Monday, September 13, 2010

The last days of Aaron Cruz: A mother's love and a sack of groceries

By Sean Cruz

My son’s mother Gina Foulk told the story herself, in words that shock and sadden me even more today than they did at the time of Aaron’s death, more than five years ago….

Speaking before a group of perhaps fifty people in Payson, Utah, gathered together in memory of my son a week after he had been found comatose and unresponsive in her empty house a short distance away, she described the last time that she had seen Aaron alive, and her incomprehensible actions….

He was sick and feverish, she said, and she had left him alone….

He was out of his meds, and she had left him alone, in an empty house cluttered with Aaron’s empty prescription bottles strewn all over, with a sack of groceries and a crazy story….

She had left him alone, sick and feverish, without health care, without a call to a doctor, without refilling his prescriptions, the ones that were keeping him from suffering the very coma in which he died, without driving him to the hospital, without picking up the phone to alert anyone else to look after her son, she had left him alone, and was telling us all about it, without shedding a single tear….

She had told Aaron that Heavenly Father loved him, she said, lying there beside her sick and feverish son, she said, and here are some groceries for you, honey…and then she left him alone….

Aaron was sick and feverish she said, and what she did not say was that her new Mormon husband Ben Foulk was waiting across town, impatient to get back to California, where he owns a string of high-end medical-care-dispensing retirement homes (“Would you like some more cranberry juice with your pills, Mrs Treatednicely?”), and she was in a hurry to get out on the road, no time for doctors….

If she had driven him to the emergency room that night, the staff would have admitted him immediately, put him on IVs, and some medical people would have been working with real concern, realizing as they went along, working to save this young man’s life, that there is more to this story than meets the eye, this young man should have been hospitalized weeks ago, months ago….

The fact is that Aaron had been sick and feverish for a good long time; this part of his mother’s story was not news; In fact, just about everyone in that room listening to Gina Foulk’s story had known Aaron was sick, my son was visibly ill and everyone knew it, and yet no one had stepped up to get him seen by a doctor, not even Mr. and Mrs. Ben and Gina Foulk.

There’s another way to tell the story of the last days of Aaron Cruz: I had gone broke keeping Aaron alive that year, and when I ran out of money to pay for his anti-seizure and other meds, after I had spent my very last dollar, he convulsed and died, sick and alone, in that empty house, out of his meds…with his mother’s last sack of groceries….

Now I was standing here in this other house in Payson, Utah, listening to my son’s mother tell her story, having traveled here on money I had borrowed from friends, having had just gone broke trying to keep my son alive, having just spent five days and nights at his side at the hospital, to the end of life support, I am listening to a story about a sack of groceries and Heavenly Father….

My son’s mother told the gathering matter-of-factly that Aaron was sick and feverish, and she described how she had lain beside him and comforted him with stories about how much Heavenly Father loves him…and here’s a sack of groceries for you, honey, she said…but Ben Foulk was waiting impatiently across town, pills to dispense in Northern California, gold in them thar El Dorado Hills….

She said nothing at all about his meds, no mention at all in her meandering, incomprehensible story about the empty pill bottles that would have been scattered all over the house, Paxil in gigantic doses, the anti-seizure meds that were the key to keeping him out of a coma, no telling what else, since she grabbed and destroyed all of my son Aaron Cruz’s medical records, no telling at all, Ben and Gina Foulk’s lawyers have built an impenetrable wall behind which my son’s medical records are concealed….

Gina Foulk told this crazy matter-of-fact tearless story about how she left Aaron alone that night and turned the page; “I told him all about Heavenly Father”, she reassured this Mormon gathering, and no one said a word….

And her story would get crazier still when she told it a few days later on the day we laid my son Aaron Cruz into the earth in El Dorado Hills, California, where the Ben and Gina Foulks own a string of high-end retirement homes, providing high-end medical care to their well-heeled clients…and for you, Aaron, a sack of groceries and some Mormon stories to keep you company; now, here’s a nice piece of stone on a hillside, enjoy the birds….

To be continued….

No comments: