Damaged trap door in basement proves shocking trigger to assault, illegal search

BULLETIN … URGENT … NEW INFORMATION ON BUSTOS

Editor’s note: Frank Fitzpatrick is serving four years in prison. You can check out the court record here. Sources tell me two dozen tattoo-necks are being held in federal custody on meth charges.

My basement contains a scary trap door. It leads to the crawl space under my room addition.

It never used to be scary, however.

Trap Normal

In fact, when my brother and I were kids, he kept booze in it, hidden from mom and dad.

And I did the same when I inherited the basement bedroom when he moved out.

Now, however, it appears it may have been a spot for a massive meth stash.

My father, unbeknownst to him (it never was disclosed) purchased a meth house from Moline City Firefighter Todd Fitzpatrick in June 2012 for $85,000. Crumbling roof, cockroach infestation and all.

If you know the whereabouts of QC Most Wanted’s Frank Fitzpatrick, call 911 immediately. Do not call Moline police. I want this young man caught, not sheltered. Call Rock Island police. Update 1/18/18: CAPTURED!

Fitzpatrick

Read more: How my Metrolink bus app caught my phone traveling all over the QC…while I was being held in the Rock Island County Jail on no charges at all

Dad had dementia, and he wanted his family home that he lost to my mother back. Obviously, he wanted to leave it to me.

Dad paid cash for this house. A Realtor who was a friend of mine, from the former Davenport Alderman Bill Boom group that I used to hang out with, performed the transaction.

Oh, what a mess.

Alderman Bill Boom case fallout still rippling across community

To get yourself up to speed, here is what the Alderman Bill Boom case was all about. He lied to a grand jury during a federal meth investigation involving the mentally disabled young man who lived at his home. He also owned the town gay bar.

You can check out newswoman Chris Minor’s outstanding report about the Bill Boom meth case by clicking here.

Sadly, the mentally disabled young man is now in prison, unable to meet the requirements of mental health court, which he appropriately was given.

Just remember this young man is mentally ill, and if anyone of sound mind or influence aided or abetted him while he was supposed to be trouble-free during mental health court, they should go to prison as far as I’m concerned.

I know a lot of stuff.

ENJOY MY VIRAL ‘WALKAWAY’ VIDEO

Myself and the Realtor both ran with the Alderman Bill Boom crowd

I don’t know whether to be angry with this Realtor or not. I know my dad was. In fact, dad vowed he was suing both the Realtor and Mel Foster Co. for months and months. He would sit in his chair cussing Todd Fitzpatrick, the Realtor and Mel Foster Co. under his breath all day long.

Read more: How does a carnival worker and bartender get a job in the jail?

I never could get a handle on what he was mad about. The Realtor finally called me once and said, “Queen (we called each other that at the time), is your dad going to sue me?”

Read more: Was I nearly trafficked out of the Rock Island County Jail?

I never quite understood why he was asking me that. Even with dad’s endless barrage of profanities for the Realtor, Mel Foster Co. and Fitzpatrick, I didn’t put much stock into it.

The next thing I knew, the Realtor had moved to Chicago to become a hairdresser.

Full disclosure: My dad declined an inspection when he bought the home. He told the Realtor, “I know the house.”

The Realtor flat out asked me a bit later: “Queen, is your dad in his right mind?”

To which I replied, “I guess.”

Dad had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s many, many years prior, but it was very clear that he did not have Alzheimer’s.

And he didn’t. He had a much rarer disease called behavioral-variant frontotemporal degeneration, but that spot-on diagnosis by Dr. Ahmad, a Moline neurologist, did not come until two years before death.

Read more: Everything you didn’t want to know about the strange disease that killed my dad

I want to make it clear that this Realtor declared several members of the Boom group filth long before I did, and as far as I know, stopped having anything to do with them a long, long time ago.

How does a private citizen illegally search homes with police?

So, what does this have to do with the trap door?

When QC Most Wanted added Frank Fitzpatrick to the list and sent out a press release, my reactions were many.

First, relief. I was assaulted in my home. Perhaps more than once.

But when I went downstairs and opened the trap door at the suggestion of my brother, and saw that indeed someone had gotten into the crawl space and then (very, very poorly) tried to cover their tracks, I flipped out really, really bad.

My neighbors told me long ago my home was searched as I was being held and tortured in the Rock Island County Jail on no charges (just days after being an informant in the Alderman Bill Boom case, and exactly a year almost to the day of the assault in my basement by my cousin and his friends from this neighborhood).

I went down to RIPD and raised holy hell. I called my alderman and raised holy hell. Finally, the front desk clerk said the system showed the county had been at my home twice while I was in the jail.

Did they assault me (they injected me with something) so they could ransack my house?

Long before we knew about Fitzpatrick, I steadfastly maintained that when I went to Amber Ridge the morning I was “arrested,” I felt as though I had been poisoned. This has been my story to Rock Island Police from day one, even before they finally ORDERED me to change my locks.

So, when Frank Fitzpatrick landed on the QC Most Wanted list, it was an “A Ha!” moment.

My former best friend told my cousin, Lisa Pittard, one night up at Hilltop Tavern that she searched my house with Rock Island police and found meth and crack. At least that is verbatim what my cousin Lisa told me when I ran into her at Aldi around Christmas two years ago.

Can you imagine? A year sober and caring for my dad, working multiple jobs, and serving as an informant in the Bill Boom investigation? I was running on pride and the greatest self-esteem I ever had felt, not meth.

And my estranged best friend who allegedly parties every single day at the gay bar said that? Really???

Is it any wonder people around town run the other way when they see me? The town is pure filth. Increasingly, I even will go so far as to say the RIHS and Alleman classes of 1988 have some of the filthiest of the filth.

Or, they are just currently in their prime Rock Island County mafia years. That probably is more like it.

My family has been completely destroyed by this. My aunt and cousin both are very, very ill. I may never see either one of them ever again.

My understanding is that the former friend still hangs out Mary’s on 2nd for Happy Hour, every day. She works for perhaps the most powerful lawyer in all of Rock Island County, another former friend of mine and regular at Mary’s on 2nd.

