Sunday, February 24, 2008

It's Just Off Fifth.

Tomorrow morning my wife has an appointment at The Hillman Cancer Center, U.P.M.C. in Pittsburgh. She's going to see a specialist. I'm glad she's going. This doctor she will see tomorrow, he's an Oncology Surgeon who specialises in breast cancer. This guy trained at one of the big hospitals in Boston. He spent some time at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda and he was even an instructor in surgery at Harvard for a few years. I'm thinking he's probably going to have a little more to say about her breast cancer than we've heard from her current doctor.

I'm not saying that her current doctor isn't a good doctor. He is a good doctor. Her current doctor is a general surgeon, he is not a high speed specialist like this guy down in Pittsburgh. You get what you pay for. We have good insurance.

She's scared. I'm scared too. Don't know what to make of this. I'm focusing on the directions. Mapquest works. Google Earth allowed me to track the entire route from satellite images on the computer screen. It seems like a bit much but it keeps me occupied. We also got directions from a friend who has been there.

We watched Clean This House on TV this morning. The woman who hosts the show plays one of the deputies on Reno 911. We have been "de-crapping" our house for the last couple of weeks. We got all motivated and "de-crapped" some more today. It feels good to throw out the crap. It makes my wife feel good to have less clutter around. I am a big source of the clutter.

Our dog, the little mutt, he lost three and one half pounds. He was getting fat. He looked like a sausage. He was having a hard time rolling over when asked to roll over. We cut way back on his treats. We cut way back on the table scraps. No scraps at all. He goes for a nice brisk walk every day. He's looking good. He can roll over again. Our other dog, the German Shepard, she's getting gray hairs all around her muzzle. She's middle age now. She'll be six in June. She doesn't like to go for walks. She likes her yard and her own house. She stays home when we take the little guy out for his exercise.

I played hookie from work on Friday. It was my wife's idea. Seems some of the guys she works with up at The Plant were killing time at a local tavern like they do every other Friday when they get paid. It's a regular thing. She dropped me off around noon. We drank beer and shot pool all afternoon. I have not done that in a long time. It was good. I called my foreman from my Trac Fone in the back room at the bar. The back room is real quiet. I just said I wouldn't be in. He didn't ask and I didn't care. If he asks me on Monday when I get to The Dock I'll tell him I was at the bar. I ain't going to lie about something like that. It's all good.

Yeah, so she's decided to work half a shift tonight. She'll clock out at 0400 and come home for a shower and maybe some breakfast. We'll leave here by 0600 to make it to her appointment in time. We want to leave extra early, Pitsburgh traffic being like it is. The Hillman Cancer Center, it's downtown on Centre Avenue just a little bit off Fifth.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Drive On.

Yeah, so those were a couple of old war stories. My days as a cop in my native North Jersey are well behind me now. There are times when I miss it. When that happens it don't take long for me to remember all the stuff I don't miss. Can you dig it?

Snow squalls in today's Western Pennsylvania forecast. They ain't kiddin' either. Friggin' spell check won't work on this blogger thing. We owe seven hundred and something bucks on our taxes this year. The bastards just keep knockin' you down. We really don't make a whole lot of money. We have three incomes. My pension, what I earn down on The Dock and my wife's job too. It don't seem to matter what we claim to have witheld from our paychecks, it's just not enough. If you add the three things up it puts us in a higher tax bracket. I bet we pay a higher percentage then friggin' Exxon. I'm so sick of this.

Looks like March the fifth. That's when my wife will have her breasts removed. Friggin' breast cancer. The doctor said that breasts are considered a "non-essential" body part. That means that the friggin' insurance company can have her sent home from the hospital sooner. They will probably send her home that day, maybe one night in the hospital but as soon as they can get away with it.

All these assholes runnin' for president. Did you see how much money they spend for their respective campaigns? It's disgusting. All so they can get in the White House and take our hard money while they let the insurance companies and the oil companies do whatever they want. All they will do is take care of their rich contributors. I really don't believe a word any of them say. And they wonder why people don't vote? Why the hell should we vote when all they do is stick it to us every chance they get?

Yeah, I'm a little bitter. Yeah, I'm pissed off too. Don't worry, it will subside.

I am married to the best woman on the planet. We have been blessed with two of the sweetest, brightest kids anyone could ever hope for. "They" can tax me to death. "They" can rip us off like they always do, "They" will never have what we have here in this drafty old house.

