Friday, March 27, 2009

Mentally Ill? Golf is the prescription!

There was a time, about 18 months ago, when my work situation was very stable. My cancer was very stable. My children were all nearby. I was playing golf at least twice a week and had time to practice another couple of times per week. I slept like a wee baby, seemingly without a care in the world. My handicap index was 7.6 and being on the golf course was pure bliss. Every time I stood over the ball, I was excited about the fantastic shot that I was about to hit.
Then...the department acquired a new Chief, my entire chain of command was reassigned, and I found my self scrambling around 50-60 hours a week trying to justify my existence. During this time I lost the ability to schedule an afternoon for weekday golf. It seemed that no matter how I worked at it, I could not make my new bosses happy. This started to affect my health. I would wake up in the middle of the night and start thinking about work. Once this happened I had to just get up or I would lay there thinking about work all night. Then I started having pains that resembled the pains I had when my tumor was diagnosed. I started living on ibuprofen again. In the fall of last year Clay left for school in Hawaii. I am glad he is there. I'm very glad that he is away from home and learning self-sufficiency. I do worry more about him because I don't see him every day. I hope that he will continue to do well in Hawaii and eventually graduate from there. Recently my medical problems have progressed to the point that I believe surgery is in my near future. I have an appointment with a doctor at MD Anderson on the 9th of April. Those appointments are different because they say you have to make yourself available to them for testing and so forth for 5-7 business days. I'm not sure what they would do for that period of time.
Last week, on my day off, my lovely wife convinced me to go play golf. She even went with me and rode in the cart. Yesterday it was raining so we went to Top Golf. I don't have the same control over the ball that I once had but the game still fills me with excitement and joy. At night when I can't go to sleep, I visualize the path of the ball as I hit every shot on one of a handful of local courses that I know like the back of my hand. I rarely get past the 5th or 6th hole before I apparently fall asleep. This is way more fun than counting sheep. I really don't know what the future holds for my health situation. I will continue to pray and trust that everything will be fine. Golf is my escape. No matter how lousy your last shot was, golf always holds the hope that your next one will be the one that makes the angels sing and all the animals in the forest stop and watch. You just gotta love it!
Beef /JG

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Hello? Is this thing on?

I've not had any recent comments. No one has checked on me during my prolonged absence from Beef Tips. I may get the idea that there is no one out there.
On Friday I left very early for Houston. The Defenders had a game with the Houston Gunners on Saturday but I had to go a day early to deliver my records to MD Anderson. I have to say, that place is massive. When I finally found the Sarcoma unit, it was reassuring to see that there were over 20 Sarcoma specialist on staff. I met with the nurse and gave her my, 7 years worth of, records. She looked it all over and said she would scan and copy and download all of the data so that it could be presented to the group during their review. She said that my doctor, Dr. Trent, will present my case to the group and they will all comment and speculate before reaching a consensus. It was reassuring to know that all of those trained eyes would be reviewing my case. I left with a much lighter portfolio case and the anticipation of hearing the opinion of these renowned experts.
I went to the team hotel and found several folks to dine with. We had steak at Texas Land and Cattle. It has been a long time since I had a good steak, hmmmm.
Saturday we met at the stadium at for pregame. I had spent several hours in the hotel going over possible wrinkles and adjustments that might be needed in our blocking schemes. Everything went well as we defeated the Gunners, 39-0. The O-line performed very well. We will need to improve before we face Central Texas in 4 weeks.
I drove back late Saturday and got up early Sunday to work video at church. Sunday we had lunch with Mom and Dad and spent the rest of the day catching up on yard work and recuperating.
Monday was work and was a 14 hour work day and it was Monday.
Today is my Friday but I am still very busy at work, which is why this entry is going to be brief.
You are now caught up. There are details that I glossed over but that will have to wait until next time.
I'm Beef and these are my Tips.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Frantic Life

I started the day with way more to do than I had time for. Then we had two dead body calls which took a 5 hour chunk out of my day. That sounds so callous when I say it like that. I really do model empathy in every way possible when dealing with these situations. The reality is that you can be sensitive to the survivors but you can't feel emotion on most of these calls. Oh you do on some and the ones that strike a cord are hard to predict. Bottomline, I got the things done that I could get done. I finished timesheets so everyone will get paid. Everyone went home in one piece and we got all of the bodies taken care of in a respectful way.
Now, I am frantically trying to get all my medical records in order from the last seven years; scans, reports, slides, etc. At the same time, I am gathering everything I need to coach our first game of the season against the Houston Gunners. I'm doing this because I am leaving in the morning for Houston to deliver my health history to MD Anderson tomorrow. I'm staying over and coaching on Saturday. I won't be blogging till Sunday. Goodnight and good living.
JG/ Beef

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I slept'd that happen?

