Thanks to the Hip and Knee doctor for editing assistance.
Magnolia Retreat was a beautiful place, but I still didn't understand why my mother insisted on going there rather than stay with us. I was the eldest daughter and felt responsible for her since Dad died three years ago. She was only sixty-three years old and in pretty good shape for an old lady. I shouldn't say things like that about my mother. She was in good health but needed a few things to help her stay that way. One pill kept her blood pressure under control, although it was only mildly elevated. Another pill was helpful in keeping her cholesterol down. She also insisted on maintaining her daily regiment of supplements such as vitamins, calcium, and fish oil. The reason I was there today, was to find out why her prescription expenses jumped by over a hundred dollars the past month.
"Mrs. Carmichael, how nice to see you." Tom Jordan stated as he got comfortable in the leather chair behind his desk.
"It's always a pleasure to come here. It is a very nice facility."
"You said you wanted to discuss your mother's medications. Your mother is on Independent Living, so we don't monitor her medications as close as we do with some of our other patients, but I should be able to help you to a certain extent."
Tom pulled a manila folder from his desk drawer and started reading the contents. "From what I gather, her health is still excellent. By that, I mean that I don't see any significant changes. She did, however, order a new prescription last month. It is not from her regular doctor. To be honest with you, I don't recognize the doctors name at all."
"What was the prescription for?"
"Let's see now. It was a ninety-day supply of sildenafil citrate. The prescription also allows for three ninety day refills."
"What the hell is sildenafil citrate and why is she taking it?"
"I know this will be difficult to understand Mrs. Carmichael, but I don't believe your mother is taking this medication."
"Why would she get a prescription that she was not getting any benefit from?"
"I didn't say that, Mrs. Carmichael. You have to consider the circumstances here to understand why she had this prescription filled."
"Mister Jordan, what the hell is sildenafil citrate and why did my mother order it?"
Tom Jordan put the folder back in the drawer and leaned forward on his desk. It wasn't an aggressive posture, but more like one a confident would take.
"Mrs. Carmichael, sildenafil citrate is commonly known as Viagra."
I did not have a quick reply for him. I realized that I was squirming around in my chair, trying to get comfortable with what he just told me.
"There must be some sort of explanation. Do you have any ideas why she would do this?"
"Oh yes, absolutely. There are several other women doing the same thing. I am pretty sure there was a little conspiracy going on here."
"Conspiracy! What do you mean by conspiracy?"
"Well, several of the other women had been doing this for a while and I assume that they convinced your mother to join the club."
"It's not really a club. It's just something that the ladies do to break up the monotony of having to live here. We try and provide activities for them, but can't meet all of their needs."
"You are kidding? You can't mean what I think you mean?"
"It is an awkward thing for me and for the home. We can't really support it or even condone it, but trying to stop it would be a disaster."
"So has my mother established some sort of relationship with one of the men here at the retreat?"
"No. It's nothing like that at all."
"Can you be a little more specific?"
"The women here hate to eat alone. The biggest thrill of the day is to have a pleasant supper with one of the gentlemen. The meal usually finishes back at the lady's room. Unfortunately, because of the average age of our male residents, the Viagra is necessary to consummate the evening."
"Consummate the evening! You make it sound like a honeymoon experience."
"In many ways, it is."
I sat quietly, trying to figure out what to do, if anything. Finally I just stood up.
"What are you going to do, Mrs. Carmichael?"
"I think it is better, if I just do nothing. If I let my mother know that I know what is going on, it will just embarrass her and possibly alienate us. If she wants to get together with a gentleman friend once or twice a week, I think I should just ignore it."
"That an admirable attitude, Mrs. Carmichael, but before you go there is one thing you should know."
"What is that Mister Jordan?"
"Your mother has supper with a different man every evening."