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HJ

She lies to God

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Medicine tells the public and itself that their profession is full of good people

Dr. Aknos was sure that he did more good than harm - part of the unofficial litany of their faith in medicine - a rationalization used to excuse absolutely everything. It was not in his interest to be aware of the ultimate outcomes for many of his patients. His systems were set up to foster awareness of that which was good for him. Avoiding awareness is so normal in medicine that it is like wallpaper that no one notices. But at least he was not injuring patients out of lust or meanness like the nurse and surgeon who ruined Aaron's life. For Dr. Aknos it merely was how he earned his living and maintained his status and self-image.

At the time Aaron was born, HJ was not a nurse yet, but she was volunteering in a hospital. Although theoretically it would have been possible for her to be present at his birth, she could not have been because Aaron's mother never would have gone to the kind of hospital where HJ was, colloquially known as St. Virgin. Eventually Aaron would wish he never had either, and that HJ had never had access to him.

HJ did not start out at St. Virgin. That was across town for her. But she got in some trouble at the hospital where she volunteered originally so they transferred her to St. Virgin where she now knew much more about how to avoid getting caught. No record was created of the problem. No one asked why she was commuting to the east side to volunteer when she was living on the west side, but she volunteered the information a couple of times, which drew attention to the question she was trying to hide. She learned not to do that.

She had volunteered that it depended on where you drew the line as to whether Finneytown, where she lived, was on the west side or escaped the east/west debate by being north central. East/west was an important dividing line in the culture of Cincinnati. She tried to make the case that she wasn't really traveling to the other side of town, but no matter how the city was divided up, St. Virgin was a long drive from where she was being raised by her father on an undeveloped piece of ground in the suburb of Finneytown.

Their house had been built about fifty years before the housing tracts that sprung up around them while she was growing up. The piece of property had been purchased as the future site of a parochial school. So it was in limbo and remained the one piece of land in the area that was undeveloped. More than a century earlier it had been a sparsely wooded field next to the house of a businessman whose daughter had lost her husband in the war of 1812. That woman had small children and no means of support, so her father built a house for her on the unused lot next to his. Eighty years later that house was burned down and replaced with the house in which HJ grew up. It was beyond its prime before her father was born and was made no better during the decades before it was turned over to him. He was supposed to be caretaker of the property for the church until it was time to build a school there. But, he rationalized that, since it was going to be torn down anyway, why take care of it? Since bulldozers were going to flatten the ground around it, why weed it? Multiflora roses ensnared the boundaries of the property.

Her father ran the gambling for Catholic church festivals. He also ran card games in their living room many nights. But he also had a car business. Sometimes he would be gone for days driving through the countryside looking for automobile dealers out in the country who had taken foreign cars in trade. Back then dealerships out in the country had no market for foreign cars. Her father would make lowball offers on them and bring them back to Cincinnati where there was a market for them. There always were cars in the yard with "For Sale" signs on them. The phone rang with people responding to classified ads for the cars. That gave him visible, taxable income.

The real money was in church festivals. He kept a rake, which was stealing, but he felt he deserved it and it was stealing only "technically" anyway. He was supposed to donate his time. The church already was letting him live in his house for free. But he knew that if they found out, they would handle it in-house. At worse they would stop having him run the gambling in that parish, but he would be able to run it in other parishes. Who was going to look into it anyway? And if they did, what is the worst that would happen? The parish had raised funds by auctioning off the position of police chief for a day. That is the police selling public resources to raise money for their own religion. What were the odds that police who would do that would use public resources to indict their own religion? The odds of that were small. After festivals, their house was stuffed with paper money in boxes and under floorboards.

The games he ran at home the rest of the year were lucrative too. Although sometimes people bet more than they had. Sometimes her father would have trouble collecting and take possessions rather than money. Once her father won chickens, live ones, a whole flock. They were delivered the next day before HJ and her sisters had time to wear her father down to keep him from accepting them. He thought keeping chickens would be good for his daughters. In arguing against the chickens, his daughters pointed out that they didn't live on a farm. They lived within the incorporated boundaries of Finneytown (although, in fact, it was not incorporated) where they were surrounded by suburban houses that would be awakened by the "damn" rooster and people would complain. But the chickens were delivered while the argument just was warming up.

Since HJ was the youngest, the older sisters lobbied for it to be her job to feed them. They said they would learn the other things that had to be done, but when HJ asked what those other things might be, it turned out that they were not going to be the ones to pluck them, and they were not going to be the ones to cook them, and they certainly were not going to be the ones to kill them. Maybe they would collect eggs.

HJ was furious. She rarely said the word "chickens" without preceding it with the words "g-d d-mn, f-ck-ng." She hated the chickens from the first time she heard they were coming. When they arrived she didn't want to get near them. Her father felt lost about what to do. She told him to lose them back in another card game. She told him he could feed the the chickens himself if he wanted chickens so bad. He got mad and told her she had to grow up and he was leaving them in her hands. Attaching it to the garage he strung chicken wire around metal fence posts that he drove in the ground. He laid corrugated sheet metal across a corner of it as a roof for them. And he bought feed and showed her how to feed them.

