Gregory A. Patrick
Jaiden Chapter 99
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“Jaiden.” “Yes, sir, Dr. Goran.” “I have a twelve-year-old patient in room 732 who I admitted this morning. He”s suffered a lot of mental abuse with his family because he was caught playing doctor with a friend of the same age. His parents have talked to him like he is the scum of the earth for being curious about his sexuality. He passed out at home and was brought to the hospital because they couldn”t wake him. A full physical exam was done and included a full-body MRI. When the scan didn”t show anything, they called me to have a complete psychological exam done, and I called in Dr. Andros Papadopoulos. The results of the exam show depressive reaction to mental trauma inflicted on the child by his parents because he is gay. Would it be possible for you or Peyton to talk to the boy?” “I just completed rounds, so I can go right now. What is his name?” “Mathieu Zeddecker.” “Let”s go see him right now.”
When Jaiden got to Mathieu”s room, he knocked on the door and went into the room. He pulled a chair up to Mathieu”s bed and then lowered the bed so they could talk eye-to-eye. “Mathieu, I am Jaiden Riley-Reynolds, and I”m a Physician”s Assistant here at the hospital. I will become a doctor on May 15. Dr. Goran asked me to talk with you about your problem; can you tell me what is going on at home?”
“Mr. Jaiden…” “Mathieu, I”m just Jaiden, not Mr. Jaiden.” “OK. Jaiden, my parents went ballistic when they walked in my room and me and a friend were naked. Dad asked me what I thought I was doing and I freaked. He started yelling at me, and I told him I liked boys instead of girls, and he acted like he was going to whip me pretty bad, so my friend and I ran from the house. I guess I blacked out, because I woke up in the hospital.” “And all this happened because you said you were gay?” “Yes, sir.”
“Mathieu, did your Dad or your Mom hit you before you ran out of the house?” “My Dad hit me with a belt buckle before I got by him and ran out of the house; You can see it right here.” Mathieu pulled up his shirt and Jaiden”s face turned blood red when he saw what looked like the imprint of a western belt buckle. “Mathieu, has your Dad ever hit you like this before for any reason?” “Yes, sir, a couple of times when I did something wrong and he got mad.” “What did your Dad get mad about?” “One time, I forgot to bring in the trash cans, and one time when I didn”t clean my room the way he thought I should have.” “And he hit you with a belt or belt buckle for that?” “Yes, sir.”
Mathieu, I have two friends I am going to call to come to the hospital and talk to you. Their names are Roger and Bobby and they are police officers. They are also my cousins, and they are easy to talk to. What happened to you is against the law, and I am required by that law to let the police and DFCS know what has happened. I promise you, they will help you, and so will I.” “But I”m gay, why would you want to help me? “
Mathieu, let me show you a picture of my spouse and our five children.” “Jaiden, you are married to a guy?” “Yes, I am, Mathieu, and I love him very much, and we love our children more than anything in this world. My husband”s name is Peyton, and he is also a Physician”s Assistant in the hospital, and he will become a doctor in May. We live with two guys we met in college, and they are married to each other, and we consider ourselves brothers; we have lived under the same roof for six years. Like Peyton and me, they also have five children, a girl, and four boys. All our children are eight months old. Peyton and I have helped two boys, one your age, and one who was 14, who have gone through the same thing you have, except they were injured so badly by their parents, one boy spent two months in the hospital and the other boy spent a month and a half. The boy who was in the hospital for a month and a half was in surgery for six hours because of what his Dad did to him. He went to prison and Peyton”s parents adopted the boy and his brother.” About that time, Richard walked into Mathieu”s room and said, “Jaiden, did you call?”
“I did, Richard. This is Mathieu Zeddecker. His is another case like Seth”s and Jeremy”s.” “Mathieu, this is Richard Riley, my husband”s brother. Their little brother, Seth, is one of the children I told you about. Richard is a Physician”s Assistant, too, and he, Peyton, and I will become doctors at the same time. Richard, can you talk to Mathieu for a few minutes while I step out and call Bobby and Roger?” “Sure, I”ll be right here when you get back.”
“Richard, so your Dad hurt your little brother pretty badly?” “He did, Mathieu, he tried to kill my little brother. Seth was in surgery for six and a half hours. He had a lot of damage inside him. Peyton called his Dad and told him about what happened, and he flew in that night from south Alabama. Jaiden called his Mom, and she immediately flew to Erie. She is a doctor in Virginia, and Peyton”s and my Dad is a Veterinarian in Alabama, near Mobile. Peyton”s Mom and Dad adopted Seth and me, and we have never been happier. The other boy Jaiden told you about was adopted by two friends of ours who are gay and married to each other, so we understand how you feel, and what you are going through, buddy, and we”ll make sure what happened to you never happens again.” “You and Jaiden can do that, Richard?” “Yes, Mathieu, and we will.”
There was a knock on Mathieu”s door, and Jaiden walked in with Bobby and Roger. “Mathieu, these are my cousins I told you about. They want to talk to you for a few minutes about what happened to you. Richard and I will be outside if you need us, OK.” “OK, Jaiden. Thanks.” “You”re welcome, buddy.” Twenty minutes later Jaiden and Richard saw Don and Jay walking down the hall toward Mathieu”s room. Richard looked at Jaiden and said, “Don is not happy, and neither is Jay.” “I have to agree with you, Richard, this isn”t going to be good for the parents.”
Fifteen minutes later, an agent from DFCS went to Mathieu”s room. Roger, Bobby, Don, and Jay were in the room with the DFCS agent for almost an hour when they walked into the hall to talk to Jaiden. Don looked at Jaiden and asked, “What are we going to do with this child?” “Don, Caroline and Jerry Spencer have two teen sons, they may be willing to take him if you call them.” “Do you have their telephone number?” “Yes, I do, here it is.” Jaiden handed Don his cell phone showing Caroline and Jerry”s number.
