Because I love you guys and because I had the afternoon off. Special thanks to Snooks for the info re "magical thinking". Thanks to Alan for the research on doctor's rights etc. And thanks to Paul for...being Paul. Things are getting intense with poor little Brian as we drive towards the goal.... R.
Doctor's Notes: BK was in New York for one day, due to a meeting at his office. At my urging, he squeezed in for an appointment with me. There is only one word to describe BK at this time: worn. He is time worn, care worn and worn out. Despite the designer suit and the hundred dollar haircut, he is one tired young man. Spiritually as well as physically.
Excerpt from Transcript:
Doctor: When do you go back to Philly?
BK: It's Pittsburgh, Doc.
Doctor: Sorry. Is there a difference?
BK: (Laughed.) Spoken like a true New Yorker. In about three hours.
Doctor: How is she?
BK: Fighting for her life. Started showing signs of rejecting the graft, so they've been battling day and night to turn her around.
BK: She seemed a little better before I left. She was awake, at least, and her temp and vitals have stabilized for forty-eight hours, now, but she's not out of the woods. Jeff saved her life.
Doctor: How do you feel about that?
BK: Glad that I met him. Glad that I made him come to Pittsburgh. Grateful.
Doctor: At what price?
BK: What do you mean?
Doctor: I mean what has it cost you to secure Jeffrey's services?
BK: (Shrugged.) Nothing. Her insurance is paying him.
Doctor: Not money.Emotionally.
BK: (Sighed, shifted weight uncomfortably.) I guess I know how Little Eva felt when Simon Legree was nipping at her heels.
BK: You don't know that classic?
Doctor: Of course I do, Brian. But I'm having a hard time picturing you as Little Eva. Educate me.
BK: Little Eva was all about a lack of choice. There's really no difference, once choice is taken away from you.
Doctor: Who took away your choice and for what?
BK: He did.
BK: (Nodded affirmatively.)
Doctor: Choice for what, Brian?
BK: Life or death. For Molly. That was my choice. I chose life.
Doctor: Brian, you can't bargain for the life of a critically ill child. Either she'll survive or she won't. Nothing you do will affect that outcome.
BK: That's not true. It already has. I got Jeff to come to her, to work with her, hands on. I'm not pulling credit for it, Lydia. He's the miracle worker. I just got him there.
Doctor: Ok, leaving aside the moral and ethical issues that "bargain" raises, tell me, Brian. What were you asked to trade for such medical devotion?
BK: (Raised his eyes to meet mine. His expression was strangely vacant, as if all emotion had been bled from him.) My soul.
Doctor's Notes: For the first time in the months that BK has been coming here, he lost his icy control. At first there was silence, then a tear drifted down his cheek, and finally he covered his face with both hands, weeping silently. I didn't interrupt him, letting him experience the release of this relaxation of his internal control mechanism. When he finally seemed to be calm, I handed him a bottle of water and some Kleenex. He gratefully accepted both.
Doctor: You ready to continue?
BK: I'm sorry. What a pussy.
Doctor: Stop that. This is not about weakness. This is about the strength to express what you're feeling. Now, tell me exactly what is happening. Are you being drugged?
BK: (Looks up at me, his fair skin flushed by his emotional release.) Why do you ask that?
Doctor: Is that your answer?
BK: I know that's why my Mom was trying to get me to see some doctor at your urging. Isn't it? You wanted a drug screen.
Doctor: Yes, I did.
Doctor: Because many of your current reactions suggest the introduction of a chemical. You're in no emotional and now physical shape to take drugs, Brian. Not even your mild recreational choices. But if you're being given any drug that alters mood or emotion, it's criminal interference with your treatment, with possibly fatal results.
BK: Fatal? You mean like an overdose?
Doctor: Possibly, but more likely it could throw you into a depressive spiral that results in self-destructive behavior.
BK :(Winced.) I'm not suicidal.
Doctor: Glad to hear it, but you would be one of the last to know if you were.
BK: What are you trying to do? Hang Jeffrey?
Doctor: If he's prescribing for you, yes, especially if he's prescribing drugs aimed at controlling you sexually or emotionally.
BK: (A flash of anger heightened his color.) Back off!
Doctor: Why so defensive of him?
BK: Did you not hear me before? Molly is at a critical point in her treatment. Live or die. If you did anything to distance Jeff from her, and something happened, how do you think I would feel about that? Well, I won't let you. I'll deny everything. You couldn't prove anything without my cooperation.
Doctor: (I leaned forward, placing my hand over his, forcing him to meet my gaze.) When children wish that a prince may come along in a golden coach, carrying a glass slipper, and all their problems will vanish with his arrival, we call that "magical" thinking. It's a very acceptable form of fantasy; using fantasy images for comfort and to endure things they can't control. When adults engage in magical thinking, it's a problem.
BK: (Leaned away from me, slipped his hand free of mine.) What are you saying?
Doctor: I'm saying your belief that you have bargained for Molly's survival by selling your soul to Jeffrey is magical thinking. Jeffrey may be an excellent oncologist, but the cold fact is, a certain number of his patients won't survive. Not because he failed, not because their loved ones were bad bargainers, but because cancer is a pernicious disease that claims a certain number of victims, no matter what.
