave of dizziness comes over me.  Usually, I have to grab onto something for some support.  I asked my Chemo Dr about this when I saw him last about three weeks ago and he laughed and said it was due to old age.  Thanks Doc.  Great diagnosis.  It has become troublesome enough that I reached out to my cardiologist last week.  I wanted to make sure it wasn’t heart related.  It’s not.  My heart is fine.  My Cardiologist believes it is due to dehydration.  While I am drinking 2-3 liters of water a day, he wants me to drink more Gatorade due to the electrolytes.  That is all well and good but anything acidic like Gatorade tastes horrible to me.  It has been suggested that I use the powder kind to dilute it and make it more palatable.  I still haven’t found the magic formula yet.  This issue has drastically risen up the “Need to be Addressed” scale as last night when I got up from the couch to go into the kitchen, the wave of dizziness started to wash over me and I grabbed onto one of the kitchen stools and the next thing I know, my daughter is standing over me while I am on the floor asking me if I’m OK.  I don’t remember falling, or bringing the kitchen stool with me or the noise I’m sure I made.  Soooo… appt to see my GP later today and probably will start a series of IV fluids to bring my levels back up to where they need to be.  Nothing like passing out to get your attention!

The other minor things are things like every night, I have to put this fluoride gel into an upper and lower mouthpiece and wear them for five minutes…. every day…. for the rest of my life.  They told me the radiation pretty much killed the white blood cells in my jaw and if I don’t do this, within a couple of years my jaw becomes necrotic and will eventually fall off.  Five minutes a day you say??  That’s not so bad.

Overall, I’m doing pretty well.  Especially when you consider the alternative.  Whenever I start having a pity party for myself I think about some of the people i met in Gainesville that were worse off and two of my friends that are going through a worse ordeal than I did so it humbles me pretty quickly.

What’s next?

I go for a regular check up with my Chemo Dr in about three weeks.  Just a routine check up.  I’m sure he will monitor the methadone intake and make suggestions.  I have a PET scan scheduled for the first week in July.  As I said in a previous post, a CAT scan takes about 5-10 minutes to complete.  A PET scan takes about 3-4 hours to complete and is more in-depth. I will have to get one of those every four months.

I think that is it.  Nothing really more to report.  Oh…one other small thing… I had my first beer in over 4 months this past weekend.  It did not burn my throat but it also didn’t glide down it either.  However, I think that is a significant step forward.  Right?  Anyway, I haven’t been writing because of things being busy at home and there really hasn’t been anything to report but I will try and write more regularly.  Which brings us to….


As you know, these stories have absolutely nothing to do with my cancer treatment or recovery.  They are all PG-13 or below.  They do help me emotionally, as they make me laugh when I think of them.  I hope you find them entertaining as well.

In the last story, I wrote how in the Dallas Police Department when an incident occurs of possible wrong-doing by an officer, the officer involved is usually ordered to “write a letter”.  This letter is his side of the story and is an official government document.  It is used by the primary supervisor to determine if the incident is dismissed, handled at the station level (not involving Internal Affairs) or needs to be upgraded to a more serious level and involve Internal Affairs.  ”Writing a letter” is an art form.  For the officer involved, a good letter can be the difference in a dismissed incident or some possible days off.  Usually, the younger officers write waaayyy more than they should and sometimes make things worse.  Of course ,the senior officers, referred to as “Old Heads” can usually write one hell of a letter. This is a story about such a letter……

In past blogs, I have written about one of my trainers, “Dirty” Joe McCrary.  Dirty Joe was a legend before he trained me.  Almost in an infamous way.  He was a scoundrel.  Everyone knew who he was because he always wore “his lid” (hat) when no one else did.  Of course, he made his rookies wear theirs as well. When I pointed out that the Dallas Police General Orders outlined the times when an officer was supposed to wear “his lid” and it did not include regular patrol, Joe replied, “Them ain’t Joe’s orders.” I asked him one day why he wore his lid all the time and he told me the story about how one day long ago when a police officer was supposed ot wear his hat all the time, even while driving, there was a bank robbery that involved two suspects and through some magnificent feats of heroism, he captured both of them.  He was given a commendation for capturing the suspects and a written reprimand for doing it without wearing his hat.  This was his way to thumb his nose at the system.

(For past stories about Dirty Joe, you can go back and look at previous blogs)

One day, long after I was done with training, Dirty Joe was working by himself.  As he was patrolling during the day on a road called Harry Hines Blvd, he noticed a female in distress.  (Joe seemed to always find females in distress.)  He stopped and got out of his car to assist her.  It turns out, the female had locked her keys in her car and could this nice, brave, handsome officer possibly help her?  Well absolutely!  Even though it was frowned upon for police officers to help people by using a “slim jim” to open the doors of locked cars because with newer cars. the slim jim can damage the electric locks and the officer and department can be, and has in the past, be sued for damages.  Now while this was frowned upon, that was not going to stop Joe from being the hero for the day.  (As Joe was telling me this story, I asked him if the girl was cute?  He gave me “that look” and said…. “Have you ever known me to help a girl that wasn’t cute?”)

So while Joe is helping the distressed female unlock her car, another car quickly pulled up to a stop by Joe and a man jumped out and approached Joe and said… “Officer Officer, there has been a bad wreck up the road,.  People are hurt.  You must leave now and go help!”  Now a couple of things… first… Joe never got in a hurry to do anything.  Secondly, no citizen EVER told Joe what to do and how fast he should do something.  Besides, as Joe told me later, he still had not gotten the phone number of the female in distress.  However, Joe did get on his radio and tell the dispatcher about what the citizen reported, ordered an ambulance, and an Accident Investigator came over the radio and said he was enroute.

Just a quick note… the Dallas Police Department has a Traffic Division.  It consists of “Motor Jocks”.  These guys ride the motorcycles, have the big shiny boots, mirrored sunglasses, and write a whole bunch of tickets.  Also in the Traffic Division is the DWI squad as well as “Accident Investigators”.  These A&I’s work major accidents (those with injuries).  There aren’t a whole lot of them and if they are unavailable, then the patrol officer is required to work the accident.  However, in this case, an A&I said he was on his way.  Usually when that happened, the patrol officer helps him out but the A&I does the majority of the work.

So Joe orders an ambulance, hears that an A&I is on his way, so he decides to take a few more minutes to get this lovely female’s phone number.  Meanwhile the citizen that originally told Joe about the accident is some kind of perturbed that Joe does not seem to be in a big hurry so he decides to wait for Joe.  Joe sees him but again, this citizen is not going to rush Joe.  After a few minutes… Joe, having opened the females locked door and probably has received her phone number, gets in his car and drives up the road to the scene of the accident.  Sure enough, there was one there.  The ambulance has already come and gone to the hospital with one of the people involved, the Accident Investigator has been there for awhile and is working the wreck, and there is not a lot for Joe to do so he begins laying out flares and generally helping out.  Meanwhile the citizen has followed Joe to the scene and is none too happy and decides to call the station to complain on Joe.

After Joe is finished with the accident, he gets a call to report to the station.  He gets there and is greeted by the station Sergeant, Sgt. “Shaky” Mays.  (Whenever a supervisor has a hard time making a decision, he is known as being “shaky”.)  Sgt Mays confronts Joe and tells him about the citizens call and how the citizen is outraged at Joe’s response,or lack thereof, just so he could flirt with a female when people are injured right up the road and this officer had the GALL to do nothing and he should be strung from the highest yardarm and flogged and …..

Joe interrupted Sgt Mays and said, “Shaky (Mays hated that he was called that), if you would just hold on a #$%$ minute, I will tell you what happened.”

Sgt Mays has just gotten his butt reamed by this citizen and he wants to make sure he is protected from any fallback and is upset that Joe is disrespecting him and hollers at Joe…. “JOE!  Go write a letter!”  Again Joe attempted to quell this and said, “Sarge (no more “Shaky) if you would just listen….”


Joe realized that he wasn’t going to win this argument and said, “Fine Sarge.  I will write you a letter.”

Joe grabbed a pad of paper and a pen and went back into the report writing room at the station and began writing.  Sgt Shaky Mays returned behind his desk with a smug look on his face and with the satisfaction of finally getting some respect from Joe.

