Monday, August 6, 2007
A month ago, I mentioned that my cancer numbers were discouraging, indicating that the drug treatment I was receiving wasn't working. My visits to two separate oncologists told me that I should stop the treatment and clear my system of the drugs. With a clear system and a blood test to prove it, I could then apply for what's known as a "clinical trial." A clinical trial is basically a live human test of a new drug for any purpose.
If a trial is successful, meaning the drug does what it's supposed to do, it's one step closer to FDA approval and sale to the the public through medical community. Of course, there are always risks with these trials among them death. In my case, the risks as described are worth whatever it takes to overcome this cancer.
The two drawbacks are that the window of application may close before my six week cleansing process is complete and the trial compares the new drug or treatment with conventional chemotherapy. Since a computer marries the method and the patient as a condition of the trial, neither the patient or the medical people know which treatment is being administered. I'm worried that I might miss out on the opportunity with the sign-up deadline looming before my body is cleansed. At the same time, I am opposed to chemotherapy on my fine specimen of a body. As I thought about the deadline, no continuing treatment and looming chemotherapy, I slowly went into a blue "funk."
I was depressed. I started losing interest in most everything. If a TV show started moving faster than I could keep up with, I changed channels. I changed channels a lot. In fact, TV became a constant companion. I stayed away from the news most of the time. I liked house make-overs, "American Chopper," "Deadliest Catch," "Good Eats" and my favorite "Take Home Chef." I watched the America's Cup and Le Tour De France at 2AM. I fell asleep many times with the TV on and it watching me. I was so dragged out because of my almost all-night TV that I napped during the day. I slept a lot though it was an hour here, two hours there.
I was too tired to cook are even prepare what might be good for me like salads or vegetables. I did buy lots of easy cooking things like pizzas or breaded chicken. McDonald's was a convenient stop for me though I did manage to avoid the heavy meats, most of the time. I cut up potatoes and roasted them. I found artichokes and steamed them. I read that tomatoes and broccoli were a great combination to defeat prostate cancer and loaded up on them. Then, the same publication said they had it wrong, there was no medical evidence of any prevention. As I continued toward a simpler diet that suited my declining preparation abilities, a new phenomenon came on me.
Almost immediately after I finished a big salad or a any meal for that matter, I was hungry. I couldn't figure this out although someone did suggest I might have an ulcer. When I looked up ulcer symptoms, hunger wasn't one of them. Stranger still, these hunger pangs started occurring while I was eating, maybe half-way through the meal. I tried different foods even resorting to McDonald's, Korean and Chinese foods and even Zippie's and nothing changed. I always got hungry. The only answer I got was from my acupuncturist, who said I had too much "heat" in my stomach. That didn't change much, not even my understanding of what was happening.
I thought I might have some sort of stomach acid problem through a self-diagnosis and administered my first-aid. I mixed some baking soda and water, drinking that. Surprisingly, the hunger pangs went away, almost immediately. Whenever I began to feel these pangs, I drank my concoction and felt relieved. I began to depend on this solution to the extant that if I was hungry at all, I drank. I didn't have to go anywhere or cook anything. If I woke up hungry at night, I drank. When I watched TV for miracle appetite-loss cures, I thought I had something worth advertising. But, there was a downside to this miracle--distress in the lower tract, if you know what I mean. Suffice it to say, that what went down as food came out with much greater vigor than I was used to, so fast that several times I wondered if it wasn't a good idea to just go ahead and sleep on the toilet seat instead of sprinting to it at night. "Just In Time" is not just a manufacturing term, I can tell you from experience.
Surprisingly, the food I most wanted to avoid--Mickey D's, Kal-Bi, Lemon Chicken--comforted me the longest, something I still puzzle over. One would think that all that salt and MSG couldn't possibly have anything to do with satisfying an appetite. Perhaps it was the bulk of each of these meals: the bread in the Crispy Chicken sandwiches or all the rice in the others that lined my stomach. I still don't know for sure but I think I have an inkling. Years ago, someone said if I felt hungry after a meal, it was because I was not getting enough fruits and vegetables. The adventure continues as I add a plethora of fruits and wait for the results. I'll keep you informed.
