Frustration

Aloha!

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….

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….

TTPOA Gear

 

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.

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……

Self

 

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.  :-)

BE CAREFUL WHEN YOU SEARCH SOMEONE

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.

Slim…..

Hi there folks,

I hope this finds all of you well. It has been a little while since I have last written, but that is due to the fact that I had a doctors appointment yesterday and wanted to share with you whatever he said.  So…here is the latest from my Chemo Doctor……

I am on schedule of where I need to be.

My throat still hurts in the morning and the evening.  To get it to quit hurting, I am still taking pain medication.  Methadone twice a day and two “shots”  (10ml) of liquid oxycodone.  I am going to start slowly reducing the amount of medication I am taking.  An example would be to skip an oxy shot every now and then or take only 5ml (1 teaspoon) instead of 10ml.

Over the next couple of weeks, I will also begin to start weaning myself off the methadone.  An example would be every third day, reducing intake by one sort of thing.

Anti-nausea… done.  No need to take any more medication.

Saturday night is my last in-home IV.  I’ve been taking IV’s in the morning and evening (administered by the Nurses Finley….)

Nurses Finley

These IV’s are for the staph infection.  I will complete those Saturday night.  Yay!

I’ve completed my dosage of TammiFlu and no temperature so that’s done as well.

ISSUES

In addition to the sore throat, I’m still dealing with mucous build-up.  It’s not as bad as it was but is still present.  Because it is still present, it prevents me from having any milk-related product, like those chocolate shakes.  Bummer.

Which brings me to ISSUE #2…. weight loss.  When I was in the hospital, they would bring in a portable scale and I would weigh myself and stay around 172 lbs.  Unknown to me, due to all the fluid I was receiving, it was throwing my true weight off.  When I went to the Dr yesterday, I used their scale and the nurse told me what it was (converted from kilos) and I couldn’t believe her.  I asked her to verify so we weighed again and the same number came up.  I still didn’t believe it was correct so after the Dr’s visit, I went down to another part of the radiation clinic where I weighed every Monday and Thursday, including my first day of treatment.  Son of a gun if it didn’t confirm…. my official weight, as of yesterday is….. 159 lbs.  I have lost a total of 30 lbs.  My hospital stay resulted in about a 12-13 lb loss.  Holy schmoley.   The last time I weighed this was 25 years ago.  I went to GNC while ago and got some soy / protein mix to hopefully drink separately and/or add to oatmeal.

My meals consist of …. basically….. oatmeal.  It’s easy to make and to get down.  I’m trying to find out other things I can get down.  I had eggs last night which weren’t bad.  The search continues…..

So I’m on schedule for recovery.  I have a CT Scan scheduled for 5/2 which will tell us if treatment was successful.  The Chemo Dr said in about 3 weeks I should start seeing some major improvement.  Now if I can just get my own internal clock to mesh with the realistic one and not be impatient, I’ll be in good shape.

That’s about all there is to report… I guess there is only one thing left….

 

UNRELATED STORY TIME…..

This story has to do with the boredom of SWAT work.  Now most might think that there can’t be any boredom, but there is.  I’ve heard SWAT work described as 95% boredom and 5% sheer terror.  I don’t think I would agree with that, but you get the idea.  For SWAT guys, you train and train and train for the “big one” and rarely experience anything that comes close.  When something big does happen, it happens so quickly, that if you blink, you miss it.

Training – there is all sorts of training.  There is weapons training.  Each officer, of course, is armed with a pistol so you stay proficient as you can with that.  You practice with your pistol about once a week (if you can) and due to peer pressure, you better be pretty doggone good at marksmanship.  You also have to be proficient at the other weapon you carry.  For “Entry” guys, the guys that enter structures with the intent of getting the bad guy, you are armed with an entry weapon.  At the time, mine was a Heckler and Koch, MP5 sub-machine guy.  It fires 9mm at a rate of about 13 rounds per second.  Because it is “only” a 9mm, it doesn’t kick very much and you can hold it down much like those BB guns at the State Fair when you are shooting out the red star.  It is such a fun weapon to shoot.

Other training consists of trying to keep your skills up on entry, perimeter, etc.  During the week, we would train about one or two days a week.

Your time was also taken up by actual operations.  Again, there are all sorts of operations.  We could have a VIP visit like the President.  (For some reason, the Secret Service gets awful nervous when they have to come to Dallas).  We could have a barricaded person…some of the stories I have related are “BP’s”.  Basically a bad guy that has barricaded themselves in a structure and we have to get them out.