“Dr. Spencer, this is Don Stanislauski, I am sorry to bother you, but I was advised by Jaiden and Richard Riley that a young boy, age 12, was in the hospital after his Dad abused him because he is gay. Jaiden said you and your husband may be willing to be foster parents since you have two teens near the boys age.” “Judge, how old is the boy?” “Twelve.” “Can you tell me his name; I have a boy in my class who I think has been being abused by his parents, and he is 12.” “His name is Mathieu Zeddecker. Dr. Spencer, are you still there?”
“Judge, this is Jerry Spencer, Caroline”s husband. Caroline is distraught right now, so it is going to take her a few minutes to compose herself. Mathieu is the student she was telling you about, and yes, we will give him a home � permanently; I don”t want him going back into a house where some no-good, two-bit SOB is going to abuse him! I am already familiar with Mathieu; we have met at the school when I visited Caroline”s classroom.” “Mr. Spencer, he should be in the hospital through the end of the week. Dr. Goran admitted him, and Dr. Andros Papadopoulos is the attending psychologist.” “Judge, are you at the hospital now?” “I am, Mr. Spencer.” “Please, Judge, it”s just Jerry.” “Then for me, it”s Don when we aren”t in the courtroom.” “What”s the room number, Don?” “732.” “Don, we”ll be there in ten minutes, you may have to take care of a speeding ticket, but we”ll be there in ten minutes.” “Jerry, it you get a speeding ticket, I”ll `talk” to the officer. We”ll see you when you get here.”
“Pete, this is Don Stanislauski, I”m sorry to bother you tonight, but are you going to be in court tomorrow morning?” “I am, at 10.” “Can you be in my courtroom at 9 and handle another child abuse adoption. Same as Seth”s and Jeremy”s, only the names are changed.” “Don, what is the child”s full name? Mathieu Michael Zeddecker, DOB is February 12, 2008, his age is 12, and the adopting parents are Jerry and Caroline Spencer?” “The Caroline Spencer at Riley-Reynolds Magnet Academy?” “That is correct, Pete.” “Don, hold on for a moment.”
“”Allison, can you be in court with me in the morning at 9 in Judge Stanislauski”s courtroom as support for Caroline and Jerry?” “Yes, ask Jaiden to call Ginny and Granny and see if they can watch the children for an hour or so until I can get back to the house to pick them up.” “He”s at the hospital and I am about to go and meet Jerry, Caroline, Don and Jay, and Jaiden and Richard. I”ll get Jaiden to call Ginny while we are there.” “OK, we”ll be here when you get back.”
Pete got to the hospital at the same time as Jerry and Caroline. They went to Mathieu”s room, met with Don, and Pete got all the information he needed for the paperwork he would have in court the next morning. Everybody stepped out of the room except Caroline, Jerry, and Pete. They talked to Mathieu for an hour or so and told him what was happening. Caroline, and Jerry asked him if he would like to become their son, and told him that he would never be hurt at home again. Mathieu started crying when he told Caroline, and Jerry, he would like that. Pete stepped into the hall and told Don what had transpired in the room, and said he would have the necessary papers in court at nine sharp in the morning.
Don looked at Roger and didn”t say a word as Roger said, “I do, I”ll be right back with two.” When Roger got back to the seventh floor, he handed Don two warrants which Don quickly filled out and signed. He looked at Roger and said, “4 cars, 8 officers, lights, and sirens when you get there so all the neighbors will watch what is going on; no bond. I”ll call the Major and let him know he has two guests arriving shortly to stay in his hotel. Court is in the morning at nine sharp.” “Yes, sir!”
“Major, good evening. This is Judge Stanislauski, you will have two guests arriving at your hotel shortly for Child Abuse. There is to be no bond. I want them in my courtroom in the morning at nine sharp. Please notify the Public Defender”s Office to have someone see them tonight, and to be ready for court in the morning at nine.” “Judge, I”ll welcome the guests with open arms, and before you ask, he is and I will, and I”ll call the Public Defender right now.” “Thank you much, Major.” “You”re welcome, Judge.”
“Jerry, Caroline, you”ll have a new son at 10 tomorrow morning.” “Let me call Dr. Sims to let him know I have to be in court in the morning so he can get someone to take my class tomorrow. What do Jerry and I need to do to get Mathieu”s clothes, toys, and whatever else he may want?” “Go ask him what he wants and where it is. You can go to the Zeddecker house with Cheryl from DFCS and get everything tonight after the parents are arrested and taken to jail.”
“Mathieu, how would you like for me and Jerry to be your parents starting tomorrow morning?” “Mrs. Spencer, are you kidding me?” “Mathieu, I am serious about that. Your parents are going to jail tonight, and they most likely will go to prison tomorrow for abusing you. My husband, Jerry, and I have discussed it, and we would like to adopt you and become your parents if you would like for us to do that.” Mathieu started sobbing when Caroline told him that. She and Jerry sat on his bed and hugged him until he calmed down.
“You are really going to be my new Mom and Dad?” “We are really going to be your new Mom and Dad, Mathieu.” “I don”t know what to say.” Jerry said, “Son, why don”t you say something like `Dad, when can I get out of here and go home and meet my brothers?”” “I”m going to have two brothers?” “Yes, sir, Aaron and Michael. Aaron is 13 and Michael is 15.” “Do they know you are adopting me, and that I”m gay.” “Yes, and yes.” “And they don”t care?” “Why don”t you ask them?” “Aaron, Michael will you two come in the room a minute.”
“Mathieu, this is Aaron and Michael. Mom and I will step out of the room and let you three talk. Don, you can stay if you like.”
“Aaron, Michael, you don”t care if your Mom and Dad adopt me?” “Heck no, we are going to love having you be our little brother, and mezitli escort we know you are gay, and we don”t care about that either. You are going to be our little brother, and we are going to love you like you have been with us since you were born.” When Don heard the boys say that to Mathieu, he had to step out of the room. He walked to the end of the hallway to the waiting room, sat down, put his head in his hands and cried. Richard, Jaiden, and Pete went to check on him, and Jaiden said, “Don, are you ok?” Without looking up, Don said, “I”m OK, Jaiden, I have never seen or heard what I just saw Caroline”s and Jerry”s boys do and say in Mathieu”s room.”