As the daughters had predicted, the neighbors were not happy about the introduction of a rooster into a neighborhood where dawn was not the time at which people woke up. Friends of HJ's complained about it. When Russell, a friend of hers, complained she told him that if they bothered him so much, why didn't he sneak over some night and kill them? He didn't know what to say. She told him she hated the chickens so much. She said they were wrecking her life and that she wanted them dead and she hoped he would kill them.

It was not that she could not solve this problem herself, but what she naturally did was get men to do what she wanted. She could produce tears at will. Few people on earth have been more tuned in as to when and how much to cry to get what they want. She also was an expert at playing the injured party. It was a gift, an instinct. She had started doing it before she learned to walk or talk. Positioning herself to seem in need of some male to rise to do something for her - a skill she honed first on her father, but did it just as naturally with male friends.

She did that with Russell. He was young, but still capable of producing testosterone when manipulated in the right way. Sometimes men in his position find themselves claiming skills and prowess and knowledge they never before have claimed. Then they have to make good on it. He said getting rid of the chickens shouldn't be a problem and dedicated himself to rescuing her from the chickens.

They tried dehydrating them by taking away their water, but that didn't seem to matter to them. He thought that eating dry chicken feed without water would kill them, but it didn't. She stopped feeding them altogether. Apparently they pecked enough bugs to survive.

She knew that some churches do not allow rice to be thrown at weddings because it was said that rice expands when birds eat it and makes them explode. They tried that. No chickens exploded. It is too bad other church edicts are not as easily tested.

Another other boy suggested bubble gum. He had heard that seagulls choke on bubble gum. The chickens didn't. Meanwhile, a little bit everyday, she was having to sneak chicken feed into the garbage so that the amount in the bag would be decreasing so it would appear as though she was feeding them. The chickens seemed indestructible. Finally she asked Russell if his family had any poison.

He said, "You're the one who lives on a farm. Don't you have any?"

"It's not a farm. We don't grow anything. We don't even know how to grow anything. We don't even weed anything. I don't know why the neighbors don't complain about it."

"Oh, they complain," he said. "It's just this rooster - now they complain about that more than the junk cars and weed and even all the comings and goings in the middle of the night."

Under the bathroom sink were products with labels warning to keep away from children. They sat on the floor reading labels. Toilet bowl cleaner was clear. It would look like water in the dish. They watched the birds drink it. Russell left. The chickens were dead within hours. She telephoned Russell excitedly to tell him of their success. Her father was afraid it was a disease and didn't think the chickens would be safe to eat. He avoided touching them as he shoveled them into a wheel barrow, took them to the edge of the property and buried them next to the multiflora roses.

Years later in a lawsuit she brought to further ruin his life, Aaron had to listen to her lawyer ask her in court if she hadn't grown up in a farmhouse. "Yes." And wasn't it her job to feed the chickens? "Yes." According to her and her lawyer, she grew up simple and innocent, and the only thing she ever had wanted was to do was be a nurse and help people.

In fact, "nurse" had not been HJ's first career choice. Before "nurse" she told people she wanted to be a park ranger. When she was nine she discovered that less than an hour south of where she lived was a park called Big Bone Lick State Park. The freeway exit sign that pointed the way was her favorite sign on earth. She told friends that when she grew up she wanted to be the park ranger there. That was her story for a few years - until a poker game.

Since she didn't have a mother, and since her father slept most of the day, her house had less adult supervision than other houses in their suburb. Kids wanting to escape adult supervision gravitated to her house. She was in the attic with some boys playing poker with her father's cards and chips at the age ten of when they persuaded her to try strip poker. She had been winning so she agreed thinking the boys would end up naked, but then she stopped winning. She ended up mostly naked before she got mad and wouldn't play anymore.

Later she told her father that she thought some boys had cheated her. In the world of manipulation, there are buzz words to say and buttons to push. Some buttons are bigger than others. If she was going to push her father's buttons, this one was huge. This was poker. This was cheating. This was cheating his daughter at poker.

In fact, the boys had not been cheating. They just were better card players who let her win for a while and then stopped letting her win to take advantage of her, which would make them hustlers, not cheaters. But if her father thought she had been hustled, he would have laughed and told her not to be such a sucker next time. HJ knew that. So she used the word "cheat." She knew he never would have taught her how to cheat, but he would show her how to keep other people from cheating her. He would show her how they cheat so that she would know how to catch them and prevent it. That is a backdoor way to learn how to cheat.

Another girl growing up in that house might never have learned how to play poker let alone cheat. Her sisters didn't learn cards at all even though men talked about it in their presence. Her father didn't allow his daughters in the room when the men were gambling, but the sounds of the games woke HJ up. Her sisters just weren't interested, but HJ snuck to where she could watch when she was supposed to be asleep.

To prevent cheating, her father taught her how to look at the other players. Did anyone have a sore arm? Or anything that caused repeatedly placing a hand somewhere on their body? An aching bicep allows one to palm cards into the short sleeve of a tee shirt. Whenever hands go to or away from cards is a time to be alert. Even when the hand is going to a face or hair they could be "playing paint." Hair dye, lip balm, or even sweat or dirt can be used to mark, or "paint," the back of cards so subtlety that it would not be noticed by someone not looking for it. She thought about hair products of her sisters' that could she could use for that.

