Q: During the past three and a half years, since the sexual assault by Dr. Kelehan, what has been your state of mind?
A: Reflective. When life slows down, especially when one puts down alcohol and drugs after years of using them as a means of emotional support and “medication”, you’re left with a very raw “you”.
I have had to concentrate on looking at the harm I’ve done to others as a result of entertaining such an extremely selfish view of life.
That’s what drugs and alcohol do. They demand you remain selfish in an effort to keep you dependent and willing to do anything to obtain them. But, it must be noted that examining the harm you’ve done to others includes moments that you must also consider the harm that you may have done to yourself. That sort of reflection involves examining the person that I would or could have been without alcohol and drugs. That’s not easy.
That reflection, in order to be effective, requires me to divorce myself from regret. As I write this, I’m still plagued by this regret. But, I’m told that this will pass.
Q: After the no bill decision by the grand jury in 2018, what kept you going to seek justice?
A: I don’t think I was seeking “justice” after the no-bill. I don’t know if that can be had considering the politics involved.
I’m not even sure if there is such a thing as justice in this situation. I wrote a letter to the medical board as a cathartic exercise. It was suggested, by a therapist, that I write myself a letter forgiving myself for placing myself in that position. Also, as a “message in a bottle” exercise,
I was asked to write a letter to a governing body and, after mailing the letter, forget about it. I did forget about it. The medical board didn’t.
Q: When you contacted the Texas Medical Board to file charges, did you think you had a chance of vindication or were you just going through the motions, trying anything to get justice.
A: I had no expectations. And, after the political (situation)in East Texas, I was jaded and carried around the idea that no one would care.
Q: What were your thoughts during the hearing? At the time the board announced its decision?
A: I was relieved to have been given the opportunity to tell my story and have it behind me. I wasn’t too anticipatory concerning the verdict. It was almost a non-issue in my mind. I truly felt better after simply testifying and that’s all I was seeking to begin with.
Q: There will be a followup hearing by the medical board to determine if Dr. Kelehan is permanently suspended from practicing medicine, but the decision to forbid him or any physicians assistants from seeing patients, administering any prescriptions for drugs or do telemedicine consults is pretty crippling for a practicing physician.
A: I believe the whole affair is sad. There is no “gain” in this situation. I’ve never said Dr. Kelehan is a bad person or a bad physician.I don’t think there’s anyone on this earth who can say that.
Conversely, there’s not many people who can say I lived a “good” life. There’s plenty of people that can rightly claim that I was a “bad” person by all the normal standards of society. Even so, I don’t know when I stopped being a “person”, even with the adjectives, and should simply be okay with being drugged and taken advantage of. That never sat right with me.
In a way, that’s the kind of attitude that contributed to keeping me intoxicated over all those years. I always discounted my worth as a human and accepting that behavior from another human is nothing but an exercise in self loathing.
I simply needed to talk about what happened and find a way of releasing myself from my past surrounding that time of my life.
Q: Watching your mother Sandy Dunham testify for Dr. Kelehan must have been hard. Thoughts about watching that?
A: I was only disturbed when my mother testified. I knew that was a possibility. In fact, I would have been surprised if they’d not called her as a character witness.
I was only disturbed because she looked very tired and I knew, once again, I was partly responsible for that. You see, it’s been some years since I’ve seen my mother and not many kind words were passed between us in the prior years.
I didn’t disagree with anything she said about my prior dishonesty. And, knowing her well, I knew she was fine with relaying all the dirty inter-family secrets that would discredit me. That’s never been a problem for her.
My problems with addiction and alcohol have always been something that she refused to look at from a logical perspective. Just as she refused to ever review the evidence in this situation, my mother refused to acknowledge alcohol as an issue beyond, “just don’t drink”.
In 20 years of multiple rehabs and visits to ICU surrounding alcohol, she never once visited me or called me.
My mother’s take on alcoholism was always an emotional one. And a regurgitation of my past in that hearing was possibly emotionally soothing for her. My past is low hanging fruit and I really take no offense to it being used.
I truly hope she felt better afterwards. I certainly owe her any amount of latitude she needs in an effort to “feel” better.
Q: Any other thoughts?
A: Life is hard. People are strange. Tragedy is the dirt… while joy is the diamond
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