Last month I was in the hospital, twice within a 10 day period. No fun to say the least.
While one could be considered life-threatening the cumulative effect was to feel completely helpless. I don't believe that is over yet. Today I go back in for surgery as the last chapter of this run of physical bad luck. Hopefully I will be out by tomorrow.
During all this drama, I came to realize how profoundly important my marriage was to me as a person and in these settings.
When the doctors came in to talk to me, my spouse, Jo was there. When I was dealing with a lot of pain and pain medicine, she was there to ask questions, write down the answers and listen to the options for care. Every time the doctor asked who she was, the answer was simple - my spouse.
I did not have to explain my relationship. We are recognized by the state of California, period. None of the domestic partner explanations were necessary.
The doctors did not question us, did not ask for an explanation of what it meant. And because of this recognition there was not any problem with medical privacy issues. None. Period. End of story.
The good news is that the doctors did not push back. There was just an acceptance of our relationship.
The nurses were, as always, fabulous. When Jo went to ask questions or push about when something was going to happen, they were totally helpful and accommodating. Again, there was no question about the relationship.
This wasn't an issue of fairness or political voting. It was two people committed to each other, taking care of each other in sickness and in health. And in my case, long term unemployment.
I don't believe anyone's marriage was damaged in this crisis. When we go back we are not jeopardizing the institution of marriage. We are simply keeping our vows.
In sickness and in health.