He showed her how to look at the cards. When they are dealt, as they lay on the table, or in her case on the floor, do all the cards lay equally flat? Do any cast shadows differently than the others? People can "play the bend" by bending or crimping cards one way to mark aces and another way to mark kings and another way to mark queens. But it doesn't have to be just high cards. A savvy cheater might mark middle cards because middle pairs and sets of 7s, 8s and 9s don't stick in the memory like too many high cards do. Before the game check the deck. During the game pay attention to whether anyone flexes the cards in their hands.

He showed her positions in which people might put their hand when marking cards the cards. If, when they muck their cards, they flex them in visible ways, don't look to see what the cards are, but slide any warped, creased or bent ones out of the pile face down and flatten them, right in front of whoever defaced them, just to make a show of paying attention. Any slight creases around corners you should make a show of noticing. Make it clear that you care about the condition of the cards. Also, if you have any reason to suspect the game might not be honest, stop between hands and count the cards. Some cheaters will hold out a good card when it comes to them so that they can use it in another hand. If you count the cards once in a while, they will be less likely to try that. There is no need to provoke a confrontation. But there is a need to let them know you pay attention. Unless you want to play dumb and trap them.

"How do I do that?" They would get to that later.

Also watch for nail nicking. Some call it "rim jagging" or "nail pricking" or "indexing" or "punctuation." It's just another way to do the same thing. He showed her how it takes only a second with a thumbnail. And he showed her how to spot it in the deck. In a game that depended on additional cards coming from the deck after each bet, sometimes you would be able to see what the next card would be and know whether to bet.

****

Or cards could be marked in a way that wasn't visible, but could be felt. By pressing a dimple into them, so that when they are dealing they can feel which cards they are dealing to you. They always would know when to bet or fold against you. He tried to show her how this was done by using a pin. When that didn't work he tried a nail. And then an ice pick. Finally he had to produce his "poker ring" - something he did not want anyone to know he had. He made her promise that she would never tell anyone, not even after he was gone, that he had one of these, and she had that moment children sometimes have when they glimmer what that their parents do for a living. He explained it was an antique. They didn't make these anymore. They were made in the late 1800s, by the same companies that made playing cards. They were among a number of devices advertised back then as "advantage tools." When a card passed through your hands, you could put a dimple in it that you could feel when you were dealing. It was like rim jagging but it wasn't on the edge and was harder to detect.

He showed her how people deal off the bottom of the deck and how a cut-card can make that more difficult. He also showed her how to deal specific cards out of the deck in spite of the cut card. It was one of the skills that took years of practice and more dexterity than children had, but he wanted her to be aware of how it was done. It became a gag with them, trying to cheat each other and trying to catch each other doing it. Things done jovially with a sense of humor at an early enough age can become the most well learned skills a person ever acquires.

Like talking in code. Maybe the boys had been talking in code. Learning how to talk in code would help her recognize when others did it. That is like learning a new language and can take time. But, like learning a language, if you start young enough, you can get so that you don't have an accent. It became something they did as part of their daily lives - communicating with each other without her sisters being aware that there had been communication. An eyebrow, a sigh, a cleared throat, the way the salt was passed, the way a word was pronounced, or stumbled over, during a normal conversation. Before she was a teenager she could have gone on the road with a con artist and doubled his take.

So the next year when those same boys were in her attic playing poker, and they let her win for a while again, and they joked about playing strip poker again, she said she was sorry for getting mad at them last time and that it would be okay if they tried it again.

They were playing with her deck. The cards were nicked and warped before they got there. When they started playing strip poker again, she was smart enough not to win every hand, and not to win with high cards when she did. She lost from time to time to one of the boys. With the other two, she'd win something from them and then lose it back and then win it again before she won something new. So it was a slow, back and forth game, with her losing almost as many articles of clothing as they did for a while, until she got a "lucky" streak. When Mike had to take off his last article of clothing, nothing before in her life had absorbed the attention of every cell in her body like this did. She felt things she never had felt before. She was aware of the bones inside her hands. She was aware of her hips and ankles, the temperature of her body, her lips on her teeth, the roots of her hair. She didn't smile. She didn't laugh. And she wasn't mature enough to think to hide what she felt. The cards were forgotten. The game ended.

Not every little girl thinks to make a career choice based on the name of a state park with a name like that. Seeing the actual thing on a boy changed it from a joke. She learned something about herself. She saw boys in a new way. Later thinking back on the moment when he had no other article of clothing left to bet, she wished she hadn't let that end the game. She wished she had thought to tell him what else he could bet. It became the thing she woke up dreaming about at night. She dreamed about poker games that lasted beyond when the boy had no more clothes. It was another year before she figured out that some boys would lose on purpose just to get that. By then she was a teenager. She played a lot of poker when she was a teenager. She also stopped telling people she wanted to make Big Bone Lick her career.

*        *        *

She overheard her sister and some of her sister's friends talking about a girl they knew who was volunteering at the hospital. The girl had been asked to bathe a man. They squealed at how gross that was. HJ interrupted and asked how much of him she had bathed. They chased her away, but she began asking around about nurses and hospitals and girls who volunteered. A Nun at her school was impressed by her interest. The approval HJ got for asking about it set a dividing line in her life. She never had understood that it was disapproval with which she had been treated almost constantly by the nuns. To them she always had been the girl who snickered and told dirty jokes. She didn't even know they were aware of that. But when she asked about being a nurse, for the first time the nuns treated her differently. "Nurse" became what she told people when asked what she wanted to be someday.