How either one of them lives with themselves is WAY beyond anything my mind can comprehend at this point. How many times do I need to be proven right. Oh, several more times are coming, I have no doubt. Believing in that is the only way I can get up each day right now.

I have no family. None at all. I am 100 percent estranged from all of them, on both of sides. The other side has ties to the woman who was on duty at Amber Ridge Memory Care the night my dad nearly bled to death after he alleged being assaulted there. Alternatives for the Older Adult, a worthless, corrupt and disgraceful organization as far as I’m concerned, did NOTHING.

Tick-tock of terror: Partial timeline of my “arrest” on no charges

My cousin was good friends with Frank Fitzpatrick. And my cousin and his friends assaulted me in my basement the last night I ever took a drink. Well, until my January-June of 2017 relapse.

No charges ever have been filed against my cousin or anyone else as it relates to my assault.

So why am I bringing this all up today?

When all is said and done, yesterday I became triggered about all of this, for whatever reason. No need to describe triggers, it just brings them up again.

So, I went downstairs to take a long, hard look at that trap door. And this time, I noticed the structural damage to the foundation.

Damage 1

I had the Rock Island police here yesterday to file a report, and State Farm will be coming out next week.

I’m just going to end this blog now. The magic number is 1,200 words for blogs, you know. I’m at 1,189.

Perhaps my former friends can gather round and read this today over cocktails at Mary’s on 2nd.

Until next time.

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Gabapentin prescribed before and after surgery may help prevent opioid slide

Stock image courtesy Pixabay

Taking gabapentin, a medication known to help fight pain in some people, before and after surgery can help reduce the need for opioid painkillers.

So concluded a study published today in JAMA by a team of researchers at Stanford University. The study compared about 200 surgical patients given placebo v. 200 surgical patients given gabapentin.

Check out my report for OpiateRehabTreatment.com: Become addicted to opioids after one of these common surgeries? You’re not alone

Surgeries performed on patients participating in the study included breast lumpectomies, total knee replacements, shoulder surgery, hand surgery, carpal tunnel surgery and more. You can read the full study for yourself by clicking here.

Under the brand name Neurontin, gabapentin for years has been used as a backup pain reliever. Mostly, it’s used to treat seizures.

It is in a class of drugs called anticonvulsants. Little is understood about how gabapentin works on pain, and many say it has miserable side effects. Many patients report it does nothing at all for them.

Also, the drug is not without additional controversy. Gabapentin has been associated with an increased risk of anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia and suicidal thoughts too, as reported by Healthline.com.

Research also has shown gabapentin can cause respiratory depression and sleep apnea, not only in the elderly but in others as well. The elderly appear to be particularly at risk, however, according to the researchers.

But the researchers concluded that those given gabapentin for three days after surgery ceased taking opioids about 25 percent faster than those who didn’t.

Related news: Opioids more prevalent in households already heavily medicated

Those given placebo were given an “active placebo” – in this case, lorazepam (Xanax) – before surgery.

They were given active placebo so they would think they were given a true sedative medicine prior to surgery. While lorazepam (Xanax, anxiety medication) can be dangerous, highly addictive and deadly, particularly for those also addicted to opioids, in this case only a modest does was given, and only once.

“The placebo group received one capsule of active placebo (lorazepam, 0.5 mg) and three capsules of inactive placebo preoperatively, followed by two capsules of inactive placebo three times a day starting on postoperative day one and continued for 72 hours (10 total doses),”the researchers explained.

“Post- operatively, active placebo was considered unnecessary since most patients received other analgesic medications. The treatment group received 4 capsules of gabapentin, 300 mg (1200 mg total), preoperatively and two capsules of gabapentin, 300 mg, three times a day (600 mg three times a day) postoperatively (10 total doses).”

Gabapentin didn’t reduce pain, mechanism of action uncertain

There was no reported reduction in pain for patients receiving gabapentin, even though they ceased opioids sooner after surgery than those who received placebo.

Read more: My interview with NBA great Grant Hill on how he avoided opioids while playing professional basketball

Read more: My interview with NFL great Charles Haley and how professional sports left him picking up the pieces – and also saved his life

“Following a preplanned interim analysis, the study was stopped early for meeting a futility stopping boundary with regard to the primary end point: time to pain cessation,” the researchers wrote.

Gabapentin already is frequently given to opioid addicts who enter treatment, the researchers noted. It is believed it helps prevent hyperalgesia Hyperalgesia is when a person receiving opioids actually experiences pain from the opioids.

“Gabapentin significantly increased the rate of opioid cessation after hospital discharge,” the researchers concluded. “This finding resonates with earlier work suggesting that the determinants of the rate of opioid cessation are largely independent of the duration of pain and the determinants of time to pain resolution.”

Doctors not related to the research say it’s just a start

In an accompanying invited commentary, Drs. Michael Ashburn and Lee Fleisher point out shortcomings in the study but laud its efforts. They say more research into gabapentin and therapeutics like it, administered in conjunction with surgical procedures, is needed.

A small number of patients in each study group continued receiving opioids and reported continued pain for a year after surgery. Unfortunately, chronic pain develops in many patients following surgery, leading to long-term opioid use.

“The conduct of the anesthetic was not standardized, nor could it be, given the variety of surgical procedures included in this study,” the commentators noted. “However, the conduct of the anesthetic, especially with regard to the use of perioperative regional anesthesia, could certainly affect the patient’s pain experience and perhaps influence the development of chronic pain following surgery.

“Likewise, it appears that the prescribing of opioids following surgery was also not standardized and was left to the discretion of the treating physician.”

Unfortunately, that is the way it works. The CDC has been urging doctors to become extraordinarily judicious about prescribing opioids and adhere to the ever-evolving best practices.

Read more: My report for Black Bear Rehab on why researchers tell ER docs opioids always should be a last resort

Cbeck out my report on opioid addiction from the American College of Physicians Conference Internal Medicine Meeting in San Diego that I attended this year:

What every family doctor needs to know about opioids

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Study shows association between opioids, heavily medicated families in general

Poppy field photo courtesy of Pixabay

Research published today in JAMA Internal Medicine reveals something not too surprising: When one member of a household has opioids, such as Vicodin or hydrocodone, other family members have a greater likelihood of dipping into it, too, when compared to households that simply stock NSAIDS.

