After what was a successful afternoon, last nite didn’t go as smoothly. Sammie came home from the hospital on Tuesday evening and went back yesterday morning after only 36 hours. After I had a light supper, I headed up to the hospital to see her for a little bit. Several nurses were polite and helped direct me to where I needed to go without gendering me.
Then, when I got to her room, she was in isolation. I walked in behind a nurse who just kinda looked at me funny. Then another nurse came running up. “Sir!” I was wearing women’s jeans, women’s running shoes and a women’s t-shirt under a baggy army jacket. Not to mention my ponytail is longer than most women’s. So, I don’t know what made her think I was a guy.
The word grated on my skin. She was right behind me and I turned to look at her. “You have to gown up!” she said. “I’m not going to touch her,” I argued. “We just need you to wear the gown and gloves when you’re in the room.” I let out a loud sigh and turned to look at Sammie. The nurse turned and quickly walked away, heading into the adjoining room. As she did, I called after her, “It’s ma’am!” But it didn’t appear that she heard me.
I stepped out of the room to put on the ridiculous yellow paper gown and gloves, setting my things on the floor next to the wall and taking my time in hopes that the nurse would come out of the other patient’s room. By the time she did, however, I had the stupid gown on and what curves I had were no longer visible.
That finished, I went back into the room and Sammie and I talked for a while about the weather and the crazy day back at the house. About forty-five minutes later, the nurse who had called me “sir” came in to check on her. The nurse apologized for making me put on the protective gown. Then Sammie said, “This is my husband!”
I looked at Samantha and wanted to scream. Several weeks earlier I had politely asked her to use “spouse” or “partner” instead of that word. Then without missing a beat, I turned to the nurse and said, “Hi, my name’s Rita!” The nurse looked a little confused and repeated, “R-i-t-a…” I smiled and nodded. Then I looked back at Sammie to see if she would protest, but she didn’t seem to react in any way.
The nurse returned to tending to Samantha and eventually left. Sammie didn’t mention what had just happened and I let the events speak for themselves.
Sammie was tired and I only stayed another fifteen or twenty minutes before I headed home. On my way out I stopped at the ladies room and then walked the half-mile to the bus stop.