When she was thirteen, one Sunday after mass, a Nun took her father aside and talked to him about it and said she would have someone call him. It was arranged for HJ to spend her summer volunteering at a hospital.

The hospital was large, cold and intimidating. Her first task was to fold towels until someone came to lead her to her next task. Sometimes she was told to stand by the front desk to tell people when someone who could help them would return. When she learned her way around the building well enough, they had her lead visitors to patients they had come to see. Most of the patients either were much older or younger than she was. There were not a lot of thirteen year olds in hospitals. But there were younger children recovering from tonsillectomies. In those days doctors thought that children should have their tonsils removed so there always were young boys in the hospital recovering from the surgery.

She delivered ice cream to them. It was what they were able to eat when recovering from that procedure. In time she was told to clean it up if they spilled something, and then told to get a cloth to wipe their hands if they were sticky from it. A third of the way into the summer the hospital was so used to her that they began treating her nearly as though she was a nurse. They sent her to do things she didn't know how to do. She had to make friends to ask for help. She learned who washed the patients and when. She started being there for that. It wasn't something a volunteer would have been allowed to do in a public hospital, especially one so young. But this was a Catholic hospital. She helped with that too. By the time summer was half over she was doing it by herself. She learned that patients believed her and trusted her and assumed that whatever she did must the what she was supposed to do. But still, by the end of the summer, a group of boys had given her the name "HJ," which was short for "Hand Job."

Since it was a Catholic hospital, for the most part the boys went to Catholic schools. The boys crossed paths there and they crossed paths at Mass and they had a story to tell that is exactly the kind of story that travels among boys. When one of them saw her at a mass, it wasn't long before they figured out what school she went to and what grade she was in. Her nickname followed her. Guys she played poker with got wind of it. "HJ" became the way some people referred to her. She didn't tell them not to.

Aaron and his lawyers did not know about any of this during the trial. Aaron had been unable to get his lawyers to look into her background. In court when she said she grew up in a farmhouse, Aaron whispered to his lawyer that he wanted someone to find out more about that. His lawyer shook his head No. "Well can you at least ask her what high school she went to?"
"What for?"
"Because there are things she is lying about that we know she is lying about. So what don't we know about that she is lying about? If you find out what high school she went to, maybe I can find someone who knew her there and can who tell me something."
"Like what?"
"I don't know. How would I know? We don't know anything. We should find out."

But his lawyer didn't ask her anything about it. They didn't find anything out. She was suing him for complaining about how she had groped his private parts when he was tied down and helpless in an operating room. If they had learned the nickname by which some of her classmates referred to her, it would have helped. She had signed a few year books "HJ."

*        *        *

When she was a young wife with her first husband going through a difficult period, she pushed his buttons in ways that eventually drove him away. They were fighting so much they were not sleeping in the same room. She wished she could escape. So she said the words and pushed the buttons that eventually drove him to leave. But before he left, she escaped for a while herself.

One evening he was watching a documentary on PBS about a festival in Chile when she came into the room. There was a place called La Tirana where only 500 people lived for eleven and a half months of the year, but then each year in the middle of July one hundred thousand people arrived for a festival. This started long before Europeans came to the Americas. Originally it had been half orgy and half marketplace. There was a baby boom nine months later every year. When Catholics established a mission there, they tried to convert the people and convert the occasion. It became a fiesta in veneration of the Virgin del Carmen during the day. But then at night, after the Priests went to sleep, the traditional orgy resumed. New beliefs did not replace old beliefs. The new beliefs merely were an additional layer in a belief system. What the church chose to see and what outsiders saw was religious ceremonies and veneration during the day. But what people did at night when no one was looking was disengaged from that and resulted in the traditional baby boom nine months later.

An important part of the daytime festival was commerce. The mountain villagers had no other opportunity during the year to buy and sell things. One year they might buy a transistor radio at the festival. The next year they might buy replacement batteries for it. Or a lantern. Or cloth. Or bandages. Or soap. HJ spoke to a Priest about volunteering to do charity work down there. Any place where a hundred thousand people gathered for two weeks needed a nurse. He told her that he did not know enough about it, could not raise money for that before July, and wondered if there was volunteer work closer to home she could do. She said she would pay her own way. How could that be refused?

In this way she got away from her husband for a couple of weeks. During the daytime down there she did the generous volunteer work that brought more approval, both to her there and back home. And then the sun went down. Nothing was paved. Nothing was organized. People were everywhere, wearing everything and nothing, crushes of bodies asking to be crushed. She had heard that in a single night a woman there might have 8 partners. She found that in the crush, there might be 80 invitations. They were wordless. They were bodies presented through contact. One either slid away or toward them. There was an etiquette to it. The boundaries were few, but observed. The back of her hand brushing the right place could lead that man to turn in a way that trapped her hand, as though by accident, where they both wanted it while the crowd around them pressed them together. Hispanic accents and skin tones began to have associations in her mind that pushed her own buttons. She volunteered to return to do her charity work every year.

In court a lot was made of her generosity and selflessness, flying at her own expense, every year, out of the kindness of her heart, just to help disadvantaged mountain people in another country. Aaron could not counter with a similar story. His charity work is what got him sued. He had been trying to protect future patients from sexual predation and violent assault of the type that had ruined his life at St. Virgin.