What’s surprising is that the increase is miniscule: Less than 1 percent over the course of one year of opioid use.

This massive study of 20 million insurance beneficiaries covered prescriptions dispensed from 2000 to 2014. Two-thirds were given opioids; a third were given non-opioid pain relief.

Marissa Seaman led the team of Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health researchers. They looked at a range of patient ages, from newborns to the elderly.

The study illuminated a nuance, if nothing else: Households receiving opioids, as opposed to NSAIDS, were more likely to be stocked with other addictive and/or mind-altering substances as well. Those medications included benzodiazepines (anxiety medication), SSRIs (depression medication), muscle relaxers and more.

In a value-driven consumer healthcare system, patients have very little problem obtaining opioids, benzodiazepines, or anything else they want, particularly if they do not appear to be in the throes of addiction.

And even if they are. Check out my report for Dual Diagnosis: Astonishing study shows that people who non-fatally overdose often continue to get refills from their doctors.

Those who are considered upstanding members of a community can continue to get refills – even hop to multiple doctors if their docs aren’t using prescription monitoring databases (and sadly, most aren’t).

Stigma is killing your children, your parents, your neighbors

It all adds up to addicts being created behind the most unlikely of faces. Often, those who become addicted to opioids in this manner face another dangerous demon: Stigma.

They’re not going to tell anyone they are abusing prescription medications, most likely. And if they do, often family members keep it under wraps anyway.

I know that in my family it is taboo to talk honestly and openly about addiction. As a result, I don’t talk to my family anymore, on either side.

My own sobriety is too important for that.

Nothing hurts worse than being punished for trying to do the right thing. You are too important. If you know you need help and your family is putting the kibosh on it, either because they are too embarrassed or because YOU NEED TO PULL IT TOGETHER! just seek treatment yourself.

Take it from me. It’s far more empowering anyway. And remember: There is no “right way” or “wrong way” to get sober. Only your way.

Likewise, if your son or daughter, mom or dad, is struggling with addiction and your reaction is to ignore it, I beg you to read S.O.B.E.R. by my friend Anita Devlin and her son, Mike.

You can check out this piece I did on Anita and her son for Universal Health Services/Foundations Recovery Network.

Pain pills, anxiety pills, breath mints, oh my: What’s in your purse?

Is your purse well stocked with anxiety medications and pain pills not prescribed to you? Do you harmlessly hand them out at the bar or to those you honest to goodness are trying to help when having anxiety attacks?

That’s fine, because as a bus driver and I recently discussed, we used to not know how serious this all is. But we do know now.

So, it’s not a blame game at all. Nobody is to blame if this blog hits a note.

The only people to blame are our lawmakers, who cozied up to Pharma and Big Healthcare. It’s nauseating. We elect them to protect us, not hurt us.

Check out my blog about a 60 Minutes piece a while back which honestly is the biggest story since 911 as far as I’m concerned.

Except there are more fatalities. The CDC estimates our nation is losing 91 people per day to opioid overdose.

‘Keep it Simple, Stupid’ works for me, but it’s not the reality most people live in

I find that keeping as incredibly simple a life as possible (no car, low-stress work, total minimization of external noise such as phone and internet) works for me like nothing in my life ever has.

And medical cannabis. My writing, and a whole lot of exercise, keep me sober.

And I know that’s a Fantasy Island story for so many addicts struggling to feed their children and hold it together themselves. They have to do whatever it takes.

I can’t imagine to know that struggle, but I’m learning it in a Facebook group I joined. It’s a group of people struggling with addiction, as well as the loved ones of those who are gone now. It’s powerful. And respectful.

It’s the best support group I ever have been in. And my issue never was opioids (but I dabbled in them). I can relate to the people and don’t feel threatened. I can’t explain it.

But I’ve had relapses. I went 2 ½ years though. So, my take is that I went 2 ½ years. Not that I “started over” last January. Why would anybody with low self-esteem, likely the cause of them to begin drinking and drugging in the first place, want to subscribe to anything where they are told things like that?

There are plenty of places out there that aren’t like that. Of course, they’re the full ones.

Until next time.

My ADT protects me from corrupt cops and killers alike

For some time now, ADT Home Security has been running a social media campaign called #MyADT.

The idea is to encourage customers to share the story of why they have ADT and the peace of mind the system gives them.

Here’s my story.

In May 2015, I went to authorities after a friend’s body was pulled from the Mississippi River. I went to them with a theory I had about a potential human trafficking problem happening right here in the Quad-Cities.

Ironically, shortly after that, a member of Quad-Cities law enforcement reached out and said she heard I was passionate about such issues. She tipped me off to a story that resulted in my writing this column: Hooking up to Stay Alive: The Sexual Exploitation of Young Men and Boys.

But shortly after going to authorities, it was me who ended up being arrested – on no charges at all — for reporting an intruder at my father’s memory care institution in Moline, Ill.

I then was stripped naked, placed in a sweltering, at times what seemed to be a smoky/hazy cell, and monitored on camera for two days.

Can you imagine? I got through it by praying. You can read all about it right here.

And while I was in the jail, it appeared someone tried to traffick me right of there. You can read all about that by clicking here.

And the icing on the cake is that my house was searched by police without a warrant while I was in the jail.

Now, I need to remind myself of something. It is possible that, as I have said all along, police KNOW I was poisoned by someone who got into that house. They now know someone had a key, and the previous owner of my house’s son, Frank Fitzpatrick, son of Moline city firefighter Frank Fitzpatrick, is on the QC Most Wanted List for meth.

Update: Fitzpatrick caught, sentenced to four years in prison; local news media refuse to report any of it

So, I mustn’t jump to conclusions. It’s possible the Rock Island County Sheriff’s Department searched my house without a warrant to see exactly what was going on inside that house before I went to the memory care facility.

I get so upset sometimes that it really just occurred to me right now that the fact the previous occupant of my house is on that “Most Wanted” list is a huge breakthrough in terms of what happened to me. I am grateful law enforcement is trying to find him. This young man was close friends with AT LEAST ONE member of my family who also hurt me.