Wow. I actually slept till a little after 9. I woke up around 4 and was actually sleepy so I went back to sleep and voila! I really don't know how to respond to this. Do I eat breakfast or wait for lunch? When I sat down at the computer while ago I intended to check for facebook messages and go eat Cheerios. I hadn't counted on Bracket Madness. I filled out my bracket with some trepidation and submitted it. Then it asks if you want to invite your friends....IDK. Is it annoying, will they feel obligated or think it is silly? I really worry a lot about what other people think. I am way more like my mother than my father. My mother and her whole family were very private and low profile. Anyone that knows my Dad knows that he is the polar opposite. He would invite every facebook friend and everyone else's facebook friend. Anyway....I really haven't watched enough college basketball to be confident of my picks. Getting back to my diversion, after filling out the brackets, facebook poker decided to give me a 1000 free chips in honor of St. Paddy's day. Of course I had to take those, play for 30 minutes, run everyone off the table, announce my presence with authority and run away.
Now, blogging in my bare feet, freezing my patooties off, I am retreating to the blanket and the couch for brunch with Cherrios and a banana. Since it is brunch I may throw in a couple of peanut butter crackers. Do you think that would be too ostentatious? You know how I worry what others think.

Monday, March 16, 2009

A Typical Day at Work

All day yesterday I told myself, self, you need to blog because that is what you committed to do. I just couldn't make myself sit down.
I had a busy day at work. There are 2 sergeants on every shift. I am responsible for the south and JB is responsible for the north. Occasionally we take off for school, vacation, sick or whatnot. That leaves one to cover the whole kit and caboodle. That was the case for me yesterday. Our shifts are offset by one hour so I went in early to do squad meeting for the north side guys. This is not required as the night shift sergeant will handle it if the day shift north side sergeant is off. However, I will be supervising those guys all day in JB's absence so it is better if they start the day with me. Sunday mornings are usually pretty quiet. We work 12 hour shifts so everyone has to work one short day(8hrs), where they come in late, out of every 14 days. We have several short days scheduled on Sunday since it is usually slow. I meet with the north side at 0600 and do the normal reading of bolos. Officer safety notices from our department and surrounding agencies are the most important. A typical bolo would be something like, Joe Blow is off his meds, has a gun, and is threatening suicide by cop. He is driving a yada, yada, yada, last seen, yada. We work our way through all of those and then talk about the previous nights calls. Mostly domestics and things that might carryover to our shift so that officers have a little heads up if they get dispatched to one of those locations. We talk about any special assignments or activities for the day and I try to show a brief training video or discuss a call that might have a lesson in it. Pretty much what you would expect. There is the occasional comment about a suspect or where somebody is going to meet for breakfast and we dismiss. Then I meet everyone at the cabinets to check out electronic ticket writers and printers. I have the key and have to sign out the devices. We then go to the Radar cabinet where we do the sign out thing again. Occasionally I also inventory their vehicles but not on JB's shift. He can do that when he is back. Officers inventory their cars on the in-car video every morning but every couple of weeks sergeants are expected to physically do this also. By now it is 0640 or so. Night shift south side has been covering the street for the last 40 minutes since night shift north side went home at 0600. Most of them have already started congregating in their sergeant's office but some are still dragging in. Twelve hour shifts have their advantages but it is hard to remember what they are at the end of a long quiet night. By now some of my guys are starting to show up for briefing. I usually spend these 15 or so minutes going through e-mails and making sure I have all the special events and close patrols listed for south side. At 0700 I start squad meeting and the whole dance repeats itself with the crew that I am routinely responsible for. There are 9 officers assigned to B-shift, South, or as we sometimes refer to it, the BS shift. There are very unique personalities on most shifts and this one is no exception. They are funny, somber, quiet, loud, but all professional and serious about doing the job. By 0740 I have been at work for a couple of hours but all we have done is clear the decks.
The hall is quiet again save for the occasional officer working on a report that he didn't finish last night. I spend this time planning and preparing while I can. I listen to the radio, which is usually quiet on a Sunday morning, and occasionally glance at the calls being dispatched on the computer. With CAD (computer-aided dispatch) most calls are put into the computer by the call taker or 911 operator and sent to the officer through the computer in their car. Here the officer can see the address and read the call notes as well as check previous calls at that location. Through out the day I am watching the computer in my office, or the computer in the expedition, for calls that I need to go to. Dispatch will usually make me aware but I should respond to major calls such as serious injury accidents, or any call where several officers will respond. On day shift this includes dead bodies.
We seem to have a dead body at least once a week. For some reason the last 5 have all been naked. I don't know how to explain it but we have guessed it to be that they were either hot and sweaty from having the heart attack and trying to cool off or they just happened to be changing clothes or coming out of the shower. Anyway, lately I try to limit the amount of time that I don't have on clothes, I mean, who knows. Today however the streak is ended. The 63 year old woman with pancreatic cancer that died 2 days ago, smoking marijuana in her bed, was dressed. How the burn on the sheet, from the pipe, did not start a fire, is a mystery to me. Anyway, one of my senior officers handled the call in his typical, professional way. He was great with the family, explaining the process and helping them know what was happening all along the way. Senior officers make my job so easy.
As the shift starts to wind down around 1630 or so things start getting harried. I have to check all the crime reports in the computer and whisk them, electronically, on to records while maintaining a list of case numbers to compare against the list of calls. This is to insure that all reports are completed for major calls, and to verify if something minor will be completed the next day. I also check accident reports in the inbox and discuss the days events with each shift during a debrief before they go home. Also, all that checking out that I did this morning is all checked back in. At 1858 or so, I say goodnight to the weary crew standing around my office and watch their disposition change as they realize that the weekend has started. That's the good thing about 12 hours shifts, lots of weekends. This week we are off Monday, Tuesday. We come back Wednesday, Thursday and are off Friday-Sunday. Well that was my day. I think it was pretty typical. I may be able to go back to sleep now.