*        *        *

She managed to get her first marriage annulled by paying an indulgence to the church, but when she approached them about her second marriage, the priests would not discuss it again. Even her divorce attorney would not. Her best friend, Wiley, was an attorney, but not a divorce attorney. He was zealous and unscrupulous, but he was a single, gay guy so divorce wasn't his bailiwick. For her first divorce, he had put her in touch with a married, female attorney, Phyllis Nerdling, whose specialty was divorce. Nerdling was known for wearing down opponents until they gave up more money and made more concessions in order to avoid the years and the enormous expense of battling her. Just seeing Nerdling coming made other attorneys recommend to their clients to take deals and get away from this as soon as possible. Since Nerdling was Catholic, she knew how to negotiate with the Church and managed to get HJ's first marriage annulled quickly. The second marriage, though, was going to take many years of paying indulgences just to find out whether the church ever was going to annul it.

At work, during someone's surgery, as they did their jobs, she chatted with the other nurses about it. Someone suggested talking to Dinker in risk management. Dinker spoke to Nerdling and together they decided to skip pursuing it through the church.

Her second husband and his attorney scratched their heads when the offer arrived. Originally she had demanded he pay all of her legal fees and all of the indulgences, no matter how many or how much or how long the church drew that out, as well as an outrageous amount of financial support for herself and their three children. When this new offer arrived with no mention of indulgences or lawyer's fees, but only a civil annulment coupled with financial support, they wondered what could she be up to. Neither of them had ever seen an attempt to annul a marriage civilly after so many years of marriage and after so many children. It appeared to be a straight forward divorce in other respects, with only a modicum of the outrageous demands his wife's attorney was known for, and so they signed it. Half a year later, Wiley, who had been an altar boy and so was not without experience with the church, said that he had gotten the church to agree to an annulment too. When she opened her mouth to ask "how" he put up his hand and interrupted her with an adamant, "Don't ask." He knew she was about to make a remark about what a gay lawyer must have done to so persuade a priest.

What was important was that when HJ met Sam, the next man in her life, she was able to say that in the eyes of the church she never had been married. By this time she was reluctant to marry again, so he moved in with her. She had not expected the reaction her neighbors had to that. It was the 70s. It was the era of free love and understanding. Kids were having multiple partners and living in communes according to the newspapers. She had neighbors who had extramarital lovers. But what bothered them about her was the child component. She was living in sin with her children in the house. That pushed her neighbors' buttons in ways she had not predicted. She had tried to hide it for a long time. Sam never drove his car to her house if he was going to stay all night. In the morning he laid down in the back seat of her car while it was in the garage so that no one would see her driving him away. When neighborhood kids came over he would hide in a back room with the door locked until they left. But children know when someone is on the other side of a door they can't open. So the neighbors figured it out. They reacted more harshly than HJ had expected.

She didn't have friends in her neighborhood anymore. Her being divorced twice was enough of a scandal, but this pushed them over the edge. After only a year and half she stopped seeing Sam, but his being gone was not noticed. It was assumed he must still be in the picture somewhere. So when she came home with Al, it made things worse.

Al Jaspers was the smallest man she ever had dated. He was six inches shorter than she was. And he barked. Like a little lap dog making up for its size, he yapped at everyone. But not at her. It was a show for her. He barked at waiters in restaurants. He barked at other cars on the highway. He barked at her neighbors, which amused her. She didn't have to do anything to push his buttons to cause this. If she was present, he went into bark mode. Unlike the last three men in her life, he didn't have an expensive car, he didn't have sports trophies, he didn't cause her girlfriends to swoon about what a lucky catch he was. He didn't earn as much as she did, but he constantly was yapping to impress her. Getting responses out of men, especially getting them to fight for her, was something she needed. This man did it without provocation. That worked for her.

It's not the only thing he did to impress her. He was scrawny but energetic. The first time he saw her house, he pointed out gutter work that needed to be done. Soon he was on a ladder. In her basement he saw water stains. She told him that heavy rains resulted in basement floods. He shoveled a trough behind a hedge and rerouted the drainage to solve the problem. He was only the bookkeeper at a lumberyard, but he knew how to use the products they sold. This was a man who could fix drywall. When they got married, people in the neighborhood called him husband three and a half.

Years later Aaron would have occasion to become aware of who he was when someone started flooding his email. When he had been unable to get anyone to listen to his complaint about what had been done to him at the hospital, he had said publicly that a nurse there had abused him sexually while he was tied down and helpless. When he complained to the police they said there was nothing they could do because he didn't know the name of the nurse. Everyone he complained to said the same thing. He had her signature on the post operative report, but at the hospital they said they could not decipher that signature. The hospital was required by law to identify a patient's caregivers, but no one enforces that law. When hospitals don't want to obey it, they just don't. There are no consequences for breaking that law. When he went to the police for help with that, they said, "What do you want us to do about it?"

"You're the police. They are breaking the law."

They repeated, "What do you want us to do about it?" He didn't know. He wasn't the police. He merely was the victim crimes and was asking for help. He thought police helped crime victims. Aaron finally posted an enlargement of her signature on a web site asking if anyone could decipher it. Someone did offer one little bit of help. They recognized that the RN at the end the name was not part of the signature, but was initials standing for Registered Nurse. That was part of why he had not been able to decipher it. Still, he needed more help.