Through this past month, I've been undergoing acupuncture and massage and the results have been remarkable. For one thing, a hip pain that had me limping for almost a year disappeared almost completely. After about five massages, it reappeared with a vengeance, this time involving the entire leg with pain shooting from my thigh to my toes. I lived on Ibuprofen. I had started a gentle excessive program during the month as I was no longer limping but, that came to a screeching halt since I could bare roll over in bed. I was so disappointed with this turn of events because I was looking forward to slipping on my shoes, hat and sunglasses and going for a morning stroll around Nanakuli. I was feeling stronger, lighter and my unswollen ankles were proudly showing veins and tendons. Now, I was back on my butt, or rather my back, feeling sorry for myself. That was a feeling that gripped me the entire month to which I'll get shortly.
The acupuncture has affected me in ways I never thought. I did feel very tired after my sessions which was explained as normal since acupuncture releases a lot of energy and I wasn't used to that. I might be in bed the entire next day, recovering. One effect was on my diabetic "neuropothy." These are pains in various part of the body caused by nerve endings firing off at will. These pains were typically in my thighs, knees, calves, shins, toes--in short all over my legs. But, they found other places, too, like a finger or an elbow or the side of my head. In the past, I found relief by drinking copious amounts of water along with taking non-prescription pain killers. The pain was usually intense and brief, a lot like someone using pliers deep in my body. Other times, it was like hitting my funny bone only the action was in my finger or toe. Sometimes, the pain throbbed and lasted for 24 hours. In any case, acupuncture seemed to have an affect on this as the frequency and intensity subsided almost immediately. It hasn't gone away completely but we're on the right track, I think.
Another effect was on my diabetes. Right after I started these treatments, my blood sugar started changing for the better, so much so that my insulin injections were giving me trouble. I discovered the change when I woke up in the morning with my blood sugar so low that I had to find candy, maple syrup, anything sugary to allow me to function. I was near fainting. My insulin was driving the blood sugar too low. What was happening was that the acupuncture worked on my pancreas which released my own insulin and that, combined with the shots, had my body using up all available blood sugar to satisfy the insulin. My primary doctor reduced my daily level of insulin and changed my injection time to mid-evenings. I continued to check my blood sugar and found to my amazement that when I forgot to take my shot, my blood sugar levels were normal anyway. I began experimenting by not taking the injection at all to see what would happen; nothing did. My sugar levels normalized. I can only attribute this to the acupuncture. My diet is just as screwy as before. My exercise is off and on. All hail acupuncture!
More, next time...
Sunday, June 24, 2007
The latest news is: The cancer is coming back. After some 7 months of
relative quiet, my PSA (prostate cancer activity measurements) are
elevated and rising rather quickly. In March I was at 7.9 (not
necessarily healthy but better than the 48.5 when I was admitted.) At
the end of May I was at 22. That’s alarming because it’s about half of
what put me in hospital and could mean a serious operation.
I lay this increase squarely at the feet of my response to the “idiot”
and all she did from March until the end of May. I have said that this
was the most despicable person I have ever known and the stress caused by dealing with her antics—I believe—triggered this episode.
I’ve done several things to handle this. I made a follow-up
appointment with an oncologist who is running a clinical trial of a
prostate cancer vaccine that involves getting my immune system to eat
my prostate cancer cells. If you’ve seen much news about prostate
cancer lately, you may be familiar with a new treatment called
“Provenge” for which the FDA is delaying approval. This regimen is
similar to that. I think it involves 12 injections a week for 6 to 12
weeks. When I first applied in April, my treatments—such as they
were--had not failed which was a prerequisite for inclusion in the
local trial. This same doctor prescribed hormone treatments of
excessive estrogen to overcome my male hormones, which typically drive
prostate cancer growth. Other than my watching “Oprah” and “All My
Children” religiously, asking everyone if I look fat in my jeans, doing
my nails incessantly (yes, toes, too), constantly cleaning the bathroom
and yelling at my roommates when they don’t let me know if they’ll be
late for dinner, I haven’t noticed any side effects from the extra
But now that treatment is failing so, other than chemo and radiation,
on to stronger stuff.