“What did they do, Don?” “Mathieu looked at Aaron and Michael and asked them if they didn”t care if their parents adopted him, and they told him, `heck no, we are going to love having you be our little brother, and we are going to love you like you have been with us since you were born. Mathieu started crying, and they crawled onto the bed with him, hugged him, and cried with him. I have seen so much bad, and seen so many boys get bullied for being gay; when I saw that, it got to me. I guess I have a soft spot I never knew I had.” “Everybody does, Don, everybody does.”
All stand, the Superior Court of the County of Erie for the State of Pennsylvania is now in session, the Honorable Don Stanislauski, presiding.”
“Please be seated, ladies and gentlemen. Madam Clerk, please call the cases of Mathieu Zeddecker and Mary Ann Zeddecker.”
Mr. Zeddecker, Mrs. Zeddecker, you each are charged with the offenses of Felony Abuse of a Child and Aggravated Battery of a Child for beating your son with a belt buckle, and belt, and causing physical and mental damage to the child, how do you each plead to the charges against you?”
“Mr. Zeddecker?” “Your honor, I plead guilty.”
“Mrs. Zeddecker? “I plead guilty, Your Honor.”
“Have you each had a chance to confer with the Public Defender who has been appointed by the Court to represent you?”
“Mr. Zeddecker?” “I have Your Honor.”
“Mrs. Zeddecker?” “I have Your Honor.”
“Mr. Public Defender, have you explained to each of your clients their constitutional rights?”
“We have, Your Honor.”
“Is it your professional opinion that your clients understand their constitutional rights?”
“It is, Your Honor, their constitutional rights were explained in detail, verbally and in writing, and it is our professional opinion that they understand those rights as we explained those rights to them.”
“Will the Defendant”s stipulate to those rights and waive the Court”s requirement to again explain those constitutional rights?”
“We so stipulate, Your Honor.”
“Mr. Zeddecker, Mrs. Zeddecker, I said six months ago that I intended to end the problem of child abuse that seems to be happening all too frequently of late, and I meant what I said then, and I mean what I said now. On the offense of Child Abuse, it is the order of this Court that you each be sentenced to ten years to be served in the Pennsylvania State Prison System, consecutive to any other sentence. It is the further order of the court that your parental rights be permanently severed, and that you each be permanently barred from any future contact with the minor child in this case. Your child will be placed for adoption, and it is the order of this Court that, upon your release, you individually and severally pay the sum of five thousand dollars in legal fees to cover said adoption, and that those fees be paid to attorney Peter Gray within three years of your release.”
“On the felony offense of Battery of a Child, it is the order of the Court that you be sentenced to a period of confinement in the Pennsylvania Prison System of not less than five nor more than ten years, that said time be consecutive to any other offense and sentence, and further, that upon your release, you reimburse any insurance company, or the Erie Medical Center, for the cost of any and all medical care received by your son as a result of your abuse of him, and that said reimbursement be paid within 5 years of your release from prison. That is the sentence of the Court.”
“Mr. Deputy, please clear the Courtroom of all spectators so the Court may hear a case involving a minor.”
“Mr. Peter Gray, it is the Court”s understanding that you have a matter you wish to bring before the Court.”
“Yes, sir, Your Honor, I do.” “Will you please approach the bench?”
“Your Honor, this matter pertains to the adoption of Mathieu Michael Zeddecker by Mr. Jerry and Mrs. Caroline Spencer.”
“Mr. Gray, the child in question is the child from the two cases the Court just heard?” “He is, Your Honor.”
“Mr. Spencer, Mrs. Spencer, is it each of your wishes to adopt Mathieu Michael Zeddecker?” It is, Your Honor.” “Are your sons in the Courtroom?” “They are, Your Honor.”
“Young men, will you please step forward.” When Aaron and Michael were standing before the Judge, he asked them, “Is it each of your wishes that Mathieu Michael Zeddecker become your brother?”
“Your Honor, we want that more than anything in the world right now.”
“Mr. Spencer, Mrs. Spencer, Aaron, and Michael, I just signed the orders making Mathieu Michael Zeddecker your legal son, and, young men, your brother.” When the Judge said that, tears flooded from the boy”s eyes as their parents walked over and embraced their sons. Mathieu”s last name is now legally changed to Spencer. Madam Clerk, please make four certified copies of this order, and give them to Attorney Pete Gray so that he may distribute a copy to Mr. and Mrs. Spencer, one copy to the school system, one copy for Mr. Gray”s files along with a certified copy of the sentence of Mr. and Mrs. Zeddecker, and a copy we may immediately take to Mathieu at the hospital.”
“Your Honor, please give me twenty minutes and I will have those certified copies in your office for distribution as ordered.” “Thank you, Madam Clerk.”
“Court is adjourned and will reconvene at two pm today. Folks, let”s go to my chambers and wait for the copies of the adoption order to arrive.”
Fifteen minutes later, the Deputy Clerk delivered the certified copies of the adoption orders that had already been filed in the Clerk of Court”s Office. She brought one extra copy for DFCS”s files.
“Guys, let”s all go over to the hospital and let Mathieu know he has a new, loving family.” Don called Andy so classes were released early at LECOM to allow Jaiden, Peyton, and Richard to be at the hospital when they gave Mathieu the good news.
When everybody got to the hospital, Aaron and Michael walked into Mathieu”s room and said, “how”s our little brother today?” “What do you guys mean by that?” Aaron handed Mathieu a copy of the adoption orders. When Mathieu read the papers Aaron handed to him, tears came from his eyes as he grabbed and tightly hugged his new brothers. Jerry and Caroline walked into the room, hugged, and kissed their new son as the entire family cried tears of pure joy together. Jaiden, Peyton, and Richard along with Don and Jay walked into the room, and the party began. The nurses wheeled in a cake and a cooler of sodas and started clapping their hands as Dr. Papadopoulos stood there smiling.”