I always feel like I have to draw a picture in these blogs. I don’t. Law enforcement already knows what happened to me. Although I have been threatened and harassed at times by some in law enforcement for telling the truth, most have been attentive.

But after learning my house was searched without a warrant (a neighbor spilled the beans, and with my reporting skills I confirmed it), I decided it was time to know whenever anyone entered my house, for any reason, no matter who they are. Thus, #MyADT.

And I know my safety is compromised as a result of being in the criminal investigation, I have been told that by law enforcement and attorneys alike. But I’m a journalist and I write about things. What happened to me may be a nightmare – indeed, I may never work or have functional relationships ever again, for all I know, and I’ve already had tons and tons of therapy – but it also is a journalist’s dream.

OK, not a dream. But the ultimate silver lining to a very dark cloud. If I don’t look at it that way I cannot get through life. Period. All I have to motivate myself to get out of bed right now is the opportunity to tell my story.

#MyADT, I believe, already has spared me several close calls. I have posted about them individually on my professional Facebook page, @DavidHeitzHealth, and on Twitter, @DavidHeitz.

When I learned signals from my home apparently were being jammed and my ADT system was not working because it used an AT&T tower, ADT came and installed a new system that always is scanning for available carriers. The system also works a couple of days on battery backup if the power ever goes out.

#MyADT gives me peace of mind, as I give the corrupt politicians who run my community a piece of my mind in my reports.

I can’t tell you how many times I have called them scared sh*tless. They truly are “always there.”

Thanks ADT.

Tick-tock of terror: My ‘arrest’ on no charges for being a criminal informant

UPDATE: IT’S SHOCKING TO THINK THEY DID IT AGAIN IN GLENDALE, COLO. FRIDAY NIGHT, EXCEPT IN COLORADO TAKING A PERSON TO JAIL ON NO CHARGES IS AGAINST THE LAW. THEY TOOK ME TO THE MENTAL WARD OF A HOSPITAL THIS TIME. 

Editor’s note: This all happened just days after I went to Metropolitan Enforcement Group, a bi-state narcotics agency, in May 2015 about some information I had (not specifically drug-related, mind you).  I then began to be questioned almost exclusively about former Davenport Alderman Bill Boom. I did not bring up Bill Boom. They did. Alderman Bill Boom was sentenced in August, more than two years after my jail incident, for lying to a grand jury over matters related to a crystal meth investigation.

You can check out Chrissy Minor’s report from Moline, Ill. ABC affiliate WQAD right here.

Shortly after waking and getting a drink of water I feel nervous, shaky, paranoid and sweaty.

9ish: I head to the bus stop to go see my dad at Amber Ridge Memory Care. A bus comes along marked “Special.” It occurs to me that a bus marked “Special” would not be my bus, even though it appeared to be the 30 Green East and passed at the proper time. I do not get on it.

Walking back to my home, a U.S. mail lady wearing a halter top and Spandex asks me why I did not board that bus. I told her that’s none of her business.

I board the next scheduled bus 30 minutes later and ride it to Cityline Plaza.

10ish: I exit the bus at Cityline Plaza and begin walk to Amber Ridge. On the way there, I think I see people from the bar where I used to hang out. I am convinced they are trying to kill me. I start running, and I also call the Amber Ridge Memory Care front desk.

The Amber Ridge Memory Care ED pretends I am mentally ill and hangs up on me. This after I ask her to please make sure I get to Amber Ridge safely, as I am within eyesight of the door.

Moline 911 laughs at me, yells at me, and threatens me for bothering them. The dispatcher was so incredibly rude I can’t help but wonder how many people have died on her watch during an emergency.

I walk into Amber Ridge Memory Care and head outside. Dad’s only words are, “It’s a beautiful home boy, better make up your mind.” I tell my dad I always intended on keeping the house and am very grateful for it. He explains that my brother John Heitz, who works for Sears Davenport in loss prevention, formerly Sears Moline (friends with all the cops) says I have decided I do not want the house and am returning to Los Angeles. Biggest lie ever told.

I later learned from the CNAs at Amber Ridge Memory Care my brother, indeed, had been telling my dad I did not want the house and was moving to California.

https://davidheitz.com/2018/02/15/i-was-intimidated-by-the-fbi-in-a-political-corruption-case-and-its-scary-as-hell/

Later, after my brother had me trespassed from seeing my dad at Amber Ridge Memory Care with the help of the corrupt Moline Police Department and the dishonest executive director of the memory care institution, he began to tell my dad I was at summer school.

I go down to my dad’s room and see a man in a Johnson Controls uniform working on my dad’s thermostat. He looks like one of the many thugs from Mary’s on 2nd Street gay bar in Davenport formerly owned by convicted felon Bill Boom. I become very nervous, go upstairs and begin to cry out for help in a panic. The executive director’s door is closed like it always is. She hides.

I scream “Call 911” and the CNAs erupt in laughter, slapping their knees. They all had congregated in the dining room and began to videotape me with their phones.

The only CNA on duty who I could trust, and who serves as director of housekeeping (the cleanliness is the only thing that place has going for it) takes me outside. Police arrive.

Police in shades approach me, rough me up, threaten to taze me, and throw me in the back of a cop car.

I ask, “Is this because I went to MEG and am an informant? Or what? One African American female officer says, “Who did you talk to at MEG?” I throw out the name of someone I believe to be a dirty cop. She confirms she, too, worked with this cop at MEG and smiles at me.

I never had proof he worked for MEG prior to her confirming it, but I suspected it. And I now have no doubt he was sharing information with criminals. No doubt at all, especially given his connection to another man who mysteriously appeared in my life around the same time.

The name I gave this cop as I was being roughed up was not the name of the person I “officially” spoke with at MEG, Kevin Winslow, who was heading MEG up at the time. She simply confirmed a hunch.

Can you imagine if it turns out that some of these people also are related to various nursing home scandals? The authorities are working on it. Like I said, it’s going to be a great book.

In transit to the jail, a cop who seriously would show up under “Corrupt Cop” in a dictionary begins to use a very nasty tone with me, telling me I need to “trust the right people.” He also says he hears Amber Ridge Memory Care “is a terrible place, and people are yanking out their loved ones left and right.”