Another “mission” is a “Buy Bust”  This is where our undercover Narcotics Division has made a drug deal with a drug dealer, like X amount of money for X amount of cocaine.  It usually involves a large amount. not like something you would buy on the street.  So say this particular deal is for a kilo of cocaine.  The undercover “UC’s” would make the deal for the parking lot at such and such place at  a specific time and the drug dealer would agree. The UC’s would inform us and we would be in a van about 2 blocks away.  The UC’s on the scene would be “miked up” (have a microphone on them) and would also be under surveillance by other UC’s.  When the drug dealers would arrive, we would be informed, and when the UC said the key words over he microphone … “That looks like good stuff”, that would be our signal to swoop in and arrest everyone.

Now this is all well and good except…. drug dealers are NEVER on time.  We have waited three hours or more for them.  Now imagine your SWAT team of 6-7 guys, in a van, with an air conditioner that doesn’t work well, in the summertime in Dallas, TX and you are wearing 40-50 lbs of gear.  Not a good combination.  So naturally, while you are waiting, you get extremely bored.  With this van full of Type A personalities, you can imagine the testosterone flows pretty freely.  Everyone….. and I mean EVERYONE, gets picked on for some thing or another.  The key is to A) act like it doesn’t bother you and B) as quickly as you can, deflect it to someone else.  As soon as the round-robin of insults finishes, another way to combat boredom may be the “Movie Line Game”.  SWAT guys are notorious for knowing movie lines…. especially those from shoot-em-up movies, that your knowledge gets tested.  The way it works is, someone would give a movie line, the rest of the guys would guess.   If they can’t get it, a 2nd movie line is required.  If the movie guessed is still not correct, then the person giving the line is acknowledged.

An example would be….. “Take me to bed or lose me forever!”  What movie?  Give up?  Ok..here is an easy one from the same movie…. “I feel the need, the need for speed.”  So this is an easy one.  It’s “Top Gun”.

As I said, most of the movies are from the same genre.  Top Gun, Die Hard, etc.

One day, we were bored and in the van playing and a guy named “Bob” who NEVER played decided he was ready.  Now a few words about Bob…. he is big into weights…. very quite….. hardly talks….. when he does, he uses very few words….. and kept to himself mostly.  So when he said… “I have one…”  We were all thinking… Holy Cow… BOB has one?  Wow…

So the van gets absolute quite.  This is the first time Bob has ever done this.  This is momentous!  Ok Bob….. give us the movie line.  Bob clears his throat and says….

“La la la la la”

“I’m sorry, what?

He repeats….. “La la la la la”

Looks of bewilderment spreads on everyone’s faces.  We are all looking at each other.  What movie is this?  No one has a clue.  Finally, someone says… “Bob… how about a second line?”

Bob thinks for a moment and says…. “That will do pig.”

It is so quiet in the van, you can hear a pin drop.  Time stretches on.  Finally, someone says, ….. “um…. Babe?”

Bob grins and says,….”yeah”

BABE?  BABE???!!?? You mean the kids movie, BABE?

By now, Bob has realized his error by offering a kids movie in this group.  It doesn’t matter that probably everyone in the van had seen the movie with their kids… that didn’t matter at all….what mattered is that one of the macho guys offers up a kids movie in this extreme Type A personality setting and actually thinks he is going to get away with it……

BABE?  BABE???  Everyone in the van starts laughing.  Not a chuckle but a full belly laugh, where tears come out of your eyes, full blown laugh that is part ridiculing and part joy.

Bob attempts to explain why he picked that movie but is drowned out.  He will never be able to explain.

It got so bad, we missed the call that the bad guys were pulling up.  By the time we collected ourselves, the deal had gone down and those drug dealers were probably wondering why we were laughing so hard while arresting them.

 

 

Easy like Sunday Morning…

Hi all.

Just a quick post to let you know whats going on.  It is Sunday, D-Day+5 (five days after treatment is over) and I’m at home.  I believe the pneumonia is gone, and the fever and I believe the flu.  I don’t seem to have any of the symptoms.  Probably the only thing I am battling right now is the staph infection.  I’m getting a strong antibiotic IV twice a day.  I think I’ve told ya’ll but originally, the missus was going to administer the IV, being a former nurse and all, but with her having the flu, we have to stay away from each other.  So young daughter got drafted to administer the IV’s and she has come through like a champ…she has really stepped up.  I am grateful and proud of her.  I’ve got about 7 more days of the in-home treatment and hopefully the staph infection will be knocked out.