In the meantime, I applied for and received a medical “grant” to pay
for massage therapy and acupuncture which aren’t covered by my
insurance. My first sessions were this past Thursday. Let me ask
you, why did I wait so long? The results from both these first of ten
sessions were immediate. For the longest time, I’ve experienced pain
in my left hip so bad at times I literally crawled to the bathroom.
I’ve had little feeling in my extremities because of the diabetes
slowing down my circulation. I could only sleep for two hours at a
time before rising to urinate. I tell you, all that went away within
48 hours of those treatments. The massage was relaxing for sure but it
worked on the pain somehow, which is now gone. Some feeling is
returning to my feet and hands because of the acupuncture, which also
addresses my liver and pancreas. I slept for more than five hours at a
stretch last night; an absolute delight!
The acupuncturist asked if I was afraid of needles but, since I’ve been
injecting insulin daily since last year, I fear nothing. In fact, I
didn’t know they were inserted until I looked for them in my hands,
legs and feet. She said most men are afraid of the needles and most
women aren’t. I may be more of one gender than the other because of
the hormone treatments but it doesn’t matter. I just want to be cured
whether I’m wearing pink and chartreuse or lovely white Guess jeans…
Anyway, this is just to keep you up to date, “Dahlings” (Damn that
Friday, June 22, 2007
“I think about you.”
I remember looking at you as you glided toward me
Thinking of the graceful walk and the loving smile
As you came to me. I see the gentle curves of your body and raven hair flowing across your shoulders and away from your stately cheeks
As you ease your way into this space we call our own.
I see your soft, ivory hand reaching for mine as you settle
Next to me and I look deep into your rich, mahogany pupils;
Transfixed am I by you no matter where I am because for sure
“When I am alone,
“I think about you.”
“When I am with others,
“I think about you.”
Their chatter means nothing to me, their joshing and
Good-natured ness is of no comparison to your soul
And how it envelopes me or your sigh of contentment
At our being together. I envision you moving among
My friends so easily, charming and warming them
With just a comforting word or a knowing wink so
Simply dispensed and so devastating to those that hunger
For your appreciative nod and your accepting them into your world.
I am suspended in thought among their jostling energy for no
Matter how hard they try to hold my attention, surely they must know
“When I am with others,
“I think about you.”
“When I am with you,
“I think about you.”
I feel the gentle touch of your fingertips on my temples
Your palms on my cheeks as you bring my face to yours
And your lips lightly brush against mine for what must be
An angel’s eternity even though this brief moment is just that.
I know the rising passion from just that simple encounter
And slide my arms around you vowing to never let you go into
Any other time zone without me, to always breathe in your rhythm,
To honor the soft tremor of your voice with nothing louder,
To listen to your heart, to hear your ministering, to accept you,
To protect you and bless you, for surely you must always know
“When I am with you,
“I think about you.”
Friday, June 1, 2007
The judge turned to me and said, “Mr. Hoyer, in regards to your Temporary Restraining Order (TRO), you as the plaintiff will have an opportunity to tell your story and the “respondent” (the Former Female Tenant) will tell hers and then you can ask her questions and then she will ask you some questions. Do you understand the process?” I answered that I did and said, “Well, Your Honor, it all started about a month or so after the respondent moved in…”
“But Judge,” blurted the Former Female Tenant (FFT), “What about my TRO against him? I called the court and they said it was okay to file it close to my home and then they said it was wrong to do that but I want my TRO against him to be heard right now at the same time; how come I can’t get that done?”
The judge replied that this was not about her TRO against me, this court was in session to hear my TRO against her and in any case her TRO was not even here in front of her. “Besides,” said the judge, “If you wanted your TRO to be heard at the same time as Mr. Hoyer’s, you would have to file it here in Family Court and then we would have to find a schedule that would permit hearing both at the same time; is that what you want?” “Yes,” said the FFT, “That’s what I want!” “Court is in recess for a moment,” said the judge. She conferred with one of the court officers about the possibility of such an arrangement and was told that it would be near impossible to make it happen. The judge then turned to the FFT and said, “It’s not going to happen that way. We’ll proceed with Mr. Hoyer’s testimony. Mr. Hoyer, you may begin.”