BK: (Shook head.) Not Molly. No.
Doctor: Let's think about this. Why are you the one who has to bargain for her life? She has parents. She has a brother. Why have you taken this burden onto your shoulders?
BK: I told you. I love her.
Doctor: I thought you loved her brother.
BK: I DO love her brother.
Doctor: But you're willing to give him up in the bargain? How does that square?
BK: (Frowned.) I-I'm not giving him up. It's temporary. I just have to hang in with Jeff until Molly is better and then...
Doctor: Then what, Brian?
BK: (Hesitated, shook head.) I'm not sure. I had a plan, but things changed when she got so sick and then...it just got mixed up. But I love Justin. Somehow we'll be together. He just has to be patient, and...I don't know. Nothing makes sense anymore.
Doctor: Brian, you're on the verge of nervous exhaustion. You have to stop.
BK: Stop what?
Doctor: All of it. You need to fly somewhere quiet and sleep for a couple weeks.
BK: Don't be crazy. I can't leave Molly and Justin.
Doctor: And Jeff?
BK: (Shrugged.) I guess.
Doctor: Then you're going to crash, and you're going to burn, and your recovery will take a hell of a lot longer. You can't let Jeffrey do this, Brian. You can't handle it now. Let me help.
BK: Let me make this perfectly clear, Lydia. I won't do anything, nor will I let anyone do anything, to drive a wedge between Jeff and Molly. Not now. I won't let it happen. I haven't given up this much just to lose her in the home stretch.
Doctor: Magical thinking, Brian.
BK: She's made it this far, hasn't she?
Doctor: Yes, because of her medical care and her own will. Not because of your skill as a negotiator. You plan to take credit for her recovery if it goes well?
BK: Of course not.
Doctor: Then you can't have the blame either.
BK: I'm tougher than you think. I can sweat this out. So long as Justin stays strong for me, I can do it.
Doctor: Has he seduced you?
Doctor: No, Brian. Jeffrey.
BK: (Shrugged.) Define seduction. We had sex if that's what you want to know.
BK: (Motioned to the tape recorder. Signaled for me to turn it off. I did so. What follows is my transcription from memory of what he said, to the best of my ability to remember his words.)
BK: He gave me a shot of something that made my dick hard and my heart pound. It was like super Viagra. And then he handcuffed me. And then he fucked me. Is that what you want to know? I was in such distress, he gave me a second shot afterwards that knocked me on my ass. It was the next best thing to heroin. If I didn't do it, he said he wouldn't treat Molly.
Doctor: This is illegal activity, Brian. A complete breach of his ethical duty as a physician, and an unlawful use of duress in exchange for sexual favors.
BK: So? You can't use it. I'll deny it. I won't let you compromise her recovery.
Doctor: I'm obligated to report him.
BK: I will absolutely deny it. You have no proof.
Doctor: You're in no shape to make that call, Brian.
BK: Try me. I just pulled myself together enough to convince a candy company to commit to a five million dollar spend with my agency, all with less than an hour of prep time. I can convince any tribunal that this claim is bullshit. Don't test me, Lydia. I've not only survived as a gay man in a straight man's world, but I've beaten them at their own game. If you don't think that requires balls of steel, you're wrong. I'll turn this into a vendetta against a brilliant, but gay, doctor.
Doctor: And who says you're not suicidal? You're killing yourself, Brian. Slowly, but surely. You can't take her place on that sickbed. You can't trade your life for hers. It doesn't work that way.
BK: No? What if you're wrong about that? What if you're wrong about magical thinking? What if there are powers out there that don't fit your textbooks, but are no less powerful? What about that?
Doctor: Who do that voodoo that you do so well?
BK: (Smiled.) It's all voodoo, isn't it? Her brother's blood in her body, fighting this disease we can't see, grafting to her bones as if she were born with it. Where does she stop and Justin begin? Is there really a difference anymore? It's his blood that is taking over her body. They took away her ability to have children. To be a mother one day. The radiation did that. What gender is she? Is she a girl or is she a girl on the outside and her brother within? It's all voodoo.
Doctor: Look at me, Brian. There's no magic here. Molly is no more Justin than she would be Joe Blow, some stranger who just happened to match her bone marrow. Don't let your fertile little brain further confuse the issue of your lover and his sister, and which of them you're trying to rescue.
BK: Jennifer told me once I was the reason he came out of that coma. He wanted to see me again.
Doctor: You believe that?
BK: (Sighed.) Not entirely.
Doctor: Love is a very compelling emotion. Your love for him couldn't help but assist in his recovery. Your love for Molly is a comfort to her and to her family. Your obsession is no help to anyone. Especially not to you. Step back.
BK: I can't.
Doctor: You must.
BK: Seriously, Lydia, I CAN'T.
Doctor: We need to do something about Jeffrey, Brian. He's dangerous.
BK: He's a brilliant doctor. How can he be dangerous?
Doctor: Because he thinks he's a God, and whatever he wants, is his by virtue of his divine entitlement. Well, guess what? He's not a god. He's a man. A man with a severe mental disorder. He shouldn't be treating anyone. What he's doing to you is evil and manipulative and potentially life threatening.