He had been to the police over and over about this. Every time they sent him away either to get something else they needed before they could let him file charges, or they sent him away with incorrect information about the law that they said prevented them from taking the complaint. For instance, after delaying him beyond the one year anniversary of the crimes, they told him that the one-year statute of limitations had passed and so he no longer could file charges. It took a long time for him to figure out that since the injuries were disabling, the crime was a felony and therefore there was a six-year statute of limitations.

Under construction

Eventually when they could deny him no longer, they still would not let him file charges against the nurse, only against the surgeon who had beat him. So in the criminal charges he told the story of what the, as yet unidentified, nurse did to cause the beating. The police went to the hospital to figure out who she was. They showed her signature to other employees until someone recognized it - something risk management at the hospital had been trying to prevent anyone from doing. Of course the hospital could have identified her the first time they were asked. They just didn't want to.

Over time all of the information the police had sent Aaron away to get had turned into a large file. Etc.

Three law firms. Etc.

Site..

Unfortunately, the person who did decipher it communicated her identity on a bulletin board page on his site where anyone could post anything. As a result, HJ's name appeared on the Internet on Aaron's web site www.nothingbutthefacts.com (a site he no longer owns) that originally he established to provide information for the police and for doctors who asked for information that either he did not have with him, or that was such a large stack of documents they needed help in dealing with it, and a web site organized and cross-linked it in a way that made it more accessible.

When he began carrying it so that he would have it with him, they looked at the size of the stack of documents and gave up. He hoped that if the information were organized correctly, with the right kind of linking and cross referencing, it would become possible for these people to deal with it, understand his case and help him. As the site grew, it also occurred to him that perhaps it could make the information accessible enough to enable the hospital to understand his complaint.

Under construction.

Aaron sent a note to the CEO of the hospital saying that an account of what had been done to him in their hospital was available for review on the web site. He said that when he had called the hospital to ask how to file the complaint originally, when they asked him what happened, he told them about what the surgeon did and was told, "Oh, he wouldn't do that. He is one of our best surgeons." Which, for the, was the end of that. They did not even answer his question about how to file the complaint. The complaint primarily was about the surgeon. HJ's crime was mentioned only in passing because doctors he complained to always asked why a surgeon would do what that surgeon did. So he told how HJ pushed the buttons first of the patient, by groping him, and then of the surgeon by letting him discover what she was doing.

It took about a minute for hospital lawyers to file a suit. And for husband-three-and-a-half to start yapping at Aaron. Al Jaspers yapped through the web by going to sites that sold penis enlargement products and signing up a version of Aaron's email address for all the spam they would deliver. It was how Al Jaspers spent his spare time for weeks, signing up Aaron at the most disgusting sites he could find. Aaron was buried in hundreds of spams per day with subject lines like Is your small penis size constantly made fun of? Who but a lap dog sized person would be so focused on such a thing that he never would stop doing this? Three-and-a-half paused in this for a while before and after the trial when Wiley, without anyone's stating that any harassing was going on, but only musing about the kinds of things one might do if one wanted to harass someone, advised them to lay low for a while. But years later, upon becoming aware that Aaron was continuing to do what he could to save future patients by making known what he had learned, what had been done to him and the routine ways such things are covered up, three-and-a-half resumed signing him up for disgusting spam.

At the time, Aaron owned the URL www.aaron.com. His email address was aaron@aaron.com, but any email sent to any address at aaron.com landed in his box. An email made out to bob@aaron.com or HeyYou@aaron.com or anything else written in front of @aaron.com would land in his box. This was not arranged on purpose. It was the default arrangement at his service provider. The Internet was new. The skills to change something like that were beyond most people. As soon as Aaron notified the hospital about his site explaining the crimes committed against him there, someone began signing up "slanders@aaron.com" at every penis enlargement site that could be found. The "slanders" coupled with the timing and the subject matter meant it wasn't a random stranger. At first he wondered if it could be her lawyer, but as time went on and he got a sense of the kind of person husband three-and-a-half was, it became apparent who was doing this. For the rest of Aaron's life three-and-a-half kept doing this.

Together HJ and three-and-a-half also went to book stores to the magazine racks and pulled the subscription cards out of the worst smut magazines they could find. They signed up Aaron's name and home address for subscriptions. It was shocking for Aaron and his wife to have these arrive. They wrapped them tightly in grocery bags and hid them deep inside garbage bags so that even the garbage men would not see what they were throwing away. It was humiliating to think that the mailman was seeing what he was delivering to their box. The shuddered that sooner or later the post office would make a mistake and put their mail in someone else's box where some neighbor would discover what they were receiving. They didn't want to collect their mail anymore. But they had to in order to write to the publishers and tell them to cancel these subscriptions. Some kept arriving no matter how many times they complained.

Years later, long after the lawsuit, from a fake email address HJ and three-and-a-half sent him email saying that Aaron's wife would divorce him if she saw the video clip of him posted on www.youtube.com. To see it required clicking on a link . Instead of opening a YouTube video, the link opened an executable file that would have infected Aaron's computer. He examined the link before clicking on it, saw the EXE extension and never opened those emails. He was not the only person in the world to have infected emails arrive in his box. But when these mentioned his wife, they used her real name. That never had occurred before HJ and three-and-a-half began harassing him.