Still also dealing with the mucous issue.  My throat is still protecting itself by producing mucous, which I have to hack up in all hours of the day and night.  It also affects my appetite as mucous and any milk-based products don’t play well together, (like those made with Ensure) so those delicious smoothies are out.  My diet mostly consists of oatmeal and soup.  Yum yum.  Guess it really doesn’t matter when your taste buds are also compromised.

Here in a couple of weeks, I go back to Gainesville and get a CT Scan and I believe at that time, they determine if all these treatments were successful in knocking out the cancer.  I can’t tell you how ready I am to stop this downward slide and start uphill in the recovery process.

A couple of small items before I move on.

While I was with Dallas SWAT, I became involved with the state SWAT association called the Texas Tactical Police Officers Association (TTPOA).  A group of guys that would exchange information on tactics and training and share with other teams throughout Texas.  The more I got involved with them, the more I enjoyed the work we did.  Through them, I’ve met some great guys, established some great friendships and am honored to have been a part of what we have done over the past 20 years.  In 1992 at a conference in Dallas, I think we had something like 75 attendees.  They now routinely have over 800 attendees.  I have been honored to have been elected twice as President and have received a Lifetime Achievement Award from them.  Just a great group and a great bunch of guys.  The latest conference was held in the Dallas area over the last few days and I originally was planning on attending, but all of these ailments prevented me from doing so.  While very disappointed that I couldn’t make it, it just wasn’t meant to be this year.  Unknown to me, however, they set up a raffle in my name and the response has left me overwhelmed.  I was told what they did and how they did it and how much they raised and I am stunned with gratitude.  Strong Type-A personalities aren’t supposed to show emotion but in this case, I couldn’t help it.  I am so grateful to my friends and to the people involved that whatever words I use would not be expressive enough.  I am indeed truly blessed with friends and family and throughout this whole ordeal, have continued to be surprised and grateful at the outpouring of prayers and well wishes.  I have had quite a few people tell me how surprised they are at my “positive attitude”.  All I can say is it would be difficult to have anything less when you are given the support that I have been given.  Friends that I have not talked with in a long time offering me support……..  People I didn’t even know prior to this offering me support.  If I am only on half the prayer lists that I have been told, they it is more than I could imagine.  All of this has reinforced my belief in prayer, has draw me closer to my family and the Lord, and reestablished friendships and made them stronger.  I am truly blessed.

Ok…enough of that. I’m sure that’s not why you tuned in… I just had to share that.

So overall, I’m hanging in there.  Still fatigued and going to do what I can to start slowly build up some strength.  Still taking IV’s for 7 more days.  Still on most of my medication, including anti-nausea and anti-pain.  I see my Chemo Dr later this week so I would assume now that I’m no longer taking chemo or radiation, that he will begin cutting back the anti-nausea.  Pain-wise, it still hurts to swallow sometimes so I would imagine that medication will remain the same.  I know its a “it will take time” issue but I’m ready for the mucous issue to start lessening.

I guess that completes the update… the only thing left is…..

UNRELATED STORY TIME

Today’s stories will be short and related by a common theme.  ….that of Negotiation.

Negotiation is one of the main tools that a SWAT team utilizes.  A few years ago, there was a radical college professor that kept saying that if a SWAT team was called, then the chances of the bad guy ending up dead greatly increased.  He had no data to back this up, he just used it as a rallying cry to reduce the number of SWAT teams.  After awhile,we got our own college professor, DK, and he decided to fight fire with fire and began collecting data on SWAT callouts to see if indeed the suspect stood a better chance of surviving if SWAT was called out.  It turns out that based on things that a SWAT team has at its disposal, then the suspect’s chances of survival greatly INCREASED.  Tear gas was one of these tools.  Bad guy gets tear gassed and comes out instead of killing himself or others.  Negotiation was the other big factor.  Most people think that entering a building to go get the suspect is what we want to do when in fact, its just the opposite.  Entering a building to go get the suspect is the last resort.  We would employ everything we could to avoid going on.  However sometimes you have to.

Each SWAT team is set up differently.  Some teams negotiators are psychiatrist that are are civilians that want to help out and usually have PhD’s.  Some teams negotiator is the Chief.  Because, you know, if you become Chief, then you are automatically given those skills that you need.  In Dallas, the Negotiators are full time SWAT team members.  They go through a selection process and their negotiation duties are in addition to whatever other duties they have.  In Dallas these guys serve time at the city Suicide Hotline so they get the training and the experience in dealing with people with emotional issues.  They also go to conferences and seminars to hone their skills.  I believe it really benefits the entry team to have these guys as your negotiators because they know what information you need and if its freezing cold or boiling hot, they won’t stall for more time with the suspect.    Overall, I like the way Dallas utilizes its Negotiators.