After about 10-15 minutes, Joe approached the front desk, flipped the pad of paper on the desk and said, “Here is your damn letter Shaky.” And with that, walked outside, got into his patrol car, and drove off.

Sgt Mays picked up the pad of paper and began reading….

“Dear Mom.  This is your son Joe.  I hope you are doing well.  My Sergeant just ordered me to write a letter and I could think of no one I would rather write than to you.  I hope you are doing well.  Your loving son, Joe.”

People at the station said that Sgt Mays’ face began transforming into different shades of red, finally reaching crimson, when he picked up the microphone and screamed into it for Joe to return to the station immediately!

There was a long pause, and Joe casually picked up the microphone and in his gravelly voice said, “571 to 501, …. turn the page.”

Under the letter to his Mom was the real letter that Joe was ordered to write.

I asked Joe if there was ever a formal investigation and Joe said that he thinks Shaky made such a scene that the Lieutenant intervened and decided Joe did everything fine and no investigation was needed.

It’s all in how you write the letter.

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Snails are fast compared to…..


I trust all of you are well.  It has been a couple of weeks since my last post, and I apologize for that.  I had a Doctor’s appointment last week and I wanted to wait until that was over so I would have the latest to report.  Also, I’ve had to fire up the ole memory banks to find some other PG-13 stories to tell.  I’ve still got plenty, just not the PG-13 variety.  I think we are ok for a little while at least.

First… status…..

Overall… I’m doing well. Especially when you consider that seven weeks ago today was my last radiation and chemo treatment.  Add to that the issues with pneumonia, the flu and the staph infection I dealt with that same week and for two subsequent weeks.  Also, the havoc that radiation and chemo plays on your body and all the side effects that they cause.  So my chemo Dr says I’m doing well… my cancer dentist says I’m doing well… my radiation Dr says I’m doing well….. but the pace of recovery is DRIVING ME CRAZY!  I have to give the above speech to myself every day so I won’t get more frustrated at how slow this recovery process is.  As mentioned in the Post headline, snails are fast compared to this.  I know, I know… I have A LOT to be thankful for, and I am.  Trust me.  More than I let on.  But patience has never been one of my strong suits.  I’ve gotten better over the years (got to with kids) but this is probably one of the most frustrating things I have ever gone through.

So there are a few side effects I am still dealing with.  One is dry mouth. I’m reminded of playing high school football and practicing in August, in Mississippi, during two-a-days.  (practice twice a day)  The first practice wasn’t so bad.  It was in the morning when the weather was halfway decent.  The afternoon practice however… at least once a week, during lunch, you would see clouds forming and you just knew what that meant.  Sure enough, it would rain for about an hour and 30 minutes before practice was scheduled to start, the rain would stop, and the humidity would form and steam would come up out of the ground.  So here we were, in 98 degree heat, with 98% humidity, wearing full pads and practicing for a couple of hours.  This was also back in the day when the coaches were yelling at us to take our salt tablets.  This was also during the time when no one knew how unsafe dehydration was.  This is no lie… for a 3 hour practice, in that heat, we would have one water break that lasted about 10 minutes.  During that 10 minutes, the 40 of us on the team were battling each other over the ONE water hose for just 5 seconds of water.  Fun fun fun.  I can remember sucking the sweat out of my practice jersey just so there would be some kind of moisture in my mouth.  ( Don’t look at me like that….I wasn’t the only one.) Now today, if I’m talking on the phone or trying to eat, and I don’t have water with me, its almost as bad.  So apparently, this is a permanent condition and something that I will have to deal with the rest of my life.

The second thing I’m dealing with lately is dizziness.  You know how sometimes you get dizzy when you stand up too fast?  Well that is happening to me EVERY TIME I stand up and take a few steps.  This has been going on the past few weeks.  So I ask my chemo Dr about it and he says…. get this…. that it probably has something to do with old age.  WHAT??  Are you kidding me?  I know lots of people older than me that are not dealing with this.  I later check on the side effects of the pain medication I’m taking for my throat and you want to guess at one of the side effects listed?  Yes you?  CORRECT…. DIZZINESS.  Old age my foot.  I have an appointment with my cardiologist next week just to make sure.

I’ve got to take more precautions now… like move a little more slowly?  The other morning around 6am, I woke up and had to go to the bathroom really bad.  So I jumped out of bed and walked that 10 feet to the bathroom and was in the middle of the bathroom when the wave of dizziness came over me.  I reached out to grab onto something and there was nothing there so I promptly busted my rear in the middle of the bathroom.  Now folks, we have talked about my weight loss and as you can see, I have not said anything about gaining back all that weight, because I haven’t.  Plus, I wasn’t blessed with ample weight in my rear in the first place.  So when I lost weight, what I did have back there is long gone.  Let me tell you, falling/sitting down hard on a tile floor doesn’t feel so hot.  For the past few days I’ve had to sit leaning to one side.

Appetite/Weight .. my appetite is sloooowwwllllyyy returning.  I’m eating more things but my taste buds are still screwy.  An example is that ketchup is too spicy for me right now.  Also, what is delicious one day, I can’t stand a week later.  In talking with others, this could go on for a year.  Oh joy.  But like I said, I am eating more things but in the last few weeks, I have gained a total of one pound.  I am now a strapping 156 lbs!  That is about what I weighed when I graduated college 28 years ago.  So I officially lost 34 lbs and have gained one back.  I am well on my way!

That is about it as far as my status goes.  I still have some other side effect issues such as fatigue and the occasional low grade fever but am coping with them.  I was seeing my Dr for a check up once a week… then it went to every 2-3 weeks…now my next appt is in 6 weeks.  Between now and then I will begin weaning myself off methadone as my throat lessens in pain.  And now…


This is the time in the blog where I relate some story from my past that has absolutely nothing to do with cancer or my physical well being.  The blog started out as a way to keep friends and family informed of what was going on and the added stories were a way for me to keep my sanity during treatment.  Now, most of the comments I hear have nothing to do with my well being, but rather they ask me when i am going to tell another story!

This story is one of the few that instead of coming from my experiences, this was told to me.  But it is such a funny story that I wanted to share.

One day I showed up to court to testify against someone I arrested while i was with the Dallas Police Department.  When police officers show up to court, they hang out in a small room that also serves as the prosecutors temporary office.  There is not much to do there and unless you bring a book, you are usually bored out of your mind.  So you do the next best thing and start sharing “war stories” with whomever else is there.  This particular day, the prosecutors investigator was there along with my partner.  This Investigator assists the prosecutor by tracking down leads, finding witnesses, etc.  Usually, they are retired police officers and that was the case on this day.  He retired from DPD after 25 years and started working for the DA’s office.  This Investigator had to be close to 70 years old.  So my partner and I were talking about a possible internal investigation and how another officer had to “write a letter”.  In Dallas Police procedures, if something occurs where it “might” turn into an Internal Affairs official investigation, an officer is told to “write a letter”.  This letter is meant for the officer to tell his side of the story and explain what happened.  Once the officer writes the letter, the supervisor reviews it and determines if there is cause to call Internal Affairs and start an official internal investigation.  Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t.  Sometimes it depends on how well the letter is written.  I forgot the circumstances of me and my partners story but we agreed the officer involved wrote a good letter.  The Investigator was doing paperwork during this story and turned around and said… “You guys think that was a good letter?  I’ll tell you a story about the best letter I’ve ever heard of.”  He then proceeded to tell us about an officer in the 1970′s who was a royal screw up.  Let’s just call him “Jimmy”.  It seems that Jimmy was always fighting the system and was a pain in the rear for his supervisor.  He was always saying something or doing something to get in trouble and the supervisor (Sergeant) was always having to respond to what Jimmy did and the Sgt was frankly getting tired of being dragged into Jimmy’s mess.  So after one incident, the Sgt took Jimmy off the street and assigned him to front desk duty.  Well Jimmy thought he had died and gone to heaven because he had the opportunity to interact with all the other officers as well as the general public that came through the door.  And he intentionally messed with the civilians just to torque off his Sgt.  Sure enough, civilians started complained about the smart aleck at the front desk.  The Sgt was fed up with Jimmy and decided to do all he could to make Jimmy’s live miserable so assigned him the the garage on the deep night shift (12M – 8am).  Now officers didn’t have to work the garage when I was there but this Investigator told us that for each shift, there had to be at least one sworn police officer at the garage where all city vehicles were gassed up.  Why?  No idea but it was the assignment that no one wanted.  So the Sgt assigned Jimmy there and was quite pleased with himself when he began hearing other officers talk about how Jimmy was having fun and was bragging at how much sleep he was getting at the garage with no one, including the Sgt, there to watch him.  Well this just really torqued the Sgt even more and he vowed to get Jimmy once and for all.  The Sgt couldn’t get Jimmy fired for smart aleck comments made to citizens but asleep on duty?  This was the Sgt’s chance to at least get Jimmy suspended, if not fired.   So one night, about 4AM, the Sgt grabbed another officer (witness) and went to the garage and sure enough, there was Jimmy asleep in a chair at the desk.  The Sgt was overjoyed.  He had Jimmy and he even had a witness!  So he woke Jimmy up, relieved him of his duty weapon, and told him to report to Internal Affairs at 8am.

