Transcript of 1st Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Mr. Jesse Trent, Monday, October 27, 1997 at 2:00 pm.

Mr. Trent: Hello, Doctor Balis. Thanks for seeing me.
Dr. Balis: Hello, Mr. Trent, you're welcome. May I ask what's so funny though?
Mr. Trent: I'm sorry, Doctor Balis. I guess I was expecting Doctor Katz from the TV show.
Dr. Balis: I'm sorry to disappoint you, Mr. Trent. However, if I start to squiggle please let me know.
Mr. Trent: Okay, it's a deal. It's good to know you have a sense of humor. I tend to make jokes when I get nervous. Should I just sit anywhere? And please, call me Jesse or JT.
Dr. Balis: Thanks. Please sit anywhere you feel comfortable, Jesse.
Mr. Trent: Thanks.
Dr. Balis: Certainly. Now, you said on the phone you were having a difficult time because of something that happened to your wife. Why don't you start by giving me some background on the two of you?
Mr. Trent: I guess background is as good a place to start as any. Hmm...okay, Maddie--my wife--and I met through a group of mutual friends when she was twenty and I was twenty-two. She was smart, cute, sassy, and I fell for her fast--a once in a lifetime whirlwind romance, you know? It was really great. Too bad things had to change.
Dr. Balis: Everything changes, Jesse. We have to figure out what has changed for you and work from there.
Mr. Trent: That's just it Doctor Balis! I know what has changed!
Dr. Balis: Okay. You were telling me about Maddie, why don't you continue?
Mr. Trent: Yeah, okay. We had been dating for about five months when Maddie became pregnant. I knew I loved Maddie and wanted to spend the rest of my life with her, so I wasn't upset when we found out. Neither was she, really. Other than telling our parents about it, we were both actually comfortable with the idea. We decided to drop the bomb at Christmas--very bad mistake. None of our parents were happy. That's an understatement. They went ballistic. Her parents accused me of forcing myself on their daughter and "disgracing" her. My parents were convinced--and they still are--that Maddie did it intentionally to snag a man to take care of her. Which, of course, couldn't be further from the truth! Maddie was the one going to college, and I was a generation X slug.
Dr. Balis: So neither of your parents were happy. What did you two decide to do?
Mr. Trent: Neither of us lived at home, so that made it easy to ignore them. Maddie and I decided to get married. Not just because she was pregnant, but because we really loved each other. Things were great for the first few months. Our parents even gave in a little. I guess they figured the situation wasn't going away.
Dr. Balis: Many parents overreact to news of an unplanned pregnancy. Most parents tend to warm up to the idea eventually. Yours started coming around?
Mr. Trent: Hardly! Well, at first we were naive and just happy they seemed to be warming up. Now, I think they felt they could do more damage by being around. Sheesh! We finally realized that no matter what either of us did, it would never be good enough for the other's parents. However, for a while there, it did go okay. Then there was the accident. That was when we knew for sure we could never count on them to support our marriage.
Dr. Balis: Tell me about the accident, Jesse.
Mr. Trent: Okay. One day when Maddie was seven months pregnant, we went to Greensfelder Park for a picnic. By the way, Maddie and I are originally from St. Louis. Things were going great for us. An ultrasound a month earlier told us the baby was healthy, and they were pretty sure it was a girl. We were on top of the world. Maddie said she wanted to drive. She always loved to drive, but what with being pregnant, she didn't always feel like it. However on this day, she did. We were driving along, laughing, planning, talking about baby names. Then a car full of kids ran a stop sign and smashed into the driver's side of the car! It was horrible!
Dr. Balis: Just take a moment, Jesse, and let me know when you are ready, okay?
Mr. Trent: Thank you, Doctor Balis. This is kind of hard. I haven't talked about it in years. It was a very bad accident. Maddie almost died. I'm amazed to this day that she even lived through it. However, she lost the baby. I just broke an arm and had a concussion. Her parents blamed me. They felt that I should have been driving not Maddie. My parents blamed her. They thought Maddie had been careless. So, as far as the parents went, we were right back to square one. I don't understand why they have to be that way. I mean we lost our child! It was the fault of the kids that hit us. We had the right of way. Christ! Sometimes, it's so hard to believe that Maddie and I are related to these people!
Dr. Balis: The loss of a child is very traumatic. Your parents should have been more supportive. How did you and Maddie cope with the loss?
Mr. Trent: It was awful at first. I kept having nightmares. Maddie cried all the time. But we were there for each other. She would wake me if I was having a nightmare. I would hold her and let her cry. We were both angry at the world, but never with each other. It eventually got easier. We kept busy with school and work. It's sad that it happened, but it did make our marriage stronger. Maddie and I eventually realized that we just had to go on. And that's what we did.
Dr. Balis: It's good to hear that you leaned on each other to cope in this situation. Many people draw into themselves and their own pain, forgetting that they aren't the only ones involved. That can be hard on a marriage.
Mr. Trent: So I'm now finding out.