Why was I never one?  I heard my name came up as a possibility one time but was quickly dismissed.  Why?  According to the story it went something like this….

“Hey, what about Finley as a Negotiator?”

“Nah, not him”

“Why not”

“Cause if he was talking with the suspect and the suspect said, “I’m ready to give up and come out”, then Finley would say, “Hang on before you do, I have one more story to tell.”

Hardee Har Har

You hear all kinds of things from Negotiators.  They use a “Loud Hailer” a lot.  Basically, its a souped up megaphone.  Electronically amplified.   It allows them to talk with a suspect inside a location without getting too close.  Sometimes, you don’t know if a suspect is in there or not so you keep trying …. and trying… and trying…..

One day, homeowner comes home and his front door is smashed open and he steps inside and “hears someone”.  Leaves, calls Patrol and they call us.  We get there and surround the place and start loud-hailing.  Again, we don’t know if a suspect is in there or not.  This particular negotiator said a couple of things that me and my partner thought were hilarious…..

“MR. Burglar….”

Oh, we are getting formal now?  addressing the bad guys by their proper gentleman title as well as their career choice?

Another thing he said…

“You in the house at 1234 Main Street….you need to come out now.”

Now my partner and I questioned, do you think the bad guy knows the address of the place he has broken into?

Another time, Narcotics Division ran a warrant and the door of the house they hit was locked from the inside and the attic entry looked like it had been utilized so basically they wanted us to search an attic of a 1800 sq ft house.  Not the most glamorous duty but one we are better equipped to do than Narcotics.  We are already in the house and there is only one attic entry and we are covering that.  Our plan was to A) Loud Hail to see if we get any response and then B) poke a hole in the ceiling and insert a camera and see if we can spot our suspect that way.  Our Negotiator that day happened to be “Chris”.  He begins the loud hailing…”You in the attic.  You need to come out now.  This is the Dallas Police.  We have the place surrounded….etc.etc etc.”  Now Chris drones on and on while the other guys are setting up the camera.  He’s been talking for about 15 minutes and I’m sure he was bored when he said…..”If you don’t come out, we will utilize tear gas.  If you don’t know what that feels like, it makes your skin burn, it makes your eyes burn, it makes you cough and feel like you are having a heart attack, its like you are pregnant.”

Wait…I’m sorry….what?

Chris is standing beside me at this time and I look at him and he looks at me and stops loud hailing and says, “What”‘

I said…”Do you realize what you just said?”

He said….”No.  What did I say?”

I explained to him what he said… he denied it until one of the other guys quit laughing so much to confirm it.  I told Chris that my wife has had two kids and never complained about those symptoms.

THE TIME I NEGOTIATED

Pretty much the only time I negotiated was the time we had a bank robber that robbed the bank, patrol gets in chase, he wrecks his car and runs into a vacant house, patrol right on his heels and goes into the attic.  Patrol calls us and we get there and since we know he is already inside, we search it and now determine he is in the attic.  We can hear him.  A quick word about attics…. You don’t want to go in one.  They have a limited opening and it is very difficult to defend yourself getting in one.  Once in one, you have very limited space to move around, especially wearing all the gear you wear….. so you avoid them as much as possible.  In this case, we knew he was in there and would rather talk him down as opposed to us go get him.  So we bring a negotiator in and it happens to be Chris again. There is a large entry in the garage that Chris is talking to our suspect through.  Meanwhile, myself and a couple of others are guarding the small entry hole in the closet in the master bedroom.  We can hear Chris talking with the suspect and we are just sitting tight, guarding our area, when my Sgt comes in the room and tells me to start talking to the suspect.  It seems the suspect has told Chris to #$@ off and has moved closer to the area I’m covering.  I ask the Sgt., “What do you want me to say?”  He tells me to establish a rapport with him…just anything so we can pinpoint his location.  It turns out the suspects name is Jimmy so I say….”Hey Jimmy?

“Screw you”  (or words to that effect)

“Hey Jimmy.  I’m just trying to talk.  Why won’t you talk with Chris?”

“Screw you and screw Chris!”

“Aw cmon Jimmy.  Dont be that way.  Talk to me.”

“Screw you you #$%##$#%#$#3….and so on and so on.”

Well I’d had about enough of this so I said….

“HEY JIMMY….SCREW YOU!”

“Huh”

“Yeah Jimmy.  Screw you!  This is the #$#%#$# Dallas SWAT team and we are here to kick your ass and probably shoot you,so screw you!”

Now this is not what Jimmy had envisioned.  So he said….”Do what?”

