Jerry O’Dovero (Disabled, Quadriplegic)
In my wildest dreams I never thought my life would, or could ever be like this – Homeless! Being homeless and living in a van has taken its toll. Last May (2020) I was 4 hours from Marquette to be honest it was probably closer to 5 hours. For the past few years, I usually drive a mile or 3 under the posted speed limit rather than a few miles over it. I’m homeless! I’m not in a hurry to get anywhere. This time when my unfortunate life circumstances caught up with me, again, it was on a Sunday and my catheter was no longer inside me. Catheters are designed to drain fluids from the inside of your body to the outside of your body. I don’t need to tell you that that’s not a good thing when the catheter isn’t inside the hole the doctors operated on you so the catheter can go from the inside to the outside. Add on to that, now I have an open hole that germs, bacteria, viruses and God knows what now has an open pathway to the inside of my body. It’s happened three times in the past. The first two times the hole closed up. The first time was 10? 15 years ago? It happened on a night the Detroit Redwings were in San Jose. I had bought $150 seats for the hockey game. For the 25 years I lived in San Jose I never missed a regular season Redwing game. This game I went with my buddy Richard. He like most of my friends in California are from the great state of Michigan. And of course, I was wearing a Detroit Redwings jersey! I didn’t know the catheter had fallen out, but I knew things were not well. Not only was I running a fever, but my legs were spasming out of control, it felt as if I was running a marathon. So, I wouldn’t be thrown out of my wheelchair, I had straps across my chest and ancles. I didn’t want to worry Richard any more than necessary, so I made the usual joke when the spasms are out of control, I’m burning calories! I’m not exaggerating a bit when I say I probably burnt more calories that night then the past couple of weeks combined. I was so hot or over heating that I couldn’t cool off even when I was pouring ice water on me. And exhausted, imagine running as fast as you can for hours without stopping for even a second. What makes it more challenging for me is my body is paralyzed from the chest down. Normally the only muscles I use to get my heart pumping are my shoulders and the few working muscles I still have working in my arms. I was burning calories. Nearly every muscle in my body was firing for hours. Even though I was at a Detroit Redwings hockey game and people were staring at me like I was different than everyone, the main thoughts going threw my head was all the ice cream and candy bars I was going to eat. Normally burning calories is difficult for me, so I don’t get to indulge in empty calories as I like to call them. Because people were looking at me like I was a little different than everyone else, I financially asked Richard if it was OK to leave in between the 2nd and 3rd periods. He is a good friend. I didn’t have to ask twice or explain myself. The next day, after hours of getting my body to relax, somewhat, I called an ambulance. The 2nd time I called my buddy Steve at 11 o’clock at night to bring me to the emergency room. That time I knew what the problem was right away, so I acted right away before things went bad. It was a work night for Steve, so he’s normally out of bed by 4 o’clock in the morning, but that didn’t matter to Steve. I didn’t have to ask him twice either. The 3rd time was just last summer. I was living in my van on the old Marquette County Airport runway my father owns when it happened. The hole wasn’t completely closed, so I quickly beelined it to the emergency room in Ishperming. They were able to save the hole by using a much smaller catheter. Then over the next two months I increased the size of the catheter one size at a time until I was back to my normal size, and of course antibiotics.
The last 6 plus years have not been my best health wise. It turns out I have anemic blood, four years undiagnosed. So last May when I woke up without a catheter inside me, I wasn’t surprised. Looking back on it, I’m surprised it hasn’t happened more often. I hadn’t been feeling well for some time. Some time? Boy that’s an understatement! My goal was to get to Marquette and find a new doctor and get a complete once over. But I was 4 to 5 hours short of making it. I was visiting my buddy Mike in Fond du Lac when it happened. So, I asked him to drove me to the emergency room. I didn’t even put on pants. I didn’t see a reason too. The fine medical personal at St Agnes were able to save the hole again with a smaller catheter. They also prescribed antibiotics. Hey, I was a happy man. That meant I didn’t need to rush to have an operation or find a doctor immediately when I arrived in Marquette. Agnes of Rome was a virgin martyr in the Christian religion. I believe she was only 12 or 13 years old when she was martyred by the Romans. And you think the world is a terrible place with horrible people living in the here and now? The world has had bad people doing bad things without feeling any guilt, shame or remorse since Cain killed Able! Do you remember Cain’s response was when God asked him where his brother was? Sometimes you have to be like God and ask the question even when you already know the answer!