“But Judge,” said the FFT, weeping now, “He broke the law when I was there picking up my personal belongings. He had the entire household watching and laughing at me and he was taking pictures of me; doesn’t that count for anything?” “Not right now, Ma’am; Mr. Hoyer, do continue.”
“But Judge,” interrupted the FFT, “He says he has cancer and that he only has only a year to live. How come he’s asking for ten year duration of his TRO against me if he only has a year to live?” Again, the judge turned to her and said, “Well, maybe he’ll beat the odds and live longer than ten years.” “But, what if dies in a year, what happens then?” At this point, I thought I’d get an edge in word-wise and said, “Then the entire subject is ‘moot.’” “Yes,” said the judge, “If he dies before the ten year limit expires, then the TRO is moot.” “
The only sound next in the courtroom was the thud of my forehead hitting the table top. This was a question posed by a person who purported to hold a master’s degree from somewhere and had taught somewhere else for eighteen years. Surely, I thought, the word “moot” would have turned up in her lexicon at some time during all that study toward an advanced degree and the spreading of precious knowledge on her hundreds of students during eighteen years of teaching. But, no, in a living room-sized courtroom with a surprised judge, a bailiff, several court workers and myself—all of whom knew the meaning of “moot,” [irrelevant]—the FFT was admitting to ignorance and displaying it nicely.
It’s long been my opinion that the FFT was not a complete idiot since she never finished
Consider this exchange:
“Look, Ma’am, if he does die before the TRO term is exhausted, I can’t order him not to approach you from ‘The Great Beyond;’ it can’t be done.” “Well,” said the FFT, “You could if you believed in the life ever after.”
I had prepared some 40 pages of evidence and testimony prior to this hearing.
I was told to sit in the specified “Plaintiffs’ Area” until the session reconvened. Five minutes later, the bailiff came for me and I returned to the small courtroom, sat down and waited for the FFT to be escorted in. We all paused while she parked three bags off her shoulder, her purse and an orange and black wheeled case with two beach mats protruding from it into a corner, smoothed her hair and sat down. The judge asked her if she would accept the terms of her proposal and she responded, “So, this takes the place of my TRO? Can I still file one against him?” The judge told the FFT that she would dispense no legal advice from the bench regarding whether or where any TRO would be filed; she was only interested in the FFT’s decision regarding the mutual TRO—yes or no? The FFT mumbled that she would accept the terms.
The judge repeated the terms of this mutual TRO including one section that prevented either one of us from possessing firearms. “But Judge, does that mean I can’t own a firearm?” asked the FFT. “Unless you were a member of the armed forces and needed a firearm in the course of your duties, you would still have to get permission from this court to obtain a permit.” “But Judge, what if I applied for a security guard job and needed a gun; what then?” asked the FFT. “Same conditions apply,” said the judge. Surely, any security guard company would carefully examine anyone to whom they issued a firearm and equally anyone as unbalanced as the FFT would never be sent to guard a crate of oranges much less a nuclear facility.
Court was finally adjourned and I awaited the paperwork. I had been in the courthouse since 7:45am and it was now 1:00pm. When the court officer, Tia, presented me with the final papers I simply said thanks and concluded with, “I don’t wish her ill, Tia. I only pray that she can get some help, somewhere. She may well be intelligent and possibly useful to society, somehow. So many people have asked me if she was on medications of some kind and I’ve had to say I didn’t know. Perhaps I was too close to the situation and unable to be disinterested to say for sure. In any case, Tia, this is over which is all I care about.”
I’m told the FFT now lives on the beach close by Nanakuli. She is on welfare and food stamps presently.
And, so it goes. What goes around comes around.