At 8AM Jimmy walked into the Internal Affairs office.  In attendance was the Sgt and he had a letter from the other officer about what he saw. The Sgt had already written his letter and was smacking his lips.  There was no way for Jimmy to weasel his way out of this one.

The Internal Affairs Detective had been there many years and knew this was more about a personal vendetta than an actual issue but if the officer was sleeping on duty, then he was going to get in trouble.  So the IA Detective handed Jimmy a pad and pen and said, “I need you to write me a letter about the events that occurred a few hours ago at the garage.”  Jimmy took the pad and pen and began writing.  After 2o minutes, he handed the pad of paper to the IA Detective with a smirk on his face.  The IA Detective read the letter and hid a smile and told the Sgt, “I see no reason for a formal investigation and let me be the first to congratulate you.”  The Sgt couldn’t believe what he was hearing.  ”WHAT DO YOU MEAN NO INVESTIGATION?”

The letter said…..”To whom it may concern.  At approximately 4am on such and such date, Officer Jimmy Doe was working the garage at (address) when he was overcome by the noxious fumes from the vehicles at the garage and subsequently passed out.  If it was not for the brave and heroic efforts of Sgt Blank, who revived Officer Jimmy, then Officer Jimmy surely would have died.  Therefore, it is with great honor that Officer Jimmy nominate Sgt Blank for a Life Saving Award for his actions.”  Sincerely, Officer Jimmy Doe.”

The IA Detective (later the DA Investigator) said he couldn’t be sure but he swore that the Sgt had to stifle a tear while turning blue in the face.

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(S)Not here anymore….


I hope this post finds all of you well.  I don’t have much to report but I’ve found out that if I don’t report in every 5-6 days, then I start getting emails from you asking where the latest story is.  The heck with my physical being.  :-)  I think I have created a monster.

Real quick on my health… (like you care….)

I believe I’ve finally turned the corner.  In my last post or two, I think I said how frustrated I was because I didn’t see any changes.  Well, I believe I can now.  First off, I believe the mucous has finally moved on.  (Note the title of the post…. get it?)  This is great news for me because #1, I’m not hacking up that crud and sounding all gross… #2, I feel better… #3, It is allowing me to eat more, such as milk based products.  I haven’t tried them yet but this means chocolate shakes, which means weight gain.  Yay!  So very glad the mucous has left the building!

Secondly, my appetite is slowly returning.  I am able to eat different things now.  My taste buds are still out of whack, however.  I am very sensitive to spicy things.  Now I wasn’t exactly what you would call an adventuresome eater before all of this.  I’m not into very spicy things.  But when ketchup is too spicy, something is out of whack.  But, I’ll take what I am given, and right now I am able to eat different things instead of oatmeal for every meal.

With my appetite returning, however, I still have to chew up my food into very small bites so I don’t strain my throat, which is still hurting somewhat.  So if you have dinner with me, it is going to take awhile.

So that is the good news…. mucous is gone and appetite is returning.  Bad news??  As I just mentioned, my throat still hurts somewhat.  Also, as I am beginning to feel better, I am getting back to my usual level of talking, which as most of you know, is quite a lot.  I am finding out, however, that when I do talk at length, I develop a bad case of cotton-mouth. My mouth gets incredibly dry.  This happens when I eat as well.  I’m not sure if my saliva glands are damaged or destroyed by the radiation.  That is one thing I am going to ask the Dr when I see him next week.  But yes, dry mouth is an issue.

I went to the gym for the first time in quite awhile.  I wasn’t going to do anything stupid like use the same workout routine I am used to.  I was going to take it nice and slow.  So I spent about 5 minutes on the elliptical, did one set on the leg press with only 100 lbs, one set with bench press (machine, not free weights) with only 65 lbs and a set each on lat pulldown and overhead press.  The whole workout lasted less than 15 minutes and I didn’t even break a sweat.  However, it just about killed me.  My muscles were screaming at me and I was very wobbly when I was leaving the gym.  Due to all the people in the lobby, I had to straighten up and act like nothing was wrong but Holy Cow was I fatigued! I went again two days later and did the same workout and it was a little better.  It is going to take longer than I thought to get back into shape.

Special shout out to a friend of mine that is going through a tougher time than I did, Mark Spinney.  Hang in there Mark!  Our thoughts and prayers are with you!

Also wanted to thank MK!  Thank you.

Ok… I think that is about all the recap I have.  Things are slowly getting better.  As mentioned, I go see my Chemo Dr next week and we will evaluate the pain medication I am on and probably start to scale back.  Other than that, I will continue to try and gain weight as I am still down 30 lbs.  I had to break down and go buy some clothes last week.  I was wearing a pair of my old pants and they slid off my waist…and they were buttoned at the time!   My plan is not to gain the whole 30 lbs back.  Probably more like 20 and evaluate then.  I’m just hoping with all the food I WANT to eat, I am able to stop.


Alrighty… enough about me.  I’m sure you have skipped to this point anyway….


To supplement their income, police officers work off duty jobs, known as “extra jobs” or “moonlight” jobs.  They vary from sitting in a rich guy’s driveway 24/7 to sitting in a squad car on a highway while highway workers pave a new road, to standing in a parking lot at a bar.  Dallas prohibits officers from working INSIDE the bar so in that particular job, you stand outside and make sure cars aren’t broken into and your presence is sometimes a deterrent to bad things happening.  Of course, if something bad happens inside the bar, you can go in to quell that disturbance, but for the most part, you stay outside.

This particular story deals with me working such a job with another officer named Charlie.  First, a few words about Charlie.  Charlie was born in Hawaii to Japanese parents.  Obviously oriental in looks but no accent whatsoever.  One of the funniest guys I know.  I met Charlie when I was drafted to dispatch.  Charlie worked down there at the time and was my trainer.  (Yes, I was drafted to dispatch when I had about 2 years on)  Charlie trained me my first week and we became good friends.  I learned, however, that Charlie is one sneaky SOB.    While in dispatch, which is in the basement of City Hall, with no windows, you go a little stir crazy and a little bored.  You would usually dispatch for one hour with a 30 minute break…normally.  Sometimes, if it was busy and people were off, you might work for two hours straight with only 30 minutes off.  Believe me, sitting in front of a console dispatching calls and keeping up with everyone is nerve wracking and stressful.  Especially if something happens to the officers you are dispatching to.  If an officer calls for cover or needs assistance, it is your job to dispatch the appropriate people while making sure all the other things are being taken care of.  And when you only have two years on the department, and full of piss and vinegar, and want to be out there helping but you are stuck in the basement, it is very nerve wracking.  Charlie showed me ways to release stress.

A dispatcher sits in front of his/her console and has a printer to their side.  On this printer, calls that needed to be dispatched would print up.  They would also appear on the computer screen in front of them.  The dispatcher would see what cars were available, call that particular car or “Element” and give them that call.  Each Element had a slot in the console and the Dispatcher would tear off the piece of paper and stick it in the Elements slot and enter it into the computer.  That way, there was a manual record (piece of paper in the slot) and it was also entered into the computer.

If you wanted to find out all the stolen cars in the City of Dallas, you would pull up a “hot sheet”.  This Hot sheet showed all the cars currently reported stolen.  On any given day, there was usually at least 300 cars listed.  Now as you can imagine, it takes awhile for this Hot Sheet to print up, especially on the dot matrix printers we were using at that time.

