Her husband died 2 years ago. They had a few old boxes in a closet that no one ever got around to unpacking. The family figured they were clothes, or pictures, or whatever. They were buried under blankets and photo albums and other stuff.
So a few days ago I got a call from the patient's son. He urgently needed to talk to me, and Annie told me that I needed to deal with this one personally. I trust her judgment when she says that. So I took the phone. At about the same time I picked him up, Mary said the police had just called wanting to talk to me about Mrs. Tangle, and were on another line.
Dr. Grumpy: "This is Dr. Grumpy."
Mr. Son: "I need to talk to you about Mom! She unpacked some old boxes in her closet!"
Dr. Grumpy: "Okay. What's the problem?"
Mr. Son: "We didn't know what was in them! We thought it was clothes or something!"
Dr. Grumpy: "And..?"
Mr. Son: "One had Dad's old gun, from when he was a policeman!"
Dr. Grumpy: "What! Is it loaded?"
Mr. Son: "I have no idea. The nursing home just called me! She's wandering around with it. She's not threatening anyone, but she's walking all over there waving a gun!"
Dr. Grumpy: "Has anyone tried to get it away from her?"
Mr. Son: "Um, I was hoping you would go over and do it."
I told him no, and grabbed the other line. It was the Grumpyville police, wanting to know just how mentally intact she was before they tried to reason with her.
Fortunately, the situation ended without incident. But when dealing with the aged, don't just assume that old box has harmless stuff in it. This isn't the first time I've had families tell me they've found previously unknown firearms hidden in a demented person's place. This was just the most potentially dangerous the situation got. I can only imagine what could have happened if instead of being pleasantly demented, Mrs. Tangle was paranoid/angry demented.
And yes, it was loaded.