Aaron went to his lawyers for help. They warned him not to do anything to check out the nurse or her husband or it could look like stalking. He said he had not done anything to check out HJ or her husband. They warned him to stop doing it. He repeated that he wasn't doing it. They told him why it would be bad to do it. He said he hadn't and never would and repeated his plea for help with the spam assault being perpetrated on him. He asked that if they were going to do nothing else, could they at least tell Wiley to tell his clients to stop. His attorneys repeated why it would be bad for him to check out HJ and her husband. This was frustrating and nonsensical to him, but frequently what they said to him didn't make any sense. He asked for help with one thing and they responded by talking about something else. It would be a long time before he would come to understand that this was one way that lawyers can appear to be helping while avoiding helping. He mentioned the problem dozens of times during the next couple of years. They never acknowledged the problem. Their logs never recorded that there had been a meeting or phone call about that. They recorded the subjects they brought up.

In court HJ would say that every day she was in fear that he might make up some other lie about her and shout it to the world. She said that someone was driving slowly past her house at night and she believed it was Aaron. When she was in shopping malls she said she had to worry that he might appear at any moment to threaten her if not harm her. Aaron, the victim, had to listen to this perpetrator spout this nonsense while he was not even able to get his lawyers to let him even tell the jury about the smut in his mail and the spam in his email. The only things the jury heard were lies that made it appear that he was the perpetrator and she was the victim. Aaron's lawyers would not let him introduce any of what was being done to him. They let her play the victim without challenging her.

Aaron asked his lawyers to hire a net expert to see if the spam could be traced or stopped. They said they would look into it. Every time he asked for that they said that, but they never did it. When Aaron saw that Al Jaspers was going to testify in court in the suit against him, he asked his lawyers to hire an investigator to talk to Jasper's neighbors to see if anything could be found out about either of them. They said they would look into it, but they never did. In court when HJ said this was her first marriage, Aaron's lawyers did not question it.

Aaron had to listen to the nurse's lawyer talk in court about her solid family life, what a good neighbor she was, all the things she did for people, how loved and respected she was, and how mortified she would have been if anyone, even her neighbors, had seen the "malicious accusation" that Aaron had posted on the web. Wiley said that would have ruined her life. She never would have been able to show her face in her neighborhood again. If Aaron's lawyers had checked what he told them to check, they would know that she already couldn't.

Aaron's unhappiness about this was overshadowed by his stupefaction and anger about his lawyers not correcting even bigger lies, for instance the lies about the nature of the operation and what had been done to him during it. Dueter, his insurance company's lawyer, had asked her if normally during an open inguinal hernia repair there ever is occasion for the nurse in her position to lean over or reach across the patient. She said, "Not in any way, shape or form. Not ever." He asked if during the course of a normal operation like this the nurse doing her job might ever be in a position that possibly could result in accidentally bumping the patient's private parts. She said, "Not in the least. Never. Not ever is a nurse anywhere near the patient's private parts." Dueter said, "All right," and moved on to another subject.

Aaron almost rose from his chair saying, "All right? That's it? No argument?" But he was not permitted to speak or even to show emotion. On the web at that very moment on his patient safety web site, which at that time was at www.godsdoctor.com, was a diagram he got from the university's medical library. It showed that normally during this operation the surgeon stands on the operation side of the patient and the nurse doing HJ's job stands on the opposite side. She has to reach across the patient throughout the operation. They have to shave pubic hair to do this procedure. That is how close this operation is to the patient's private parts. The incision is made where pubic hair grows. Normally, to do her job, the nurse in her position spends most of the time leaning over and reaching across the patient's private parts. She lied under oath when she said she wasn't near his private parts and all Dueter said was, "All right."

How could Aaron invest time trying to get his counsel to question the veracity of her claims to being an upright and honorable person when his counsel was not even correcting blatant lies about the operation? At the break Aaron asked his personal attorney, Blacky, why they were not correcting these lies. Blacky said that Aaron just was trying to turn this into a trial about the surgeon. Aaron protested that he was not doing that. He tried to explain that this was basic information about what the nurse does during this operation and what this specific nurse did to him to cause the surgeon to commit the crime that ruined his life, but Blacky interrupted him shouting him down repeating that Aaron just was trying to turn this into a trial about the surgeon. Blacky refused to let Aaron finish sentences.

On his desk at home Aaron had photos of an operation identical to this one. He had offered them to his counsel even before this suit had been filed. He thought his counsel should understand the procedure, but they had refused to look at the photos. When HJ filed the suit, Aaron insisted that his counsel look at the photos, but they declined. When getting ready for trial he argued that the photos should be enlarged and put on an easel to educate the jury about how ripe this operation is for abuse, but his counsel refused to let him. The photos show the nurse's hand directly on top of the patient's private parts, but his counsel would not educate the jury about this and would not look at the photos themselves.

A normal patient is not aware of what motivates people in medicine to choose the jobs they do. If men were aware of how many urologists are gay, either they would have to become more tolerant of gay people or stop going to urologists. But who else would do that job? Who wants to spend that much time in such close proximity to the private parts of men, other than gay men and women like HJ? Her hands were all over him during that procedure. Aaron knew that at the least she intentionally used her wrists and palms to manipulate him into a state of arousal during the procedure, but really he knew that she had wrapped her fingers wrapped around his private parts. It is a sensitive area for a male. Men know when someone is giving them a hand job.