By now… both my Sgt and Chris have joined me and are trying not to laugh out loud.  ”Yeah Jimmy.  When you robbed that bank, they called the SWAT team and since you don’t want to talk with Chris or any of the patrol officers, we took over so right now we are loading our weapons and getting ready to come in that attic and shoot your #$#%#$# ass!”

“Ummmm….where is Chris?”

“The heck with Chris!  You didn’t want to talk with him so we sent him home.  Now you have to deal with us.  Tell me,do you want to be shot in the head and have a quick death or in the gut and have a slow painful death?”

“CHRIS!!!!!!!”

We are all bent over laughing…. me… my Sgt… Chris….

“I told you Jimmy… we sent him home.  He is packing up his stuff by the garage.  He wants to leave before the bullets start flying.  Personally, I can’t wait until he is gone so we can shoot your ##$#@#$# ass!”

“CHRIS!!!  CHRIS!!!!”

By this time, Jimmy is falling over himself trying to get back to the main entrance.  Chris heads back over there and sure enough, Jimmy gives up in about 5 minutes.  So you could say that I successfully negotiated someone into giving up.  :’)

Going….Going…..?i

Hey there!

Coming at you from my home away from home, the Shand’s Hospital in Gainesville, FL.  Just a quick update…..

Still battling pneumonia a little bit.  It is being resistant and they are trying to stay on top of it.  I’ve had more antibiotic IV’s pumped into me than you can imagine.

A new player has joined the game……Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). It is a staph infection and when talked about, people call it MER-sa.

The other day when my sputum was bloody, they did a culture and it came back positive for MRSA.  I’m told it CAN be serious.  It can actually be really serious.  It is an infection that is resistant to most antibiotics.  It usually occurs to people that are in the hospital.  The folks here believe they are on top of it though.  So much so, they are talking about possibly sending me home today.  Yay!  Still don’t know for sure because they have to arrange for a lot of things, one being a home IV over the next 10 days.  The latest I go home will be tomorrow but I really think it will be today.

Sad news though…my in-home nurse….my major care provider….my major backer…. you know her as “the missus” ………my wife Kathy/Kate….now has the flu.  For sure she got it from me.  Anyone that comes in my room has to have a mask and gown on.  I am Bubonic Barney.  Anyway, she has been down to visit just about every day and although she went though all the precautions, she now has the flu.  She is at home recovering so please .. thoughts and prayers for her.

So that is the wrap up for today…… fever – gone.  Flu (for me) – gone .  Pneumonia – still there but on the run.  Staph infection (MRSA) – present and a concern.  Good possibility of going home today.

I guess that only leaves one thing…..UNRELATED STORY TIME.

It has been awhile so I will see if I can squeeze a two-fer in.

Distraction Devices -

First… a little background…..

Police SWAT teams often use a tool called a “distraction device” or “Flashbang”.  It is sometimes erroneously called “Stun Grenade”.  A distraction device or another common term is “flash bang”,  is a metal canister containing a fuze (pull pin) and a cardboard tube inside a metal canister containing some chemicals that when it goes off, produces a very bright light and a very loud noise.

distraction device

 

Much like a grenade, the lever (the long metal lever on the side) fits in the palm of your hand.  You pull the pin (the round ring) and as long as you hold the lever down, it won’t go off.  But the minute you let the lever go, you have approximately 1.5 seconds before it goes off.  That may not seem like a lot of time but trust me, it is plenty of time to throw it where it needs to go.

The “blast” is expelled out the top and the bottom.  When I say bright…. if you have a police flashlight.. you know the kind that has the equivalent of six D batteries… has a light beam that is measured in “candela”.  The police flashlight has something like 30,000 candela.  The flashbang emits a light that is 6-8 million candela.  Think about that.

Loud?  If you stand in front of  a speaker at a rock concert, and they are playing, your ears are getting bombarded with about 140 decibels.  A flashbang produces 175 decibels.  That may not seem like much to you but trust me…it is louder than a jet engine.

Smoke – Due to the chemicals used to produce the bright light, a bad side effect is it also produces a lot of smoke.  Not bad if outdoors but if in a tight, confined space, hard to see through the smoke.

So why are they used?  Because a flashbang produces this loud noise and this bright light, if a person is within a couple of feet of a flashbang going off, it shuts down their hearing and their sight for about 20-30 seconds.  That is a looooonnnngggg time during a SWAT raid.  I have been on the receiving end of these on more than one occasion and for those old enough to remember, your sight goes like when you used to turn TV’s off a long time ago…..a white dot is in the middle of the screen and keeps getting smaller and smaller.  Thats what happens to your vision.  Hearing??  Totally wipes it out.  Gone.

