I’ve struggled a long time over whether to write this piece. Ultimately, I’ve decided I’m never going to “get past it until I blast it.”
So buckle up.
My dad has been in the ground almost a year now. And I still wrestle daily with the pain and anger of what I call caregiver PTSD. I do have a PTSD diagnosis of course, stemming from an assault by a family member that nearly left me for dead a little more than two years ago (an event made even more curious given what we know now about the size of my dad’s estate), and then a year later, being jailed on no charges at all, right around the anniversary date of that assault (for reporting an intruder at dad’s assisted living facility).
For three years, you saw the pictures of my dad and I – sometimes funny, other times heartbreaking. Terribly heartbreaking. Like this one.
I visited my dad multiple times a day for 13 years, picked him up off the floor, fed him, but most of all, just sat and talked with him. The day this picture was taken, I had to beg him to eat three bites of coconut cream pie, and I spoon-fed it to him myself. That was the last meal he ever would eat.
When I visit my dad at the cemetery, almost every day, I praise God that his suffering is over. I also find great satisfaction in knowing that I finally got him the diagnosis he always was looking for. Hopefully people understand now why he acted the way he did, and others all over America and the world have an explanation for why their loved ones with FTD act the way they do.
I am very, very proud of how I cared for my dad, who already was living in an assisted living facility (Comfort Harbor in Milan, Ill.) when I moved back here from Los Angeles in 2002. My brother took him back out of the facility upon my arrival, and I began to care for dad in his apartment. My brother thought that was a walk in the park. My brother thinks it was all fun and games, and that I got lots of free stuff.
John was almost never around. Period. And he doesn’t really believe it was fun and games. Do you still John? Because if so there is not a brain in your head.
I have no use for my brother in my life whatsoever and I hope I never have to see his face ever again. Everything that came out of his mouth from the day I moved back here to the present has been nothing but lies. I do not think he is capable of telling the truth about anything anymore, quite frankly. My dad called it “Fordham’s disease.”
So why was I really jailed in June 2015? Well, I had given police some very good information regarding some criminal activity just a few days prior. There no longer is any doubt about the quality of the information I gave them.
‘It’s almost like Dave’s clairvoyant’
While I was inside the jail, a high-ranking politician whom I have known for many, many years (and used to be great friends with) was hanging out in there trying to decide what to do with me. I could hear almost every word she said, as I was held in “the hole” on the main floor — the suicide cell. I was not charged and booked with anything, so I was not in the general population. (I wasn’t remotely suicidal either, as the official from Robert Young Center quickly determined, explaining I would be released shortly)
At one point I even heard the politician say, “How can he hear us?” and “It’s almost like Dave’s clairvoyant.”
At the urging of a Rock Island County Republican board member, I have since shared that entire story with the Illinois State Police.
At the urging of the county coroner, whose wife was one of my best friends for many years (in fact, the coroner’s wife, the high-ranking politician and myself frequently enjoyed post-deadline cocktails when we all worked at the local newspaper in the 1980s and 1990s), I also shared the story with Chicago attorney Kenneth Flaxman. The coroner pointed out to me that he also represented a woman who claimed she was assaulted inside the jail.
Mr. Flaxman told me I already had told so many people that “you may end up in the river, and I don’t want that responsibility.” I did find another attorney to take the case, but what I really want is an explanation, an apology, and assurance that the jail is going to finally clean up its act if it hasn’t already. This story is not uncommon, according to people who work in Quad-City healthcare.
In fact, it’s the local healthcare sector who cheers me on when I write these pieces. They’re tired of seeing people come out of that jail forever changed, haunted by what went on inside.They end up being the ones who have to treat them for life.
While I was in “the hole,” I heard this politician say, “Give him Dave’s phone, he won’t know whose phone it is.” I had no idea who she was talking about. But I did recognize the voices of two people working in the jail as former bartenders from Mary’s on 2nd. These employees had been fired from the bar for coming to work drunk and such. Apparently Bobby Stansberry puts up with a hell of a lot less nonsense than Sheriff Gerry Bustos does.
