What Happened to Baby Cameron?
by: E Walk
(© 2009 by the Author)

The author retains all rights. No reproductions are allowed without the author's consent. Comments are appreciated at...

Chapter 34  

All Is Not Well On the Home Front


As Cam and I were getting out of the shower, Randy arrived with our clothes, “Dad Rodgers is on the phone.  He says you need to come talk to some people.”


“Thank you, Randy,  Go tell Mr. Rodgers that I’ll be there as soon as I can get dressed.”


As Cam and I were walking toward the house, Cam looked at me, “Dad, are you angry with me and the other boys?”


I stopped and hugged Cam, “I am not upset with you young people at all.  I’m sorry if you think I am.”


When we walked into the house, Cowboy handed me the phone, “Chad wants to talk to you.”


“Chad, it’s Steve Michaels, what’s the problem?”


“Uncle Steve, Doctor Bednarik called and said the radiologist called and said that the lump was suspect.  They want me to go have a biopsy in the morning at nine o’clock.”


“Chad, have Mr. Young take you.  He thinks I’m usurping his authority over you four boys.  Chad, it will be okay.  Relax.”


When I hung up, Hank looked at me, “Steve, that was harsh.”


I took a deep breath, “If Wayne thinks I’m usurping his authority, then I’ll back off.”


“Steve, Wayne works all day.  He can’t do everything that you’ve been doing for the Martin boys.  You aren’t working, so why can’t you take care of the boys?”


I tried to retain my calm, “If that’s the way you people think, then call Dusty and inform him that I’m taking control of the company again and that he and Wayne will be reverting to their old positions at a salary that is commensurate with their responsibilities.  It will be up to you to make sure that the boys are taken care of.  I’m leaving and I’ll come back for Ricky and Randy as soon as I find a suitable place for us to live.”


“I’ll worry about Jacob and Kevin from now on.  I wouldn’t want to cause you any undue hardship.”


I turned and went out the door and climbed into my car.  I started to drive without a destination in mind.  I was steaming.  I wound up in a motel that had a restaurant adjacent.  I ate a quick dinner and went to bed after I called Jacob and Kevin and told them to call my cell phone if they needed to talk to me and not to call the ranch.


When I awoke the next morning, I realized that I needed some clean clothes, but I wasn’t about to go back to the ranch.  I stopped at the Penney’s store in the mall and bought some clothes.  I picked up a paper to look for a suitable place for me to live with Randy and Ricky.


I decided to shake-up the troops and called the office, Lamar answered, “Lamar, it’s Steve Michaels, I would appreciate it if you would have my office ready for me to occupy when I come back to work on Monday.  I want to make sure that everyone understands that I still own the business,  I’ll see you Monday morning at seven.”


I had turned the ringer on my cell phone off so I wouldn’t be tempted to answer it.  I kept checking to see who had called, but there was no one I wanted to talk to.


It was about four o’clock when I checked and there was a call from Methodist Hospital  I listened to the message, “Mr. Michaels, this is Nurse Danley in the intensive care ward at Methodist Hospital.  We have a young man here who wants you to come and visit.  His name is Chad Martin.  He says no one else cares about him.”


Talk about taking the wind out of my sails.  I called the number she had left.  “This is the Intensive Care Unit.  Nurse Danley speaking.”


“Nurse Danley, this is Steve Michaels you said Chad Martin wanted me to come to see him. Nurse Danley, will I be permitted to see him if come to the hospital?

“Yes, you’re the only person he has authorized to visit, since he is of legal age.”


“Tell Chad that I’m on my way.”


When I arrived at the hospital, I went to the Intensive Care Unit reception desk and  a nurse challenged me, “Sir, only selected visitors are permitted in here.”


“I was called by a Nurse Danley and she assured me that I could see Chad Martin.”


“Well, why didn’t you say so?  I’m Nurse Danley.  Mr. Martin is in the room behind the nurse’s station.  It was nip and tuck whether he was going to make it for a while this afternoon.  It’s a good thing that he’s a fighter.”


When I walked into the room, I saw Chad hooked up to at least four machines with tubes going everywhere.  I guess I froze but Nurse Danley lightly nudged Chad, “Chad, Mr. Michaels is here.”