Saturday, March 14, 2009


What the heck is a blog suppose to be? Is it a diary that I bare my soul to, purely for the cathartic value of talking about my problems...a cyber, psychiatric couch? Is it to entertain friends and family? That would bring in the question, which friends and what family? They would be entertained so differently, by such different fodder. I guess that is an indictment on my soul, that I am a different person to different people and never the twain shall meet. I once gave the sage advice to my son, "just be yourself". The quizzical look and cavalier response he gave me indicated that he already understood that we all live multiple lives...maybe not all of us. I really think that the Jesus that was preaching the sermon on the mount was probably the same Jesus when he was just kickin' it with his homies. I also guess that others have done a pretty good job of maintaining a single identity with some minor dalliance into schizoidville. So it is a fault that I am about to reveal. Drum roll please. I am different at work....I am different with family...I am different at church...and at 3 o'clock in the morning lying in bed, contemplating my own mortality or any of a thousand terrible things that could happen to one of my kids...I am different. Now the one that really twists my head into knots. Which one am I when I talk about all the "me's" that I am? If that is not a tough enough question...which of my worlds am I admitting all of this to? I don't know.

We went to the movie Watchmen last night. I feel an obligation to tell everyone I know that they lied to us. All of us were victims of this lie. The previews made it look like, just another superhero movie. It is not. It is dark and visceral and carnal. There is so much of this that even the work "me" would think that it should be rated NC-17. Now the work "me" also thought it was a powerful movie that evoked emotion and made me have to think to keep up. Don't tell the family or folks at church that I said that. Truth is that the work "me" sees a lot worse than that on a normal day at the office. I and the people I work with see so much of this that we have to be different people around the ones we love. When I see someone from work out with their family, we look at each other as if we are under cover. We don't want to spoil what is good with thoughts of the multiple fatality wreck we worked together the day before, or the suicide that the asshole let his children find. We just say hi and with a knowing glance acknowledge to each other that we thank God everyday that we have another life to escape into when work is done.
No matter how hard I try this morning I can't manage to keep it light. I'm going to eat my Honey Nut Cheerios with bananas on top and maybe watch a cartoon. That usually does it.
Bye for now.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Dreary Day

