Courteous

We get sent for an EDP (emotionally disturbed person). The cop meets us outside and says it is an old lady with Alzheimers. She took the trash out in her nightgown even though the trash doesn’t get picked up today. This has happened before — the woman wandering the neighborhood in her nightgown. Her husband came out to get her and she attacked him, scratching him quite viciously. She is now saying the neighbors attacked the house with snowballs and beat her husband up. The cop says the husband can’t handle her anymore.

We go inside and find a sweet old woman sitting in her nightgown in an arm chair in the living room.

“I don’t want to go to the hospital,” she says.

“You brought this on. You brought this all on yourself,” the husband says.

Another police office tries to usher the husband back into the kitchen.

“But they attacked our house,” she says. “The neighbors.”

“In your dreams,” the husband shouts. “In your dreams!”

“Will my husband be coming to the hospital with me?” the woman asks me.

“No,” he shouts again. “Take her out with the trash for all I care!”

***

In the ambulance, I ask her questions to test her memory. She is able to answer some, but not others.

She thinks today is Christmas. She knows her birthday. She says she thinks they have lived in their house for twenty years.

I ask her how old she was when she met her husband. She says she was twenty-five, but she doesn’t remember where she met him.

They had a big wedding. They are Greek. Niether of them were good dancers.

She doesn’t remember the names of her children. They are grown up and married.

She doesn’t know what happened today or why she is in the ambulance.

“What qualities did your husband have that made you want to marry him?” I ask.

She thinks a moment, then smiles, remembering. “He is a kind man,” she says. “Always very considerate. Courteous. He always treats me well.”

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