Over the last 31 years (yup I said 31), one of our biggest fears as a lesbian couple has been what if one of us gets sick and has to go into the hospital. We were afraid either the hospital or our families would block us from seeing one another or worse health care decisions would be taken away from us as a couple. In the early aughts we spent some bucks on designating each other with durable power of attorney. Our lawyer did not want us to give each other those legal rights, but realistically it was the only way we knew to protect the other. Over the years we have given copies of those legal documents to our doctors and have a file at home to grab in case of a medical emergency. The things we did to protect our rights as unrecognized spouses.
Fast Forward to November 2015. For Natalie's birthday we flew to Florida to meet our new niece. The first night Natalie suffered a gall bladder attack so severe we ended up at the emergency room followed by admittance and removal of the offending organ. It was a tough couple of days which ended with a flight home taking care of an uncomfortable and drugged wife. What didn't happened was anyone questioning my right to be there for my wife. I was treated with respect and dignity by all of the hospital staff. Natalie has recovered and our new niece is indeed adorable.
I wish Natalie had not gotten sick and our trip had not been so stressful, but that said it was good to be treated like every other spouse. I thanked the Supreme Court and Edie Windsor over and over again during those days in Florida. This is what we fought for the right to be recognized as the caretakers for one another. Thanking the staff at North Florida Regional Hospital for taking such good care of my wife and threating us any other married couple.