We have gone in on a SWAT raid and a guy has had a pistol in his waistband and a flashbang went off right in front of him and we were able to just remove the weapon with no problem.

It is also used to “distract” or divert their attention to that area.  Say we are coming in the back door.  We might throw a flashbang in the front door area so bad guys attention will be focused on that area while we come in the back.

If not used properly, they can cause some major injuries.  If you pull the pin and DON”T throw?  you will probably lose your hand.

Enough background….onto the story..

So one day, a guy robs a bank and a car chase ensues and bad guy can’t drive that well and wrecks his car.  Foot chase ensues and he runs into a house with no one home.  The Patrol officers want to go get him but he is now what is referred to as “barricaded” and since they know he has a weapon, they set up a perimeter to make sure he doesn’t escape and call out SWAT.  We get there and set up our own perimeter and using a loud PA system called a “loud hailer” attempt to talk him out.  He does not respond.  Normally the next step would be to use tear gas as a way to get him out but #1, this isn’t his house and #2, the house is less than a block from a school and we don’t want to tear gas the kids so we make the decision to go in and get him.  A “Barricaded Person” search is a very slow, methodical search.  Nothing fast at all.  You know he is in there and he knows you know he is in there so you use time on your side.  You search one room at a time.  You communicate with each other by whispering or hand signals.  So while a couple of guys are searching one room, the others are covering off the other areas.  Again, very slow and tedious but needs to be done this way due to the circumstances.  After about an hour, we have searched the first floor of this house and now we need to go upstairs.  Going upstairs is tricky by itself.  It is where the good guys are most vulnerable, due to the angle of the stairs and all the open areas.  You don’t just charge up the stairs, you have to plan it out.

This particular set of stairs was “L-shaped”.  The stairs went up to a small landing and turned right and went up to the top floor.  There were banisters all round it.  The problem  was we couldn’t see anything on that top landing.  We needed a distraction.

I’m at the foot of the stairs covering up and tell the rest of the team what we are going to do.  But first, I have to find out who has a flashbang with them.  So I whisper something out like….”OK, here is what we are going to do…. we are going to throw a flashbang up to the landing and when it goes off, follow it.  Now who has one?”  At this time on Dallas SWAT, not every team member was issued a flashbang so i needed to know.  I had one but was not in the best position to throw or “deploy” one.  One of my teammates, “Ed” spoke up….”I’ve got one”

I responded….”Great.  Ed, throw it up to the landing.  Once it goes off, I’ll take the lead and go up the stairs covering off to the left.  Kelvin, you come behind me, covering off to the right… Ed, I need you right on his ass covering off the landing.  We go up as a group.”  I gave the rest of the team their assignments so they would cover off the areas that needed covering and once we three made it up, we would cover the rest of the team as they came up.  I made sure everyone understood what they were supposed to do and received acknowledgement from each of my team.  Ok.  Good. All set.

“OK.  Ed, Ready?”

“Ready”

“Throw”

As my body tensed up for the bang that I knew was coming and getting ready to launch up the stairs… I heard…..”Uh-oh”…. then I heard… “Oh Shit”

My eyes left my coverage area to see the flashbang hit the railing, and begin tumbling right down the stairs ….hitting one…then another…and then another…. and land ………..next to my foot.  There wasn’t a thing I could do but close my eyes as I heard a loud WHOOMPPHH.

Later, the guys tell me that they lost sight of my because I was enveloped in smoke.  Other tell me that they say a wall of flame shoot up my leg.  The side of my boot and my thigh holster on my left side were singed pretty well.  Needless to say, the flashbang didn’t go where it was intended.

With it going off next to my foot, even though I diverted my eyes, it still jumbled me up pretty well.  Everyone did a great job maintaining their cover of the open areas.  I heard someone say that they were covering mine, which was good because I was having a few problems focusing.  I heard our Sgt say to take my time, that we were in no hurry, which was a good thing.

After a few minutes, all my senses were back.  Persistent ringing in my ear but I could hear.  So I let the team know I was back, and began planning anew.  I asked WHO ELSE had a flashbang, someone answered up and we went over the plan again.  This time, it might have been Boo Boo, successfully threw the flashbang were it needed to go, we went up the stairs, secured that location, and continued the search of the house and finally found our bad guy hiding in one of the bedrooms on the 2nd floor and he gave up without a fight.

Later, the bad guy secured, we did a quick debrief.  I was a little testy at getting stunned so I said… “Dammit Ed…..I told you to throw it up there.  You couldn’t do that?”  He grinned and said…”I did!  Oh… you wanted it to stay?”