Dr. Papadopoulos looked at Mathieu and said, “Mathieu, how would you like to get up and go home with your new family?” “Doc, can I really do that?” Dr. Papadopoulos looked at Aaron and Michael and said, “boys, help your little brother get dressed so he can go home with his new family.” Aaron and Michael grabbed Mathieu some briefs, his pants, shirt, socks, and shoes, and helped him get dressed to go home. All three boys were grinning from ear to ear.
Peyton looked at everybody and said, six pm tonight at Tony”s for the celebration of the year!”
At six pm, everybody showed up at Tony”s and Phil had the place ready for them. Everybody got what they wanted to eat, and when they finished their meal, Phil rolled out a cake with twelve lit candles and ice cream for everybody. It was pure joy to watch the three boys eat and talk together like the trio had been brothers all their lives. Mathieu was finally happy!
“Peyton, why is it that every time a child who comes into the hospital after being abused is assigned to us, or like with Mathieu, the physician who admits the child comes to me or you to take care of the child?
“Jaiden, I don”t know; I have asked myself that question a million times. I surmise in my own mind that it is because Hashem has gifted us with the ability to understand and help children, and that is why we are going to St. Jude”s to do our residency and internship; that is the only reason that comes to mind, because I certainly haven”t found any other answer to your or my question of why.”
“Peyton, when I look at this hospital, I picture it being Noah”s ark. The Ark was supposed to be 300 cubits long, 50 cubits wide, and 30 cubits high. It was to be made of gopher wood and covered with tar inside and out to ensure it would stay afloat for an indeterminate time. The way the decks and stalls were built in the Ark, made it extremely strong and safe, and Noah was the person God chose to build the huge ship. When I look at this hospital, it is built of brick to withstand whatever the elements throw at it; its floors are built on steel as are the rooms inside, and like the stalls in the Ark, that steel holds everything together. This hospital is a fortress for children who come here after being abused, and I see Hashem instructing us to be the Noah of this huge structure. Warsan Shire once wrote: “Nobody puts their child in a boat unless the water is safer than the land.” Hashem destroyed the land because it had become violent, and I see the land once again becoming violent, and we are the guardians for the children who have been hurt, and come here.”
“Jaiden, I hadn”t thought of it that way. Your insight is incredible, and your metaphor is perfect.” “Perhaps it is, Peyton, but it is disheartening for me to see so many children being hurt by the very people who are supposed to protect them. The anger and hurt I had over Seth were all but insuperable to me; that your parents adopted Seth and Richard is what made that situation surmountable; For Jeremy, it was his being adopted by Don and Jay. Yesterday, the insurmountable became surmountable because of the love Jerry and Caroline had for and showed to Mathieu. I believe Hashem used Don to set right the wrongs done to those children. Adoptions usually take up to two, sometimes three, years to complete, yet we have been involved in three adoptions that took less than a day to happen. It has to be Hashem”s hand in everything for all that has happened to have occurred so quickly.”
“I have a strange feeling that while we are going to specialize in oncology and pediatric surgery, with Richard going into pediatrics as well, all three of us are accepting an appointment to a task that is going to turn into one of the most successful and productive pediatric medical practices in the country.” “Jaiden, we will be truly blessed if that happens. It would be so incredible if our practice became the forefront of changes in child abuse laws that will actually work, and protect children everywhere.” “Peyton, if that happens, it will be an indication from Hashem of how incredibly blessed we have been and are.”
“Jaiden, this is Mathieu. Mom said it would be OK if I called you to ask you a question.” “What is it you want to know, Mathieu?” “Jaiden, when I was in the hospital, it wasn”t because I had been beaten and hurt like Jeremy and Seth, I was in the hospital because I couldn”t take the mental abuse anymore. I know my Dad beat me occasionally, but still, I wasn”t hurt badly, and you still came to see me and make sure I was OK. And when you talked to me, you weren”t in a hurry like everyone else seemed to be, and I wondered why.”
“Mathieu, before my Dad was killed in a plane crash, he helped children from all over the world. He was helping children in Africa when he died in the plane crash. Dad was a kind, considerate, and loving man, and I am trying to be the same good person he was, even though I didn”t get a chance to know him. If I can”t take the time to sit and talk with my patients, to show them kindness and love, and understand their feelings, I am not really of any good to them. I believe that is the kind of person God has called me to be. I usually use the name Hashem to speak of God because I am Jewish, but I wasn”t sure you would understand that name.”
“Peyton and I don”t understand why we have been called upon to help children the way we have, we just know that is what Hashem has called us to do, and, in the synagogue, we see that as doing a mitzvah to honor Hashem. It”s as simple as that for Peyton and me.” “Jaiden, thank you for what you did for me.” “You are welcome, buddy, Peyton and I were honored and proud to help you. Any time you need us, or want to talk to us, give us a call; you have our number.”
“Mathieu, the important thing in all that has happened is that you now have a family who loves you and will never abuse you. You have two brothers who really love you, and they will have your back in whatever happens in the future, and that is a true blessing for you, and it is an incredible blessing for Peyton and me because we were able to make that happen for you. You can talk to your new Mom and Dad about anything; they will listen to you and help you instead of getting mad and hurting you with what they say or do. Don”t be afraid to talk to them, or to your brothers, if you have questions about anything.” “I know I can pozcu escort do that, and I will, Jaiden.” “Good for you, Mathieu, now go talk to your Mom and Dad about what you and I have discussed, and I will call you this weekend.”