I wish her well…
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
I have seen your smile,
That infrequent smile,
That smile of immense proportions,
That smile of stellar qualities,
That smile that stops time and makes me feel
Breathless and stunned but, I know
That someone else has it bestowed on him limitlessly and,
Whoever he is, he is
One very lucky man.
He knows that smile, that smile that brightens any place
And any time of day,
That smile, the one that arrests him and makes him a willing prisoner
Of affection and love,
That has him gleeful and giggling at any hour, anywhere,
Even when all he does is close his eyes when he’s away from you
To remember what your smile does to him, and
Whoever he is, he is
One very lucky man.
He’s known the touch of your smile
From across the room or across the meadow
And how his step falters as that smile falls on him
And it seems the full brilliance of the universe
Is all around him and,
Wherever he looks, he sees only pure beauty,
Only richness unknown before that smile enveloped him, and
Whoever he is, he is
One very lucky man.
He’s felt your fingertips on his cheek,
Your forehead against his neck,
Your soft, gentle breath across his collarbones,
His own smile stretching across his face,
As you laugh with him, again.
He’s watched your eyes sparkle
As your smile lifts across your face,
He’s seen the way you tilt your head
As you laugh with him, again
And stopped his heart, again, and
Whoever he is, he is
One very lucky man.
I’ve wished and prayed for that man
To be me,
To be that one very lucky man.
I’ve endlessly hoped and thought
That it might be me who birthed that smile,
And who bathed in its magnificent depths,
Cleansed of all my sins,
Raised to heights unknown before that smile fell on me but,
That someone else is benefiting now and will forever and
Whoever he is, he is
One very lucky man.
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Act III, Scene 1
Monday, 5am came and I shut off the clock radio. It had been a fitful night; sleep escaped me, exchanged by rabid thoughts of what could go wrong in this, my Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) presentation against the Former Female Tenant, FFT. I was groggy but sure I would make it to the downtown
I worried too much…
The express bus stopped in front of me and I boarded it at 6am. This was the worst ride I’ve ever had on “
I arrived at the courthouse a few minutes later and sure enough, here comes the FFT, plopping herself down on a stone bench about ten feet away. My TRO says she must be 100 feet away from me at all times. She didn’t move, so I called 911. They promised to send an officer but, when the building doors opened at 7:45am, I went in, figuring the police were not going to show up. I laboriously climbed up two flights of stairs—remember, I’d had virtually no sleep—and checked in at the bailiff’s desk. They took my driver’s license and handed me a court ID badge to wear directing me to a hallway, which had courtrooms on the left and right, the end of which was reserved for TRO plaintiffs. I took a seat, acknowledging several people who were in my TRO class a couple weeks earlier. It was 8am. A cop called my name to ask if the FFT had done anything but sit a few feet away from me. He said the courtyard of the courthouse was a “common area” and that the FFT had to come there to get into the court. He did say that if she did anything else, he would help me “make a case against her.”
I asked a few of the other TRO’ers how they were doing since last we met. Some were still strong, some had weakened and were nervous that they might be arrested, since they themselves had violated the terms of their TRO’s by making contact with the defendant. Mine specifically stated—as did everybody else’s, I’m sure—that I was not to contact the defendant in any way, verbally, through someone else, by phone, email or semaphore flag, for that matter. Yet, in some cases, not only did the plaintiff make contact with their “terrorizer,” but the TRO was actually withdrawn not two weeks after the initial service. One guy, who was a plaintiff himself and who had worked within the TRO program as a volunteer for eight years, gave me some disturbing insights into the system.
He told me that the emotions and actions leading to a divorce or final imposition of a Restraining Order had the plaintiff leaving a marriage, as in a separation, or leaving a live-in relationship and issuing a TRO only to rescind it six times. He said the statistics were the same, whether people were married or just cohabitating a place. He told me of one woman, of Asian birth, married to a European-born man, who endured 40 years of abuse before finally coming to court. Not a week later, she dismissed the TRO and a week after that was in a dentist’s chair having her two front teeth replaced because of a blow by the husband.
