Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Surgery Went Well... and a Note About Gay Marriage

Greetings Everyone,

I just wanted to update everyone on Sean's condition. The hospital was able to perform the surgery to repair his broken jaw this afternoon. At this point, it looks as though everything went very well and Sean is feeling fine. He came out of recovery around 4:30 p.m. and was actually able to eat most of his dinner tonight just a couple hours later. Of course dinner consisted of yogurt, a milk protein shake, juice, etc. but at least he didn't have to suck it through a straw. He's still taking regular doses of pain medication so he's not feeling much discomfort at all right now. He can also talk just fine now versus the difficulty and discomfort he had prior to surgery.

As far as the surgery itself, they were able to reset his jaw bone by screwing a metal plate onto one side to hold the two pieces together. The bone will grow and eventually fuse together over time and he should have no long term problems. They were also able to save the tooth that had popped up; seems the roots were still firmly inbedded enough even though the bone split right beneath it.

They plan to keep him overnight to monitor him, but his vital signs remained stable so they weren't anticipating any problems. They will do another x-ray in the morning, but otherwise, he should be released by early afternoon. I was also able to talk to our travel insurance carrier this morning and it seems everything will be taken care of without us having to pay anything out of pocket. I'm sure Sean will post a message to everyone once he gets home and has access to the computer. Until then, thanks to all of you for your words of support, your thoughts, and even your prayers. It really means a lot to know we have such a strong support network back home.

ON A SIDE NOTE: I must add, when I called the insurance company, the representative was even more helpful and respectful than some of the nurses at the hospital when I explained that I was Sean's partner and allowing me to take care of things on his behalf; whereas, I had some difficultly today with some of the hospital staff in getting information and updates about Sean while he was in surgery and recovery. This has always been an issue and fear of mine and I'm not even a big fan of marriage, personally. But incidents like this are why gay marriage matters.

Most people never even think about such things, but since Sean and I are not married, I am not his next of kin. In the hospital setting, I am just a friend and friends are not entitled to the same information as family, let alone the ability to make medical decisions, even in an emergency situation. It doesn't matter that his family is thousands of miles away, that I'm the only person in this country he knows, or that I'm the one responsible for him (and vice versa) if and when he's incapacitated, especially while we're traveling together. I am at the mercy of whatever individual is in charge at any particular moment... and hospital staff changes three times a day. Thus, I have to hope each individual is accepting of the fact that I am Sean's partner because legally, they don't have to tell me anything. I have to hope each individual will respect our relationship and treat me the way they would if I were his wife, rather than questioning me and my relationship to the patient every time I ask for information, and still hesitating to answer even then. While everything worked out fine for us today, similar situations occur all the time where gay couples are not so lucky.

This is an important issue to consider the next time gay marriage is up for debate or vote. Whether you agree with it or not, who would you rather have making decisions for your loved one if his or her chosen partner is there and you are not? So many gay people are estranged from their families yet those family members are the only ones hosptials are required to deal with or provide with information. In extreme or serious cases, only family is allowed to even see the patient.

This is in no way directed towards Sean's family who have been nothing but supportive of our relationship and thankful that we are here together. The frustration I experienced today just reminded me that we as gay individuals need to work harder to highlight these issues and broaden the conversation in the gay marriage debate. It's not just about equality; it's about life and death.

Fiat Lux!


At July 17, 2009 6:07 PM , Anonymous Evan R. (DarkWolfe) said...

Glad to hear everything's ok w/ you have had quite a few events havent ya?

On a note about gay marriage, there is quite an uprising about all of the recent events that have been happening for the Marriage Equality movement...and they're gaining support everywhere...I know a few people that are DEEPLY involved in it and from what I hear, it's only a matter of time...hopefully it will be up for another vote in CA in 2010. If you'd like to get involved when you guys get back, let me know and I'll put you in contact w/ my friends who can direct you better :-) But till we get marriage, you guys might think about getting something along the lines of a "Living Will" or other sort of written statement that tells hospital staff and the like to treat you as a family member...I'm sure someone can cook up something that'd work for those situations.


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