Jaiden leaned his head back on the couch and closed his eyes. Charley and Dale walked into the den, and Charley looked at Jaiden and asked if he was OK. Jaiden said he was, that he had just spoken with Mathieu because Mathieu wanted to know why he took the time to see him, to sit down and talk to him, and listen to what he had to say.” “Jaiden, did you tell him that was the calling Hashem has given to you, and Peyton?” “I did, Charley, and then I told him to go talk to Jerry and Caroline about what he and I had discussed. I feel exceedingly blessed by Hashem for the gift he has given to Peyton and me.” “Jaiden, you got that gift because you are an unbelievably incredible young man, and I am not just saying that; Dale and I have experienced and are still experiencing your immense, caring love.” “I love you and Dale, too, Charley.” “We know, Jaiden, we feel it.”
When Jaiden stood up to go to his bedroom, Dale and Charley hugged him and told him they loved him. Jaiden walked into his bedroom, closed the door, and got on the bed and cuddled up to Peyton. Peyton turned and pulled Jaiden close to him as he looked into Jaiden”s beautiful brown eyes and said, “You are so freaking incredible, and I love you more than anything in this world. You honor Hashem by being true to the mitzvahs He gives you, and you are true to me, and our sons. I hope you know how much I love you.” “I do, sweetheart, you show me that every day.”
“Jaiden.” “Yes, sir.” “We can sleep better, and be more comfortable if you will take off those clothes and snuggle up to me under the covers.” “Jaiden laughed and said, “Yes, sir.”
Saturday morning, after Peyton and Jaiden awoke and did the usual morning routines with their sons, Jaiden”s telephone rang. “Hello. Hi, Jeremy, how are you?” “Uncle Jaiden, we had our first exams, and I wanted to let you know I got a 100 on each test, and so did Carl. We are taking things slowly like you told us to, and we love each other more every day.” “Jeremy, I told you I thought Carl and you were just like Peyton and me; I can see it and feel it.” “Uncle Jaiden, I won”t kiss and tell, but I will say our time together has been incredible. I am really in love with Carl, and he says the same about me.”
“Jeremy, that is a good thing. Remember what I said about not fussing, cussing, and yelling at each other.” “We do, Uncle Jaiden. I kind of irritated Carl the other day and he talked to me about it; I apologized. The make-up session was earth shattering!” “Jeremy, you”re a hoot. I am so happy you are enjoying school, and that you and Carl are so in love with each other. When you have someone you can share your life with, it makes things a lot easier to endure.” “It does, Uncle Jaiden. I just wanted to let you know things are going well for Carl and me. Thank you for everything.” “You”re welcome, buddy, we love you.” “Carl and I love you too.”
No sooner had Jaiden hung up his phone that Peyton”s phone rang. “Peyton, this is Seth. Do you remember the big ewe on the farm?” “Yes, I do, why?” “She birthed a lamb early this morning and Dad watched while I helped her give birth. It was so awesome! I get to go work in the clinic this morning, and Dad is going to let me start helping with some of the surgeries; that is so awesome!” “It is, Seth, I started doing that at about the same age you are. Pay attention to the detail during the surgeries, and Dad will teach you to do things like he did for me.” “He said he would do that, but I had to learn some things first.”
“Seth, I bet Dad said you had to learn the names of the stitches and the needles, and when to use each one for a particular reason.” “He did, Peyton, and he said once I learned that, he would teach me how to suture incisions.” I see you already know the difference between stitches and suturing, that”s a good start.” “It is? We have to go to the temple now, and then we are going to the clinic for half a day.” “Have fun Seth, enjoy the service at the temple, and enjoy learning at the clinic. I”ll get Richard to call you when he gets home from the hospital.” “Thanks, Peyton, I love you and Jaiden � and my nephews.” “We love you too, Seth.”
“Seth?” “It was, Jaiden. The big ewe had a lamb this morning and Seth got to help the ewe by himself as Dad watched. He was so excited. After they go to temple, they are going to the clinic for half a day and Seth gets to start observing the surgeries and learning when and how to do some of the same things I did.” “That boy is having a good time in Alabama. I”m happy he is enjoying his life down there.” “So am I, love. Don”t let me forget to tell Richard to call Seth tonight. “Peyton, see that big white board on the refrigerator?” “Yes.” “Go write yourself a note so you”ll see it when we get home from the temple.” “I love you, too, Jaiden.” “Yeah, I know.” Jaiden smiled as he kissed Peyton”s cheek. Apparently, the babies were paying attention; they all came running to get a kiss as well.
When Peyton and Jaiden went to get their sons from the temple”s nursery, they were going wide-open. Jaiden looked at Peyton and said, “Ah, no nap for the weary this afternoon!” Peyton started laughing and told Jaiden he was probably right. As they turned to leave the nursery, Mrs. Tubberman said, “May Hashem bless you when you get home!?” Peyton thanked Mrs. Tubberman, looked at Jaiden and winked. Jaiden smiled all the way to the van.
As Dale and Charley got in the van with their five children, Charley looked at Jaiden and Peyton and asked, “Did Mrs. Tubberman get the two of you, too?” “Jaiden replied, “That she did, Charley. When we got to the nursery the children were running wide-open and she looked exhausted.” Charley started laughing; it was all funny to him.
“Guys, what say we go to Tony”s for lunch and get the children some spaghetti? I think they earned it this morning!” Now all the adults in the van were laughing because they knew Jaiden was serious, and he enjoyed seeing his children having a good time, and pranking someone besides Peyton and him. Dale was in the same park with Jaiden on that thought.
While they were at Tony”s eating, Jaiden got a page from the hospital. He called in, and his call was sent to Richard. “Jaiden, there was a gang fight in Central Park about an hour ago, and the ambulances are pulling in. There are fifteen teens who are going to need extensive suturing and x-rays; we can use your and Peyton”s help as soon as you can get here and scrub up.” “We”re at Tony”s, but I”ll get Dale to drive us to the hospital right now.”
“Dale, Charley, would you two mind watching the boys when you get home. There was a fight at Central Park and they need us in the emergency room?” “Not a problem, Jaiden. Dale, drive them to the hospital and I”ll let the children finish eating and get them cleaned off and ready to head home.”
