Its 11:27 pm – This was originally posted on 3 Dec 2011
Another cold day here in Michigan,winter is now here to stay. While other parts of our state got up to 7-8 inches on snow this week,we have only recieved a dusting on the grass. Not even enough for a snowball…but we know its coming,its just a matter of when.
Been sitting here trying to put my words and thoughts in place. Its been that kind of week to say the least…
First things first….
Thursday found us back in Ann Arbor for a pre-radiation appointment. This is where you are told what to expect during this phase of the treatment. Lori had to take another CT scan,have yet another exam and then get fitted for a mold. A mold is made of the targeted area of the body. When you get radiation,you are put in a machine and must stay in that exact position as to ensure the beam is going. Thats why you get a blue freckle,its a guide as to where they putting the radiation at.
The UM staff was once again extremely nice and a team of six people worked with us including a very nice and funny nurse named Michael. He walked us thru the process and possible side effects. One of the things they had us do was watch a 10 minute program introducing us to radiation. But what was funny was the program on a old VHS tape….you can pay a football coach 2 millions bucks but can’t update your radiation platform to a DVD player? We all got a good laugh from that.
Things went smoothly and straight forward. When we got there at 8 am,we were the first people there,when I went out after a hour,the place was filled. All sorts of folks were in the waiting room…so I sat and waited for Lori. I wasn’t nearly as worried as I was Thursday and was able to read my book and relax a bit. Soon I was back inside and talking to another staff member about how we would sign up and go straight to the radiation room bypassing the waiting area. Then it was back outside until they finished w/Lori’s mold.
It was there that I realized again how blessed we are….for when I came outside,I went and got a cup off coffee. An elderly gentlemen was there and I poured him a cup as well. He asked me if I was a patient or waiting,I said I was waiting and he said he was both…he was waiting for his wife and he also had cancer,a skin cancer by his eye. He said they wanted to operate and that he would carry a 4 inch scar where his tumor was. He said he wanted to wait until after the holidays before getting it done. I said I could understand that…and then sat down. Now my back was against this gentleman as I started to read my book. But I heard him start talking to this family of four I had seen come in before I was called inside…it was a mom and dad and two kids in thier early 20s. I thought they were waiting for a grandparent as they had been there for a while. But I had noticed the two younger folks were not there when I was getting my coffee.
Now this elderly gentleman started talking to the parents…the girl was thier daughter and she had skin cancer. And what had started as a simple cancer and treatment has turned into a terrible fight. The cancer is strong and aggressive and this young woman has had 11 surgeries as the cancer has continued to spread. Hearing this while my back was against them,I couldn’t read while hearing this. I started praying for the both them…and for us. This family had driven down from Mackinaw,which is about 450 miles north of Ann Arbor and they have to make this trip twice a month…
A few minutes later Lori came out and we checked out….but before we left,I went over and shook both men’s hands and wished them well for thier loved ones….
Next we splurged and had lunch at the Macroni Grill and headed over to Briarwood Mall to do some Christmas shopping. While the mall was hopping and we looked high and low for gifts for her uncle and dad,we were only able to find a gift for my dad.
Oh…..and this brings up a question….is anyone willing to walk me thru programming/uploading a iPod? I really need the help and it would mean the world to me. I had it done once but a old friend thought he knew a shortcut and ended up messing up what I already had on it.
I ask that because when I went to the Apple store and asked and said it was a 1st Gen iPod,they acted like they couldn’t be bothered by such a outdated request….
After we finished there,we continued to shop and enjoyed it. With radiation starting a week from Monday,we don’t have much time to shop and Elf Day is this Friday. I’ll explain what Elf Day is on Saturday…
Some of you may have saw my post yesterday about my friend Vincent passing away. I like to talk about Vincent a little bit because he was a great friend.
I used to work in downtown San Jose,Calif at a dive club called Marsugi’s. It was a small 150 seater bar and grill that used to have bands play there. Some seriously kick ass bands. I was invited by thier sound guy at the time to come watch a show.While there I met the talent buyer,Joe,who was a musician himself and a good guy (a fair booker to boot). Soon after I started hanging out and then helping Joe break down the little stage afterwards. The club had a little guy called the Weasel who used to handle the door but he was not too honest about doing his job,he let in a lot people in free which hurt the bands because they only made money if we had a good paying customer base…and since Joe also got a cut,this hurt him as well…..soon he hired me to do the door.
I learned on the job….taking cash,checking IDs and pretty soon,I found myself actually having to toss people out. That was a little unexpected to say the least.
