Help Sponge Soak Up Legal Fees for Protecting his Family
Team Member: Alyson Kalhagen
Trev Eyster wrote -
If you've reached this page, it means you cared enough to click on it, so let me give you my first Thank you.
On November 16th, 2016 I received an email from my Aunt Barbie, asking if I would come over and help her pack, because she believed she was going to be evicted from her home in the San Fernando Valley, in 3 days.
When I walked through her door - and saw what I saw inside - I knew that our lives would never be the same and I would have to take action.
My Aunt Barbara has had a long, difficult and painful journey with Multiple Sclerosis. It has progressed to the point of a genuine, severe disability... as her muscle spasticity is so bad, that she is mostly bed-bound. When she is out of bed, it's a powered-wheelchair.
She's had an IHSS state-paid, live-in caregiver for the past 19 months, whom was never exactly... fabulous... but he knew what little he had to do, to keep his job. 6 months ago, Aunt Barb's 7-yr boyfriend passed on... and once the caregiver was alone in the house with her, things got much worse.
The video really says it all, and far more quickly than anyone would probably prefer to read. But I'll highlight this:
- The day I walked into the house, I knew I could never leave her alone again - and I immediately dropped my entire life and moved in.
- He kept the blinds closed in her room all day, due to his various paranoias... and refused to open them for her, when asked. I realized she hadn't seen the Sun in months.
- 3 years of steroids (to suppress her MS symptoms) made her skin very thin: if her cats jumped on the bed and a claw managed to scratch her, she'd end up with an open wound. He wouldn't didn't seek out medical advice, call a free Nurse hotline, or reach out to any of the services provided to the low-income disabled through Medi-Cal... he'd just dab her wounds with rubbing alcohol, and wrap them in wet baby wipes. Be advised, the video & photos will show you much worse.
But all of this pretext probably makes you think this is about her medical care. It's not even about that. This one is just about addressing the financial fallout of the legal/financial situation from stepping in to remove the abuser from a continual crime-in-progress.
I'd always understood that Stockholm Syndrome was a real thing ... but now I understand how it happens. I begged my Aunt for days and days to give me her blessing to let me take action. To end all the fear surrounding the house that came from his late-night intimidations. The intimidation led her to not report the abuse.
The night after Thanksgiving, I came home to the aftermath of a heated argument between them: the caregiver didn't like my live-in oversight, and wanted me to leave. My Aunt finally gave her blessing for me to take action, and I swiftly took it: I told him it was time for him to get out.
That led to several 911 calls, one of which the caregiver told police that I was under the influence of drugs, and had pointed a loaded firearm at him. Based on that framing - when the police came, within 30 seconds, I was on my knees on the front lawn, with rifles pointed at my skull. No joke. No dramatic elaboration.
I'm not sure I'll soon be able to describe in words, what it was like to:
- be a witness to the kind of darkness, cruelty and lack of empathy that you only hear about on the news - and it always happens to "someone else"
- get arrested for the 1st time in my life, while trying to do something profoundly and solidly right, by any measure of moral decency.
- watch my Aunt Barb's eyes, from the back of an LAPD car, as I was driven away in handcuffs, knowing the "caregiver" would have at least one more night alone with my Aunt Barb, essentially helpless.
This fundraiser, is to help me:
- reimburse the 78-yr-old man that I live with and look after, whom put $5,000 on his credit card to post my $50,000 BAIL BOND ... to get me out of jail, so I could:
- return to Aunt Barb and protect her and the house from more abuse,
- prevent more looting of her dead boyfriend's personal effects,
- protect her against any form of revenge-fueled act based on his substantial history of threats and psychological intimidation.
- Take on the role of her POA, and start making calls to for things like ensuring her utilities didn't get disconnected due to non-payment, as the caregiver wasn't bringing her mail to her bedside
- Help her navigate things like police reports, Adult Protective Service reports, the legal mechanisms to prosecute the caregiver and ensure that he is NEVER AGAIN able to be a caregiver again for any vulnerable human being.
- Offset the incoming legal fees from the Criminal Defense Attorney I ultimately needed to hire to properly defend against a potential Felony conviction -- and jailtime.
I've lost a good deal more than the debt I've gained from those whom showed their tremendous generousity to bail me out of incarceration. I'd started dating someone I'd developed deep feelings for. All of this drama scared them away... and in the midst of protecting my family... I lost the family I'd started to build for my own life... in a single text message. The losses just keep piling up for me in my personal life, only outdone by the task lists to pick up the pieces and bring my Aunt Barb home from the hospital, and back into a healthy living situation.
(Example: My car was looted in her driveway, I tackled the kid and got his backpack with some of my belongings... but my iPhone must have been in his pants and it was never recovered. That was $1,100! I'm still paying monthly for it. But how THAT happened? ... is attached to an even bigger part of her story that remains untold - because look how LONG this was ...!)
Now a reality check: It's important to me, personally, that you know... that I understand that it's the holiday season, and therefore money has GOT to be tight for everyone. I firmly believe that we must take care of "our own wolfpack" first. As we truly cannot be of use to others, if we haven't filled our own cup, and taken care of the needs, and tended to the dreams, of those around us.
If you're not able to make an offering of a monetary nature... please know that there will be many more asks I'll need to make that won't involve money. In fact, you may be able to give far more through your time in other tasks and asks, than would be equated in dollars. Every little bit helps, but there is a mountain in front of the two of us, and your willingness to witness the journey, take our hand in support, help us with the research we may ask help with, share the links we ask to be shared ... can have a profound impact.
One non-monetary way you can help, would be to join the Fundraising Team, right here. Just click the big FUNDRAISE FOR THIS CAMPAIGN button and you're on the Team.
Thank you again for your time, attention and compassion.