He went on to talk about the people working in the system. Many “burn-out” after a few years. He said that their hearing the same stories, day after day, or seeing the same clients coming in month after month just got to them and they had to move on to something else. He also said that the TRO courts had the lowest burden of proof of any court in the land. In went like this: if the judge didn’t grant a TRO in what seemed a minor case of two people merely disagreeing with one another, that might be the very one case where death resulted and then the state would be sued for negligence.
I then sat next a university student, majoring in zoology, who I agreed to call “Stella,” after the character in “A Streetcar Named Desire.” We struck up a conversation immediately, covering a multitude of topics, one of which was her reason for being here this day. It seems her roommate in the college dorm was heavily into drugs—ice, cocaine and pot. Stella turned her in after the roommate threw a full bottle of wine at her during one of her binges. When Stella called the campus police, she was told to stay out of the way and say nothing. They were ineffectual in removing the roommate, even though campus rules forbad illegal drug use and so she called the police. The police told Stella later that the campus police are usually as lackadaisical as she just experienced but, they then got the girl out.
Stella was delightful to talk to. It didn’t matter that she was just two years into school and I was entering what for most is retirement years. We chatted like two friends who hadn’t seen each other in a while and were just bringing each other up to date. She was an artist at heart though she was studying how to care for animals, not as a veterinarian, but more like a zookeeper. She received dozens of art scholarship offers from many prestigious universities and art schools but turned them all down to follow her parent’s instructions: find something you can make money with; art won’t do it. I can’t understand how parents can ignore offers of a tuition-free education from people who recognize great talent and then tell their children to go for what they identify as a “sure-thing.” Stella admitted she was an animal lover and that from six years old she had naturally cared for sick and injured pets and wild animals with some success. Her heart though had always been in art and even showed her art teachers new ways of seeing and doing things, with several now teaching Stella’s methods.
Some 30 people were waiting for court times and one by one they were called in. I had been in this lobby since 8am and now, at 11:30am there were few others left, mostly just waiting for court orders to be written up and handed back. Finally, at 12:30pm, my name was called and I entered Judge Fujikami’s chambers.
The clerks told me to sit down at the end seat fronting the judge’s raised bench. This was a narrow room, almost like a hallway had been converted into a courtroom. The paneling was a soft mahogany, the seats comfortable as I took my place, opening my manila folder of TRO information in front of me.
The FFT entered next and took her seat on the opposite end of the room. A court clerk sat between us.
The judge then apologized for calling us in so late but there had been some difficult cases ahead of us that took more time than expected. He went on to say that because of court rules, he could not hear my case today and would have to “continue” (postpone) it until May 30th. He asked me if that was okay with me and I said sure. Judge Fujikami than said, “Unless you can come to an agreement right now.” I asked him what he meant and he asked me what I wanted with my TRO. I replied that I expected it to remain intact; I was changing nothing. When he asked the FFT what she wanted, she pushed a fully stuffed manila envelope toward the judge say she wanted to enter the contents into evidence. The judge told her “not now” that she would have to save it for the trial on the 30th. With that, he adjourned and I went to back into the lobby to wait for my paperwork.
When the clerk came out, I asked her just how I could enter further information into evidence. I had a 15 page log of the FFT’s actions and behavior and pictures of these that I wanted to provide. I also had a statement pleading with the court that my TRO be unaltered as although the FFT had moved out she was in a room in a house nearby in the same neighborhood. Since she hadn’t even returned her house keys she could still conceivably harass me within my home if she so desired. The clerk explained how to include this into the trial and off I went.
Frankly, I can’t imagine what evidence the FFT might have against me. I’m sure it is specious at best. Yet, judging from some of the results of other TRO’ers, something might come up that alters the judge’s view of things that has him changing the terms of the TRO, possibly against my interests.
Oh well, maybe he won’t commit her to a mental exam as I requested and that would certainly be a loss I could swallow.
More in Act III, Scene 2 after May 30th…
Saturday, May 12, 2007
These same cops had been out to the house numerous times on her behalf, I would later learn. She called them to throw out one roommate who had allergies that kept her awake. The FT told them another time that one roommate swore at her. She reported missing panties from the clothesline. If the cops could be called at all, they were, I found out; no reason was too small. They were kind enough to give me a phone number card to Family Court and even told me what to say when I connected.