Noonish: We arrive at the jail and pull into the garage. The cop then says, “David, there is no camera in here, and I can do whatever I want to you right now.”

My phone rings as I am being escorted into the jail. It is my transgender friend. I ask her to  call attorney Michael Warner, Rock Island County Chief Justice Walter Braud’s former partner. Warner was my happy hour friend from Mary’s on 2nd Street and often filled me with booze.

Warner, who met my dad several times over the course of many years and watched the progression of dad’s horrid disease, paid to have my dad’s racing car trophy restored when dad went into Amber Ridge Memory Care.

My brother stole the trophy and Warner now employs my former best friend.

Warner used to joke, for years at the gay bar, that a high-ranking politician lives in the basement of the jail and is a dominatrix. The guy is funny. But he doesn’t make me laugh anymore, I can tell you that.

I am stripped naked. A jailer puts on a latex glove. I tell him I am bleeding profusely out my rectum (I was, with no explanation for it…poisoning?). He does not exam my rectum.

While being fingerprinted, a morbidly obese African American jailer tells another that I am a member of ISIS, and that I have their secret mark on my hands.

Swear to God. Yes, he said that.

I am thrown naked into a cell with “Suicide” marked over the top of it. A straightjacket is thrown in behind me.

To be continued…

Who knew? The Facebook Marketplace as CBT for PTSD

I have found an unusual friend the past couple of weeks in the Facebook Marketplace.

Several new friends, actually.

I reached a point recently where I decided if I did not get out of the Quad-Cities, only I was to blame for any ongoing misery.

In my head, I thought it probably did make sense, but in my heart, it did not.

And when I began to look at numbers, in my head it did not either. Don’t be fooled. There is nothing good about the Quad-Cities real estate market unless you are looking to buy here.

And, come now. Who is. Who wants to pay higher taxes in jurisdictions where services concurrently are being cut?

On the other hand, if all you own is a beautiful house that you made just as you like it, and it’s your childhood home, and you like spending most of your time in it…why would you sell it?

That would be STUPID. Unless a person could make money or at least break even. That’s not happening in my case. I made my house the Redneck Ritz Model Home, I’ll never get full value.

Despite all that, I decided I was going to start selling off my possessions to pay bills and make sure I don’t run out of medical cannabis. By God, I was moving.

It all began with an iron four-post bed

So, I started with a bed that I had been tired of looking at for a very, very, very long time. I took a picture of it, clicked on the Marketplace Icon when posting to Facebook, set a price, a short description, and voila! There it is, for all the Quad-Cities to see.

Let me tell you something: Things sell pretty fast – in minutes, even – if you know what you’re doing.

Can you see how newspapers are going down the tubes? Even sites like Craigslist pale in comparison to the Facebook Marketplace.

By God, in our instant gratification society, the person who decides to buy your four-poster bed can tap the money icon on FB and pay you right then and there– no cash exchanged.  The money immediately is in your account, ready to use.

The truth is, it took a few days for my bed, the first item up for bids, to sell. Being new to the Facebook Marketplace, and having PTSD and being extremely leery of everyone, I pulled out on meeting people a few times.

Finally, I sold the bed frame to a nice Bettendorf couple. He works for Deere and discussed having me possibly do some writing for them. He was surprised to learn I actually have done some work for Deere already and should be in their vendor system. Maybe I will hear back from him – I did follow up!

Purchases funded medical cannabis, paid a few bills

As the days passed after that first sale, the bed, I sold something most every day. Many items were for small amounts — $10 or $20 here and there. I would take the bus to the dispensary and buy a gram of flower or a pre-roll joint simply to get out and socialize and be medicated if needed.

And as I began to interact with these strangers, I was reminded that I have the gift of gab and can easily make new friends when I choose to do so. It’s so nice to chat with people. I’m finding I really don’t have any problems with people I never have met before.

However, after about a week of selling things on the Facebook Marketplace, I saw on the news that the RIPD was urging people to meet in public places for FB Marketplace exchanges. When the RIPD talks, I listen.

So, whenever I have even the tiniest feeling in my gut that something might not be right with a buyer, I meet them across the street in the St. Pius parking lot. It works out perfect, except when I’m selling furniture or big items.

Screwballs do show up at your door now and then

I have had one kind of scary experience on the Facebook Marketplace already, although for all I know it was simply an honest misunderstanding between myself and a shopper bent on bagging a bargain.

One of the items I sold during the past week was two flat-screen TVs together. I had four of them in this tiny house. It looked cool but served no real practical purpose. Two televisions are enough for one bungalow.

At any rate, I had agreed to meet this man at noon, and I had given him my address because walking across the street to the St. Pius parking lot with two TVs did not sound palatable to me.

When he did not show up by noon, I went into my room to lie down. At 12:30, I woke to someone vigorously banging on my back door. Upon turning on my cell phone, I could see him, and I armed the security system from my phone. ADT then warned him to flee with her signature voice and statement: “Armed! Stay! Exit now!” And he did.

A couple of nights after that, I sold a pair of Bose multimedia speakers that I have had about 15 years.  I recently replaced them with a Braven Balance. The man who bought the speakers, a longtime Quad-Citian whose father owned a bowling alley, is the type of person we like to think our entire community is comprised of. Honest, concerned for his fellow human being, law abiding.

He gave me a little lecture about being careful about meeting people at my house after dark when selling items on Facebook Marketplace. You really just never know.

Another strange woman demanded to see the inside of a grill I had sold to another man while he was loading it into his truck.

One buyer of another item joked that perhaps she wanted to see if I was selling drugs.

Perhaps. I know that would be a discovery that many people probably are praying for.

Sorry. Not gonna happen.

The cat lady who bought dad’s old end tables

The only thing I truly regret selling during the past couple of weeks on The Facebook Marketplace is the snow blower, the hedge trimmer, and the weed eater.

I was angry, and I was moving you know!

The snow blower I sold out of spite. I’m not even going to get into that because life is too short to be negative. That story is a great blog post of its own, anyway.

No, instead, let me tell you about the end table cat lady.