Now I’m not a doctor and I don’t play one on TV, but when or if I have a serious or life-threatening condition, I usually know. Although, I will admit the last two years I’m not too proud to say, I’ve haven’t done so well. Neither myself nor the doctors and staff at the St. Agnes emergency room noticed I had a life-threatening condition. Now please don’t misunderstand me, I didn’t notice anything majorly wrong either, so I’m not suggesting blame on the fine personal at St. Agnes. So, on Wednesday, just three days later you can imagine my horror when I noticed a holy crap serious infection in my groin area.
Mike, can you drive me back to the emergency room? And Mike, you can just drop me off this time. I’m going to be there for a while. Oh, may I leave my van at your house while I’m in the hospital? Again, like my other friends, I didn’t have to ask Mike twice.
Just three days after a visit to St. Agnes’ emergency room, I was back there again. This time a different doctor looked at my new problem and asked in a very concerned voice, why did you wait so long to come in?” “Doc, I was here at St. Agnes three days ago! My catheter fell out! The doctors in the emergency put a new one in for me! They didn’t notice anything wrong. I didn’t! No one did!” The next thing the Doc said was it was gangrene and he may have to amputate before it spreads, if it hasn’t spread already and it’s too late! I told him not too if he didn’t have to, but I didn’t want to die! He then asked if I had a medical directive? Yes Doc, but it’s in storage and not easy to find! If needed! Do you want to be resuscitated? Yes, unless I’m brain dead, then no! You don’t get a choice. It’s either, Yes, or No!
WOW! I didn’t even have to think about it. Even though I was disabled, I was left homeless, and I was left to die in the back of a van by my family. Doc, I don’t want to die!!!!! I didn’t say anymore, but I need to live. There are things I need to do! I need to tell this story!
I had drifted off in thought, so I was a little startled when the doctor returned back into the room. When did he leave? Gerald, would you rather go to Madison or Milwaukee? What? Why? They’re bigger hospitals and better equipped to treat you! We’re not equipped to deal with your situation! All I could think of is that can’t be good! It was obvious the doctors at St. Agnes were afraid for my life. I don’t care Doc. Which ever one you feel is best to take care of me? This time I watched the doctor leave. Oh crap! I don’t get scared very often, but my stomach started turning. This is the 3rd time since I been homeless that a doctor told me I was knocking on heaven’s door. Why didn’t I come in sooner? I could hear those words playing in my head like the chorus of a song that never stops. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks. I’m homeless living in a fucking van! Then that fear turned into something else. Something I’ve never felt before.
I started to feel hatred towards some of my family. That scared me even more then having parts of my body amputated, or even dying! Once you start hating someone, when does it stop? Does it stop? If you can hate one person, you can hate two! Ten! You can start hating everyone! Hitler didn’t hate just one person of the Jewish faith? He hated every Jewish person so much he had concentration camps built and 6,000,000 men, women and children were put to death in them. Hatred is a horrible emotion that destroys. I didn’t want to feel it, but it was too late. I couldn’t stop the feeling with a team of horses, a train locomotive or even a battleship.
I don’t know how long it was? A half hour? An Hour? Week? Month? My mind now was everywhere and nowhere! The only thing I can say for sure was I was no longer concerned about my health and what the doctors were going to do or needed to do to save my life. A much more powerful, evil emotion was controlling my thoughts. Then an anesthesiologist came into the room. Gerald, we’re going to operate on you very soon. Are you allergic to any medications? I don’t remember the list of other questions they asked me. I do remember an over whelming feeling of relief flow throughout my body. I do remember saying to the original doctor when he came back into the room (not the anesthesiologist), Doc, I know you’ll do your best. That’s all I ask. He looked at me and responded like he was Dr. McCoy (Bones) from the original Star Trek TV series; I’ll do my best. (The tone was like he was talking to Captain Kirk; GOD DAMM IT JIM. I’M A DOCTOR, OF COURSE I’LL DO MY BEST) It was the first time all night he talked with confidence. Looking back on it, maybe I poked or pricked his ego or his pride a little, because it was the first time he talked and made me feel like it was going to be OK. One of these days my eternal optimism is going to fail me with reality. Over the next several weeks I understood why the doctor was concerned or worried, but I don’t want to get a head of myself. The operation did go well.