Peyton and Jaiden ran into the emergency room and scrubbed up to help with the injured teens. When they went to the assigned rooms to begin assessing the teen”s injuries, the teen in Jaiden”s exam room looked up as Jaiden walked in the door , and said, “Damn, I knew I would get one of the fags to work on me.”
Jaiden looked at the teen and asked, “What the hell did you just say?” “I said I knew I would get one of the fags to work on me when I got to the hospital.” “That”s what I thought I heard, SO LET”S GET ONE DAMNED THING STRAIGHT RIGHT NOW! I CAN GET YOUR STAB WOUNDS AND LACERATIONS CLOSED UP AND STOP YOU FROM LOSING SO MUCH BLOOD YOU WILL NOT LIE ON THIS TABLE AND BLEED TO DEATH, OR I CAN WALK OUT THAT DOOR RIGHT NOW AND LET YOU BLEED TO DEATH! The options are yours, choose one, NOW!”
“Mr. Reynolds, we are Sam”s parents, David and Abigail Jones.” “Mr. Jones, I am furious with your son right now! He was way out of line with me in the surgery suite, and I gave him a choice of bleeding to death or letting me help him. All of his wound”s are sutured or stapled, he is in guarded condition due to an excessive loss of blood. His blood has been typed, and he is receiving two pints of blood to stabilize him. He will be taken to the acute care unit shortly. I suggest you talk to your son about his gang involvement and about the way he talks to people who are trying their best to help him. Now, if you will excuse me, there are more patients from the gang fight who, unlike your son, want me to help them.”
As Jaiden walked off, the Jones”s stood there with their chins sitting on the floor. Soon after Jaiden walked out, a nurse walked out of the surgical suite and glared at the Jones”s. Mrs. Jones asked, “was Sam rude to you as well?” “Incredibly rude, and since you can see my skin, you can imagine how!”
Mr. Jones looked at his wife and said, “Sam just thinks he was in pain when he got to the hospital, just wait until I get him home and get my hands on him.” The Jones”s were finally allowed into the room to see Sam. When his mother saw him, saw that the injuries were below the neck, and severe at that, she slapped him so hard he crapped himself.
Mr. Jones looked at Sam and said, do you realize the man who sewed you up is the man who won the Nobel Prize in education last month, and that his husband and his brother-in-law, also won the Nobel in education, and they are in other operating rooms sewing up your so-called friends? And you, you little shit, had the audacity to call him a fag! And you called the nurse the `N” word! YOU WEREN”T RAISED THAT WAY! Just wait until you get home; you just thought you were in pain before. Your car is gone! Your Xbox will be destroyed as soon as I get home! Your television and your telephone are gone. I have already cancelled your cell phone, and you are going to pay the penalty for that. Not only that, you are going to get the names of everyone who was in the room trying to help you, and you are going to write them the most heart-felt apology you have ever written. DO-I-MAKE-MYSELF-CLEAR!!! “Yes, sir.”
Mr. Riley-Reynolds, I want to apologize to you for the behavior of my son. We did not raise him that way, and we didn”t know he was participating in a gang. If you would, please get me the last name of everybody who was in the room trying to help my son, he is going to apologize to every one of you, and he is going to do it in writing.”
“Mr. Jones, I appreciate that, but that is the least of Sam”s problems. This is Officer Bobby Standridge and Officer Roger Betterman, you need to talk with them.”
“Mr. Jones, Sam is being charged with Felony Participation in a Street Gang, Aggravated Assault, Aggravated Battery, Simple Battery, and Affray. One of the people in the fight is in critical condition, and he is not expected to live. If he dies, Sam will also be charged with Second Degree Murder.” When Bobby told Mr. Jones that, Mr. Jones collapsed. Jaiden ran up and got him revived and into a wheelchair. Then he went to the room Sam was in, and got Mrs. Jones. When she came out and saw her husband white as a sheet, she told Jaiden he has a heart condition, and looks like he”s had another heart attack. Jaiden rushed Mr. Jones into an emergency suite and ran an EKG, and determined that Mr. Jones had indeed suffered an acute myocardial infarction and called in a heart specialist.”
When the heart specialist examined Mr. Jones, he was immediately taken for a cardiac catheterization. Since all the gang cases had been completed, Jaiden went to the cardiac waiting room and sat with Mrs. Jones. When he walked into the waiting room and sat next to her, she began to sob. Jaiden leaned over and hugged her and laid her head on his shoulder and let her cry until she could cry no more. When she composed herself, she looked at Jaiden and asked, “Why?”
“Why what, Mrs. Jones.” “After my son was so rude to you, and the other staff, why are you being so kind to me?” “Mrs. Jones, you had nothing to do with the way your son acted toward me or anybody else, so I have no reason to be angry with you. I am always this way; you can ask anybody in the hospital. You obviously are in a great deal of emotional pain, and I am not going to leave you alone the way you are hurting, it just won”t happen.” About that time, Peyton walked into the waiting room and sat on the opposite side of Mrs. Jones. She looked at Peyton”s smock and saw the same last name as Jaiden”s. “Are you two related, I see you have the same last name?”
Mrs. Jones, I am Jaiden”s husband, and we have five sons, so we understand how your heart is hurting right now, and we will not leave you by yourself until we are sure everything is OK.” “Thank you so much, I am so ashamed of how my son acted, and how he talked to you and the black nurse.” “Jaiden said, “Mrs. Jones, you have nothing to be ashamed about, you raised your son the best you knew how, and it is his responsibility to act the way you taught him or not. He is facing a lot right now, and you can use the support, so Peyton and I are here for whatever you need.”
Richard walked in the door as Jaiden had finished speaking to Mrs. Jones. Peyton said, “Mrs. Jones, I would like to introduce you to my brother, Richard. We are the three who sutured all the wounds suffered by all the teens.” Richard knelt down and said, “Mrs. Jones, I am so sorry for what you are having to go through tonight, I wish there was something I could say or do that would make you feel better. The only thing I can do is be here for you with my brother and my brother-in-law.”
