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.  :’)

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6 thoughts on “Easy like Sunday Morning…

  1. Michael, I was a Phi Mu with your precious missus, Kathy and I now work for the American Cancer Society in Pensacola. It was great to see that you guys were able to use the Hope Lodge. I’m so sorry that you are having to go through such a tough time with this journey. You attitude is amazing and I am sending healing prayers and strength your way. Hearing about the support you got from your fellow TTPOA guys is what life is all about…supporting each other in this crazy world we live in. It’s so great to hear that kind of stuff! You have a lot of people out here cheering for you…even people you don’t know personally. : ) Take care!

  2. O. K. – this glues it together – if you don’t consider writing a book, at least take all these stories in your blog and publish them – but keep on writing some more!!! I laughed out loud at this one — So there, mr. professor who thinks SWAT negotiations don’t matter —take this one!!!

  3. Hello Finlely
    U are nuts luv-u anyway always praying for u

  4. Laughing my butt off. Funny stuff.
    Your positive attitude is lesson to all of us. Its not what happens to you in life but how you choose to react to it.

  5. Hey, Michael, heard about your blog from several people, at the conference, figured it would be entertaining. Talking to SC to find out how you were doing, and was really hoping you could make it. I did have to tell one on you, about the “girl’s names” on the board..

  6. Too funny!

    Thanks for the laugh. After all, “laughter is the best medicine.”

    I look forward to reading more.

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