If someone pissed off Charlie, or if he wanted to just mess with them, while sitting at his console, he would route a Hot Sheet to the other Dispatchers printer.  (Not many people knew how to do that).  So this particular Dispatcher is trying to keep things organized and put the right calls in the right slots but all of the sudden, his printer starts going haywire and prints up this Hot Sheet, which takes a long time to finish.  Meanwhile, calls are still popping up on this Dispatchers computer screen but he has to wait for the Hot Sheet to finish before he can manually assign them.  It is very frustrating for that dispatcher.  Invariably, they would blame Charlie, because he was just the sort of person to do that and had the knowledge of how to do that…but here is the genius of Charlie…. to deflect the accusation from him… he would send a Hot Sheet to his own printer as well.  So when someone accused him, he would respond….”It wasn’t me!  Whoever sent it to you, also sent it to me!”  And they would immediately scratch Charlie from their list of suspects and think someone else did it.
Like I said… Charlie was sneaky.

So one night, Charlie and I are working in this parking lot of this bar for young people in Dallas.  All of the sudden, the front doors of the bar flung open and people began spilling out.  We grabbed a couple of the people and asked what was going on and it seemed that a fight had broken out inside and people were trying to get away.  One guy came out holding a napkin to his lip.  We asked him if he was ok and he responded that he was and everything was fine and continued on his way.

Meanwhile, unknown to us, when people came out of the bar, a couple of them went to the street just when a squad car was passing and they flagged down the car and told the officers in the car that there was a fight.  So the officers in the car stopped and got out of the car and approached the bar.

Charlie and I are standing in front of the bar with the Manager trying to piece together what happened, because everything had died down by now, when these two officers approached us.  As we talked later, neither Charlie nor I knew these two officers as they worked the Northeast station.  Also, as we found out later, one of the officers was a Field Training Officer (FTO) and he had his rookie with him.  I forgot the FTO’s name but lets just call him Corporal Frank Jerk.

So Cpl Jerk and his rookie walked up to us, standing there with the Manager, and Cpl Jerk pulled out his nightstick(!) and crossed his arms and said…. “I want to know what the #$%@# is going on here!!”  I think Charlie and I were both too surprised at his actions and his language to be offended at that time but we said, “Well it looks like a fight broke out inside but its over now and…”

Cpl Jerk unfolded his arms and took his nightstick and started tapping Charlie on the chest (Charlie is in uniform!) and said…. “If you can’t handle your @#$%# mess then you need to get the ##$%# out of here!  C’mon Rookie…lets get out of here!” And with that, he strutted off with his rookie.

Charlie and I stood there dumbfounded. Finally the Manager of the bar said, “Do you know that guy?  Is he really a police officer?”  We didn’t know him but as we talked later, we were going to find out.  We were just too shocked at what he did to do anything.  No one does that !  Especially to another officer!

So I didn’t see Charlie that week but the week rolls by and we are now working the bar again.  As we were talking, I mentioned something about how I hope that Cpl Jerk shows up again and how I was going to give him a piece of my mind.   Charlie just grinned.  Knowing Charlie and how he is, I asked what he did…. and oh boy….did he do something.

There is a particular area in Dallas called Oak Lawn.  It is known as the gay area of town.  Lots of gay bars and it is where a lot of the gays live.  So Charlie goes there and goes to a gay book store to the magazine rack.  He takes the “Subscribe – Please Bill me Later” card out of over 20 gay publications and writes Cpl Jerk’s name on them and uses the Dallas Police Northeast Substation address and mails them off.  He also goes by the Dallas Gay Alliance and signs up Cpl Jerk as a member, pays his dues!  and enters him in all sorts of activities such as the fun run and Halloween parade.

When Charlie was done telling me, I wanted to give him the slow clap of appreciation. I was impressed.  It was typical Charlie…. a way to get revenge and there is no way that Cpl Jerk would ever know who did it to him.  It was ingenious and sneaky and I told Charlie so.

He said…. “Well you know how us Japanese are.”

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Guten Tag,

I hope all of you are doing well.

My phone and email have erupted today so I wanted to share what I have found out from the doctor.   First…… it is all good.  I have a rather lengthy explanation but I wanted to share that from the outset so you won’t be screaming at me while you are reading this…. well…no more than you usually do.

As I mentioned in a previous blog, I was scheduled for a CT scan this morning.  The CT scan (computed tomography) (Or CAT Scan…computed axial tomography) is a general scan of a particular area of the body.  It uses computer processed x-rays to produce tomographic images or “slices” of the body.  It is used to detect any abnormal growth in the body, like a tumor.  Mine came back fine.

I was wrong…(as I am most often)…. in assuming that I would get some sort of definitive declaration of the status of my cancer.  That was not the case.  It is not some “pass/fail” or “good/bad”.  I did not get that report today.  However, my radiation Dr.  (Dr. Mendenhall) said that as far as he is concerned, that I am clear of cancer.  There is a 10-15% chance that it will recur or come back.  The CT and PET (more about those later) scans are to check to see if the cancer is thinking about coming back.

After one year of nothing on the scans, then there is a 70% chance it won’t come back at all.  After a clean bill of health for two years, there is a 90% chance it won’t come back and after three years, it goes up to almost 100%.    So I’m one month post-treatment so I’ve got a looonnnnggg way to go.  BUT… everything looks good so far.  In two months, I will get a PET Scan.  PET (Positron Emission Tomography) is a super-duper CT scan.  (I know I have Dr friends of mine just cringing at my attempt to explain these terms.)  A PET Scan is able to detect things that a CT scan cannot.   I will have either a CT scan or a PET scan every 2-3 months for awhile.  My next PET scan is scheduled for the 2nd week in July.

Bottom line is…… I received the best news I could have received today.  Everything looks good…. on schedule…. side effects starting to slowly dissipate….. now I just need to start gaining weight.



I’m tired and after they stuck a tube up my nose and down my throat today, not feeling my best but…. since last time I did not tell a story, I can’t let another opportunity go by without sharing something.

Two related stories…

This past week, they dedicated the Presidential Library for George W. Bush (43) in Dallas, TX (or rather at SMU).  There were five living Presidents in attendance.  As you can imagine, the Secret Service was a little busy during that time, especially in Dallas, TX.  (Sheesh…you lose one President and you are branded for life).

In honor of these Presidential stories, here are a few pictures of me  rubbing elbows.  I had one of me and Barbara Bush but don’t know what happened to it and I talked with Condalezza Rice for 20 min one day without knowing who she was and never got a picture.

Anyway, here you go….



VP Cheney


First Lady Laura Bush

The role of the Dallas SWAT team during a VIP visit is to augment the Secret Service and provide the 2nd layer of security.  The Secret Service has the first and most immediate layer and Dallas SWAT is right behind them.  It’s not all that glamorous.  When the President is asleep on say the 43rd floor of the Anatole Hotel, there is a member of the Dallas SWAT team in the stairwell on the 42nd floor.  Just you and a chair… at 3am.  You usually work 2-3 hours on with a 30-60 minute break.  LOTS of fun.  The Secret Service usually rents a room that we use for the “Down Room”.  This is where officers go when they are on break.  They can go to the bathroom, take a quick nap, or watch TV.  They used to put on Pay-per-view movies (NO….not those kind) 24/7 on the TV for the officers on break to watch.  One morning, after working all night, I was sprawled out on the couch trying to stay awake.  We were in our last 30 minutes of working and pretty soon, the day shift would come in and relieve us.  At this time, we were guarding Mrs. Barbara Bush (who has to be the sweetest lady ever) and she was First Lady at this time.  So I’m sprawled out and one of the Naked Gun movies had just started.  These movies are the hilarious ones with Leslie Nielsen as Lt. Frank Drebbin.  In this particular movie, Lt. Drebbin is at the White House and through a series of accidents, he slams the door on the (look-alike) Mrs. Bush, pulls the chair out from under her and hits her with a lobster tail.  Well this part is about to start when I hear a commotion and sit up and the Secret Service has brought Mrs. Bush into the room!  I’m scrambling trying to look somewhat presentable when she came over and patted me on the shoulder and told me not to worry about it.  One of the agents said, “Mrs Bush, the part is coming up.” and she started watching the movie where “She” gets knocked around and she starts laughing out loud and before it is over, she is holding her stomach laughing very hard.  When it was over, she turned to us and said, “I’ve heard about this movie and wanted to see it but there just hasn’t been the time.  I appreciate you letting me watch it with you.” and with that, she left for her First Lady duties of the day.  It’s not every day when you get to watch a movie with the First Lady.

