He didn’t worry about what other people thought. Generally, they were thinking of themselves and when they did think of others it was in an auxiliary capacity. Truly, he didn’t care what they thought of him. Ned was effusive when he greeted Hank, “Come in-come in, have a seat. I reviewed Marion’s records and I see that you have her medical power of attorney.” Hank’s heart leapt to his throat in heightened anxiety. Ned continued, “Hank, I’m going to be direct, there’s no other way to say it, Marion has been abusing prescription narcotics…for several years.” Hank was relieved. At least she wasn’t dying from brain cancer. He had feared the worst. Marion had become dependent on the toxic crap she’d been prescribed. He could cope with that. Seeing the relief on his face, Ned went further, “Marion has a serious problem, Hank. I’m not sure you realize just how serious it is.” Hank reacted. “She couldn’t have a serious problem. I’d know if she had a serious problem, I’ve been living with her longer than you’ve been breathing.” Who the hell did Ned think he was patronizing?
As Ned went on to outline the history of Marion’s addiction, and that’s what it was, an addiction, a little bit higher class than the thieves who robbed drug stores but only because she had better health insurance and more money. His wife was a drug addict. Hank’s world stopped turning. When he asked Ned why no one had called him in to discuss Marion’s problem, Ned explained that, until recently, Hank was not named her medical POA so he had no right to her medical information without her express authorization. It had been in the last year or so that they bit the bullet, admitted their own mortality, and made their wills. Advance directives and medical POAs were part of that process.
Hank left Ned’s office. There was a lot to absorb but he had to see Marion, see that she hadn’t changed with this new revelation, that she still looked like his Marion.