Sunday, August 24, 2008


The pillbox, with a week’s supply of pills untouched, gave away his secret. How could I not have noticed? Worried about the angioplasty and then recovering from it, I became careless…I didn’t check to make sure he was taking his medication. He’d been so good about taking it ever since he got out of the state hospital a year and a half ago. During his 7 months there, they must have indoctrinated him well about the necessity of taking it. But then the antipsychotics triggered diabetes and, in his mind, the solution is not to watch what he eats, but, rather, to stop taking the pills that are the culprit.

I tried to talk to him about it, reminding him that the medication keeps the voices and visions in check, that he’ll probably wind up in the hospital again if he doesn’t take it. But, even when he’s on the medication, it’s not easy to reason with him, and now, after a week without it, he’s even less receptive to rational explanations. “I don’t need it, how long do I have to take it, I don’t need it.” I tried to contain my rising frustration and sense of impending catastrophe. Those familiar feelings of panic and dread stirred within me.

I’m sure it’s just a matter of time…weeks or perhaps days…before the voices become a cacophony, before the bugs and helicopters and angels appear, before the paranoia shakes his world. And, already, I fear the moment when I know it’s time for him to go to the ER. Will he go?