Not Cap’n Crunch cereal but he ate them like lollies, 5 tablets at a time crunched in his mouth like candies. It was strangely fascinating to watch him do it.
Were they really helping him? We didn’t really know, but that’s what his Cardiologist had recommended at their last appointment, and as a model patient he would follow the instructions carefully.
It hadn’t always been like this, two years before life in his small town was normal. Not much to do in the weekends, so like everybody else his age he dabbled in recreational drugs.
Weeks later and his breathing became worse, he thought it was due to a reactivation of his childhood asthma. He didn’t do anything about it but then things worsened and he went to see his doctor. He was prescribed Asthma inhalers but they were ineffective. Back and forth to the doctor he went, with no improvement. A chest x-ray was ordered and surprisingly showed severe heart failure. Further investigations were performed including an echocardiogram. Working diagnosis was of severe cardiomyopathy secondary to methamphetamine abuse. The drugs he used had left his heart permanently damaged.
Over the next year things progressed and hence heavy doses of heart failure medications, were required, including the aforementioned 30 tablets, Twice a day.
A real live one, a character to be remembered.
His neck pillow decorated with all of the most important food groups; burgers, pizza, fries, hot dogs the best things in life. Complete with a hood that you can wear for the very finest in comfort and privacy. I was so impressed with it that I bought one for myself.
A photo opportunity: He wore his Batman robe, I brought in my Superman robe. We had each been given Superman stuffed toys. So we posed for the photo together, both of us wearing our own superhero robes, and our hooded neck pillows, holding our Superman plushies in front of us.
He was a good Uncle to his nieces and nephews. He knew that he would not be around for much longer and was drawing personalised cartoons for each of them, complete with a inspirational message for each of them.
One day he was out smoking, it was winter and he was in his wheelchair that he had self-propelled outside. He fell asleep whilst smoking a cigarette and burnt small holes in this robe, and pants.
We were so worried that he would set himself on fire, and asked that he be supervised.
Things looked bad and we talked about stopping medications that weren’t working any more, including the 30 tablets of Potassium, and also his cardiac medications as he was finding it difficult to swallow, spending more and more time asleep.
This was done and he actually improved for a short while, and he was able to go home for a few weeks. We were sure that we would see him again in the next months.