That actually is not the story I was going to share.  I was going to tell the one about when Roger Clinton, half brother to Bill, was getting married in Dallas at the Arboretum and this was 6 months into office for President Clinton.  Of course had and Hillary went to the wedding.  I could tell you about how the groomsmen sang the Univ of Arkansas Alma Mater to the bride, who was 9 months pregnant, and after singing, serenaded her with “SOOEY PIG!”.

One part of this trip I will share… on Saturday night, at the wedding, President Clinton decides that he is changing his schedule and instead of flying out, he is going to stay in Dallas for an extra day so he can go watch the Univ of Arkansas play in the Sweet 16, NCAA Basketball game , that happened to be in Dallas the next day.  Now ANY change to the President’s schedule is a major issue.  If the President is coming to Dallas, planners come in two weeks before to start planning the trip.  If the President stays somewhere an hour past what was planned, this is a major issue and things have to be moved around.  Now you are talking about a whole day???  PLUS… he wants to go to a major sporting event!!!  So the Secret Service is NOT happy at all.  They start ferrying in metal detectors for all the exits at the game overnight, people to operate those detectors, halt travel plans for all the agents there and postpone whatever was planned for that Sunday…. major upheaval.  Big time.

So we work the wedding until midnight and we turn around and are at the Dallas arena at 7am.  There must have been 300 of us in this room with police from all over including the Secret Service.  Everyone is grouchy, especially the Secret Service.  Well the one guy they had in charge was especially grouchy.  I’m going to guess, however, that he was about to retire anyway based on what he said next….

So all 300 or so of us get quiet and he begins…. “My name is Agent “Joe Smith (or whatever) of the Secret Circus!”  We all start chuckling and then when we quieten down… he says… “I say I am in the Secret Circus because we work for such a #$%!  Clown!”

A hush fell over the crowd and we all begin looking nervously at each other before the other agents started busting out laughing, quickly joined by the rest of us.  We never found out how long he stayed an agent after that.



This one also involves President Clinton.  I don’t mean to pick on him but ….

So there was some event in Dallas where both President Clinton and Vice President Gore are coming to Dallas.  The planners had come in two weeks prior and the plan was for them to fly in and arrive 45 minutes apart.  Once landed, one motorcade would take President Clinton to the location and 45 minutes later, when VP Gore landed, a different motorcade would take him to the same location.

As stated before, Dallas SWAT augments the Secret Service.  The Secret Service are the ones surrounding the VIP.  The locals, (us) would have one squad of eight in charge of the motorcade.  Depending on the size of the location to be visited, a squad or two would be handling security for that.  (All access points, external perimeter and internal security).  We could be stretched very thin if the location happened to be a school.   And if they were going to stay overnight, a squad would be at the hotel, etc.  A VIP visit takes up a lot of manpower.

So my job is the driver of the lead car for the Presidential motorcade. The Presidential motorcade can be up to 50 cars in length but usually around 25-30.  This includes Dallas squad cars, the limos, the ambulance, the Secret Service, the staff, and the media.  It’s a big to-do.  When the Presidential motorcade gets going, the motorcycle officers (motor-jocks) block all intersections on the primary route and you don’t stop for anything.  It is pretty cool.  As the driver for the lead car, you have the lead Secret Service Agent in the car with you along with the Agent that planned the route.  As the driver, you also have to know the secondary route as well as the route to the hospitals.   A car or two behind you is the President so you better not screw it up.

The Vice Presidential motorcade is roughly the same, just less cars.

If the First Lady came into town, her motorcade would only be about 3-4 cars and you would stop for redlights and such.

So here we are, waiting on the President to land so we can whisk him away to his speaking location.  The VP motorcade officers are also there waiting for VP Gore to arrive, 45 minutes later, so they can take him to the same place.  So we are waiting and waiting and the President is late.  I’m not saying this with any political undertones whatsoever but President Clinton was always late.  Every time he came to Dallas, he was late for something.  President Bush (either 41 or 43) on the other hand, always on time.  One time I was the lead driver for President Bush (43) and if they said the motorcade left at noon, you better be buckled in at 11:59.  Sure enough, noon hit and we heard that Bush’s Chief of Staff wasn’t in the car yet and apparently Pres Bush said to leave him.  The Chief of Staff had to ride with the media.  I don’t think he was late anymore.

So I digress…..here we are waiting on Pres Clinton to arrive when VP Gore’s plane comes in first.  VP Gore was on time.  So he lands and about 10 minutes later, almost an hour late, Pres Clinton’s plane lands.  Now we are already an hour behind schedule when they decide to talk.  So VP Gore gets on Pres Clinton’s plane and they talk and talk and talk.  I don’t know why but I’m getting antsy because we are so late when the Secret Service Agent tells me to relax, they are used to it.

After waiting approximately 90 minutes, the Agent is speaking into his earpiece and I hear him say, “WHAT???”  He storms off and after a few minutes he comes back and says, “LETS GO!”  So I get in the car and crank it up and we are getting ready to go when Pres Clinton AND VP Gore get off the plane and THEY BOTH GET INTO THE SAME LIMO.  The one right behind me!  Let me spell that out for you again…..THE PRESIDENT AND VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA BOTH GET INTO THE SAME LIMOUSINE …..IN DALLAS, TEXAS.

The lead Secret Service Agent slams his notebook on my dashboard and gets in the car and is cussing up a storm.  He is muttering….”No, don’t listen to me…I’ve only been doing this crap for 20 years… I don’t know anything about security…. I’m sure its fine for the President and Vice President to ride in the same car… in the only city where a President has been killed…I’m sure that is fine…..”

He turns to me and says, “No offense”.  And I am trying not to laugh and say…”None taken.”  Then as we are going down the North Dallas Tollway, he looks up at an overpass and says, “We are one rocket launcher away from Newt Gingrich being President right now!”

Well obviously, nothing of consequence happened but there are plenty of stories like that.  If I get back on the Presidential kick, I’ll share some more.

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I hope everyone is well.  Just a quick recap of the latest Dr visit, Dentist visit and upcoming  big test.

Went for a bi-monthly check up with my chemo Dr last week.  I’m not sure why I go because the same thing occurs every time.  He asks me how I am doing, I tell him I’m doing ok but that I’m still having issues.  He tells me that is normal.  I tell him I am tired of having issues and am ready for a big show of progress.  He tells me that I have to be patient.  I tell him that being patient is not something I do very well.  He tells me that I better get used to it, because this is the “new me”.   I tell him I don’t like the “new me”.  He tells me, “tough”, that I really don’t have a choice and so on and so on.

So my standard issues are:  sore throat, still dealing with mucous, still 30 lbs underweight, diet/appetite still screwed up, still fatigued.  I guess if I was forced, I would admit that there have been slight positive changes (?)  My throat is not as sore as it was 3-4 weeks ago.  I’m not hacking up mucous as much as I was.  My diet is expanding slightly and I’m able to eat some things that I couldn’t eat 3-4 weeks ago.  (Had pizza Sat night).

Where the frustration lies is, the changes are moving very slooowwwwlllllyyy and I’m ready for them to be done right now. However, there is not a lot I can do about that but grin and bear it.  The missus and I had a long talk last night and she is concerned that my frustration will turn negative. That is a possibility but I don’t think that will happen.  My internal motor or personal drive, if you will, has supplied me with the positive outlook I have had so far.  It has been the driving force to keep me from feeling sorry for myself and for pushing myself to shake off any negative feelings that have cropped up in the past.  That same motor, or internal drive, since it is pushing me, is also responsible for my lack of patience.  I don’t necessarily see that as a bad thing, I just have to make sure it doesn’t chip away internally and cause negative feelings.

Whew!  Too deep!  Enough of that!