I set an appointment for the following Monday and answered the court clerk’s request to describe the FT by saying she looked like a bowling ball on chopsticks and, as far as I was concerned, had the same intelligence. I went over some of the many actions she had taken against me and he suggested I had a case and to “come on down.”
When I arrived that Monday, I waited in the lobby for my name to be called and met one woman who was also intent on filing a TRO against her boyfriend, who was languishing in jail at that moment. I asked her why she was here and she told me her story of grief and anguish. I’ll spare the details of her horrific tale and just say I asked a couple questions of her. I asked her what was her first thought when the first bit of violence occurred. She said, “Oh, he didn’t mean that.” I then asked her did she ever think she deserved the violence as it recurred. She responded, “Oh, yes. After all, I was making mistakes, sometimes the same one more than once. Sure, I thought I needed correcting after time.” She went on to say that she finally realized what a mistake she made with this guy; that the pain was no longer acceptable when she watched him attack his own mother, subdued later by the police.
I asked others within this circle of “TRO’ers” what their experience was and much the same responses came forth. They forgave the first hit, accepted their on-going punishment and then reached a point of no-return. I am befuddled by these responses. I can only surmise that a weak self-image coupled with a self esteem dependent on someone else’s assessment brought many of these women to this courtroom. Somewhere, thankfully, they saw some value and worth in themselves, either on their own or through the intervention of some other loving person (a sister, in one case) and made a fateful decision to end the violence. Not that the TRO is an immediate solid wall of protection against the perpetrators of this violence; it can keep honest people honest. A TRO is only as good as the speed with which a cop can get there. In the main, it may even prevent an escalation of violence but the prevailing thought—as I observed it—was that it was a first step of many toward resolution.
I completed my presentation and awaited the judge’s decision as to whether mine would be approved. After about 20 minutes, the clerks returned and called out several names; they were to follow along to the second floor. It turns out these women were the most intensely in need of counseling and even physical relocation into shelters. The rest of us were handed our approved TRO’s. We shook hands and hugged each other in much relief and even exchanged our landlords’ home numbers if we needed to move to a new place.
I just didn’t know how the clock would turn: in my favor or not?
I rode the bus back home and drove down to the Waianae Police Station to drop off the TRO. They asked if I had a picture of the FT and I presented one of her and an investigating officer as she blocked the front door to keep me from talking to him. That photo was taken on Sunday, the day before I filed the TRO and after she temporarily kept me hostage in the house. The desk sergeant said the patrolling officers generally kept a copy of the un-served TRO in their squad cars and would come by the house and see if she was there. I was to keep a copy with me at all times and to call 911 if she showed up. She did on late Monday afternoon. I immediately called the emergency folks but she was too fast—in and out in minutes. I followed her to the bus stop, keeping a running commentary going with the operator of her movements but the cops were too late; she was gone.
On Wednesday morning, at 4:30am, one of the roommates came to my room and told me the police were looking for me. I grabbed the copy of my TRO and met them at the front gate. They told me that the FT was entitled to return to the house within 24 hours of being served the TRO to retrieve personal items, like clothing. I told the police she hadn’t been served and showed him the “defendant’s” copy of the TRO over the fence. He muttered something and went to where the FT was sitting on the curb, returning with the actual served and acknowledged TRO to show me. I knew that her coming to the house was at my agreement and permission and I could have spared my roommates the disruption of her visit. I decided I would get this over with and invited the police to bring her in.
The officer told her she had 15 minutes to gather some clothing but, she ignored him with a high protesting voice saying she had to get her “things.” She dragged out a full suitcase on wheels, several black 50 gallon garbage bags and three or four flattened boxes.