Chad tried to sit up but Nurse Danley pushed him down, “Chad, just talk to Mr. Michaels while you’re resting.  Your body has suffered a serious trauma.  He won’t care if you’re being a lazy teenager.”


I sat on the side of Chad’s bed.  “Chad, what happened.?”


“Uncle Steve, I don’t know what happened exactly.  I guess I went into shock when they gave me the anesthesia, so they could take the biopsy of the lump.”


“Chad, who came with you to have the test done, and where are they now?”


“Mom, had to take the three brothers to school since Mr. Young had an important meeting to go to.  They decided that I could drive myself and still be back at school in time to bring Damon home this afternoon.  Boy were they wrong.”


I was sucking air, “Have you notified your Mother where you are?”


“No sir, the only person I had the nurse call was you.   I kept thinking that you were the only person who really cared about me.”


A doctor knocked and entered, he looked at Chad’s chart.  “Young man, you seem to be doing well.”


After he did some checks, “I think we may need  to kick you out of this place so we can take care of the really sick people.  I think it’s time for your visitor to leave.  You need to get your rest.”


The doctor was waiting outside for me, “Mr. Michaels, I just called Chad’s mother and told her where he was.  I’m going to be releasing him shortly, but he is not to drive under any circumstances for at least forty eight hours.”


“Sir, could you explain what happened to Chad?  He was coming in for a routine biopsy.  What caused him to go into shock?”


The doctor took a deep breath, “The anesthesiologist made a bad call and administered the wrong thing to Mr. Martin.  The hospital administrators are aware of the problem.  I’m guessing that Mr. Martin won’t be charged for this unfortunate incident.”


“Doctor, did they take the biopsy of the Chad’s lump or does he have to go through this ordeal again?”


The doctor walked to the nurses’ station.  “Nurse Danley, has the biopsy report for Mr. Martin arrived yet?”


“Yes, sir, it was just delivered.”


The doctor took the report and looked at it.  “Mr. Michaels, it seems all of this could have been avoided.  Chad’s lump is benign.”


As I was walking out of the hospital, I met Linda and Wayne.  “Chad’s in ICU.  Why didn’t either of you come with him this morning?  He almost died, but I guess you don’ t care.  You’re too busy worrying about my usurping your authority to take care of the guys.”


I didn’t give them a chance to respond but just walked away.


I was eating dinner in the restaurant before I went to my motel room when my cell phone vibrated.  I pulled it out and it was Kevin. 


“This is Steve Michaels.  What’s up, Kevin?”


“Dad, call Cam.  He’s beside himself.  He thinks he caused you to leave.  Randy and Ricky are really upset.”


“Kevin, right now I’m very angry.  Chad nearly died and no one was with him at the hospital.  I’m sure that everyone will be saying it was my fault that there was no one with him.  It’s as if I damned if I do and damned if don’t do things.  Why were you talking to Cam, anyway?”


“Dad, he called me and asked me to call you because you weren’t answering the calls from the ranch or from Dad Hank’s cell phone. Dad, this is not like you.  Please, just call Cam.  I’ll talk to you later.”


After I hung up, I went back to my room and was trying to decide what I should do, when there was a knock on the door.  I went to unlock it and open it thinking it might be a maid.  When I opened it, it wasn’t a maid, it was the five boys.  Cam spoke for them, “Dad, you gotta come talk to Daddy.  He’s really upset and so are we.”


“How did you guys find me?”


Cam walked into the room followed by the other four guys. “Daddy and Grandpa T. called every hotel and motel until they found where you were staying.  Dad, please go talk to Daddy.”


“Why didn’t he come in?


Randy answered, “Because he said you probably wouldn’t have talked to him if he had come to the door.  Please Daddy, everyone is really upset.”


“Guys, go tell Mr. Rodgers that I’ll talk to him after you’ve gone to bed.”


Cam sat down on the bed, “Dad, we aren’t going to leave until you talk to Daddy.”


The other four boys sat down beside Cam.  I looked at the boys, “I still can’t understand why Mr. Rodgers didn’t come talk to me instead of sending you five boys.”


Tony answered, “Mr. Michaels, he didn’t think you would talk to him if he came by himself.  Please go talk to him.  Everyone is really upset.  Grandpa is talking about going back to New Orleans.  He thinks that he did something to upset you.”