Over the next week or so I had additional trips to the operating room. Since I’ve been hospitalized, my blood pressure would spike to 250 or above. For the first time, the anesthesiologist brought up (maybe I did, but I don’t want to steal credit from the doc if he did) the medical term autonomic hyperreflexia (He called it dysreflexia). It a medical condition that (I believe) only individuals with t-5 and above spinal cord injuries suffer. It’s a condition in which your involuntary nervous system overreacts to external or bodily stimuli. This reaction causes: a dangerous spike in blood pressure. I do remember telling the Doc I used to carry a medical card explaining autonomic hyperreflexia in my wallet, so if my blood pressure was out of control, medical personnel would know to give me nitroglycerin to bring it down. I lost my wallet and the card on a trip to Rhode Island. I was actually in Boston when I lost my wallet. The Doc (anesthesiologist) gave me a reinsuring smile like he understood I had knowledge and I wasn’t just a dumb ass in a wheelchair like some doctors make me feel. Trust me, if you don’t get bored and quit reading this story, you’ll read about a doctor or two like that. Again, the Doc made me feel like I was intelligent and knowledgeable about my spinal cord condition.
It turns out I also had a bladder stone the size of the meteorite that wipe out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. The entire time I was I in the hospital my blood pressure was bouncing between 80 and 280. It was the same for my temperature. It bounced between 97.4 to 100.7. And when I say bounced, I mean bounced like a beach ball on a Daytona beach during spring beach. My blood pressure could be 80, then 10 minutes later it could be 230, 250 or higher and then 30 minutes to an hour later it could be back to 80 or so. The high blood pressure would drive my body temperature to rise. My blood pressure and temperature would fluctuate so often and so fast that the nursing staff wouldn’t even write them down when they were higher than normal. They would simply wait 30 minutes, 60 minutes or longer for them to drop to a safe normal range and write those numbers down. I was being the stupid nice guy and letting them get away with it until near the end of my hospital stay. Why was I being a dumbass for letting them get away with it? I’ll explain that later. In my being a dumbass defense, in the past when my blood pressure would jump to dangerous levels, I would get severe and possibly life-threatening headaches. The headaches would be so bad, they felt like someone was hitting my head with a 16-pound sledge hammer. Looking back on it, my Guardian Angel must have been feeling bad and protected me from having a stroke or brain damage because she allowed me to contract life-threatening illnesses. OR Guarding Angels don’t exist and I’m just a long-haired hippy that still hasn’t figured out what I want to be when I grow up. OR maybe she is real and sees the big picture and needed to allow me to go through a living hell so I start fighting for the pound of sugar that was stolen from me and never received? If you’ve been reading this story (my blog) from the beginning, you can be the judge.
The summer of 2020 changed my life. Or maybe I’m just finally seeing people for who they really are. There are some not so nice people in this world. But Doctor Johnson of St. Agnes last May wasn’t one of them. I’m not 100% pleased with everything he did this summer, but he may have saved my live. That I’m very thankful for. To be honest with you, I don’t know how many times I was in the operating room at the St. Agnes hospital this summer (3 times? Possibly 4?), but I do know I was in pretty bad shape. I really didn’t start feeling like a human being for probably 2 weeks of IV antibiotics. Or was it 10 days when they loaded me into an ambulance and shipped me off to Milwaukee?
Dr. Johnson came in my intensive care room one morning and told me I was stable enough to be sent to the bigger, teaching hospital in Milwaukee (Froedtert Hospital). A few hours later I’m in the back of an ambulance heading South to Milwaukee. Of course, I don’t remember the paramedic’s name, but he was an interesting guy. He talked most of the trip. He was in the Army until he fell down a very steep hill and was hurt pretty seriously. That’s how he described it. The lady driving was very nice as well, but the ride was rough as hell.
