I was preparing one of my patients for discharge and I asked him if he had Panadol or Panamax (Paracetamol) at home ? As he only needed pain killers and if he did then I didn’t have to order. 

He said he doesn’t know as his wife looked after his medications.

He then asked me to just order it as he’s only going home to grab a few stuff then he’ll be going to his son’s place. 

Even then it didn’t click. Usually other patients would say oh let me ring my wife and ask. 

After that I asked him how is his pain control would he be requiring Oxycodone? A strong pain killer? He replied will it bind me up? I said yes. He then let on that he’s only just moved his bowels and no he doesn’t think he’d need it as he doesn’t like being bound up. 

He was mumbling about how he was supposed to go home earlier and then they wouldn’t let him.

I tried to console him saying it’s best that he stays a bit longer as if he goes early and he’s not ready he might have to come back. 

I don’t know what happened next but he broke down. He told me his wife passed away two months ago. I glimpsed tears in his eyes. 

Being in such a hurry to see everyone I had to go so quickly offered my condolences and told him his tablets will come up later. 

The thing is they depend so much on their wives that when half of the partnership goes they don’t do too well. 

Only then did it make sense. Paracetamol when bought outside may be cheaper that’s why I always ask and give them an option to buy at their local pharmacy. 

He’s adamant that I supplied may be to show his son he’s coping? May be pride? Not having to ask his son to go buy? 

Made me feel so sad. That’s what we need really isn’t it? Not money or a big house or a fancy car? Someone by our side when we are old and grey.