Ricky looked at me, “Daddy, please come home.  We don’t understand what we did that was so bad.  We’ll try to be good.”


Sure, kick a man below the belt when he’s down, “Okay, guys, I’ll go talk to Mr. Rodgers, but I won’t promise anything.”


I put on my jacket and went to Hank’s van and opened the door, “The boys said you want to talk to me?”


“Steve, please get in.  You have a lot of innocent people concerned about what’s happening.  Dusty has no inkling why he’s being demoted.”


“I thought I told you to tell Dusty and Wayne that I was going back to work, since you indicated that all I was good for was babysitting.  I’m tired of being taken for granted.  It’s obvious that you people don’t care about the young people.  Why else was Chad permitted  to go to the hospital by himself today and nearly die, when there was no one with him.”


Hank put up his hand, “Steve, what have you been drinking.  What do you mean that Chad nearly died?  How come you know about this and I don’t?” 


“Probably because Chad asked the Intensive Care nurse to call me.  “When I saw Chad this afternoon, he was hooked to four machines.  It seems that Chad had a reaction to anesthesia they administered and went into shock.  I was leaving the hospital when I met Linda and Wayne, who were finally getting there.”


“Why was Chad at the hospital alone?”


“Everyone else was too busy to go with him, and I wasn’t available to take him because I was told to mind my own business.”


“Steve, please come home so we can work this out.  This is all my fault, because Cam heard me talking on the phone to Wayne.  We can’t get it squared away if we don’t talk.  Besides, I don’t think the boys are going to leave until you come home.  They were planning a sit-in on the way here if you wouldn’t come home.”


“Hank, I’m still angry about what has happened.  I may have overreacted, but everyone was telling me to get a life.”


Hank and I walked into the motel room.  The boys were lying on the bed watching television, Cam looked at me, “Dad, are you going home with us, or do we gotta stay here with you until you do?”


I pulled out a white tissue, “Cam, I surrender.  I’ll go home with you, but I need to check out of the motel and pack my clothes.”


Cam turned to Tony and Randy, “You two big kids stay here with Dad and make sure he gets home.  We little people will go with Daddy to make sure he doesn’t get lost on the way home.”


I should have known better than to go to the ranch.  When I arrived at the ranch with Tony and Randy, Dusty’s van was there.


When we walked into the house, Hank pointed at the boys, “You guys need to go get ready for bed.   Tomorrow is a school day.  We have some business to take care of.”


As soon as the five boys were up the stairs, Dusty looked at me, “Steve, I don’t understand why I’m being demoted.  I thought things were going well.”


“Dusty, you have done a wonderful job, you’re not being demoted.  I am the owner, so I have every right to move back in.  It seems as if people think I have nothing to keep me busy and I’m meddling in their affairs.  So I figured that I would go back to work so I wouldn’t be considered a glorified babysitter.  If the other people want to be in charge, so be it.  Let them be in charge and botch things up.”


I hadn’t realized that Wayne was standing there listening, “Damn it Steve, I screwed up.  I sure am botching being a father figure to the four boys, big time.  Chad is hardly speaking to me or his mother.  Who did he get in touch first with when he could?  He had the nurse call you.  That hurts.”


“Not only that, now Len wants to make sure that you’re going to take him to the orthodontist tomorrow, and Damon says he's not going back  to see Doctor Straley unless you go with him.”


I stood and started to pace, “Guys, I don’t understand why they think I need to be with them.  There is nothing that I can do that you can’t do.”


Hank stood, “Steve, you’ve been there for them, and they trust you.  Wayne and Linda blew the situation with Chad, today, and now the other guys are leery, as well.  I suggest that everyone go home and let’s see what we can do to repair the damage.  Steve has every right to be upset.  I didn’t really mean what I said.  I said it without thinking.”


To be continued...


Editor's Notes:  My goodness gracious.  It looks as if things blew up in everyone's faces.  I know that Steve and Hank love each other, and the boys. I also know that the kids love both of their dads.  Wayne was not really thinking straight, complaining about the way Steve was  taking care of the boys. 


It is no fun being treated as though you aren't needed, or worse, not wanted. 


Let's hope that all of this can be put behind everyone.  They all need to think about the way they were acting, and take the time to cool off.


I sure hope everything will be worked out in the next chapter.  


Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher 


Posted: 04/23/10