Fear and loathing in the ER

Update: It seems this post needs a decoder ring :)

Part of living in layers of protective fear sometimes requires shielding the identity of our children to a wider world where hate mail is part of my daily routine, especially when I use a story to call out so called Christians for their very unChrist-like behavior.

Thing 1 = my biological daughter
Thing 2 = my step daughter with my former partner
BF = Thing 1′s best friend.
Thing 1 and 2  is language co-opted from Dr. Seuss that I’ve been using online for a long time for their protection.


We were packing up to leave the community pool, all sunburned and water logged when I ran into a couple of other neighborhood moms I hadn’t seen in a while.  Thing 1, her best friend and Thing 2 were headed to the bathrooms to change and as I stopped to chat I told them to change quickly but NOT go out to the playground.  “Y’all either come back here or wait just a minute in there.”

About 1.45 minutes later Thing 1 ran back to the pool deck, frantic “Thing 2 has broken her arm!” At first I was not alarmed as my oldest has her mamma’s flare for drama so I imagined Thing 2 had slipped in the bathroom and had a nasty boo boo and not much more.  “No mom, she fell off the monkey bars!!”

The playground damnit.

So the other moms and I rushed out to see Thing 2 on the ground under the impossibly high (death trap) equipment and another mom flapping around like a goober squealing “she’s broken her arm, she’s broken her arm!!”

As I drew closer I could see her little arm jutting at an unnatural angle just above the elbow.  My heart sank and I went into full-scale mamma mode.  Thing 1 was now in panic mode and her BF worked to console her while I gingerly (as possible) scooped up Thing 2, three bags of towels and what felt like 147 pool noodles (ok, 2). Trying to not squeeze little Thing 2, we walked to the car parked a block and a half away. Thing 1 and BF loaded our burden of cheap and soggy capitalism in the trunk while I delicately buckled Thing 2 into her car seat.

I called my wife at work “Can I call you right back?”  - “No, Thing 2 has broken her arm and we are on the way to the ER”. I’m pretty sure I heard sirens just before the phone clicked silent.

Now as you may or may not know, Thing 2 is not my biological daughter and I have not been able to legally adopt her for a myriad of personal and political reasons (it is the south and there are all sorts of “Christ haunted” layers). But I have been one of her parents since she was two or so, her other mom, her Ayudante. So I zoomed to the ER just 2 miles away quickly formulating how to manage the approaching scene.

As we rushed up to the ER desk I made a quick and protective decision “my friend’s daughter has broken her arm”. All haste was made to give her amazing care until we could get her moved to the local children’s hospital.  When my wife arrived (I think it took 6 minutes from across town) I was relieved to have someone there who could legally make decisions, sign appropriate orders and, well – be mom. When they piled into the ambulance to go to Children’s Healthcare I stood in the ER bay and finally cried. Sobbed.  The poor valets didn’t know what to do.

Fast forward to 2014 where little arms are whole (thanks to amazing care at a Children’s hospital and a few well placed pins) and I see in my FB feed news of a bill in Idaho to legalize one of my greatest fears:

A Republican in Idaho, has launched another battle in the war of Religion vs. Sanity.

Representative Lynn Luker has proposed a bill which would protect professionals from being forced to render aid to a gay or lesbian person. Luker has admitted that he did not know a doctor or police officer who had been forced to do so.

“The issue is coming, whether it’s 10 years, or 15, or two years,” said Luker, explaining that the proposal is a “pre-emptive” move.

The measure is backed by conservatives and Christian allies, who say the measure is necessary to protect religious people from losing their professional licenses for refusing service or employment to those deemed in violation of their religious beliefs.

The Cornerstone Family Council has backed Luker’s proposal now awaiting a full hearing, to prevent the state from passing laws to block people from “living out their faith.”

 

This is slithering and terrifying attempt to legalize bigotry, potentially mortal bigotry – something that I worry about every time I or my children need unplanned medical attention. I have been in circumstances where I was uncomfortable or even scared of the quality (or lack there of) of care I or my children would receive if the provider figured out I am gay. I am fortunate that all of my primary care givers are loving, compassionate professionals, some of them even “family” (queer too) but there are times, especially when a child’s care is at stake with an unknown provider such as ER or minute clinic, the closet if the safest damn choice living in the Bible Belt, hell living anywhere these days.

Now I genuinely appreciate all of the comments that I’ve seen holding doctors in such high esteem that they would be above such political shenanigans. And yes, I do hold the hope that most if not all doctors enter the profession out of an urge to help and heal – but alas there are as many humans in that profession as there are in others such as law enforcement, politics, education and yes, even (maybe especially) the ministry.  Every profession is riddled with people who enter with motivations other than the common good – especially  medicine where so much money is to be and religion where the power over  hearts and minds is so great.  If we believe that a person checks their brokenness and beauty at the door of their office we will always be sorely disappointed. I know I have been.

And know this please, even our dear Good Book by which so many want to legislate our hearts, minds and bodies, was written, assembled, canonized and used in ways more consistent with human desire than heavenly.

Moral or not, Hippocratic or not, legal or not, the very real risk is that one day I will put myself or my child in the hands of a nurse, doctor or pharmacist (with a sick knot in their heart) permits them to… “just can’t seem to find a vein” or “the x-ray is inconclusive, maybe you need to go to another provider” or “oops, seems we made a mistake filling your prescription” are experiences I can imagine.

Hear me now Lynn Luker et al – there is nothing Christian about denying anyone healthcare – for any reason.  Christians are not being oppressed by being asked to treat everyone with kindness and compassion.  Christians are NOT celebrating “choices” by fulfilling their professional and moral responsibilities.  Refusing to provide healthcare for me, my daughter or any of my sisters and brothers is nothing more than hatred wrapped in the warped pages of a false theology.  God have mercy.

Oh and Lynn, from one Christian parent to another, fuck you and the apocalyptic horse you rode in on.

We are moving forward friends but we have a long way to go.  A long way indeed.

Stay awake, keep working and pray.

 

About Kimberly Knight

Kimberly has a long history of back-pew sitting, Wednesday night supper eatin' and generally trying God’s patience since 1969. She's lucky enough to have made her technology addiction a career and serves as both the Director of Digital Strategy as a southern liberal arts college and Minister of Digital community with Extravagance UCC.


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