There was another club down the street called the Cactus,the Cactus was the best club at the time in San Jose. It was much bigger then Marsugi’s and was 18+,which meant it was a much larger crowd. I had never been there and so one night I walked the half block to see what it was all about. Now at this time,I knew no one in the music scene other then Joe and his friends. But I had heard about the Cactus and at that time (and I’m being honest here) it had a reputation for beatdowns. If you were inside and caused trouble,chances were you were going out in a heap and a “thank you very much”. The club had strong dance nights and hosted some great touring acts as well. As I was standing there on my first night at the Cactus,this tall guy wearing a Cactus security t-shirt walked up to me and said “You’re the new guy at Marsugi’s,aren’t you? I’m Vincent,come on inside”. He walked me around and introduced to thier staff….Sean the GM,Big Mike the owner,Calvin,Mike’s brother and the rest of the crew. I hung out for a while and it was a pretty fun night…Vincent came by and asked what I thought of the club. Hell,the Cactus was in its prime back then and it was rockin’. Beautiful women,guys talking about music,talking about how fucking BIG Calvin was… A week later while getting ready for our show,Vincent came inside. Now at that time,I had never seen a single guy from Cactus come down to our club. I was still brand newish and didn’t know that the two owners,while not unfriendly,still were sort of chilly to each other. But Vincent walked in and we started talking…he told me about his brother Nick who also worked at the Cactus and wanted me to meet him. He shook my hand and invited me to come hang out if our show ended early….thus a friendship was born.
Like I said yesterday,Vincent would do anything for you….he was sweet,sensitive and loved a good laugh. But he was a tough son of a bitch and as my good friiend Monte said,”a true professional”. I saw this up close on a Thursday night….we were closed and the Cactus had thier most popular dance night,which was a Disco Fever theme night. The hottest DJ,King Raffi just owned this night,the line to get in used to wrap around the block. The Cactus was PACKED…this happened after I had been working at Marsugi’s for a year. I was a friend with all the staff at the time. Vincent was working and had come outside for some air when he spotted me outside. He smiled and said “Glad you made it..its crazy in there tonight!” No kidding! Vincent said come in and can you watch my back? I mean there were 400-500 people inside and maybe a staff of 10 to keep the peace and while they had radios and cops outside,you were still outmanned by the sheer amount of people.
So after being inside for a while and the groove was good…a scuffle broke out…I was close by but really couldn’t see who was fighting…the lights came up but the floor was quiet…so once again King Raffi started doing his thing…but 5 minutes later a girl started screaming and this time I was close enough to see it….a guy had knocked down this girl and had his arm around her throat…as I grabbed his arm,I bent his hand backwards to get him off her,the lights came on and people just stood still on the dance floor…as I got him on his feet,he swung at me and missed. I put a hold on him and started trying to calm him down. I could see the Cactus staff working thier way to us. But what I didn’t see were this guy’s buddies and they wanted me to let thier friend loose. So as I’m locked up with guy…one of friends throws a haymaker at my head and connects. I saw some stars but didn’t let go….and as his buddy winds up again,a sudden flash and this guy is on the ground holding his face.
Vincent had rolled in and taken him out. The guy I had a hold on…well the security chief,Jim,takes him and as he is being walked to the door,takes a poke at Jim..but thats another story.
Vincent makes sure I’m okay…the rest of guys also make sure I’m okay. Vincent insists I chill and then we’ll walk home together..he became my best friend downtown. He also is the one guy with whom I got drunk with the only two times I ever drank in my life. (My buddy Larry Lopez will be shocked to read that).
Vincent also had another friend in the club scene and myself over to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas. We met Mrs. Speakes and knew exactly where Vincent’s gentleness had come from. It was very touching that they shared with us even though they themselves didn’t have much. The following year,Vincent’s mom had a Cerebral aneurysm and was in a coma for months before finally dying. He would talk for hours about family and his greatest fear was ending up like his dad who had alcoholism.
After his mom died,I noticed his drinking was getting worse. We talked about it and I voiced my concerns as a good friend would do…being and working in the club scene isn’t nearly as flashy as Hollywood portrays it. I know I’m not alone here when I think of the good friends who developed serious drinking and drug problems working the club life. I know when I left to move here,he was working as a bartender and I didn’t see him as much but he would drop by the Agenda on my Tuesday night and hang out with and watch the bands.
I tried after I got here to find him but I never could get a message to him….and after re-connecting with a lot of my old SJ friends here on Facebook,I asked around about Vincent. No one knew for sure where he was or how he was doing.
But now my friend is gone….he is reunited with his beloved mother now and is at peace. To those who knew Vincent,we are lucky to have known him….to those who don’t,I can only say I really wish you would have….
thanks for reading….