I’ve been AWOL from writing any articles for a while now, life certainly does get in the way sometimes and the last few months have been no exception.
My beautiful wife had a health scare recently which meant we both had no choice than to place our futures into the hands of the NHS.
On that crazy day I experienced firsthand how it feels to be a partner waiting to hear news on their loved ones health and I have been left wondering whether I was treated as well a husband or wife would be as part of a heterosexual couple?
With all the forms that were filled in prior to surgery I was always recorded as the next of kin or listed as the civil partner but I felt throughout the whole experience that I was treated as if I was just a friend.
As my wife was wheeled off to theatre I was left to stand teary eyed in the corridor until I gathered myself leaving without anybody explaining what happened next. I had expected to be sat down and told exactly what was happening, shown to some kind of relative’s room so I could wait to hear she was safely out of surgery or even just to have been given a phone number I could call would have been helpful, maybe I’ve just been watching too much Grey’s Anatomy.
After 3 hours of waiting back at home I phoned the hospital for a progress report where I was told that everything was ok but nobody had thought to phone to tell me she was safely in recovery.
When I arrived on the hospital ward I was breathless at seeing my partner covered in wires and being monitored carefully by a hovering nurse, I was told visiting hours were over after just 30 minutes and was swiftly shepherded off the ward. Thankfully the patient was back at home the next day so I didn’t need to use my plan to evade detection by the nurses to be able to spend more than half an hour with her, it was such a genius plan.
I’m happy to report that after months of healing my wife is back to her usual happy self and I could not be more grateful for the doctors and nurses of our wonderful health system that provided my wife’s care that day. I am however still left wondering whether this is the treatment all partners receive no matter whether it’s a heterosexual or same-sex couple or whether I was treated as less important that day?
Hopefully I’ll never have another event like this that I can compare against, but have you got any stories you can share where you’ve had a great/not so great experience of being the same-sex partner of a patient of the National Health Service?