Dad had two old end tables that he purchased from my aunt after mom threw him out of the house in the 1980s. While these end tables remain in top condition today (I think Aunt Enid originally bought them at Ethan Allen) I grew tired of looking at them.

I mean, you can imagine. Dad has had them since the 1980s and Aunt Enid that them before that.

At any rate, the buyer of the end tables ended up being a woman who says she has “spoiled cats.”

“I’m going to paint them black to match everything else, and then each cat will have their own little house,” she explained.

My cat LOVED both end tables, so I’ll know she will be happy with her purchase!

Selling on Facebook Marketplace: Tips for fast sales and good experiences

Describe your items in detail. Some shoppers will ask every single item you can think of. If you still have the owner’s manual to whatever you are selling, it probably will double your chances of selling the item quickly. The same goes with boxes.

Brand-name items catch the attention of shoppers even when the item is broken. Play up big-name brands when selling items bearing such names.

Disclose anything that might be wrong with your item. If there’s a burn in your daughter’s prom dress from a marijuana joint, fess up. The buyer won’t want the prom dress, and won’t like the surprise, when they show up for the purchase.

Clean everything up first to the best of your ability, particularly in light of the price asked. It’s just common courtesy.

Take clear pictures that “flatter” the item. Use a clear background. Make sure there is no clutter or other visual debris that will cause the viewer’s eye to move from the item itself.

I interviewed for a real sales job this week, too

Digital Ads

Over the course of the past two weeks, each day I have had a reason to get up, and that reason has involved intense communication with strangers while selling things on the Facebook Marketplace.

I think it’s fair to say that two weeks of working the FB Marketplace has been sort of like a new sort of cognitive behavioral therapy treatment. People with PTSD isolate – that’s our number one problem. So, this has been a very healthy exercise, right down to how I handled the kind of scary TV incident
I’m relieved I didn’t do something stupid like sell my house. And I even have made a few new friends.

A week ago, I interviewed for a sales job in digital advertising. Maybe it’s something I should consider a little more closely. I’m not thrilled about the car requirement, although there is a generous car allowance. The base salary actually is pretty good for a sales job.

I have been offered sales jobs several times through the years while looking for work. Maybe I should start considering them a little more closely.

I’m pretty persuasive, I think. I know how to sell.

My computer always will be here when I get home from whatever “real job” at night.

Until next time.

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You can find me on Twitter @DavidHeitz

With my internet on the fritz again and my nerves frazzled, it’s OG18 to rescue

As my longtime social media followers know, since the day I began freelancing I have struggled to get a reliable phone and internet signal at this house.

Now, for the past month, I have had almost zero signal at all under Verizon. At times, I have no voice service at my home either.

We know what it’s done to my career house. I’ve not had a paid assignment in three weeks, at least. It’s like I’m being strangled.

This also is a safety matter.

The same thing happened with AT&T. And with Mediacom before that.

AT&T ended up letting me out of my contract (I think) and sending me checks a few months back after looking into it. Verizon just wants to cut me loose (they admit I’m not getting the signal I’m paying I’m for) but is being decent enough to wait until yet another new service is activated.

That is supposed to happen today.

Nobody, in 2017, should have to relentlessly struggle to obtain phone and internet service at their home in a metropolitan area of half a million. It’s just plain ridiculous, in fact.

So, before I begin to rant, which will turn into a trigger that will turn into a rage (can you imagine dealing with this when you get up each day…unable to work or feed yourself because you cannot get a phone or internet signal in your home?)…

…To heck with it. It’s time to SPARK UP!

Cannabis dispensary wellness advocate points way to Serenity Street

I sauntered into Nature’s Treatment of Illinois in Milan yesterday with $25. That was enough for two $12 pre-rolls and my bus ride home.

I told Carrie, the wellness expert, that I thought I would buy a Pineapple Express joint and review that strain, since I had bought a Pineapple at the grocery store that morning. I could not wait to take a picture of myself balancing the pineapple on my head.

See the picture and read my review of Pineapple Express.

Then I asked Carrie what else she recommended. She said OG18.

She did not let me down. Leafly says OG18 treats stress, insomnia, pain, depression, and inflammation.

A word about inflammation. Much of cannabis’ healing power lies in its effect on inflammation in the body. We know that inflammation is a biomarker of countless chronic health conditions.

Taking a few whiffs out of the tube before pulling the joint out, I can already tell I’m going to like it. I may as well spark up and see what happens…

OG18

Five minutes later…

So, I just did a number to “You and I” by John Legend, and now am aerobicizing to “Church of the Poison Mind” in front of the front-room mirror.

This is great stuff. I feel light and floaty.

The marijuana does nothing to change whatever doomsday scenario in my head is causing me angst. And I try to remind myself of that for when I don’t have any.

Read more: Treating addiction with cannabis works, and Illinois lawmakers have taken notice

But what it does is gives me the tools I need to calm down and make rational decisions. To be patient, and to remain positive.

It’s great to think we can remain patient, calm and positive on our own, or with the help of a 12-step group.

But if our inability to remain patient, calm, positive and patient interferes with our daily life, then we need to consider treatment options, such as medical cannabis. I actually recommend exercise above all else, but as we enter the winter months I know that it is very, very hard to get out and to exercise. I think gyms are claustrophobic and stink during the winter months.

Medicine cabinet shakeup: Bye-bye benzodiazepines, hello Mother Nature

The truth is that if you seek mental health treatment for anxiety, there isn’t much of anything they can do for you other than prescribe you something. It is important to know, especially if you are in recovery, that anxiety medications such as Ativan, Xanax, Valium, Klonopin and other benzodiazepines affect the brain the same way as alcohol. These are extremely dangerous treatment alternatives for the recovering alcoholic who suffers from anxiety.

Antipsychotic medications, also used to treat anxiety, are akin to signing up for disability for many people. A person can’t be expected to be rendered unable to work by antipsychotic medications and then not granted disability.

So, it’s a pickle for the anxious.

Read more: Blood pressure down, anxiety receding: Me. Pharma free.

What am I writing about again? Oh yes, a review of OG18.  For a heavy Indica, I feel very focused after just a few puffs. While it may be 1:47 a.m., when you work from home and you’re David Heitz, if you just got out of bed after five or more hours of sleep it is time to start your workday no matter what the clock says.