I had two male doctors at Froedtert. I’d say they were in their late 30’s. They listen to me for the most part. Now because the wound area doctor Johnson had to cut up pretty bad to insert tubes for drainage, my bladder was spasming nearly nonstop and the IV medication they had me on was causing constant diarrhea. I guess I was starting to feel better because I told the doctors I wanted to change things. This time the doctors didn’t listen. I tried a 2nd time and they didn’t care. The 3rd time I told one of the doctors I was going to start using four letter words if they didn’t start listening to me. I didn’t talk like the nice happy go lucky guy I had been. I was pissed and I let them know it. Two days later I was on the medication I asked for.
I don’t like being that person. I don’t like being mean, angry or forceful. I like being nice and polite. I love thanking everyone that helps me. I thank nearly everyone if not everyone that does anything for me. When they make the movie of my life, the actor that plays me needs to follow me around for a few weeks to see how I love being nice to everyone.
Speaking of being nice, the food at both Froedtert and St. Agnes was very good. Both places had menus. I’d order the food when I was hungry and 30 minutes later it arrived in my room. I can’t tell you how many times I sent my complements to the kitchen. The cheese cake was as good as you could get in a restaurant.
Let’s see, what else do I want to say about my hospital stay during the summer of 2020 I’d love to forget? For the most part, the doctors, nurses, aids and staff were good people. I was in bad shape and they did the right things to help me heal. I was on IV antibiotics the entire time. The bladder and muscle spasms were off the charts, but again, I was near death when I went to the emergency room with a bladder stone that could fill the Grand Canyon and enough evil poison in my body to kill a small horse. If my hospitalization would have ended there (only 2 months of hospitalization), I probably wouldn’t be writing 2/3rd of the story. But there’s two more months that was a living hell that needs to be told. The only blemish I’d put against my stay at the two hospitals at this point is they wouldn’t change my catheter when I asked.
The doctors had to slice and dice part of my body to drain all the poison out. Again, to save my life, they basically created a pretty serious wound that needed to heal before I could go back to being homeless and live in my van. That required nursing personal to change the dressing every day. There was no way I could have changed the dressing safely myself in the back of a van. So off to a nursing home I went. A nursing for me was a living hell. I will hate any one that even remotely thinks I should live in a nursing home or assisted living home. It was that bad! Calling it a living hell is being kind. I had two roommates while in the nursing home and they both feel the same way as I do.
My nursing home stay started off with two weeks in quarantine. It was like going to a different planet. For anyone to enter my room, they had to put on what basically looked like a hazmat suit. Like my stay at the previous two hospitals the two months earlier, I had a room to myself. For those of you reading this – years from now, the year 2020 is one of the most challenging times since WWII? There is a world-wide pandemic happening. People are becoming infected from a terrible virus called Covid-19 or the Coronavirus. The smart people wear a mask when ever they are in public. Sad to say, too many don’t. It’s a very contagious virus that can be spread through the air by people breathing too close to someone that has it. Or touching a surface area that someone with the virus touched. The virus kills people, but too many people are not afraid of it, yet, so it’s going to be here for a long time to come.
My theory on slowing down the virus problem, it’s this simple. You have to show, teach direct the people of this entire world to become angry at the coronavirus. A virus is a submicroscopic infectious agent that replicates ONLY inside the living cells of an organism. For the coronavirus, the organism is you and me. If it doesn’t have you or me to live in, it dies within a few days. The first thing the media needs to do is educate the good people of the world this simple unknown fact. The media should be banging the door down with the message that viruses do not have brains. Don’t let a brainless submicroscopic infectious agent be smarter than you! First of all, don’t let a brainless submicroscopic infectious agent inside your body. Make every feel ashamed or angry at themselves if they catch the virus. There should be TV adds, radio adds, billboards, bumper stickers and most importantly, word of month that if you catch the brainless submicroscopic infectious agent, then a brainless virus is smarter than you.