Okay, I'm done with the whole cry baby routine. I'm not even sure if I'll post this post. If you read then you'll know. If you don't read it.....................................

Hey Tommy. Hey, I may be a sniveling little jerk but I'm honest about it. I know that doesn't make much sense. I'm scared to death man. I'm so scared about this cancer thing, I just don't know what to do. Drive on bro.

Friday, February 08, 2008


I know I said I'd write about this other guy, the one I'll call Guy. So I'm writing about Guy. He was mentally ill. When he was on his medication he was great. When he went off the meds, or the meds had to be adjusted, he could be a problem.

Guy was never as dangerous as Kid. He could have been, he was just much less prone to violence. Had Guy been prone to violence we could have had some real problems. Guy was a big man. Guy had served in the Marine Corp and seen action in Vietnam. Guy's mental illness did not "show up" until he was well into his thirties. He must have hid it well, or been able to control it through force of will. He was in his early forties when I first met him. Guy had a loving family. His extended family took good care of him. When we dealt with Guy we knew we could always call his grandmother, she could always keep him in line. Guy loved his grandmother.

We had this Captain, a Vietnam vet also, who always went out of his way for Guy. Some of the other older cops, the 'Nam vets, they looked out for him too. We were told from day one to treat Guy with respect. We were told to call the Captain or one of the other vets if he got out of control. All we ever really had to do was tell Guy that we were calling his grandmother, then he would get in the rig with the medics and go the hospital voluntarily. They knew him down at the ER. A couple days of observation, a change in his meds and Guy was good to go. Then his grandmother died.

One night we rolled up on Guy who was in the middle of the street, naked, drawing what looked like a big space ship on the pavement with sidewalk chalk. It was very late, about 0300, and it was a quiet one way residential street so traffic was not an issue. My partner, who was himself a former Marine, always got along with Guy quite well. My partner was not a 'Nam vet, he was far too young, but the Marine Corp thing seemed to be their connection. My partner was big too, almost as big as Guy.

I stood by the car while my partner walked up to talk to Guy. We were pretty sure he was not carrying any weapons. Guy was never known to carry weapons. Like I was saying before, Guy was stark naked as well. Kind of hard to conceal anything when you are naked. It can be done, but it would be very uncomfortable I'm sure.

So Guy said he was drawing the space ship as sort of a landing beacon. Guy said his people were coming to get him and take him home. My partner asked him where home was and Guy said that home was in Japan. Guy said he was Japanese. Oh, did I mention that Guy was African American? Guy did not look Japanese. Guy's grandmother once told me that she was born in Virginia. She said her husband was from New York.

Utelizing our combined powers of observation, my partner and I concluded that Guy was in fact going off the deep end again. We could not invoke his grandmother's name because sadly she had passed away a couple months prior. So, My partner asks Guy if he wants to take a ride down and see the doctor. Guy stands up, his knees and hands covered with sidewalk chalk dust. Guy glares at my partner. I'm thinking, here we go. Instead of a fight we had a chase. Guy took off on a dead run. For a guy his size, he could run. Down the street and out onto the Avenue. Cars honking and hitting the brakes while Guy ran full steam, naked, down the middle of the four lane busy main street. I started to laugh. My partner was laughing too. It's hard to run when your laughing. It messes with your breathing. It throws off your cadence.

Guy finally stopped. He turned and smiled as if he were waiting for us. Guy laughed at us. Guy said it was pretty sad that a couple of twenty somethings got beat out by an "old man". Guy told my partner that he was making the Corp look bad. Guy said we should stop eating all those free donuts.

A tavern owner came towards us. He had been locking up the bar when he saw us run down the street. The tavern owner had a table cloth that he gave us to wrap around Guy. We walked the three blocks back to the radio car. Fortunately it was still there. In the excitement of the chase. The "dog pile on the rabbit" syndrome, I had left it running in the middle of the street. We put Guy in the back of the car and called for the medics.

At the hospital, Guy asked us to stay with him until the doctors could see him. We stayed. The nurses were afraid of him. We told them not to be. They didn't believe us.

Guy was a good guy. Guy died about ten years after that incident. I was already retired from injuries when I heard he had passed away. I hope he's with his grandmother now. I hope the voices in his head left him when he moved on.