I had a dental appointment yesterday.  I have acquired a new infection!  THRUSH!  For those that are unfamiliar, Thrush is an infection in the mouth caused by yeast.  It is most common in infants and in cancer patients.  For cancer patients, it is caused by taking antibiotics.  The antibiotics kill the bad stuff but they also kill the good stuff.  Thrush forms and causes lesions to form on your tongue, roof of your mouth, inside your cheeks. These lesions are painful and can cause difficulty swallowing and dry mouth.

So your mouth is very dry so you have to drink water but it hurts to swallow.  Fun.

So I’m on a new prescription for that.

STRANGE SIDE EFFECTS – I’ve briefly mentioned some strange side effects but a buddy of mine wanted to know what they were so I will share them with you… (well, maybe not all of them…)

Facial Hair – I’m sure this is due to all the radiation that I received but I can shave, say on Monday, and by Thursday, the skin above my lip and on my chin is as smooth as it was on Monday.  The only place on my face that grows hair is my sideburns.  The good thing is it has stopped the hair from growing in my ears.  (Thank goodness).

Hair on my head – growing verrrrrrryyy slowly.  If at all.  What is growing is coming in curly.  (great).  The back of my head, where it looked like Johnny Knoxville and the gang from Jackass! took a razor to me, is till bare.  My hairdresser has done what she can to cut the hair around it to make it look as natural as she can (Thanks Deanna!) but still pretty bare.

Eyebrows – I have a Brezhnev thing going now.  Eyebrows are growing fast and they are coming in hard and wiry and all over the place.

Zombie Breathing – I’m not sure what this is but the Missus tells me that sometimes at night, I sound like a zombie.  She said it is not a snore and not a throat gurgle, but a very strange sound that emanates from my mouth/throat/chest.  She has tried to record it but I guess I stop before she is able to get it.

Fingernails – This one I can’t figure out.  I’ve never polled guys but I’m sure they are like me and have to cut their fingernails about every 3-4 weeks?  I’m not sure why but I now have to cut my fingernails every week.  I’m not talking about being anal about fingernail length and it has to stay a certain length.  I’m talking about if I don’t cut them every week, they get long…. very long. (In case you were wondering, toenails are the same as they’ve always been.)

Dizziness – Again, not sure why but if I’m sitting and stand up to say … go into the kitchen… I get about 3-4 steps and have to stop because a wave of dizziness comes.  I’ve had it happen before but now it’s just about every time.  Again, have no idea why.

I’ll leave out some of the other side effects, especially those dealing with internal organs.  You’ll thank me.  :-)


As I’ve reported before, the next big test is this Thursday, 5/2.  I have a CT scan scheduled for 8am with a follow up appointment at 9:30am.  I’m guessing/hoping that the follow up appointment is scheduled so they can tell me the results of the CT scan to see if we were successful in getting rid of this cancer.  Wish me luck.


No story today.  Sorry.  I’ll make it up to you.

Later Gator….

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Hump Day

Hola’ Amigos….

I hope this post finds you well.  It is the middle of the week here at Casa Finley and once again, I get questions on when I will post the next blog.  Usually it starts off……..

“Hey haven’t seen a new blog lately and need to know how you are feeling.”

“Well I can tell you right now.”

“No…thats ok.  I’ll read about it when you post a new blog along with a new story.”

I’ll cover the health issues first.  I’m doing OK.  The pain in my throat comes and goes but seems to be lessening.  I am weaning myself off the pain medications but some days, need the full dose.  Overall, the pain seems to be abating.  Fatigue is still there and I’m fighting it. The missus is telling me to listen to my body and relax while I can but I guess the Type A part of my make-up is telling me to fight through it and use the time to get stronger.  Don’t tell her but I imagine the Missus is right, but it’s hard to do something that you have never really done before.

This week I’ve been coughing up a lot of mucous.  I think that’s a good sign?  I go see the Dr tomorrow for a regular check-up and will find out then.  My coughs are not sounding normal and the Missus (former nurse) is afraid they are sounding like the coughs are coming from my lungs, not my throat.  Again, we shall find out tomorrow.  Lastly, the last couple of days I’ve been running a low grade fever.  (99-100).  Nothing to panic about but in the evenings, I just don’t feel great.

Appetite / Diet – Still holding around 155.  Oatmeal for breakfast..some sort of egg concoction for lunch and for dinner, I’ve been branching out a little.  I actually had pizza the other night (minus the crust), and most of a Firehouse subway sandwich the next night.  But then last night, tried to eat chicken noodle soup, which I’ve had before, and couldn’t get it down.  This diet/appetite is the strangest thing.  Can’t figure it out at all.

Latest on what I look like….



Special shout-out to Shannon and the rest of my buddies at TTPOA for the cool gear.  Wearing it proudly, if not a little loosely.

Like I said earlier, headed to a regular check-up with the Doctor tomorrow and should have  a better sense of if I am on track for recovery.  Next week, 5/2, is when I have my CT scan scheduled and that is the big test to see if treatments were successful.

The outpouring of prayers, calls, texts, emails has continued to be overwhelming.  I believe if I had a negative mood that the outpouring of positive well-wishes would certainly change that.  It has meant a lot to me and my family and while I can be somewhat talkative and loquacious, (Who me?   I know!)…I really can’t come up with the words to express my appreciation and what all of this has meant to me.  These simple words don’t do it justice but…. Thank you.


UNRELATED STORY TIME….or…. “He needs the Stick!”

I have been hesitant to write this story…. basically because it shows a person in a bad light…..but the absurdity of what happened has won out.  I’ve asked others and they have convinced me to go ahead and tell the story.  As I said, it shows a person in a bad light and that person happens to be a female police officer.  Now let me say this before I say anything else…. I have nothing against female police officers.  I have worked beside quite a few.  From my perspective, for every incompetent female police officer, you have the same ratio of incompetent male police officers.    There are some very good female police officers out there and some I would work with and trust my life to, at any time.  The one in this story happens to be not one of those.

I won’t use her real name so I will just call her “Jane” as in “Jane Doe.”  Jane was my 3rd and final Field Training Officer (FTO) when I was a rookie with the Dallas Police Department.  If you have read past blogs, the training program for rookies consisted of serving 6 weeks with a different FTO on a different shift and then moving to the next one.  My first FTO, Eddie, was great  He was very active and got me into all kinds of activity from car chases to busting up drug houses to all sorts of fun stuff.  That was during the evening shift.  The next shift was the daytime shift and I had Dirty Joe.  Joe was a “old head” and the pace was much slower but I still learned a lot from him.  We actually tracked down some bank robbers… well Joe did… I watched… and he taught me more investigative skills.  Plus, every day with him was an adventure.  Next up was the deep night shift (12m – 8am) and my FTO was “Jane”.  Jane had three years of time on the street when she trained me.  (not a lot)  During your training, as the weeks progress, you, as a rookie, do more and more of the paperwork, decision making, etc as the weeks progress.  I’m glad I had the order of my trainers because by the time I got to Jane, I knew a little, which was good, because she didn’t know much more than I did.

I could tell the story of how I took some initiative one night and some hard work on the computer and tracked down a serial rapist and she took the credit for it…. but instead, I will tell the story of how she almost got my butt kicked.

A little background… Jane is about 5’3″ and I wouldn’t say she was in great shape.  I’m sure you have heard the expression, “about as wide as they are tall”.  That was Jane.  She was also very country in everything she said.  About a year before I joined the department, there was a guy high on PCP and there was a big fight with a lot of officers and she joined in with her night stick and apparently hit this guy a couple of times and that was her claim to fame.  Whenever we would run across someone that was bad, or she would hear about someone that was bad, her reaction would be.. “Well he just needs the stick!”  It was sorta funny the first 20 or 30 times you hear it but after that, not so much.  She was enamored with her night stick.

One night, about 3am, it is slow and nothing is going on.  I’m driving and bored and one of the things you are graded on as a rookie is your initiative so I began looking for cars to pull over.  Finally, I see the ultimate car to pull over.  One headlight is out, the muffler is almost dragging against the pavement, a tail light is out, a rear view mirror is missing… I mean..this car was a mess.  So I get behind the car and turn on my lights and the car immediately pulls over.  I use the radio and let the dispatcher know where we are and get out of the car and start walking up to the other car.

