Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Angel I Don't See Part XIX

Parts I-XVIII here

As goes the insurance so goes the patient. I was not surprised nor was I upset. Ric's doctor did all he could do for him in the hospital and seemed hopeful about Ric returning home. I was also comfortable with Ric returning home due to him being approved for an AIDS drug program that would provide his medication at no cost to us.

Everything changed the moment we arrived at the loft. Prior to Ric's hospital stay his problems were primarily related to delusions of the mind and a childlike mental capacity. Upon his return, his entire body seemed to give up.

He lost all control of his faculties, could not speak coherently, was unable to feed himself, could not walk and slept at all hours. I could not leave him alone for even a minute. I was tethered to him, meaning I could not leave the loft unless someone was watching him for me. I fed him, cleaned him and carried him to the bathroom. In sickness and in health was no longer a sweet sentiment expressed when we exchanged our vows. It was pure sickness all the time without the promise that health would ever return.

Sure enough, the dreaded court date arrived and I was forced to leave Ric is someone's care beside my own. My brother, a sophomore at NYU, came over and watched Ric for a few hours. Though, as I wrote previously, I resent my father's favoritism of my brother, I have never resented my brother. After all, it was (or is) not his fault. I have never felt anything but love for my brother and am the proudest big brother in the world for all he is accomplishing.

"He has Depends on, he has eaten and the only thing you need to worry about is if he tries to get up, which he will. If you don't stop him he will fall. So make sure when he starts to move you stop him. If he were to cut himself or something use these gloves and clean the wound, put some ointment on it and a band-aid. Make sure you wear the gloves" I said as I handed my brother rubbing alcohol and a box of gloves and Band-Aids. I felt as a parent does the first time they leave their child in someone else's care.

I was nervous about my court appearance. There were two things I was determined not to do.; I would not enter a guilty plea and I would not mention Ric. The former was non-negotiable; the latter was contingent on the judge not asking if anyone else had access to the car. Of course, given my unfounded fear of law enforcement, it was likely I would blab like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed being water boarded if the judge so much as sneezed at me.

I sat in the packed court room, hoping beyond hope that I was outwardly masking my fear. I was dressed in a suit. Everyone else, except the prosecutor, was in jeans.

Great Jon-Marc. You look like an ass in your suit. Why didn't you just bake the judge some cookies and offer to wash their car? After all, it's obvious why you're wearing a suit. You want the judge to think that someone dressed as nice as you could not possibly be guilty of leaving the scene of an accident the voice in my head said.

GUILTY! the other voice replied.

"John McDougal. Is Jon McDougal here?" the prosecutor asked. I looked around the room to see if John McDougal came forward.

When no one responded I screeched "I'm Jon McDonald. Actually I'm Jon-Marc McDonald. Did you mean Jon-Marc McDonald because I am Jon-Marc McDonald? I'm here for a hit and run charge for which I am pleading not guilty because, uh, that's what I am, not guilty. Is that who you meant? Jon-Marc McDonald?" There was no other way to describe my outburst except that it was pure diarrhea of the mouth. So much for calm, cool and collected.

"No, I meant John McDougal" the prosecutor replied.

"Oh, well doesn't McDonald come before McDougal alphabetically?"

Shut. The. Hell. UP! Jon-Marc!

"It does if I was calling names alphabetically" the prosecutor said, his eyes fixed on me like a scope fixed on its target.

What was I doing? I listened as the prosecutor called people up to his table and knew that he was not calling people alphabetically. If my nerves got any worse, Ric was not going to be the only one with incontinence.

After a few more names the prosecutor came to my name.

"Jon. Mc. Don. Ald" He made a point to pause between every syllable which in turn caused the entire courtroom erupt in laughter. He continued. "No need to come up. We all know your plea.

"Ok, thanks" I said, wanting more than anything to run out of the courthouse into oncoming traffic. At once the anger and hurt and despair begin to bubble up. It felt as though everything I was going through could all be blamed on Ric. The court, dealing with his disease, finances – everything. I did not know how much more I could take.

"All rise. The honorable blah blah blah, blah blah" the bailiff or whatever you call the person who introduces the judge said.

"You may be seated" the stunningly beautiful and quite young judge, said.

"I want you all to know that if you are not guilty, do not plead guilty just to get your case over with. Pleading guilty when you are in fact innocent is not the solution" she continued.

Wow, I thought. This judge is cool. I am not guilty and I am pleading not guilty. She's gonna see all my evidence and she's gonna dismiss on the spot

After a few cases went before her and I realized that she was pretty damn awesome, she called my name.

"Mr. McDonald. It is my understanding that you wish to enter a not-guilty plea. Is this correct?"

"Yes, your honor. I wish to plead not guilty. I move to have this case dismissed" What the hell???? I was acting though I was Perry effen Mason!

"Unfortunately Mr. McDonald, you cannot move to dismiss the case at this time. I assume you are going to represent yourself. Is that correct?"

"Yes ma'am, um, I mean yes your honor"

"Ok, your trial date is set for two weeks from today"

"My trial? But I just pleaded not guilty. Isn't this the trial? I can prove I'm innocent. I have all the evidence right here" I said as I held up a folder full of documents.

"No, Mr. McDonald, we need to contact the other party involved in the alleged accident as well as the officer who took the report and notify them so they can come and testify if they so choose" the judge replied.

"You mean they weren't contacted already? That's silly. What a waste of taxpayer money. This could all be streamlined in my opinion, for the sake of the taxpayers." Perry Masson morphed into Ralph Nader with a touch of Grover Norquist thrown in for good measure.

"Is that all Mr. McDonald" the judge calmly asked.

"Yes, see you on the 27th." The 27th was the day my Dad was to drive up from Washington, DC and help take Ric to his appointment at the Health Clinic, ensuring that the 27th would be the day I faced two judges. Ironically, both would end up judging me on things I had not done.

Part XX here

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