The next thing to do is to educate everyone the virus can not enter your body if you don’t let it. Wear a mask and keep a distance. Let everyone know that the virus needs an opening to enter the body. That unless they are running around naked, a mask is very effective at keeping the virus out of your body. Can you imagine a TV commercial with a beach full of nude people wearing only masks? Inform the world that if the entire world wears a mask from the moment, they leave their house or automobile until the time they return to them, the brainless submicroscopic infectious agent cannot enter your body.
Finally, get the world so angry at the virus that they want to kill it every chance they can. And the best way to kill it? Wash your hands! Every store, every business, every entrance to every classroom, everyone’s automobile and the entrance to everyone’s house should have a large bottle of gem killing hand wash. Every one of these places should have a sign or bumper sticker saying, please be smarter than a brainless submicroscopic infectious virus – wash your hands before entering! Kill the fucking little bastards! You may not want to use those exact words, but I hope you get my point.
Again, its simple, get the good people of this world angry at themselves for letting the brainless virus controlling and ruining their lives. If the coronavirus had a brain, it would be laughing at us right now.
Back to my living hell story! I don’t like being negative, but it is what it is and it needs to be told. I was having terrible bladder and muscle spasms, so I asked Dr. Pansy the first time we met to change my catheter. The doctor cared more about a paycheck and the nursing home cared more about saving money then the patients. Doctor Pansy only came to the nursing home on Mondays. On Tuesdays he went to a different nursing home, on Wednesdays he went to a different nursing home, on Thursdays he went to a different nursing home and on Fridays he went to a different nursing home. A month later of doctor Pansy’s negligence the catheter finally fell out on its own. But not before I finally gave him a double barrel piece of my mind. The spasms were so bad I lost 10 pounds. I was getting 2 hours of sleep per night and an hour nap during the day. It was physically and mentally exhausting. The lecture I gave Dr. Pansy was loud and long. I’d say a good 15 to 20 minutes. And every time Dr. Pansy tried to interrupt me by saying, you’re not listening to me. I’d yell back, No! You’re not listening to me! And loud? Although the door was closed, the CNAs (certified nursing assistants) and therapists in the hallway heard my speech. As a matter of fact, two of the therapists came into the room just after Dr. Pansy left and applauded me. But again, it didn’t matter to the nursing home. My rant to the doctor was on Monday and on Friday the catheter finally fell out. Soon I was in the back of an ambulance and off to an emergency room. The nursing home had told the driver to bring me to a hospital they were associated with, but I explained the problem to the EMS people. They agreed with me that St. Agnes was the proper hospital to go too.
The ambulance didn’t even move an inch and my temperature spiked up again. The EMS guy didn’t ignore it. And thank God he didn’t. The good people at St. Agnes were able to save the hole with a smaller catheter been there, done that plus they did a urine culture and found e-coli in my bladder. How it got there or when? I didn’t even ask. That Friday in August, was it August? I don’t even care what month it was or the number of the day. It was a Friday sometime during the summer of 2020 that I … changed! I’m now angry with the O’Dovero family that cares so little about my health and safety and HAPPINESS! In my view, it’s just another domino to fall on my way to dying.
What scares the shit out of me is – How many dominos are there left to fall in my life? I’m scared I don’t have that many dominos left to fall if I continue down this path of homelessness!
When do I start hating them for leaving me homeless to die in the back of a van?
Do I already hate them?
I hate this feeling that I could possibly hate them. That I’ll never forgive the O’Dovero family for allowing it to happen. For discriminating against me financially so I’m now feeling the terrible, horrible emotion of hatred.
I don’t feel like writing anymore about this.
