It is with interest that I have been reading and listening to stories about mixed gender stays at Eastern Health facilities.
In the June 8 edition of The Weekend Telegram there was a story by Garrett Barry about Tom Stamp, a 70-year-old C.B.S. man who had his hip replaced and stayed in a mixed-gender room. The patient didn’t like it.
I’m not 70, but when I was 62 I broke my hip in a silly accident on a Sunday.
The surgery was done on Monday and I was released on Tuesday.
The next day, I gave a golf lesson while standing on my crutches.
Before I left hospital the nurses asked me to speak to a man my age who had been there for months and who had had the same surgery as mine.
When I asked him why he was there so long, his answer was, “it hurts.”
That’s what this story does to me, it hurts.
What’s the issue?
I was not placed in a mixed gender room.
My insurance provided me with a private room but there were none available so I shared it with three other men.
For the life of me, I can’t understand why a man would object to sharing a room with a woman.
What is that we have that we are afraid some woman might see?
Quite frankly, I would be more embarrassed by a young man seeing what his body is eventually going to look like.
I lived in Europe for six years and was the victim of a suicide attack while there.
That was 20 years ago and I shared a hospital room with a woman.
Female nurses bathed me and changed me behind my privacy curtain and, other than my helplessness, I was not embarrassed.
Similarly, the woman who shared the room with me also had her dressings changed behind her privacy curtain.
We talked for hours and embarrassment and discomfort because of our different sexes was never an issue. We used the same bathroom to relieve ourselves and at my office, both sexes used the same bathrooms.
What’s the message?
I don’t understand this hangup over staying in the same room as a woman that is not your spouse.
Is it because we men feel that we can’t trust ourselves?
One of my best friends is a woman. She was my best man at my wedding. We will never have a sexual relationship and I would be as comfortable around her naked as I’m sure she would be around me.
Is this what this issue is all about? Nudity?
And if it’s not nudity then what is it?
Did this patient fear that the woman who shared the room with him was going to try and peep through the curtain to see him?
My God, we are old men! Don’t we wish someone would peep at us!
Tom Stamp and I share the same first name but that’s about all we have in common.
Patients, not genders
I applaud Eastern Health for seeing the person as a patient first.
Remember when people with disabilities were referred to as disabled people?
Let’s hope we get to the point where we forget about gender and just refer to people as patients.
I am reminded of a quote by George Eliot: “I’m not denying women are foolish: God Almighty made them to match the men.”
This is foolishness of the worse kind.
Tom Badcock writes from St. John’s.