Five minutes later…

I just did a “Hungry Eyes” number in front of the mirror to a YouTube video. I’m glad the internet is working for a spell.

I have to stop medicating and get to work.

This OG18 is sick. As in good sick.

Until next time.

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You can find me on Twitter @DavidHeitz

Pineapple Express gets me moving again after mid-day lull

I declare today the first official day of winter.

It’s bitterly cold. The wind is like an Ice Queen giving you kisses when you’re standing at the bus stop.

I need to warm up. I need some Pineapple Express.

It’s not a cocktail. I’m sober!

No, Pineapple Express is a cannabis strain.

A venerable cannabis strain, made famous by the movie of the same name.

Pineapple Express is a sativa strain, the kind I usually avoid. Sativas tend to stimulate a person. These strains can be lifesavers for people with depression, for example, who may go months without ever wanting to get out of bed.

I need some fuel while on the sales floor

I honestly have been medicating pretty heavily due to my new “job.” You can read about that tomorrow.

It’s not a job, really, but it is for some people. I have been selling things on Facebook Marketplace. I love it and have met lots of nice, interesting people.

But it requires me to “work” all the time. People all work different schedules and need to look at items at different times.

Add to that my PTSD and my up-down, up-down work-from-home schedule, and I’m tired.

So, since this morning started off so well (one chapter of my book revised, blog post about dad’s baby book up) I need some momentum to keep going.

I found it in a $12 pre-roll joint of Pineapple Express by Cresco (1 gram).

I’m sucking this joint right down, it tastes so good

When you inhale a Cresco pre-roll Pineapple Express joint, it’s almost like sucking pineapple juice through a straw. You can almost taste the sugar that coats your lips afterward.

It’s delicious.

And for me at least, as someone who is prone to anxiety from sativa strains, Pineapple Express creates none at all.

It doesn’t exactly make you “high” either, although when you’re low on mental fuel, as I feel now, it does offer quite a pick–me-up.

After a couple of hits, it’s as though Hawaiian trade winds begin to whistle through your ears, blowing out the cobwebs inside your brain. When you exhale, the pineapple glaze coats your tongue and throat with pleasantries.

Pineapple Express tests at around 18 percent THC. It’s not overwhelming. It’s easy, breezy, and a whole lot of fun. For medicinal use (I am a legal medical cannabis cardholder in Illinois) Pineapple Express is recommended for stress and depression.

For recreational use, Leafly sums Pineapple Express up strongly: Happy.

After my refreshing slice of pineapple-flavored Plant, I am ready to take on the second half of the day.

Until next time.

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Have you ever seen your dad’s baby book?

How many of you have gone through your dad’s baby book?

Does your dad even still have his baby book?

I found dad’s baby book a few days ago. It has been really awesome going through it.

Grandma posted this typewritten poem inside. It’s called “Our Son’ by Edgar A. Guest.

I’ll quote the last paragraph:

But when to the neighbors she boasts of his worth,

It is: “My son’s the best little boy on the earth!”

Accuse him of mischief, she’ll just floor you flat

With: “My son, I’m certain would never do that!”

Of course, there are times when he’s willfully bad,

But then it’s that temper he gets from his dad!”

So that really made me smile.

Baby book brought to you by Manhard Realty Co.

Not only did I find dad’s baby book and fun little clues about my heritage, lol, like that, but the book itself is cool. It’s so old! A handcrafted leather baby book.

This advertisement inside, for Manhard Realty Co., proclaims, “Daddy, I need protection.”

Moving on, dad was both born in, and died in, St. Anthony’s Hospital (later to become a nursing home). I suspect every baby born got this nice, handcrafted leather baby book back in those days, brought to them by Manhard Realty and the “Daddy, I need protection” ad.

Some things about baby books haven’t changed. Next Saturday would have been dad’s 79th birthday. And even 79 years ago, moms never had time to complete those baby books.

Indeed, in some sections, grandma prefaces, “I’m filling this in late…”

The pictures show a hilarious dynamic of dad with his brother and sister, my Uncle Ted and Aunt Mary. Aunt Mary is perfect child in every photo. Ted is bad boy.

Dad Family I

I also could not help but feel a certain way inside while looking at that photo in reference to a similar photo that hangs on the wall in my living room:

Our Family II

The overwhelming story I always got was, “Benny was a spoiled child….” Looks to me like Benny had had enough of everyone from the git-go. Perfect Mary and Bad Boy Teddy.

Dad thought I was Teddy the last couple of years of his life. “Where’s mom?” Or, “Did you go to school today?”

So, the pictures of Ted and dad as kids, and Aunt Mary beaming appropriately in every picture, really tells a story in itself.

And then dad’s own little addition at the end of the baby book, added as only he could do it:

20171207_034519

What more can I say.

Until next time.

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You can find me on Twitter @DavidHeitz

 

Chapter 10: The Pollyanna College years

Stock image courtesy Pixabay

Looking back on why I chose Pollyanna College, one reason stands out above all others:

I went there because I wanted to look like a big shot.

And I didn’t want to quit my job at the Four Corners Post.

Growing up in Four Corners, I knew the children whose families had “class” went to Pollyanna. At least, that’s how it used to be.

Indeed, I cannot think right off of anyone locally from my Pollyanna class of 1992 who does not fit that description today. Classy and honest.

From my class, anyway.

But in fact, the Pollyanna College years were difficult. Difficult because I was struggling with my sexuality; difficult because I was working full-time and going to school full-time; difficult because I simply never fit in from the very first day I set foot on that campus.

Indeed, years after graduation, my disdain for Pollyanna remained in the forefront. Never have I attended a reunion, not even the 25-year reunion.

But initially, my disgust for Pollyanna centered around the fact I was treated poorly – taunted, called a faggot, rejected from the fraternities.

Now though, my feelings about Pollyanna are less about anger over being called a fag, and more about just being sick to my stomach.

Indeed, I now have learned the fraternity I wanted to pledge most, but rejected me (every last one of them did), was loaded with gay people.

Closeted ones.

I was in the closet too, but apparently not enough.