Normal patients do not expect nurses to take advantage of them. Normal patients do not expect surgeons to get angry or jealous or competitive and injure patients on purpose. They also do not expect attorneys to have conflicts of interest that motivate them to defeat their own clients. The nurse lied about the nature of the operation and all Dueter said was, "All right?"

When her lawyer, Wiley, questioned Aaron it went like this:
Wiley: Doctors told you that the pudendal artery is five inches inside the human body, didn't they?
Aaron: No.
Wiley: They told you that this is all in your head, didn't they?
Aaron: Of course.
Wiley: Have you ever been to a psychiatrist?
Aaron: No.
Wiley: Why not?
Aaron: Because it's my body that is injured. Not my brain.
Wiley: Why did you never tell any doctors the story of how you say you were injured?
Aaron: I did.
Wiley: Who did you tell?
Aaron: Almost every doctor I went to.
Wiley: Does your story appear in any of their notes on your visits?
Aaron: No.
Wiley: Because you made it up didn't you?
Aaron: No.
Wiley: This whole thing is a lie, isn't it?
Aaron: No.
Wiley: You are just trying to injure this innocent nurse, aren't you?
Aaron: No.
Wiley: You are just looking for someone to blame for your little problem, aren't you?
Aaron: No.
Wiley:  Have you have been in psychiatric care?
Aaron: No.
Wiley:  But doctors have told you to seek psychiatric care, haven't they?
Aaron: Of course. That's how they cover up . . .
Wiley:  Yes or No.
Aaron: Yes.
Wiley: Because you have a mental problem. Not a physical problem.
Aaron: No.
Wiley: And you are lying now.
Aaron: No.
Wiley: You never told anyone this story until you made it up years after the fact.
Aaron: Wrong.
Wiley: Show me one doctor who wrote it down.
Aaron: Doctors never write down that kind of thing.
Wiley: Doctors keep notes on everything.
Aaron: No. They don't.
Wiley: That's what doctors do. They write down why patients come to see them.
Aaron: No they don't.
Wiley: And you never told anyone this story until years after the event.
Aaron: I told many people.
Wiley: Who?
Aaron: Doctors, nurses, my wife.
Wiley: But no one but your wife can testify to that.
Aaron: They can, but they won't.
Wiley: Name one who won't?
Aaron: My primary care physician and all the physicians he sent me to.
Wiley: Did any of them write your story down?
Aaron: Of course not.
Wiley: Because you never told it to them.
Aaron: I did.
Wiley: If you did, they would have written it down, wouldn't they have?
Aaron: No.
There were many pages on his web site about this very issue, about how not just the culture in medicine but even written state policy specifies that doctors not write down comments about other doctors that are negative or critical. When a patient seeks medical care after being raped by a doctor, no one in medicine records that the patient was raped by a doctor. When a patient says "the nurse groped me and the surgeon assaulted me" no one writes that down in the chart. What they write down is "patient says the problem developed gradually over time," and other outright lies to protect colleagues, even colleagues unknown to them. When patients find these lies in their records, there is no one to complain to about it. Doctors create the record and can lie and distort as much as they please with no repercussions. They routinely do that to protect each other.
Wiley:
You're lying, aren't you?
Aaron: No.

When his own counsel, Dueter, questioned HJ and she said "Not ever is a nurse anywhere near the patient's private parts," Dueter said only, "All right," and that was it. No attempt to explain that doctors don't make honest records. No attempt to correct the nurse's lies about the nature of the operation.

The judge had instructed the jury that anytime both sides agree on something, it can be regarded as having been conclusively proven. So now the jury could regard it as having been conclusively proven that Aaron's account of what HJ did to him in that operating room never could have happened because Aaron's lawyer agreed that the nurse never is anywhere near the patient's private parts. In a trial in which the jury's chief task was to figure out who was lying, Aaron's own counsel had just given the jury no choice but to conclude it must be Aaron.

In actual fact, there were two doctors whose notes referred to the sex abuse and the assault. But Wiley did not ask that. Wiley asked a question that would have to be answered "No" and was careful to give him no time to elaborate with the whole truth. And since Aaron's own counsel was not pointing out the evidence that would destroy Wiley's misinformation, it worked. With the weight of all that had been done by his doctors and his own lawyers to prevent him from having the help and information he needed to defend himself, Aaron was reeling.

Just as previously it would not have crossed Aaron's mind to think that there are people in medicine who cannot be trusted, it did not cross his mind to wonder whether his lawyers could be trusted. He only was a normal patient whose career had been ended, whose marriage had been shattered, whose body had been intentionally disabled and whose life had been ruined by miscreants in medicine, one of whom now was suing him for complaining about it. Nothing in his life had prepared him for this, although he was beginning to wish he had listened to his mother.

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Sometimes there are glitches in the links (rough draft issues).
Sometimes you might have to return
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Medical Novel Table of Contents

Persons, places, events, names and situations in this story are purely fictional.
Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or to their names or histories,
is coincidental and unintentional..

Rough Draft / Under Construction