But first, a little background on police tactics.  When you have a partner and conduct a traffic stop, as the driver, you are in charge.  The partner basically covers the driver.  The partner parallels the driver up to the car and while the driver is asking the driver of the other car about his license and so forth, the partner is shining their flashlight in the car looking for other people, guns, etc.  Obviously, if the partner sees anything, he lets the driver know about it.

That’s what happens when the driver of the vehicle you have pulled over stays in the car. However, on this occasion, the driver got out of the car.  And when I say got out of the car, I saw him get out of the car, and he kept getting out, and getting out and getting out.  This guy was huge.  I remember looking down at my flashlight thinking that if I have to use this on the person, all I am going to do is break my flashlight.  I think briefly about my nightstick and think all that will do is piss this guy off.  Maybe, just maybe, if I have to shoot this guy, the bullets won’t bounce off.  I am still walking up to this guy and he finally gets all the way out and I stop the appropriate distance away from him and look up at this guy.  This guy is huge.  I am hoping my voice won’t crack when I say, “I need to see your license and proof of insurance.”  Thankfully, it sounded manly enough.  The driver responded, in a very deep voice, “Sure thing officer.  But it is in the trunk of my car.  Is it ok if I get it?”

Now all sorts of alarm bells are going off in my head.  Who keeps their license in the trunk of their car?  What else could be in the trunk that he needs?  He already has the ability, and then some, to thoroughly whip my butt without needing anything from the trunk.  So all these thoughts are going through my head and after a few seconds, I say, “Sure.  Go ahead.”

I step back and make sure that I can see whats in the trunk, while keeping a safe distance from him when he opens the trunk and the only thing in the trunk is a duffel bag.  The driver says, “Officer if its OK with you, I need to reach into this bag and get my wallet.”  Again, all sorts of things COULD happen but this guy is going out of his way to make sure I know what he is doing and not making any rash movements and being very cautious.  Again, I tell him to go ahead.  He unzips the bag and reaches into a pair of pants and pulls out his billfold.  He hands me his drivers license.  I ask him about insurance and he tells me he doesn’t have any.  I look back down in the trunk to his open bag and see some clothes in there with fringe and spangles and sequins.  I ask him if he is in entertainment? He tells me he is a professional wrestler.  I ask him what name he fights under and he says, “Tony Atlas”.

Now back in high school, my buddies and I used to watch wrestling….with Junkyard Dog and Dick Murdock and The Iron Shiek and Haystack Calhoun and Andre the Giant (who I actually met one time in Pat O’Briens but that is another story).  In college, I had some fraternity brothers that still watched and I had heard the name Tony Atlas.  He was a former bodybuilder and a former Mr USA and Mr Universe.  Here he is:

Tony Atlas

He was also known as “The Black Superman”.  Now Tony (not his real name) was bout 6’4″ but had to weigh about 275 during this time.  And while he had a shirt on, you could tell he was very muscular.  So I ask him why he was out so late and he told me he just finished a fight in Ft Worth and drove to Dallas because he is fighting there later that night.  We chit-chatted a little bit and he was a very nice guy.

So I go back to the car to decide what to do with him.  Technically, in Dallas, if you have three violations on someone, you could take them to jail, but no officer likes to do that unless you think there are a bunch of drugs in the trunk or the driver has really pissed you off.  The next option was to write him tickets.  Now I hated writing tickets but as a Rookie, you were expected to and this guy had about 9 violations so I had to do something.  If he had been an A@@hole, I would have had no problem writing him all 9 but he was a nice guy and he went out of his way to make sure I knew what he was doing so I decided to only write him three.

I got back out of the car and went up to him while he is standing by his trunk.  I tell him that I have written him three tickets and what they are for and his signature is not an admission of guilt, its just his promise to take care of them…etc…when he interrupted me and said, “Officer, I know you could have written 3X that amount and you didn’t and I want to thank you.  I’ll gladly sign.”  Oh…ok.  So he signs the tickets and I had him his copies and I tell him to get his lights fixed and as I begin turning away from him, Jane decides it is her time to talk.  She hasn’t said one thing during this entire traffic stop but she decides she has to now.  Again, remember, she is 5’3″ and he is 6’4″ so she stands in front of him, takes out her nightstick (!) and starts tapping him on the chest (!) and says….”You need to get this piece of crap off the road before we run you in.”

I’m thinking that he is going to grab that stick, jam it down her throat and use her to beat me.

Instead, he looks down at her, looks at me. and starts laughing….loudly.

He turns around and gets back in his car.  I am trying to stifle my laughter and immediately get in our car.  Jane is still standing out there sputtering.  She finally gets in the car and I know where she is about to go so I immediately do a u-turn on the divided road and go the opposite direction from Tony.  Sure enough, after about 5-10 seconds of sputtering, she says, “We need to go find him.  He needs the stick!”

I say something like I wish we could but due to traffic I can’t turn around, blah blah blah. For the rest of the night, she went on and on how he needed the stick and it was all I could to keep a straight face.

Nice moves Tony.

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April Showers brings….. recovery?

Howdy Folks,

I hope this finds all of you well.  Not much to report, as I have not been to the Doctor recently.  My next trip is not until a week from today but I’ve had about 4-5 people reach out to me over the last two days asking if I am ok, if anything is wrong, because I haven’t posted anything.  (I think the real reason is not so much concern about my health, you guys just want to hear another story.)

I’ll get to a story in a minute…. first an update.

Not much has changed.  My throat still hurts a little, resulting in the need to take some pain medication.  I have cut back on how much I take, as the Dr wants to start slowly wean me off them.  Mucous is still around.  Wish there was a way to expedite its leaving.  I’m pretty tired of it affecting my appetite and diet.  Speaking of, unofficially, (weigh on home scale not doctors office) I weigh about 155 lbs.  I’m trying my darndest to find something that I can swallow without pain, and that mucous doesn’t affect.  Sometimes I get a little cocky (ME?  I know!) and think I can eat something and it turns out, I can’t.  The other night I cooked some fajitas and they smelled soooo good but I took about two bites and was done.  Had pancakes last night and I was drowning them in butter and syrup but couldn’t taste any of the sweetness.  The search continues.

Oh by the way… this is what I look like at 155 lbs……



Major news though… for the first time in over 5 weeks (?), I was able to drink something that I haven’t had in a loonnnggg time….

First Coke


Hello old friend.  So nice to see you again.  I can barely get one down but it helps cut through the mucous.

Also received a cool gift from my brother-in-law that has absolutely nothing to do with my recovery… just cool….

Ranger opener


Now if I can get to a point where I can drink something and actually use this.

Think thats about it.  As I said, I go to the doctor a week from today (Thursday) and will see where I am.  My CT scan is scheduled for 5/2 and we will see then if all this was worth it.  Guess that only leaves one thing….


UNRELATED STORY TIME…..or…. Being a Rookie is Sooooo fun.

The Dallas Police Academy lasts about four months….maybe a little longer now.  But back in my day, it was around four months.  You spend a lot of time in the classroom learning state and local laws, the standard procedures of DPD, etc.  They also teach you how to shoot, drive, search buildings, etc.  By the time you graduate, you feel that you know pretty much all there is to know so when you report to your first station, you are ready to show everyone just how smart you are.  EXCEPT….. while you may have spent four months learning all this.. .. you might know some book things… but not street smart things.  Also, everything is accelerated.  In the academy, while you are taking a test, you can take your time trying to recall a certain law.  On the street, you better have instant recall.  For me, the two hardest things to overcome were the police radio and how everyone lies.

The radio patter comes fast.  After awhile, I’ve seen officers fast asleep, snoring, but if their call number is spoken, they instantly wake up.  But as a rookie, you are trying to concentrate on everything and hearing what you are supposed to hear on the radio is difficult.

I said everyone lies and I know what you are thinking…. “yeah…right.  He doesn’t mean everyone”  Yes I do.  I’ve pulled over little old ladies who have never been to jail a day in their life and they lie.  I’m not sure why, but people lie all the time to police.  It takes a while to get used to that.

So I mentioned before about the speed.  Everything speeds up and it is up to you to catch up.  If you have ever played sports, its the same thing.  You can practice all you want but when you play a real game, the speed is faster.  As a rookie, you are constantly trying to catch up.