Have I ever told you the meaning behind the phrase, a pound of sugar? I remember it like it was yesterday. We were at Craig, the rehab hospital in Denver Colorado (technically Englewood Colorado, Dr. Hahn, his nurse and I). God, I wish I remembered her name. Like many women who worked for great men, she was as smart as the doc and in many ways, smarter. They were about to enter the elevator on the 2nd floor when she responded to my question to the doctor. A few days earlier I had asked for a 2nd (spare wheelchair). The insurance company had originally declined it but she changed their minds and seen to it that it was approved. As one of the smartest women (human being) I ever met explained to me, Jerry, I asked the insurance representative if she owned more than one pair of shoes! Your 2nd wheelchair has been approved. She could see that I understood she won the argument of me needing a 2nd wheelchair without even arguing. To me that was amazing, she showed how to win an argument with an intelligent person without arguing by just stating to obvious. I guess the key phrase there is with an intelligent person. I didn’t get on the elevator with them, but she could see I was still confused about something. Maybe I held the elevator door from closing, I’m not sure who did, but without blinking, one of the smartest people I’ve ever meet said, Jerry, if you went to the grocery store and bought a pound of sugar, and you paid for a pound of sugar, but when you got home, you found out it was only ½ a pound of sugar, would you feel cheated? Yes, of course! Jerry, when you bought that insurance policy, you bought a pound’s worth of insurance. Don’t let anyone tell you it was anything less!
It’s been a week since I put this story on hold. I better start telling you more of these unfortunate chapters of my life. I don’t want to run out of dominos.
I found an old external hard drive I had in storage. (I’m listening to the band, America) Before I left Marquette a few weeks ago I went into my brother Jim’s garage. He’s been nice enough to allow me to store some crap there. Let’s call him, the Lone Ranger! He told me he read this blog once. He said he didn’t agree with it, so he’ll never read it again. I hope when Medusa reads it and tells him I’m writing again, he doesn’t throw everything I own in a dumpster. Medusa told me in front of 6 brothers and a sister that if I mention her name again in this blog that I’ll be hearing from her Lawyer. Two years ago, when we were in the courthouse, she told me that my writing about her didn’t bother her because she had thick skin. The Queen, the Lone Ranger and Smokin Joe were there as well to hear her say it. I guess her skin isn’t that thick after all. A few minutes after Medusa told me she had thick skin, Queen Cleopatra asked me if I was being mean derogatory when I was calling her Queen Cleopatra? I said, no mom, like I told the judge (when I was on the witness stand), Cleopatra slept with both Caesar and Mark Antony. Any woman that can sleep with two Roman Leaders has to be an impressive woman. (I’m pretty sure that’s word for word what I said on the witness stand)
Should I play Bob Segar or Black Sabbath next? I think I’ll make you wait until the movie of my life comes out. I have to keep a few secretes from you!
Back to the nursing home from hell story. I really don’t feel like talking about it, so I’m going to give you an overview. Most of the staff were good people. The place was understaffed. My guess is the new procedures because of the coronavirus has added to the reason they were understaffed, but my guess, and its only a guess, all nursing home except the high-priced private ones are understaffed. With that said, most of the staff worked hard and did their best. My reason it was hell were the rules, regulations, doctor Pansy and nurse Jim.
They would not give me the medication I needed when I needed it, nor would they listen to me when I’d tell them their rules were causing me serious health issues. Another way they failed me and my stay a living hell was they wouldn’t write me a prescription for catheters. I didn’t have any catheters to leave the nursing home with nor would they write a prescription for them. A catheter is a piece of rubber tubing. I wasn’t asking for heroin or the pain killers’ people are selling on the black market.
I thought I could write more, but I don’t want too. That four-month ordeal was the 5th time I had been to the emergency room since I’ve been homeless and the 3rd time I was knock, knock, knocking on heaven’s door. The way the doctors made it sound, I was bang, bang, banging on heaven’s door. I think I’ll pay that song!
The first time I went to the emergency room since I became homeless was in November 2018. The Lone Ranger had called me up two weeks after I first became homeless and asked if I wanted a free ticket to Marquette and a free hotel room. I was excited. Maybe things weren’t so bleak after all. All I had to do was go to Redacted and tell the truth. I can do that. I don’t tell lies, because I’m not smart enough to remember them.
The morning of the flight to Marquette I slept in front of my buddy Steve’s house. Somehow our wires got crossed. Steve thought the flight was at 1:15pm and it was really at 10:30am. I didn’t make that flight. I rescheduled it for the next day on the airline’s website, but somehow it didn’t work. I’ll take the blame on that one. So, I contacted Smokin Joe and he booked the flight. By now the stress had my body all screwed up. I ended up sleeping from 4am to 8am on the floor. You’ll have to wait for the movie to see the circumstance that lead to my wonderful night where I didn’t really didn’t sleep a wink.