I went to my room and retrieved a Cuban cigar sent to me by a Canadian friend whose proviso was I only smoke it when I was in a celebratory mood. What better time than now, I asked myself. I lit up and made sure the exhaled smoke was full, thick and blown toward the front door, which the FT had to pass in and out of as she dumped her full trash bags and suitcases onto the lanai. What a rich aroma that cigar imparted to the morning dew…
Finally, she was done and dragged her worldly goods across the street awaiting a pickup. What a mess she left behind; a trashed room with a broken glass louver she admitted breaking because someone stole her room key. Sure; like someone her size could squeeze through a three inch high opening into her room. She even insisted on posing by the broken glass for a picture I took to show the landlord what she had done on Sunday, a few days earlier.
I asked one of the officers how they served her my TRO since she never returned to the house. He said when she finished reported me “running into” her with my car, they simply handed her my TRO and told her she was “…hereby served.” By reporting me, she made it easy for the cops to serve her.
There just didn’t seem to be anything more she could do or say that didn’t have us shaking our heads. Or, so we thought…
This past Friday, I was ordered to court to defend myself against a TRO the FT filed against me in District Court in Waianae. I rode the bus into town catching the express at about 6:10am. The court time was for 8:30am. At about 6:45am my cell fon rang with one of the roommates calling me. He said the FT was already downtown walking toward the courthouse. He described her outfit for me and hung up.
Well, I thought, she is actually going to go through with this. I didn’t give much credence toward her avoiding it as; after all, she might even have a stage for another performance. I arrived in town and went to court.
I was surprised to see my landlord there in the same court room. He was there on another matter and I asked if would stay on my behalf after his deal was done and he agreed. The FT came in, saw us and looked as if she was going to join us. The court made it clear that plaintiffs sat on one side of the room and defendants/respondents sat on the other. As soon as she made a move toward us, I said in a loud voice, while pointing to her assigned area, “SIT OVER THERE!” The bailiff looked at me, the court clerks looked at me but nobody said anything. The FT made a hard U-turn so tight a bobby-pin looked loose and sat down. Two people came in, sat down with her for about three minutes and left; witnesses perhaps?
The court went through all the cases to determine how difficult and time consuming they might be and came to our case. I told the judge I was protesting my being here as the TRO was not in my name although I had signed for it in my proper name. He said no matter, we will proceed and directed us to sit down until called. I didn’t feel defeated on this point so I waited confidently until we were called a second time.
The judge asked the FT if she really wanted to go through the entire process of “validating” the TRO by virtue of a hearing and she said, “Yes.” The judge tried reasoning with her saying that he didn’t see much in the TRO of merit and that the hearing might well go against her. She insisted the hearing take place. We were sworn in and asked if we would affirm or swear to tell the truth. I said, “I swear.” The FT said, “So help me God!”
The judge asked the FT to speak first about the recent TRO violation on my part. She said that I almost hit her with my car as she described the incident. The judge turned to me and asked me how I felt about her remarks. Well, he asked me how I felt about her comments and I said, “Flabbergasted!” He quickly grinned and changed the question to have me tell my version of the events which I calmly did, adding that the FT no longer lived at the address. He swung around to her and asked if that was true. She paused and said that was correct. He asked where she lived now and she replied that she was in a room in the same neighborhood. He then asked when was the last time she slept at the house and when was the last contact she had with me. He then said a short recess was in order and told us to wait at the witness table.
The judge returned and once again reaffirmed the dates of the last night at the house and the last contact with me. He turned to me and asked if I accepted these facts and I concurred. He then announced that since some harassment may have occurred in the past the fact that she was no longer in the domicile made continuing this TRO against any future harassment moot. “Besides,” he said,” you filed this TRO in the wrong court; it should have been filed in Family Court. This case is dismissed and court is adjourned.” “But,” the FT blurted out, “Your Honor, I called the number given to me and they said it was okay to file it in Circuit Court at Waianae!” “Well, they gave you the wrong information; case dismissed.’ “But, Your Honor,” she blurted out. “Listen,” he said, “This is my courtroom and what I say goes here. This case is dismissed!”
I was shaking my head as I left the courtroom with my landlord, asking, “What’s the word of the day? D-I-S-M-I-S-S-E-D!”
My next day on court is Monday, May 14th, where I present my case for the TRO filed against the FT. I am confident I will prevail.