Case II Chapter 6: Millicent Branch Helps Out
On Thursday, Dudley was sitting in the dining room enjoying a cup of coffee and looking over his list of repair projects for the complex. He didn’t notice that Millicent Branch had sat down across from him.
“Well, I see you solved the Maintenance Man’s murder quite nicely. I told you that that Mexican girl was involved.”
“Well, good day to you, too, Mrs. Branch. I appreciate your complement, but it was not a murder. It was a foolish accident caused by the Maintenance Man’s own carelessness. And, for your information, Maria is from Guatemala; she is not from Mexico.”
“Nevertheless, I told you that she was involved and that the Maintenance Man was up to no good. I’m sure I put you on the right path so you were able to get to the bottom of that mess so quickly. I understand that you are going to take the Maintenance Man’s place and become the Handyman for the entire facility.”
“That is correct. Ms. Duncan has asked me to help out, at least on a temporary basis.”
While Dudley was fairly certain that Mrs. Branch did not use the Internet and certainly not Facebook, he continued to be amazed at how she seemed to know everything that was going on and a little bit about everybody’s business. He also assumed that whatever information she did not have, she made up. “Thanks again, Mrs. Branch. I really must be going now and get on with my responsibilities for the day”, he said as he got up to leave. Despite how much she annoyed him, Dudley tried to remain pleasant rather than aggravate her. He knew that she would only cause to more trouble for him if he got on her “bad side”.
Later that week, Dudley went back to physical therapy where he was greeted by Hans. “Well, I hope you are up for a little more strenuous exercise today, Mr. Dudley. I’ve been looking over your charts and I think we can increase both the length and the intensity of your cardio workout today. Make sure you let me know if at any time you’re feeling tired or lightheaded and we can cut back. Okay with you?”
“I’m feeling much stronger and ready to put up with your abuse for today, Hans.”
Over the next 20 minutes, he was able to keep up with the pace and the intensity of his cardio exercise on the recumbent bicycle. As always, it was difficult to get started, but the longer he went, the better he felt. He was convinced that he was nearing full recovery and would soon be released by his doctor. He had not had the opportunity to communicate with his doctor and tell him about accepting Isabella’s offer to stay on at La Vida Aureo as Handyman. But given the positive response from this workout, he would initiate a conversation. It would also give him an opportunity to challenge the doctor to see if he really had had a mild heart attack or whether the doctor had conspired with his children after all just to get him into a different environment.
While he was resting after the exercise, he noticed the young woman referred to as Betty Boop (Ekaterina Bubolsky) talking to an older woman. He recognized her as Mrs. Martha Arthur, a resident at La Vida Aureo. He assumed that she had not had joint replacement surgery but could be suffering from chronic back pain or something similar. He made a point of trying to walk closer without appearing obvious so that he could listen in on the conversation. Mrs. Arthur was telling Ekaterina about her medications. “My doctor prescribed two different prescriptions for my back pain. One is a muscle relaxant and the other is some sort of pain pill. I’m not really sure how to get the doses right to achieve any benefit. And, I don’t want to take too much medicine.”
Ekaterina reassured her. “I understand how you feel. Some of these prescriptions are pretty strong and can have undesirable side effects. If you’ll let me look at the bottles, I believe I can help you to achieve their relief you desire.”
“That would be a great deal of help to be. I would rather not be taking any medicines at all, but without them, I am unable to get around. I do not want to be cooped up in my room.”
She handed the prescription bottles to Ekaterina who studied them carefully. Ekaterina looked at Mrs. Arthur and said, “If I could make a suggestion, I think the proper combination of these two medications would do the trick. I would recommend that you only use half of each pill and use them more frequently. I’ve worked with other women about your age with similar pain and I think there might be an easier way to go about this. I would also like to change some of your exercises that would build up your strength in addition to the way you are taking your medications.”
“That would be wonderful.”
“You just sit here and make yourself comfortable for a few minutes. I’m going to take these medicines and make them up into the smoothie for you to drink.”
Dudley felt somewhat embarrassed after hearing this conversation. It sounded like Ekaterina was really trying to help Mrs. Arthur. Maybe he had been reading too much into the previous situation and not giving her credit for her expertise as a competent physical therapist. He thanked Hans for pushing him a little harder with his exercises today and decided to go back his room and get a shower and think about some of the repair jobs on his ToDo list.
Ekaterina returned with a thick smoothie and handed it to Mrs. Arthur. “I hope you like strawberry, she said.
“That would be wonderful. I do like strawberry and it would be so much more refreshing than simply trying to take these pills with a glass of water.”
“Just sit here and drink it slowly and I’ll check back with you in a few minutes. By the way, I noticed that there were only one or two pills left in each of your prescriptions. Would you like for me to have them refilled at the pharmacy for you? Your pharmacy is on my way to work and I would be happy to do that.”
“Thank you, Ekaterina. I would appreciate it if you could pick up my prescriptions for me. This sounds like a big improvement in my program and I’m looking forward to getting much better soon.” Mrs. Arthur finished her strawberry shake and left the physical therapy room with a large smile on her face. She couldn’t wait to tell some of her other friends about this wonderful experience.