It Happened to Me: A Recent Trip to the ER Became a Humiliating Lesson in Female Disempowerment
IT HAPPENED TO ME: A RECENT TRIP TO THE ER BECAME A HUMILIATING LESSON IN FEMALE DISEMPOWERMENT
Though the negative aspects of this experience may be attributed to unprofessional medical staff or restrictive procedures, one fact stands out: Simply by being a woman within this situation, my well-being was put at risks in ways that my male counterparts will never know.
“Look”, he says. “I don’t think you have appendicitis, but I’ll order a CT scan just so you feel safe. I think you are having “lady problems” (he actually refers to them as such) although we didn’t see anything. I would recommend that you schedule a checkup with your OBGYN.”
I go home, confused, still sore, and feeling like my personal agency has no weight at all. I can’t sleep because I’m in so much pain and toss and turn all night. The next day, the CT scan comes back and I’m rushed into surgery when the gray-haired doctor sees that my appendix is, indeed, inflamed.
Upon entering the surgery prep room, I see that my nurse is a man I worked with in my early twenties. He asked me out repeatedly at the time, but I had no romantic interest and turned him down.
When he sees me now he ignores me, then begins smiling at me discreetly. I think about how awkward the situation is; after all, I’m scared, sweaty, and shaky and clothed in only a thin, open backed hospital gown. Though I am uncomfortable given my history with this person, I decide to trust in his professionalism — after all, he certainly attended nursing school for this. There’s a code of ethics, right?
I come to in the recovery room fairly quickly. I am highly lucid and soon notice that it is just me and the male nurse in the room. I don’t want to be forced into awkward conversation and so pretend to be asleep but open my eyes slightly a few times and catch him looking at me.