Dr. Balis: Okay, Jesse. Let's talk about how things have changed.
Mr. Trent: Yeah, might as well. That's why I'm here after all. After the accident, life went on. Maddie graduated from college. She is a computer nut. I'd taken some classes in photography and was working for a portrait studio. Maddie went to work as a graphic designer for a company in St. Louis. It was great as long as we avoided each others' parents. We had been married for three years and were still very much in love, to our parents' dismay. Maddie got bored with her job, though. She's great at what she does, but the company she was working for was small and the pay wasn't great. So we talked about it and decided she should look elsewhere. She sent her résumé to probably fifty different places. We kind of thought that because she'd only been working in the field a year, she wouldn't get many responses. We were wrong. So we went through the offers, and SII made the best one. So we packed our things and moved here just over a year ago.
Dr. Balis: San Francisco is an interesting city. Were you happy with the move?
Mr. Trent: At first. No parents or siblings around, making new friends, exploring the city--it was really great. Plus, Maddie really loved her job at SII. She found it very challenging and rewarding. SII is great about not chaining their employees to a desk. If she came in and finished her work early, she was free to go. I spent the first few months just wandering around. I'd had enough of taking fake looking photographs at weddings. I found a used bookstore one day. I went there every day for a week. Then the owner asked me if I was possibly looking for a job. I told him sure, and he hired me that day! It's a wonderful place to work--I read all day long. The pay isn't great, but Maddie makes more than enough to keep us comfortable.
Dr. Balis: It sounds as if you both adjusted very well.
Mr. Trent: Yes. It was good for us until about six weeks ago.
Dr. Balis: What happened then?
Mr. Trent: Okay...sorry. I just haven't really talked about what happened much. Okay, about six weeks ago, I flew back home to St. Louis. It was my parents' thirtieth wedding anniversary. I may not always agree with them, but they are my parents. For a marriage to survive thirty years is something close to a miracle. Maddie had a deadline at work that Monday--she had been sick with the flu and was behind on her work. She wasn't planning on going to the party anyway, but wanted to go just to see her friends. But at the last minute, she decided to stay home and get her work done for Monday.
Dr. Balis: Did your visit home go well?
Mr. Trent: The visit itself was fine. Good party. My parents seemed happy. Then I got a phone call from the SFPD Sunday morning around 4 am St. Louis time.They informed me that my wife had been attacked and raped, and she was being taken to the hospital. They asked that I return as soon as I could. I got the next flight out and, because of the time difference, was back by 7 am. I went straight to the hospital. Maddie was sedated. There was a detective there keeping an eye on her and waiting for me, I guess. He informed me that Maddie was stable and was expected to recover. I asked him what happened, and he said that Maddie was taking a shower around ten-thirty, which is usual. Someone then broke into the apartment. He waited for her to get out of the shower and attacked her when she went into our room. He beat her up pretty badly and raped her three times before the bastard finally left her alone. He put a pillow over her face to muffle her screams. Maddie passed out during the third attack. The police suspect that he thought he had killed her and took off. Maddie woke up and listened for him. When she was sure he was gone, she called the police.
Dr. Balis: Have the police caught the man that did this?
Mr. Trent: No, not yet. They have a few suspects though. I wish they'd catch him if only to allow Maddie to get her life back. She has become so angry and bitter, and I fully understand--I feel the same way.
Dr. Balis: It's natural to be angry. How is Maddie doing now?
Mr. Trent: Physically, she has recovered. Mentally, she's a wreck. She's in therapy now, so I hope that helps her some. She's become very distant from me, though. Never in our marriage have I seen her like this.
Dr. Balis: Jesse, rape causes a complex set of emotional reactions. Maddie is going through quite a bit. Many women feel dirty or disgusting after a rape. My best advice is probably that you make it clear to her that you don't think it was her fault and that it hasn't changed the way you feel about her. Let her know that you are there for her and are willing to talk and to listen.
Mr. Trent: Trust me, Doc, she knows she isn't to blame. I'm not so sure she feels the same about me, though.
Dr. Balis: Jesse, your emotions and reactions are going to be complex as well. I'd like you to try to keep a journal about your thoughts and feelings on the rape. You can share it with me if you like, or keep it private. Would you do that?
Mr. Trent: Sure, I love to write. Maybe it will help me focus. Doctor Balis, I feel exhausted. This therapy thing is hard work. Are we getting close to a good place to end?
Dr. Balis: Yes, Jesse, our time is almost up. Do you want to end now?
Mr. Trent: Yes, please.
Dr. Balis: Okay. Is this a good time of day for you?
Mr. Trent: Sure. I set my own schedule at work, so any time works for me.
Dr. Balis: Same time next week then. Let's see, that's Monday, November 3rd at 2 pm. And work on the journal--you may find it helps you a lot.
Mr. Trent: Thanks so much, Doctor. I'll see you.
Dr. Balis: Goodbye, Jesse. See you next week.
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Button to Madeline Trent's Patient File Madeline Trent's Patient File
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