My first week out of the academy…. I’m working with my Field Training Officer (FTO) Eddie.  Eddie is great.  At the time he was training me, he had about 5-6 years on…just long enough to know what he is doing and short enough where he isn’t burned out and is aggressive.  As an FTO, he wants to get me involved as much as possible which is great for me.  We worked the evening shift (4-12) which is the busiest shift and after a week out of the academy, I am like a kid in the candy store.

So one night we are working, it is December and cold.  We get a call over the radio which I promptly do not hear.  It’s bad when you are sitting there and your trainer says, “Are you going to get that?”  meaning the radio.  We get a disturbance call at a slimy motel.  We get there and interview the victim and she says her boyfriend hit her but he is gone right now but his car is sitting right there so he can’t have gone far.  We get the necessary information and Eddie tells me to “run” or check the car to see who it is registered to.  Now, officers have access to computers in their car and can do it quite easily but during this time you had to get on the radio on the one radio channel designed for this purpose that the entire department uses so you have to jump in and hope the dispatcher hears you.  We finally check the car and lo and behold it comes back stolen.  This is my first stolen car.  I turn to Eddie and ask…”what do we do now?”  Eddie quickly leaves the parking lot and we pull about a block away so we can see the car and he explains… “we are going to sit up on it”.  This is all new to me so I ask…”what does sit up on it mean”  Eddie explains… “To sit up on a car is to watch it from a concealed location and see if anyone gets in the car… like that guy  is doing right now…. and we get ready to chase him.”

HOLY COW….I start battening down the hatches so to speak … I start throwing our briefcases in the back floorboard so that if we do get in chase, that stuff isn’t flying around.

Even though I am the passenger and the passenger usually handles the radio, I’m still a rookie in my first week so Eddie drives and talks at the same time.  He informs dispatch that the stolen car is now occupied and we are traveling on such and such road and about that time, the guys quickly pulls into a 7-11 parking lot and jumps out.  Eddie and I jump out our doors but stay by our car to use for cover and/or to get back in, in case this guy decides to get back in his car.  The suspect has a Big Gulp and says…”Im just going to get something to drink….” and takes off running.

Now in the academy, they tell us that for a foot chase, the passenger of the police unit is the one responsible for chasing the suspect.  This is it.  The moment of truth.  My first foot chase.  Now I have said it’s December and cold and I’m wearing my heavy police coat… but I’m ready.  I just graduated the Academy and am in great physical shape.  One of my talents is speed.  I am pretty doggone fast.  So our Suspect takes off….I holster my weapon and take off after him.  I can tell that this guy is pretty fast himself so I better bear down and kick it into gear and when I do….. I fall flat on my face.  Not just a little fall but a full face plant.  As I quickly pick myself up (no one saw that did they?) I start chasing him again when a 275 lb Officer passes me.  Oh that is just great.  The suspect is about 30 yards ahead of me and is about to go on the left side of a Jack in the Box.  I’m not going to catch him if he continues straight but if he loops around this Jack in the Box, I can cut him off.  So I peel off to the right and sure enough, the suspect has circled the Jack in the Box and I’m now about 5-10 yards behind him.  I’m just about to grab him when we run across a divided road.  The suspect adroitly clears the raised portion of the road….I do not.  WHAM….down I go again…right on my face.  I quickly pick myself up and now and highly pissed.  I’m chasing this guy to the ends of the earth.  The suspect only gained about 5 additional yards on me so I’m about 10-15 yards behind him when a squad car pulls up right in front of him… he runs into the car… the officers jump out, handcuff him and take off.

I’m standing in the middle of the road… both knees of my uniform pants are torn and both knees are bleeding….. both hands are scratched and bleeding…. my nametag is barely hanging on and I’m standing there all alone.

I walk back to the parking lot where our car and the stolen car are…along with about 5-6 other officers.  I walk up and Eddie looks at me and tries not to laugh.  All the other officers are turning their heads, snickering.  Eddie feels pity and says, “why don’t you go sit down and catch your breath” so I go sit down in our car.  The same car that someone has put our suspect.  As I sit down, the suspect starts laughing and says…”Hey..are you the slow, white #$@#$ that busted his ass?”

In all my college criminal justice classes, and all the police academy classes, when they talk about constitutional rights….and how you really shouldn’t hit a handcuffed prisoner…..I have to admit that right then, right there, I questioned whether or not this was a sound policy.  :-)


A couple of weeks later, still working with Eddie, and we get an injured person call at an apartment complex.  No apartment given, just the complex.  We get there wondering how we are going to find this person when we hear him yelling.  We round the corner and see or “victim”, bleeding from a head wound and hollering at the aliens that are trying to get him.  Great.  The paramedics get there and attempt to treat him but our victim is so drunk, he won’t let them so they get the heck out of there.  So here we are, with a guy bleeding from a head wound, drunker than a skunk and not sure what to do with him.  We can’t leave him there because he is injured.  The paramedics won’t take him because he is drunk.  We can’t arrest him for Public Intoxication and put him in the drunk tank because of his injury…. so Eddie and I are discussing what we can do when we hear a familiar sound…and see our “victim”is peeing on our car.  ALRIGHT…thats it!  We wait until he is done peeing and Eddie says… “Arrest him”.  Great.  So I handcuff our victim, who’s name is “Gil”.  I end up arresting Gil about 6-8 times over a two year period.  Gil gets money from social security and is about 30 years old but has the body of a 80 year old and spends his money drinking.  Well this is my first encounter with Gil so after handcuffing him, I start patting him down, checking for weapons.  I am doing the pat down when I feel something…OH?  WHAT IS THIS?  I pull up his shirt and reach out and grab….his colostomy bag.  Oh this gets better and better.

Finally… complete the search.. get his colostomy bag back where it needs to go… and put him in the car and off to jail we go.

Now a quick word about transporting prisoners.  I’m sure you have seen in your own cities or at least on TV or movies, that some squad cars have “cages” between the back seat and the front seat.  This is designed to protect the officers from the prisoners while transporting them.  In Dallas, however, there are no cages. Every few years, they would ask the patrol officers if they wanted them and by a 90% margin, they always came back, no.  In Dallas, if you are by yourself, you handcuff and seat belt the prisoner in the front passenger seat.  If you are working with a partner, the prisoner always goes in the passenger rear seat with the partner sitting right behind the driver and right beside the prisoner.

So that was the sitting configuration with Gil.  Eddie is driving and I’m behind Eddie and Gil is sitting to my right.  Gil, now that he is handcuffed and seat belted in, is getting ornery and begins cussing us.  Fine,…whatever.  I’ve got my hand resting on Eddies seat when I hear Gil clear his throat and spit…. and his spit lands on my hand.  Now I know what I want to do, but I am a rookie and I have to be on my best behavior.  So I just saying something to Gil and wipe my hand on the seat.  Eddie, however, remember, he is driving… turns around and asks, “Did he just spit on you?”  I say yes and Eddie, while driving down the freeway, reaches back and …… lets just say he lets Gil know that what he did was not appreciated.  It was impressive.

So we get to the county jail and it is a zoo.  There is a large central room where you book in your prisoners.  They get fingerprinted and the basic paperwork filled out and they they are placed in a central holding cell while the police officers continue with the arresting paperwork, get it approved by the Jail Sgt and go their merry way.

So I’m standing in line with Gil and the line is about 4 deep.  Gil wants the handcuffs off and I refuse so I’m holding onto Gil by holding onto the handcuffs.  Gil is getting really mouthy and I’m ignoring him when I hear him clear his throat again… I spin Gil away from me right when he let the loogie fly…. and it lands right on the bare back of a huge black prisoner in line in front of us.  This guy is about 6’5″, 260.  And the spit hits him square in the back and starts to slowly run down.  Everyone in the room gets quite and you see officers getting ready for whats about to happen.  This big black guy slowly turns around and looks at me and then looks at Gil.  Gil is all of 5’7″, 140 lbs.  The black guy looks back at me and asks, “Is he going to the same room I am?”  I smile and say, “yes”  The black guy says “Good” and turns back around.

Eventually the paperwork is done, and all prisoners are escorted to the central holding cell and I go back to the report area to tell Eddie and right when I get back there, the alarm goes off that there is a fight going on in the central holding cell.  Eddie looks at me and asks, “Gil?” I say…. “Yep”  And he says… “Figures”

Sometimes you have to love it when a plan comes together.

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