Steve is now driving my van toward the airport when I brought up the question of my driver’s license. I didn’t have a valid driver license card. I think I’ve only lost my wallet 3 or 4 times in my life and 2 of them have been since I’ve been homeless. A month earlier I had time to get a replacement card when I knew I was going to fly to Marquette, so no problem. Steve do you have my driver’s license? No, I gave it to you! Aww, no Steve. We were only 6 blocks from his house, so problem yet! A few minutes Steve came out of his house and said he couldn’t find it.
I have an expired driver’s license card. I can wing it. I’ll just talk a lot and they’ll never notice. I’m not worried – much. You know how now a days the airports want you there 2 hours early so they can check every inch of your body and your suitcases? Well, we weren’t there 2 hours early. We weren’t there an hour early. We (I) rolled up to the counter maybe 20 to 30 minutes before the scheduled takeoff time. I hadn’t flown in 15 years or longer, so I just started talking 100 miles an hour about that, and this and anything or everything. And of course, I asked the pretty young 25-year-old lady behind the counter dozens of questions. Before I knew it, I had a boarding pass.
What almost made me miss my flight was a black handled Philips tipped screwdriver. I use one to lock my right front caster from turning when I transfer on or off my wheelchair. I didn’t notice it until they were wiping my shoes, pants and wheelchair down with special wipes to see if I had trace explosives on me. I didn’t, of course, just a screwdriver that I was sure was going to get me a fast trip to a little room for a day or two. So, I’m back talking 100 miles an hour only this time I’m not quit so sure I can pull it off. The 50-year-old gentleman takes the black handled Philips tipped screwdriver from me and walks away. I don’t wear a watch, but I’m a decent judge of time. I’m sure the pilot had started the plane’s two engines already, was reaching for the gear shift and was checking his watch. I was running a fever before I arrived at the airport. Now I’m feeling a little sick to my stomach as well. What’s that old saying? May you live in interesting times? I maybe homeless, but my live is anything but boring. It felt like days, but it was probably only 5 minutes when the nice security gentleman walked back to me and handed me back my black handled Philips head screwdriver. Holy crap! You can keep it! I don’t need it! Then I realized, shut up Jer and get on the plane! Someone from the airport pushed me from security to the plane and there weren’t any stops at the bars for preflight cocktails and I didn’t ask either. I made the flight with a few minutes to spare.
It took three planes to get me to Marquette. I was so cold and miserable the entire plane ride(s). I’m not a coffee drinker and I didn’t like the tea they offered, so I simply drank those little shot glass size cups filled with hot water. They didn’t warm me up, by the time I landed in Marquette I had at least 4 blankets wrapped around me and my teeth were still chattering.
As not to piss off too many members of the family, I’m going to skip forward a week. I’m still not feeling well and I’m not getting better. I talked it over with the Lone Ranger and we decided I should go to the emergency room. When I lived in Marquette prior to moving to California, I had an Ishperming doctor. Now I’m not stupid, I didn’t expect to find my long-lost doctor from 25 years ago waiting for me at the Ishperming emergency room, but I went there anyway rather than the emergency room In Marquette. The wait time at the Ishperming emergency room was zero minutes. The time spent at the Ishperming emergency room before being sent to the Marquette hospital, about an hour. Technology it was about three hours, but two of the three hours were so the Marquette hospital could find me a bed.
About two weeks prior to flying to Marquette I had finally found a new doctor in California that would listen to me. The wait time to get an appointment? 2 to 3 months. But I finally found a good doctor. Of course, I can not think of her name, but she was the first doctor at the prestigious Stanford hospital that listen to me in four years. The three prior to that told me I was tired because I was getting old. This smart and intelligent lady ran a simple blood test. 24 hours later she called me and told me My blood was anemic and I was bleeding and loosing way too much blood somewhere in my intestinal track.
The good doctor and I had made appointments for a few different types of x-rays. Unfortunately, they weren’t going to happen until after I arrived in Marquette. I’d been living with the condition, although 20-20 hind site living in an apartment for four years, so it didn’t register in my dumb ass brain that it could be a life threating situation. Plus, I was so excited to be going to Marquette, hoping I wasn’t going to be homeless anymore that I boarded the plane to Marquette not in the best of shape.
