“Doc, I don’t want to have any more tests. Hell, I don’t even want to take any meds. If I die, I die. I ain’t scared of meetin’ my maker.”
“Well, I understand about not being afraid to meet your maker. I know you have a strong faith in God. For my part, I am not afraid to have you die, either. I hope for your sake that is what happens. What I am afraid of is having you have a stroke that is not bad enough to kill you, that leaves you paralyzed and unable to train those mules that you love so much.”
He had already had about three transient ischemic attacks (TIAs) in the past six months. They were signaling something bigger approaching.
His wife, sitting in the corner, piped up, “I sure as heck ain’t wipin’ yer butt for ya! You have a stroke and I’m puttin’ yer sorry butt in a home.”
They both laughed.
“Seriously, though, take this blood thinner and start this cholesterol medication.” My hand hovered over the computer send button.
“No can do, Doc!”
“Ok, fine.” I deleted the prescription. “You are stubborn as those mules, aren’t you?”
“Yes, ma’am!” He grinned his proud, lopsided grin and followed his wife out the door. He slapped her on the butt as they rounded the corner and I heard her giggle.
His boots were always caked with mud and chunks fell off as he walked leaving a trail to mark his existence. My staff always cussed his name as they rushed around to sweep up the detritus before someone else saw and noted it on their patient satisfaction survey…
Next time I saw him, he was in a wheel chair. His wife had ended up having to wipe his butt for him. What they had was true love, after all.
Now he could no longer say no to the medication he was given every day to prolong his life and by golly his wife insisted that he get it.
He lingered like that for years.
Then he was gone.