“But you said you and Jaiden had five sons; who is taking care of them while you are here with me?” “Mrs. Jones, we have two more brothers at home who are caring for our children escort bayan while we are at the hospital. They also have five children, and the five of us and our ten children all live in the same house.” “In one house? “Yes, mam, it is a rather large home in an upscale neighborhood, so we have plenty of room. Jaiden, Richard, and I will receive our medical degrees in May, and Jaiden and I will be moving to Tennessee to do our internships and residencies at St. Jude”s Children”s Hospital.” “You are the three who were on the news recently, and won the Nobel Prize last month?” “Yes, mam, we are those three individuals.” “Oh, God, now I am really embarrassed!” “Mrs. Jones, we have told you that you have no need to be embarrassed, that is on your son, not you.”
Richard looked at Jaiden and Peyton and asked if they had heard anything on Mr. Jones, and they told him they hadn”t yet heard anything. “Since I am still in my scrubs, let me go to the Cath room and see what I can find out for you. I”ll be back in a few minutes.”
Fifteen minutes later, Richard came back to the waiting room and said, “Mrs. Jones, they are finishing up with the procedure. Mr. Jones suffered a heart attack, but it was mild, and they were able to put stents in three arteries. The doctor should be out in thirty minutes to speak with you.” “So, David is going to be OK?” “Yes, mam, he is going to be fine. He will have to make some life style changes, especially with his diet, but he should be OK and will most likely be able to go home tomorrow.
As Richard said that, Sam walked into the waiting room, fell into a chair, and started sobbing. Jaiden walked over to him and spoke softly to him to try to help him calm down. “Sir, I am so sorry for the way I acted toward you and the nurse. I found the nurse and apologized to her. My parents didn”t raise me that way, and I don”t know why I did what I have done. I am so ashamed of myself.” Jaiden looked at Sam and said, “Good, now use that feeling to keep yourself from repeating your behavior. When your Dad was told of the charges being filed against you, he had a heart attack. The doctor is finishing his surgery and should be in to talk with your mother in a few minutes.”
Sam looked at Jaiden, and asked, “My Dad had a heart attack because of me?” “Yes, he did, Sam.” Sam said, “Oh God, no,” and started vomiting. It didn”t appear he was going to be able to stop vomiting, so Jaiden went to the nurse”s station and had the pharmacy send him a syringe of Phenergan. He administered the shot to Sam and made him lie down on a long bench seat. He called for housekeeping to come to the waiting room to clean up the mess.
The cardiac specialist came into the waiting room to speak with Mrs. Jones, so Jaiden, Peyton, and Richard excused themselves to give Mrs. Jones and Sam privacy to speak to the doctor. “Mrs. Jones, your husband had several blockages that were 100%, but we were able to punch through the plaque and put stents in the three blockages. His heart attack was due to extreme stress, and that makes his condition all the more severe. He will be in the hospital for at least three days until we can get his blood pressure under control, and get his nerves calmed down. He does not need to be in any stressful conditions any time soon.”
Sam began to sob again, so Jaiden walked to Sam, took his face in his hands, and began softly speaking to him. “Sam, your Mom and Dad need you right now, and they need you to be strong for them. Things will work out how Hashem wants them to, He has control of everything, and it”s all going to be OK.” Bobby and Roger came to the waiting room to take Sam into custody. Jaiden asked to speak to them in the hall, so the three went out of earshot of Sam.
“Guys, is it possible for you to tell him what he is being charged with, and give him a court date instead of taking him to jail. I think he understands what he did wrong, and he is truly sorry. His Mom needs him right now, and I”d like to talk with Don before he goes to court.” “Jaiden, if it was anybody else, I wouldn”t do it, but for you, I”ll give him tickets with a court date for Tuesday at nine am. That should give you enough time to talk to Don.”
After Bobby gave Sam the tickets to appear in court, he started trembling uncontrollably, so much so that Jaiden went back to the nurse”s station and ordered a mild sedative. He gave the medication to Sam and made sure he took it. Twenty minutes later, his nerves were under control, and his mother could manage him with no problems. Jaiden got her telephone number and told her he”d call her after lunch Monday.”
Jaiden talked to Don Monday morning and Don said he”d talk to the District Attorney and see if he could work something out for Sam, and that he”d call Jaiden back as soon as he knew something. About an hour later, Don called Jaiden and said the DA agreed not to prosecute Sam if he agreed to testify against the others in the melee.
Jaiden said he would talk to Mrs. Jones and Sam to see if Sam would agree to do that. Mrs. Jones put her hand to her mouth in disbelief to what Jaiden was saying. Sam had tears pouring from both eyes. “Mr. Jaiden, after I called you a fag, why would you do this for me?” “Sam, it is the right thing to do, and I am doing it more for your Mom and Dad than for you. You have no idea of the pain that is in their hearts right now. I do, because Peyton and I have five sons, and if they were in your shoes, I would want someone to help them.”
Sam slumped to the floor and cried his heart out. He”d never had someone be so kind to him. Right after lunch, Jaiden got a call from Reverend Stevens, the Pentecostal pastor Jaiden had tied in with almost a year prior. “Jaiden, this is Pastor Stevens, I wanted to thank you for helping Sam. His Mom and Dad are members of my church, and they are beside themselves at what Sam did, and how he treated you and the others who were trying to help him. Do you think it would be OK if I go to court Tuesday morning in support of David and Abigail?” “Pastor, I think that would be a wonderful thing to do. I will be there as well since what is supposed to happen is something I had a hand in.”
When Don entered the courtroom Tuesday morning, he looked at Jaiden and asked, “Did he show up?” “Yes, Your Honor, he did. He and his lawyer are in the conference room with the District Attorney. They should be out shortly.” “Good, court is adjourned until the District Attorney and the Public Defender come back into the courtroom. Jaiden, come get me when they complete their negotiations.” “Yes, sir.”