Now I was smart enough to tell the good doctor at the Ishperming emergency room about my anemic blood, that I was scheduled for x-rays and that I didn’t have a chance to get to them yet. In one hour, or less, and the good doctor confirmed I had a serious blood loss problem and it had become much, much worse. My iron level, she called it hemoglobin, had dropped to 7.5. She also informed me that if it drops below 6, I’m banging on heaven’s door. I went to the Marquette hospital two hours later and they gave me two pints of A+ blood right away. My hemoglobin had dropped to 6.5 in the two hours I waited to get to Marquette. The next morning the good doctors, and I mean good doctors, took x-rays but couldn’t find the source of the bleeding.
Its 11pm and I really want to quit writing about this subject, so I’m going to end this hospital stay here. Being homeless for two years has taken its toll on me mentally, physically and health wise.
I don’t know why, but I feel like I’ve told you this story.
Good morning good people. I think I had about four hours of sleep. I’ve been taking iron pills for the past couple of years, so its kind of normal. (4 to 6 hours is about normal) Without the iron pills, or Marquette County well water, I’d sleep 14 to 16 hours a night.
I just received a text from the Lone Ranger. He informed me that the two sides of the O’Dovero family (the Peter E. O’Dovero side and the Lois A. O’Dovero side) can not agree on helping me financially, so I guess I’m going to continue to go homeless for a 3rd straight winter.
….. I’m sitting here for an hour now wondering what to say?
Oh crap! Let’s see. I told you about the 3th time I nearly died since I’ve been homeless and then the 1st time, I guess I should tell you about the 2nd time. I don’t have the energy or the desire to talk about it, so I’ll give you the cliff notes. Do you know my entire time in school or college I never use cliff notes!
Two years ago, the O’Dovero family flew me to Marquette to help because there was a riff, the size of the Pacific Ocean, between the two sides of the family. Two weeks after I was out of the hospital, they put me on a plane, sicker than a dog and sent me back to California to live in my van for the winter. That hurt me more than you’ll ever know. A few weeks later my friends found me in Walmart parking lot near death dying in my van. I told them I was OK, but they knew I wasn’t. The next morning, I moved to a Safeway parking lot. While talking with Jackie and Steve on the phone they could hear it in my voice that I was in worst shape then the day before. They didn’t even try driving me the couple of miles to the emergency room, they just called an ambulance to come find me and bring me to a hospital. I was running a 100.7-degree fever with infections in bladder, kidneys, lymph nodes and blood. I was hospitalized on IV antibiotics for weeks and then oral antibiotics for weeks after that. I was yelled at for not coming in sooner. They told me I was days away from possible organ failure. Knock, knock, knocking on heaven’s door, again.
I don’t feel like writing about it anymore. My next stories are going to be about the $1,000,000 auto insurance policy I bought on my 1979 Black Ford F-100 Pickup truck, the $700,000 check I received from the Wausau Insurance Company months later when I was 17 years old and suffered a serious automobile accident and what happened to the $700,000 check. Spoiler alert! I signed my name on the back of the $700,000 check 40+ years ago and that’s the last I seen of it or the money!
Do you know what the saddest things about some of the members of the O’Dovero family are? Some of them like to throw it in my face that I’m not intitled to receive any money from them. Who am I to demand money from them?
I’m not demanding nor do I feel entitled to anything. I’m simply asking them to do the right thing. If they don’t want to do the right thing, at least make up for the sins of the past, so I can get a nice, safe place to live. I just want to be happy! I want to start writing nice stories again.
Or, the O’Dovero family, especially my mom and dad, can continue to leave me homeless to die. To me, it’s that simple!
You can call me crazy, but I don’t want to die!
Since there are members of the O’Dovero family that do not feel they’ve done anything wrong, they shouldn’t be angry with me for telling the truth about the Good, the Bad and the Ugly events in my life on this blog or else ware.
One last thing, if you don’t feel some, or all of what I have to say pertains to you, then it probably doesn’t.