Chapter One: Dad and I reclaim the property

In retrospect, Pollyanna, as an institution, embraced and encouraged the closet. I have come to believe that institutions that support it do, too.

It’s the last place on earth I ever should have gone to college. But we can’t live our lives with regret.

Abandoned by Pollyanna brass after going to police about something

When I first became sober, several Pollyanna College folks from years gone by, who remain in this community and even work for the college, came to my side.

While at first this seemed grand, a few of them turned out to be among the top five people who have hurt me more than anyone in my life.

It all took a turn for the worst when I went to authorities about what happened in the jail.

Pollyanna’s powerful community influence

I learned, especially during the Pollyanna College years, that things are not always as they seem.

For a while, Mr. Pollyanna himself, Kip Castanza, was my AA sponsor.

It didn’t work out. That’s another chapter.

Augustana grads are in extremely powerful positions all over my community. My dad used to say Pollyanna was tied to the mafia, and I better not ever upset any of its bigwigs.

Yes, he really said that. For years.

He also talked about “filthy Swedes,” but I won’t go there.

My dad had a rare brain disease that made people both laugh and cry. But the kind of dementia he had did not confuse facts, per se. It caused him to say whatever the hell he was thinking with no couth filter whatsoever.

God bless him.

He also used to tell me I would be murdered if I ever shared information that I indeed have shared.

Dad wasn’t too far off base with his predictions

And what happened when I shared the information?

PTSD. Being jailed on no charges at all. Almost being pimped out of that jail (unless it was all mindf***, which is possible). I never even have written about almost being pimped out of the jail, but my cousin Sally can attest it’s not a new story that I’m just making up now.

Details will be in the book.

What’s the Pollyanna connection? That the former AA sponsor sits on the board of the county that jailed and tortured me, on no charges at all, apparently for being an informant in a criminal investigation.

A proff’s wife did absolutely nothing to help me reunite with my dad, even though she was in a position to help do so. Indeed, she went out of her way to repeatedly insult me. She attends the church in question, too.

The pastor of the church, who also went to Pollyanna, who I worked with on the student newspaper, appears to have done nothing other than stay mum about what she knows about the jail incident. And she has extremely important information.

But she ministers to Kip Castanza and the others. Indeed, Kip was on the selection committee that called her to serve at the church down the street from Pollyanna.

Chapter 12: After B.A., a street education in L.A.

It’s filled with Pollyanna brass and extremely powerful public officials, many of them county employees.

I’m sorry. The whole thing is creepy beyond belief and makes me want to hurl.

Kip Castanza owes me an apology

That my former AA sponsor – what a disaster that was – is a high-ranking Pollyanna official is an absolute deal-breaker.

I never will look upon that campus with even one iota of respect ever again.

For years, Kip served as Pollyanna’s chief apologist. He still is.

Now he does the same for the county, too, as a member of its board.

But never one apology or a peep from this man about what happened to me in that jail.

I’ll never get an apology.

The county in question, by the way, has a population of about 140,000. We have 25 board members.

That’s right.

I wonder why they call us “Little Chicago.”

Narcissists blemish Pollyanna’s reputation

The campus burst in fall color every October before becoming covered with snow. Once, a teapot made of snow blocked the entryway to Big Ben Hall.

Or something like that.

The staggering amount of condescending narcissism thrown my way by the Pollyanna community, who pretended to be supporting me while my father died a horrid death and I scrambled to survive, is alarming.

I now believe many of these hoity-toits knew far more than they were letting on about the abuse I have endured the previous several years.

It’s so scary.

Variations on a story are the legends of Pollyanna, Bell Tower kisses and all.

Pretty decorations don’t necessarily make for a good education

Situated on idyllic rolling hills, adorned with buildings from a bygone era, indeed you might think you’re at Harvard.

I’m sure my dad thought he was at Lodge of the Four Seasons for a day or two as well, not a memory care asylum!

Decorations are only that.

Feeling like a bigshot was not worth $80,000 for a four-year degree, I can tell you that. The cost of Pollyanna for four years room and board now stands at $208,000. Well, it will be more than that, because it goes up every year, and those are based on 2016 prices.

To think I paid that to be treated poorly. I thought the college was just homophobic.

No, it has a closet factor that, quite frankly, is dangerous.

But every basket of bad apples contains a few good fruits, including a peach, a plum, and a pear.

The Peach(es)

Drs. Jane and Julius Wilson, a husband-wife team at Pollyanna, taught me everything I know about politics.

Yep, they sure did.

Jane Wilson even visited me when I was living in Los Angeles – in a condo owned by Arnold Schwarzenegger.

There was something about the Wilsons that felt different from the other professors at Pollyanna.

They suddenly were “poof!” gone not long after I graduated. I don’t believe Jane ever got tenure.

The Plum

Dr. Perry Peep taught me everything I know about writing.

And it has served me very, very well.

Ch. 15: Despite penthouse life, Rosa Parks as my neighbor, Motown falls short

Dr. Peep also goes to the scary church I never will attend ever again. I’m sad about that. I hope if I see Dr. Peep around town he will say hello to me anyway.

The Pear

She’s not a pear because she’s shaped like one. She’s a pear because she’s sweet and of solid moral fiber.

Pear. Fiber. Get it?

Dr. Amber Doting helped me create my first piece of fiction writing. In it, I pen a storyline where I’m struggling with homosexuality.

Dr. Doting handled that with grace and sensitivity. Dr. Doting remains a beacon of class on the campus, even though I now view it as a place as dangerous as North Korea.

Seriously.

I’ll never set foot on Pollyanna’s campus again

At the time this book was written, anybody related to Pollyanna or the local Lutheran clergy – indeed, there are many people in my community where both those “qualities” are rolled into one – cause extreme triggers.

Rapid heartbeat, anger, sweating, nightmares, fear – that is what I now associate with Pollyanna College.

Just like the memory care institution where my dad claimed incessant abuse, Pollyanna College’s attractiveness is only skin deep.

I did not get into #journalism three-plus decades ago to make friends. The latest excerpts from my #book: The Pollyanna #College years.

Chapter 4: Ode to QC quacks, waxing nostalgic about Lane Evans