Tuesday, September 05, 2006
That’s me, there. I simply had to copy my CT scans before I dropped them off at my Internist’s. I hope no one is offended by such a revealing photo. How about that kidney, huh? Yeah, I’m quite attractive.
Now, nothing has been found wrong with me, I just have an odd new pain in my torso that’s likely nothing. Still, I can’t take a chance with our children.
So, I enter the hospital and am given the typical set of forms. The front page has the familiar options of “Married”, or “Single”. It kills me to check “Single”; I will not. Then again, I’m not legally married in the state of Utah. How important is it to gleam what exactly the hospital means and answer honestly, here? I leave it blank.
I’m called in and the doctor begins his examination. He notices the omission and asks about it. I tell him I am married, not legally here, but have been for over a decade.
“You are gay?”
I answer yes.
Then it starts, as it always does.
“When was the last time you were tested for HIV?” “Your symptoms could be caused by Hepatitis.” And something like “How many people have you had sex with in the past year?”
I immediately regret “coming out”. If I didn’t feel so much like I was betraying my home, I’d have lied. I used to do just that, but, once our boys were born, never again.
I explain that we’ve been together 14 years, neither of us have been with anyone else, ever, and we’ve never had the sort of sex people typically assume into the lives of homosexual men. But it doesn’t end.
“How do you know your lover is being faithful? You really can’t know where he is all the time.” he quickly counters.
Lover?! I wanted to get dressed and leave--in any other circumstance them’s fight’n words--but I calm down. “He’s just trying to do what’s best for me, to get to the bottom of this. It took me weeks to get this appointment” I think.
Just as I’m explaining how I know my husband isn’t sleeping around, he senses my aggravation. “I don’t mean to offend you, but I have to ask”, he says. No, I know he doesn’t mean to offend, and I tell him as much, and assure him it’s okay, but does he “have to ask” this of everyone?
Finally, he backs off all the STD tests, resolving to only look for Hepatitis. Could get that anywhere after all, right? Fine, but, nothing, of course, was found. He finally ended this bedside manner with a “Where did you get your children?”
I was glad to get back to work.
I don’t mind the needles, the scans, the waiting rooms (when else is there time for Sudoku?), but I rarely feel more treated “gay”, in the pejorative sense, than when I visit a doctor. Still, in the end, I don’t really feel any hard feeling towards the guy for his assumptions; he was in the wrong but it seems too understandable.
I have to worry, though, if that doesn’t say something about me, about my remaining biases against gays. I know I, at the very least, caved under the weight of authority, wanting to avoid criticizing his manner in favor of him finding out what was wrong with me.