In Sickness and In Health

10710707_10204255076353631_7973461933437247856_nI had such a gay marriage advocacy moment last night. While others were celebrating Pride in nearby Northampton, Mani and I were in the ER. Her ongoing, intense pain landed us there, not in any kind of life-threatening way but more as a preventative and ultimately reassuring call, to have her get more labs and do what we could to rule out causes other than mast cell issues.

As she got changed into a Johnny, I was offered paperwork to verify and complete. My relationship to the patient? Her wife. The one who could sign on her behalf. The one who carries our family’s health insurance.

As we sat for hours and hours, watching a parade of people leaving in tears from a nearby room where it was clear someone had passed away, listening to the young woman just down the hall moaning on a stretcher, her fever close to 104 while they tested her for sepsis, no one there at her side, holding her hand, which instead gripped the cold metal (I was relieved when her boyfriend showed up), as we read, cracked each other up, sat in silence, played Candy Soda Crush, and intermittently answered doctors’ questions–through all of this, I imagined living in a state or country where she’d have been there alone, perhaps uninsured, with me in the waiting room wondering what was happening.

Gay marriage is a lot like the gay agenda, in that it’s a construct designed by and dependent on biases and fear. And I don’t spend a whole lot of waking hours feeling like my life is a political act or statement of any special importance beyond what makes all of our lives special and important.

But last night, not leaving her side as the pain ebbed and then came on strong again, I cringed thinking of all the couples who don’t have the legal right to rise to those vows, to stay, on hard nights, to throw overnight things in a bag just in case. Just to sit there, next to their beloved, through the not knowing.

I don’t assume that because you are my friend of Facebook or read my blog, you support marriage equality. And if posting this changes or opens one mind, one heart, it will be worth it to me.

10 thoughts on “In Sickness and In Health

  1. writer553 says:

    Dear Jena:
    Marriage equality, ultimately, when stripped down, is about fairness. Nothing more. Forget politics, religion, eyebrow hair. (OK maybe not the last one,)Let’s just be fair.

    Dear Jena’s readers: Share everywhere as I did. We can, we will, make this happen.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Cheri says:

    These are definitely thoughts for a Sunday night, when I usually gather myself for the start of a new week. Instead of what will I wear, who am I meeting, when will I get to the bank…I’m now going to think about love and vows, promises, permission, and you and your Mani.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dawn says:

    Sending Love and healing vibes! You are both an inspiration to what ANY loving, committed relationship and what that can be. I pray Mani’s health is restored 110% and that you both find strength and nurturing through this process.
    P.S. (Jena – Mani and I first connected via FB through McCabe… and our daughters shared a common illness – so that is the initial connections. I love your posts – thanks you for sharing so openly so others can do the same. )
    Big hugs

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dakota says:

    Sending healing vibes to Mani and I really hope you two find some answers soon.

    I do support marriage equality – you have every right in the world to be married to the one(s) you love and enjoy the same rights that the hetero-marriages enjoy. Why people think it’s such a threat… I don’t know. I can’t fathom it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. kellylmckenzie says:

    Oh, Jena. Thank you for the wake up call. I’ve spent many an hour filling out the forms and doing the bedside vigil with both friends and family. I can’t remember ever having to fill out “relationship to patient” on those forms. Ever. And I’m free to wander in and out of Emerge as I please. No one questions me being there. They welcome me zipping off to get water, warm blankets, etc. I am a welcome assistant in a beyond busy environment. Therefore the concept of not being welcome and having to pass the time in the waiting room because of my relationship to the patient is one I’ve never had to consider. I can’t imagine it. I am beyond sorry for those who do.
    Here’s hoping you and Mani have some answers by now.
    Sending you both jumbo hugs and healing thoughts.
    And yes, am sharing.



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