When I finally got out of the jail, and later the hospital (which forgave the portion of the bill that my insurance did not pay, despite the fact I did not qualify for financial assistance, and even wrote a letter of apology) I opened the Metro app on my phone to catch the bus. I was riding the bus at the time and did not own a vehicle.
‘Plant malt liquor in Dave’s car at Amber Ridge’
I had heard the high-ranking politician say, ‘‘Plant malt liquor in Dave’s vehicle at Amber Ridge. Is his car still at Amber Ridge?”
You would have thought a politician of her caliber and background would have done her research. I didn’t even own a vehicle and rode the bus and walked to Amber Ridge, like I did every day.
When I first opened my Metro bus app after spending two days in the jail, here’s what I saw.
I have never visited any of these places on the bus, or had been to any of them period in at least a year-plus prior. Some of them I never had been to in my life and have no idea where they are. One of these addresses is in the neighborhood of a well-known drug dealer to the gay community; some of the others had recently been visited by cops for drug busts, a quick review of news reports revealed.
Later, my pastor decided to confide in me that when she called my phone while I was in the jail, “A Spanish-speaking person kept answering it.” She kept her phone records in case they someday are needed, as did I.
What else went on in the jail? Well, one guard had another examine my penis, and she told me if I would agree to be part of her “Davenport prostitution ring” she would release me. She kept dangling the keys over the tiny window of the cell where I was kept, stripped naked, under a blaring light, nothing but concrete on which to lie – on no charges at all.
Well, for being a snitch. Let’s face it. I was jailed for being a snitch.
What my bloodwork showed
When I was finally released from the hospital, my bloodwork showed nothing in my system other than a trace of marijuana. Meanwhile, a former friend who herself appears to be in the throes of a substance abuse problem continues to run around town telling even my relatives that she searched my home with the Rock Island Police Department and found meth and crack.
A bare-faced lie.
I’m smart enough to know that when life is good, sometimes you should just keep your mouth shut, especially when time passes with no further offenses, even after you’ve been wronged. I make a damned good living writing branded content that hopefully helps others recover from drug and alcohol addiction. Indeed, I have a good life.
But I also did not get into journalism to pass up a chance to exploit being real-life “undercover” in the Rock Island County Jail. Believe me, I have plenty more stories I can tell!
Here’s the thing: I have been sober (and sane!) since Memorial Day 2014, the night I was assaulted by my cousin and his fiends. A year after that — the Amber Ridge incident — I stopped smoking pot too, even though with a PTSD diagnosis it is legal for me to smoke it in the state of Illinois.
So I am not going to let sloppy floozies run all over town saying I was on drugs when I wasn’t. Nor am I going to let the corrupt establishment try to propagate that myth to fit their needs. I know the truth, the cops in my town know the truth, and the truth is going to set me free. It hopefully will set this whole community free and send some dirty politicians and their minions straight to the big house.
I write this story because there are documents that support all of this, and because none of these people – not the people in the jail, not even the politician who apparently likes to hang out there for lack of better things to do, not even the family members who tried to hurt me – NONE OF THEM have been punished. Most people wouldn’t be able to just grin and bear it as long as I have.
Let alone not touch a drink! I often wonder if they’re just waiting for me to get drunk and act nuts. Sorry folks. You’ll be skeletons in your taxpayer-paid, gold-plated rocking chairs by the time that happens.
When a community’s ties to organized crime are obviously as strong as they are in Rock Island County, the people deserve to know. The journalist in me just can’t keep quiet.
I have spent nearly $3,000 with my attorney so far just to get what my dad left me in his will. Not only is the estate still not settled, it has turned even uglier than one could have possibly imagined.
So as the one year anniversary of dad’s death draws near, I’m grateful his suffering is over, and I’m hella grateful to have the kind of self-respect I never thought I’d have again.
But I’m also hurting, I’m angry, and I won’t give up on doing all I can to make sure the criminals among us are brought to justice. I did not purchase the family home in this community to live in a town so corrupt it makes Chicago politicians blush.