Don’t Apologize — Meditations for Queer Femmes

Right in the middle of a Valentine’s Day date with friends and spouse comes the call from the assisted living facility: Dad fell and hit his head. You need to get him to the ER. We middle-aged queer femmes always have some part of our hearts open to our responsibilities, even when socializing and relaxing. In this case, the femme doesn’t panic. She knows that the assisted living place has their protocols and those protocols don’t always fit what has actually happened. She also knows that if she’s going to be in the ER, she needs to finish her meal, go home and change and get a few provisions, and – perhaps most importantly – laugh and chat just a wee bit longer, savoring the good, queer company.

“This is queer self care!” said her friend recently, after they’ve enjoyed a lunch together, catching up on each other’s lives. It’s been much too long since they’ve made that time, just to sit and have a good, juicy, femme natter.

Dad has indeed bumped his head and the middle aged queer femme decides she’d better head over to the ER with him. He’s shaky and his color isn’t so good. Once there, she tries to settle in. A little girl is singing, making everyone in the waiting room smile. An old man gazes sympathetically at Dad, who has nodded off. The femme notices the other man is wearing thick, hand-knit shin warmers under his trousers.

Finally in a room – nice, since last time they had to hang out in the hallway – she sits, texting her spouse, reading her book, making sure to stay hydrated. She explains the situation to nurses and doctors as they pop in and out. Tests, speculation. In the next room, a woman’s nose won’t stop bleeding. In the hallway, college students keep their friend company as she weeps, cross-legged and miserable on the stretcher.

Dad dozes, the femme dozes. She can’t help overhearing the woman next door, who is hurting and miserable, and the woman’s daughter. “I’m sorry,” says the woman, “we need some more gauze.”

“Of course!” This from one of the nurses, the one wearing cute red scrubs, his head shaved, a nice heavy silver ring in his left earlobe, a slight accent, a slight swish. “Honey, don’t apologize. You sure don’t have to apologize to us.”

The femme has been thinking how much saner it would be if all this hospital resource, time, materials, labor, was directed towards taking care of the elderly in their own homes. Dad would fall. The nurse would come and evaluate – all that portable equipment on rollers, why couldn’t it travel? And if it really was an emergency, then fine, get on in to the hospital. Or what if you came in, they checked you out and sent you home with follow-up care? No way, in the current system. But at least there is family. At least there is that life lesson: don’t apologize.

And even with all the mishigas, even though, in the best of all possible worlds, you would  be home in bed, even with all the noise: You are beautiful. You are perfect. You are who and where you are meant to be.

Every Monday (or Tuesday), I offer a Meditation for Queer Femmes, in the spirit of my maternal grandmother, Mimi, who was a fabulous straight femme, and from whom I inherited her Meditations for Women.

Published in: on February 21, 2017 at 12:55 PM  Comments (2)  
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