June 19, 2010
A few days ago I got a new cellmate, Dizzy. A 35 year old Iraq war veteran and former Phoenix Police officer. Dizzy had suffered the traumas of war, just as many other soldiers had. Addicted to pain-killers, he found himself on the wrong side of the law. While a police officer, he was busted picking up prescriptions at valley pharmacies. He was sentenced to a couple of years in prison. In April 2010, Dizzy was released an community supervision, but violated with dirty U.A.'s. With approximately a month left until his next release, he arrived at Eagle Point unit.
I awoke this morning around 6:30 and Dizzy was asleep on the upper bunk, covered with a sheet, his back to the cell. I could hear his breathing and quiet moans as I went about my morning rituals.
Thirty minutes later, after an orangeman living nearby tried to wake Dizzy for breakfast, I came back to my cell from smoking and tried to wake him also. He was unresponsive. I shook him, patted him and even tickled his feet. Nothing.
"Geoff, something's wrong with Dizzy. He won't wake up," I told my neighbor. Geoff, a young former marine who I was sure would know what was wrong and what to do, immediately came over and helped try to wake him.
After shaking him, yelling for him to wake up and giving him a sternum rub, Geoff was just as concerned as I was for Dizzy. Climbing up and pulling up his eyelids, I saw his pupils were pinpoints and stared as if void of life. Then I noticed the yellowish red stain on his pillow case.
"Dude, there's blood or something on his pillow,"I told Geoff as I headed for the door. "Go get the cop!" he yelled after me. "I'm on it!" I responded as I bolted out the building door.
Minutes later, a Sergeant and two CO II's were in my cell while Geoff and I stood just outside watching. The Sgt. climbed onto the upper bunk and began trying to wake Dizzy and talk to him. It was warming to see this usually stern and uncaring man show such concern and compassion for Dizzy. Dizzy was just a man in severe distress at that moment. The Sgt. did all that could be expected and arguably more.
A minute or two after ADOC medical arrived, the Buckeye Fire Dept. arrived and the paramedics got to work.
"Is it a drug overdose?," a guard asked the paramedic, to which he answered that he wasn't sure. Seconds later the paramedic administered a shot to Dizzy, who responded violently nearly sitting up on the gurney. "I guess that answers that question," the medic said to the guard. Dizzy was then wheeled out and rushed off to the hospital.
Later, while cleaning up Dizzy's bed area, I found a note requesting that his mom, dad and young son be told that he's sorry, loves them and that they deserve better. It was a suicide note!
This whole incident has affected me. I tell everybody that "I'm fine", but am I really? No. I'll be okay, but I'll remember the good person I met and what I discovered this morning.
Seeing me asleep last night, uncovered and cold, Dizzy covered me with a blanket without waking me. How long after this did he do what he did? Could I have helped him? I just don't know.
5 days ago