Hard to stay mad at a comeback like that.

 

UNRELATED STORY #2… or… The Last Time I Threw a Flashbang in Dallas”

We had another call-out.  Guy is with his buddy and tells him he is thinking about killing himself.  Buddy agrees with him!  Bad Guy decides to blame it all on girlfriend so he calls her up to tell her.  She asks him how he is going to do that when his pistol is at her house? He realizes her point and asks girlfriend if she could be a lamb and drop it by and she does!  Friend decides he wants to leave so he and girlfriend leave the “friend”.  They do make the effort and call 911 and let us know that they have a guy with a pistol threatening suicide.  Patrol gets there and surrounds the place and per SOP, they call us.

We surround the place and loud hail him to no avail.  We check with Patrol and they haven’t seen or heard anything inside.  After awhile, we decide to go in and search the place.

Again, very slow search…. but this is just a one-bedroom apartment so it doesn’t take long.  We get to the point where we have searched everything but the one bedroom.  The door is open so we are able to clear the bedroom with no problem.  Now all that is left is the bathroom in the bedroom and the door is closed.  I’m covering the door and ask, “Who has a flashbang?”  The other two guys with me, Kelvin and Steve, do not.  But I do.  So we reconfigure…. Steve is going to use the battering ram or “slammer” and hit the door, I am going to throw in the device while Kelvin is covering whats inside.  We set up in a tight pattern around the door…. I nod at Steve… he rears back and hits the door and it flies open… before I can do anything, it immediately shuts.  ”HIT IT AGAIN”  Boom….door slams shut.   “HIT IT AGAIN”  This time, he hits it and I jam my foot in the door facing before it can shut shut, and as the device is releasing from my hand, I realize that there is no need for it.  I remove my foot and the door closes.  The flashbang goes off inside the bathroom and Steve and Kelvin are yelling “GO GO GO” and I’m saying “NO NO NO”……..”WE DON’T NEED TO!”

(I’ll try and not get too graphic here but  it will be difficult).

It seems our suspect has indeed used the pistol that his girlfriend has brought over.  He has committed suicide by placing the pistol under his chin and pulling the trigger.  This caused his body to collapse on the bathroom floor.  Every time the door was slammed, the door was moving about 2 feet before striking our dead guys foot and immediately slamming shut.

Once I jammed my foot in the doorframe to get the flashbang in, as I released it, I could see where it was going to land…. and it landed exactly where I thought…..right where this guys brains used to be.  And it made a big mess.

Steve didn’t believe me and forced the door open and looked inside and said….”Oh.”  and let the door close.

Later….the Physical Evidence Section came out to process the crime scene and before they went inside, I briefed them on what they might find.  When they were done, they asked me if I wanted the flashbang  back since it was re-usable.  I told them they could keep it.

Finished…?

Hello All,

Well, today was the day that I’ve had circled on my calendar for almost two months.  Today is the day that I was to receive my last radiation and chemotherapy treatments.

OR DID I?

As you know from my last post yesterday, this past weekend, I tried to do everything I possibly could to complicate things…. dehydration……..fever….adverse reaction to pain medication….pneumonia… and the flu.  Since I checked into the hospital Sunday night, I’m not sure how many bags of antibiotics they have given me but it’s been a lot.

So….met with the Doctors today.  Here is today’s (Tuesday) outcome:

  • Fever – gone
  • Flu – gone
  • Dehydration – going
  • Pneumonia – still present but on the run
  • Chemotherapy – postponed.  Not sure if later in the week or if indefinitely
  • Radiation – Final treatment today!  Yay!!!!!
  • New items? – In my hacking/dredging up mucous and clearing my throat, had one that was pretty bloody.  So they are doing a culture on that to see whats what’

So still dealing with Pneumonia.  The only way to do that is to blast it with major antibiotics.  Those don’t come in pill form, only in IV form.  And where do we get IV’s from?   That’s right… HOSPITALS!  So yes, I’m done with chemotherapy treatment and done with radiation treatment and WOULD be done with everything and headed home today but still have to get those antibiotics so I will be staying here at Shand’s Hospital in Gainesville until Thursday or Friday.

Bummed?  Sure.  Was sure hoping to be done with all of this today but as rotten as I felt over the weekend, I’m willing to postpone by a couple of days to ensure that all is well.

I’ll wrap all this up at a later date.  Just wanted to let ya’ll know what was going on.

More to come, including some unrelated stories.

 

Seriously…???

Hello friends and family….I’d give you an update but I’m not exactly sure what day it is.  Well, maybe it’s not quite that bad but close.  Today is Monday and day 43/44.  Yes tomorrow is my last day of treatment…. I think.