BK: So? He's not hurting Molly.
BK: What the fuck does that mean?
Doctor: It means, you don't know what he'll do if he feels as if he's losing his control of you, Brian. He has complete access to her and he knows how to manipulate her care to make a decline appear natural and inevitable.
BK: Stop it! Why are you fucking with my head?
Doctor: I'm not the one fucking with your head, Brian. He is. And you're letting him. You're endangering yourself and others with this twisted view of you as martyr.
BK: Say what you will about Jeff, but when it comes to kids, he loves them. He would never harm a child. And he cares very deeply about curing them. When I first met him, he was in tears over the loss of a patient.
Doctor: Because of the patient or because his invincibility was cracked by this failure?
BK: That's just cynical.
Doctor: No, Brian. That's symptomatic of his delusion.
BK: Don't fuck with me, Lydia. You don't want to see how I am when I'm really mad. You can't beat me down. I'll deny everything. And Jeff's reputation in the industry will support what I say. You can't prove anything, and I won't let you or anyone else interfere with Molly's care.
Doctor: You think I'm out to hurt you, Brian?
BK: (Looked away from my gaze.) No.
Doctor: Well, then?
BK: But I think you're wrong about how important Jeffrey is to Molly's care. Anyway, how do you know I'm not lying?
BK: About Jeff. About all of that. I'm a nutcase, right? What if it's all one big sick fantasy? What then?
Doctor: Take off your jacket.
BK: Why would I do that?
Doctor: Do it, Brian.
He removed his jacket, folded it over arm of chair.
Doctor: Now give me your right arm.
He extended his right arm towards me. I rolled up his sleeve and examined his inner arm and the bend of his elbow. I did the same with his left arm. No sign of needles. He is too calm, knowing I will find nothing.
Doctor: Take out your shirttail.
BK: This is getting too weird. No.
Doctor: Modest? Take it out, Brian.
BK: (Pulled out his shirttail.) What are you going to do?
Doctor: (Lifted his shirt and ran my finger along the tight ridge of his abdominal wall, locating a small red mark at the bulge of the artery feeding his groin.) What's this, Brian?
BK: A pimple.
Doctor: (Turned him around. Raised his shirt and uncovered another red mark high on his hip, just below his belt.) Another pimple?
BK: (Looked over shoulder, shrugged.) Adolescence is hell.
Doctor: Why do I think you've never had a pimple in your entire life? Fix yourself up.
BK: (Tucked in shirt, sat down again.) That was kinky. Enjoy yourself?
Doctor: This isn't a joke, Brian. This is your life. Your future emotional well being.
BK: (Leaned forward, rested his hands over mine. His expression was pleading.) Give me two weeks, Lydia. I promise I won't let Jeffrey near me with a needle or a pill. Please. Two weeks. If she's better, or even if she's not, we'll talk again about what to do. But please don't pull the rug. Not now. You could kill her.
Doctor: Or I could lose you? Or he could kill her? My choices are few, Brian. In fact, I'm not sure I even have a choice. I have an ethical obligation.
BK: What about your obligation to keep what we talk about secret?
Doctor: I would never reveal your name. I wouldn't have to do so to open an investigation.
BK: Give me two measly weeks, and then I'll help. Please.
Doctor: I can't promise anything, Brian. I'll need to look into my obligations.
BK: Molly has a team of doctors, so he couldn't hurt her, and I'll back off a little. I swear I will, Lydia. PLEASE.
Doctor: Two weeks in the progress of this disease is not much, Brian.
BK: Within two weeks, we'll know if she's going to live or die.
Doctor: You can't know that.
BK: I do know that. Call it voodoo or Irish intuition, whatever you want, but I do know that.
Doctor: Magical thinking.
BK: (Glances at his watch.) My car will be here. I have to beat the traffic to La Guardia. Thank you, Lydia, for giving me a chance.
Doctor: I've agreed to nothing.
BK: (Smiled, lifted jacket from chair.) That's not what I heard.
Doctor's Notes: I am very concerned about BK. He is physically and emotionally exhausted. He is being manipulated and controlled by a narcissistic megalomaniac. Jeffrey Walker is using his considerable skills as a physician to drug BK, and elicit his sexual favors. BK suffers from the fantastic belief that both he and Walker are keys to Molly's recovery. His magical thinking includes a desperate belief that if need be, he could bargain his own life for hers. There is no doubt he has placed his life in jeopardy, for he is unable to cope with Walker's attack. This false bravery has made him hostile to any attempt by me to "out" Walker for the dangerous man he is. He has requested a two week truce that I did not and cannot agree to honor. I will research my ethical obligations as a physician, and will speak to an attorney about how to proceed. My greatest fear is losing Brian's confidence, because he needs me more than he ever has, but not as much as he will.
|Disclaimer: The television show Queer As Folk and its characters are the property of Showtime and CowLip Productions. No money is being made. Stories and discussion are intended purely for the entertainment of fans of Queer as Folk, the Brian and Justin characters, and Randall's writings.
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July 25, 2004