The Public Defender stuck his head in the courtroom, and motioned for Jaiden to come into the conference room. When Jaiden got into the room, the District Attorney looked at him and said, “Jaiden, Sam has agreed to give us a full statement on what happened, and who was involved. My secretary is on her way to type his statement as he gives it, and once he signs it, I will agree not to prosecute him in exchange for his truthful testimony.” “Thank you. The judge asked me to let him know when you and the Public Defender are back in the courtroom.” “Jaiden, let the judge know we are ready.”
Jaiden stuck his head in the Judge”s door and told his secretary they were ready in the courtroom.
Don entered his courtroom and began hearing the cases of the other boys involved in the park fight. They were read the offenses against them and entered a not guilty plea subject to negotiations between their attorney and the State”s Attorney. The District Attorney”s secretary entered the courtroom with Sam and handed the District Attorney a document. As he was reading the document, his eyes bulged like they were about to pop out of his head. He looked at Don and asked, “Permission to approach the bench, Your Honor?” “Granted.” The DA handed the judge the statement made by Sam and his eyes showed the same surprise as the DA. “Jaiden, would you please take Mrs. Jones and Sam to the conference room in my office so I can handle a few matters before I talk to Sam? You can take them through the door to my left to make it closer for the three of you.” “Yes, sir.”
Don called all the individuals involved in the park brawl before his bench. Young men you are charged with the offenses of Felony Aggravated Assault, Felony Aggravated Battery, Simple Assault, and Affray which means fighting. I will dismiss the offense of gang participation. If you agree to plead guilty this morning, the Court will agree to give you a lesser sentence than if you subject the State to a trial. Speak with your attorneys. I want to know your decision within the next fifteen minutes.” “Your Honor, we are ready to proceed, we have already discussed with our clients the ramifications of going to trial, and we have advised them of the State”s offer if they plead guilty this morning.” “Very Good!”
Young men, I am about to hand down a sentence that is going to seem harsh to you. You need to understand that the Court is going to reserve the right to reduce that sentence, and further amend it to Youthful Offender status after you have served one-third of your sentence. What that means is that if you serve one-third of your sentence with no major rule infractions, you will each be placed on youthful offender status, and your record will be wiped clean at the end of your sentence. You also need to understand that if either of you violate any of the conditions the Court imposes on you while you are under the youthful offender status, the Court can, and will, sentence you to the maximum sentences allowed by law, and you will not get credit for any time you have previously served. Do you each understand what I am saying?” Each Defendant replied, “Yes, sir, I do.”
The Judge said OK, it is the sentence of the court that you serve 15 to 30 years on the Aggravated Assault, 5 to 10 ears on the Aggravated Battery, 6 months to a year on the simple assault, and 3 to 6 months for Affray. The least you can serve is 15 years, and the maximum you may have to serve is 30 years; however, as I told each of you before handing down your sentences, the Court is reserving the right to reduce your sentences if you complete one-third of your sentences without any major rule infractions while incarcerated, and place you under the Youthful Offender Act.”
“Since you each have acted appropriately toward the Court, and since you have cooperated with the District Attorney, and your Public Defenders, the Court is going to do something it has never done before, and has never anticipated doing: your time may be served in the State”s Youthful Offender facility here in Erie so your parents won”t have a hardship visiting you. Further, the Court orders that upon your release from incarceration, and while on any probation you may receive if you are placed on Youthful Offender status, that you are permanently ordered to have no contact whatsoever with each other for thirty years. If you violate this stipulation, you will be sentenced to the maximum time allowed for Contempt of Court. Do you each understand the sentence you each have received?” Each Defendant replied, “Yes, sir.”
One of the reasons Don handed down the sentence he did, was because he had Jaiden check on the Defendant still in the hospital, and he advised that the teen was out of the woods and would survive, but would have a long road to total recovery.
Don stood up, said Court was adjourned, and rapped his gavel on its marble pedestal. He retired to his chambers to talk to Sam, his mother, and with Jaiden. “Sam, I just sentenced your cohorts to 15 to 30 years in the youthful offender facility here in Erie. When they age out of that facility, they will go to the youthful offender prison in the next county over. I ordered them not to have anything to do with anybody involved in the fight for 30 years after their release from prison or probation.”
“If they serve 5 years without any major infractions of the rules during their incarceration, after they serve 5 years, I will reduce their sentence, and place them under the Youthful Offender Act, so that if they successfully complete their sentence, their record will be wiped clean. They are being told that you pled to a special sentence so they could receive that sentence, so don”t talk about anything related to this case, understand?” “Yes, sir, thank you!” “Don”t thank me, thank my cousin.” “Judge, who is your cousin?” “Sam, he is sitting to your right, and he is one of the most loving, most honorable young men I have ever known, so thank him.”
“Jaiden, after the way I treated and talked to you in the hospital?” “Yes, Sam, that is the kind of person I am. I may be gay, but I try to be as good to people as I can. When you apologized, and then got physically ill when you found out how your Dad reacted to what you did and said, I felt you really regretted what you did, and said in the hospital and what you did in the park. Besides, I really like your Mom and your Dad; they are good people, and so are you, you just haven”t realized it yet.”
“Mom, I am so sorry, I didn”t mean to hurt you and Dad. I didn”t use my brain and I didn”t remember how I was raised, and I did something totally stupid. I know this is going to keep me from going to college, and I am sorry that you won”t get to see me graduate.” “Sam, don”t be so quick on that, you can still go to college. I may have to pull some strings to get you in, but you will go to college. How are your grades right now?” “Jaiden, they are average, but I can, and I will do much better; I won”t disappoint my parents, you, or the judge.”
“Sam, pull all your grades up to an A-B average and I will get you into college, and try to get you a scholarship.” Sam started crying again when Jaiden said that. He looked at Jaiden and again asked him, “Why?” “Sam, don”t you think you deserve the help? Don”t you think you have learned your lesson and can walk on the straight and narrow now?” “Yes, sir, I do.” “Then you have the answer to your question.” Jaiden held Sam as he cried until he could cry no more. “Let it go buddy; let it go so you and your family can start over, and you can be the person I know you are.”