Weight..?  The least of my worries.  I did not weigh today but I would say that I’ve lost some over the last few days.

S0, what happened?  Well remember Thursday night?  The night of fever/chills / diarrhea?  I guess it started with that.  On Friday, met with the PA and they did blood work to see if I was neutropenic (was not) and thought I had some bug.  Left Friday afternoon, met a friend in Lake City and then came on home.  Everything ok.   Slept OK Friday night.  Saturday, not feeling so hot.  Voice back to a whisper.  Not eating a whole lot.  Stuff smells and sounds good to me but still can’t or don’t want to eat anything.  And with my smoothies, since they are all milk based, and I have a throat full of mucous, it does’t help matters.   So spent all day Saturday hacking up mucous and not talking.  Saturday night, was tired.  Ready to go to sleep at 8pm (which is waaay early for me) but stuck it out until about 11pm.  Woke up at 2:30 and again at 4pm and then at 5pm.  Whoa boy.  When I woke up at 5am, having to pee really badly, stumbled into the bathroom and things just aren’t right.  Everything is kinda’ blurry.  One part of my brain is trying to deal with that but the main part of my brain is thinking only one thing…. pee.  Finally finish peeing but my body is becoming non-responsive and I’m getting pretty dizzy.  We have two shelves in this part of the bathroom and both aren’t able to support my weight (I checked).  I’m trying to use them as support because I’m pretty sure I’m going down.  I try and call out to the missus but due to my throat, it only comes out as a whisper.  Now my brain is only thinking one thing and that is, don’t hit your head.  I go down knees first (such fun on tile!) and then on my back.  Kind of a two-stage fall.  Apparently the noise was enough to wake the missus so she comes running in there and according to her….my eyes were rolled back in my head, my face was really red, my breathing was struggling.  Being a former nurse, she believed I was out.  She propped me up and ran to get her phone to call 911 and by the time she got back to me, I was responsive again.  We talked and I was responsive to her questions and had no head injury so she held off calling 911.  We spent some time trying to figure out what happened and really had no idea.

Later that morning (Sunday) I was….doing….OK.  Still in a little bit of a fog and my vision was a little blurry.  Tried to eat (or drink) something for lunch with no success.  Finally about 2pm, we called my Chemo Dr and explained to him what was going on.  In addition to dehydration, he believed that I was also going through an adverse reaction to pain medication.  The week before, he upped my methadone from 2 pills to 3 a day.  That was 5 days earlier and since it is a slow acting drug, it takes about that long to affect anything.  So he ordered us BACK to Gainesville, so back we go and were admitted last night.  (By the way, I think all the nice people work during the week when I am usually there).  Because the room that was ordered for me was not ready, most of the initial stuff was done in the ER so 4 different Dr’s come in and we have to explain what we’ve done and how we got to this point.  Finally fluids start getting pumped and test start getting done and the results are:

  • Definite dehydration
  • Possible adverse effects to too much pain medication
  • Pneumonia
  • Flu

It seems I went beyond hitting the “trifecta”.  What would that be?  ”Hitting the Quadfecta?”

Holy Cow. Anything else I can squeeze in there?  Needless to say, they are pumping me with fluids and antibiotics almost 24/7.  I am officially admitted to the Shands Cancer Hospital and since it is one of the newer ones, it is the Taj Mahal of rooms.  Very nice.  The nurses (and Dr;s) up here are versed in regular nurse stuff but also have the background in cancer so they know how that works together.

Today, Monday, I missed my first Radiation appointment but my radiation Dr cut one treatment from today and one from tomorrow.  So only one Radiation Treatment left.

Right now, I still have a chemo infusion scheduled for tomorrow morning.  We are just waiting to see if that is still going to happen.

That’s it in a nutshell.  So how did your weekend go?  :-)

I’ll be staying at the hospital today, tomorrow (we think) and maybe Wed.  Still trying to pin that part down.  The missus is over at the Hope Lodge checking me out and getting all the stuff I left.  Thankfully I took home most of my stuff this weekend.  She does have to clean it up though.  What a trooper she has been….through all of this.

So after scaring the beejezus out of the missus and the kids and the rest of my family this past weekend…..I’m in good hands now.  I’ve still got some issues with the mucous and the inability to speak, my neck still looks zombie-ish but….and I know I said this last time… but…. I think(?) the worst is behind me?

I think I better shut up now.

I will follow up in a day or so with “The Finish”.  I don’t think, nor do I hope, that I can top this one.

No unrelated story this time.  I’m too worn out.