We needed rain...but did it have to get cold to rain. I have on 3 layers from head to toe and I can't seem to warm up my bones. I've been going from one doctor to the next this morning. I had a followup with the urologist. The only purpose of going to the urologist 3 weeks ago was to rule out other possible causes of my various aches and pains. We did that by trying flomax for 3 weeks and by a very personal and probing physical examination. Today he said that he wanted to look at the inside of my bladder. When I asked how he would do this I already knew that I didn't want to know. It's sort of like when the guy at EZ-lube shows you your air filter and says, "you really ought to get a new one"......sorry..... nevermind... it's not at all like that. I don't think it's necessary and I don't want to know what the inside of my bladder looks like. Somethings we are not meant to know. This concludes my relationship with the urologist for now. Dr. Spivey is my oncologists. I like Dr. Spivey because he pretty much does what I ask him to do. After a recent scan, today I asked Dr. Spivey to start looking for a good surgeon with a very specific set of qualifications. He agreed. Now I have to start the process of interviewing surgeons until I find one that I like that says he can do what I want, the way I want it done, others need not apply.
We are going to the movies after I put Clays semi-weekly stipend in the bank. Clay has my heart. He is going through some very difficult relationship issues. Things that awaken old feelings and scars from my youth. He is so much better equiped to deal with these things then I ever was, but it doesn't lessen the pain, for either of us.
I have to feed the dog and get ready to go...for now.
I'm Beef and these have been my Tips...not really tips like don't stand in the rain without an umbrella, although that would be a good one...don't do it....more like tips of the iceberg that is my do icebergs fear oceanliners like oceanliners fear icebergs...I don't think so. I don't think an iceberg really fears because I don't think it has a brain...hello?
Bye for now.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Finally done with this class

I am done with this class and glad of it. I always enjoy interacting with others in class. It would just be somuch better if we were in a restaurant or on a beach or a golf course.
It is so cold outside that I would really rather stay here at the office then to go outside and go home...maybe it is worth it to get out of here. I am about to go to the MRI place and get my report. Hopefully there will be good news. I will probably not write again today. Stay inside, build a big fire, and find someone to snuggle with.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

MRI today

I'm still in class, learning my part in this ballet that is patrol training. I had to take a brief break today to have an MRI. As you may know, I have a tumor in a very unusual place. The bad thing is that taking it out would cause all sorts of re-plumbing that I am opposed to. The good thing is that the unusual place caused us to become aware of it before it got so large that it metastasized all over my body. So...I take this cutting edge(it was when I started taking it 7 years ago) targeted oral therapy that shrunk the tumor and has maintained it in a relatively stable way for all this time. The bad thing is that it is still there and has to be monitored with quarterly CTs or MRIs. The good thing is that I have a place to check and know whether it is bigger or stable 4 times a year. The bad thing is that 4 times a year I fear the worst. Anyway...I had the MRI today which means 2 and 1/2 hours of laying on a hard table under a giant slab of a machine with barely enough room to breath while it takes 3D pics of all my most personal spots. I will know tomorrow if I am good for 3 more months or if it is time to contemplate another strategy. Gotta love the drama of it.
Donna is going out with the girls from her old office. I hope she continues to do this. I think the relationships are the most important part about work. I mean you spend a lot of time with those people. No reason to lose the friendships for some economic downturn.
I'm sure you are on the edge of your seat, waiting for tomorrow's post.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

In Class This Week

I have been in class this week. Our new officer training program that use to be called an FTO(Field Training Officer) program, is now called a PTO (Patrol Training Officer)program. The training officers and all supervisors are going through the training. I enjoy learning and this class is not totally without merit. My days are shorter but it messes with my days off.
We are in dire need of rain here in Denton. It has been cloudy and humid for the last two days and I just saw some sprinkles on my windshield. As I sit in the room where Donna is watching the news, I notice that it is impossible to hear a news story that doesn't talk about the "economic downturn". It makes me angry that the economy has become an excuse to re-engineer and grow government. We are becoming a nation of sheep. I am making a concerted effort to avoid talking or thinking about the Obama administration and the federal government. My main concern is to be as prepared as possible by reducing spending, increasing savings and buying more ammo. I want to take care of my family and their families.
This blog is a labor at this point because I really don't have a clear understanding of who might read it or what I want to say. When I have written in the past it has been motivated by a clear thought that I wanted to convey. The exercise that I am currently involved in is primarily to develope the habit of writing...even if I don't fee there is anything to say. I will continue this until I gain some cathartic benefit or lose motivation. Until tomorrow. JG

Monday, March 9, 2009

My entre into the bloggersphere

I love to write. I just never thought I had anything to write about. Today I came to the conclusion that most interesting blogs that I read are not about anything.
I look forward to sharing here.

On another topic, one of my favorite eaterys in Denton has disappointed me for the last time. Denton County Independent Hamburger has been lousy the last 2 times I've had it. Those who know me, know that I am trying to support small business during this "economic downturn". This does not include supporting a restaurant that has abandoned its core values.
I do believe that small business is the backbone of our nation's economy. There are small business owners that believe so strongly in the american dream and the freedom of business ownership that they risk their life savings to further their dreams. As a nation we should support these brave Americans. If there is a small business that has the goods and services that you need, please support them.
Wow, I got really serious there for a minute.