He said she didn't give him his medications, she said she did. After twenty-seven years of marriage, it had come to this. For the last seven years she was his caretaker. He was confined to his bed for the most part, three heart attacks and a stroke rendering him disabled. It looked like she was running out of steam, the burden thrust upon her taking it's toll. Their house was a mess, laundry, dirty dishes, paperwork and pill bottles were strewn about haphazardly, clutter filled the room where he spent the majority of his life. A small TV sat at the end of his bed, his portal to the world. I wonder what he watched as the days dragged on, his room more of a cell than a place to get ready for and rest from a fulfilling life.
He was hysterical, sitting up in his bed, struggling to breathe through the hole in his throat. The stoma remained clear but I was concerned his movements would somehow clog his airway. She had a glazed look about her, at first I thought she had been drinking, her speech was clear but slow, her pupils dilated.
"He needs to go to the hospital," she explained in a dreamy voice. "He says I didn't give him his nighttime medication, but I gave them an hour ago."
I looked on one of the dressers and saw a dozen pill bottles, some empty, others tipped on their side, duplicate prescriptions, half eaten candy bars and trash filling every inch of the space.
"Do you have a list of his medications?" I asked. She handed me a crumbled piece of paper she picked up from the floor. Lasix, Cardizem, Lisinipril, Lipitor, the list was lengthy. Two names jumped off the page, Oxycontin and Vicodin. There were no bottles on the dresser that matched.
"What about these?" I asked her
."I had to hide them. He takes thirty if I let him."
"Where are they?"
"I have them." She opened a bedroom door. A giant Rottweiler layed on the bed looking at me. She entered the room, I stayed outside as she read the names from the bottles from behind the door. She pronounced the names like she had never heard of them.
I had seen enough. We got the man ready, put him in the stair chair and brought him out of his prison. He was crying quietly, saying he loved her and didn't want to leave his home. I left his wife alone with her husbands prescriptions.