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Believing Women

November 16, 2017


A woman will lie about anything, just to stay in practice.

Phillip Marlowe

I’m watching all of the sexual harassment news. Each day another wave of shitty male behavior comes crashing down. The pool is so large now that it might be easier to remember who hasn’t been accused than who has.

Meanwhile, my mom is having a medical crisis. In short, she is dying.

These two things intersected for me the other day.

When my mom started feeling very unwell, it was of course at 5:05 pm, after her doctor’s office closed for the day. They advised me to take her to urgent care or the ER. After considering how well she would do sitting in an urgent care waiting room in her wheelchair for 3 hours with children with colds and flu, I chose to have her transported to the ER.

Six hours later, the doctor wanted to release her. I begged him to admit her. I laid out my case and she agreed she would like to be admitted. He ignored our concerns and refused to admit her or to send her home with oxygen.

She didn’t sleep much that night.

The next afternoon, Friday, we saw a doctor in the office – not her regular doctor, but a man she had never seen before. She was hallucinating and feeling terrible, but she perked up and chatted with him. He spent the time peering at his computer and smart phone.

I asked for oxygen. I asked for hospice to be set up. He ignored me and changed her medication and sent us home with instructions to return in a few weeks.

She started crashing that night. She was heavily hallucinating, talking to people who weren’t there, her shoulders heaving, gasping, trying to breathe. Neither of us slept. In the morning, I called the paramedics and they took her to the ER, where she was admitted and finally referred to hospice care.

What does this have to do with sexual harassment? No one listened to us, especially not the men involved. She could have avoided the first ER visit if she had been approved for hospice when we had first requested it, but she didn’t “meet the criteria.” She’s a 91-year-old woman with heart failure, difficulty breathing, memory issues, arthritis, blindness and a wish to avoid going to the hospital so she can die at home, but her wishes and my wishes didn’t matter.

No one believed us. They questioned our version of reality. They ignored the evidence in front of their eyes, preferring X-rays and blood tests, because that information was real and measurable, as opposed to the lived experience of people right in front of them.

The system is set up this way. To not believe people. Especially not to believe women. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?



  1. November 17, 2017 06:37

    I’m sorry, Sue. I hope the next bit of time is easy on your mom and on you.

    I lost my sister a little over a year ago. There were a lot of reasons why, but one major one was a doctor who shrugged off her symptoms when they were still treatable. That’s not a story for today, but I do know what you’re saying is true. I don’t know what the solution is, aside from evolution, which is just too goddamned slow.

    • November 23, 2017 16:55

      Thank you. It stinks all around. I am so sorry about your sis.

  2. November 17, 2017 07:11

    Oh…this sucks. I feel so angry about EVERYTHING these days and now I’m furious at those doctors. But I’m sending thoughts of love and comfort to you and your mom.

    • November 23, 2017 16:55

      Angry about everything sounds familiar.

      • December 7, 2017 07:14

        I’m with both of you. We’re in a spiral of no one believing anyone and everyone getting hurt because of it. I’m furious!

  3. November 18, 2017 17:34

    We’re forgetting how to be compassionate and empathetic… and the more we fall out of practice, the worse it gets. Listening to others is the first step, a fundamental, for each.

    • November 23, 2017 16:56

      I’m trying. Being a good listener is important to me.

  4. La Primera permalink
    November 20, 2017 12:15

    I’m so sorry that in addition to the sorrow of losing your mother, you are both being treated so horribly. It’s heartbreaking.

    • November 23, 2017 16:56

      Thanks, Lex. The sad part is that we are being treated normally in a bad system.

  5. November 22, 2017 20:16

    I loved your blog..Truly great aura❤

    • November 23, 2017 16:57

      Thank you for stopping by and for commenting!

  6. November 22, 2017 20:17

    You are inspiring and a true pious soul❤May God bless you with all the happiness in life

  7. November 22, 2017 22:59

    It is sad but true

    • November 23, 2017 16:58

      I fear so. Thank you for commenting! How did you get to my blog!

  8. Nova permalink
    November 23, 2017 06:15

    I think I found my next favorite blog to read at leisure !!
    Just gotta say… keep writing. 🙂

    • November 23, 2017 16:58

      Thank you for your kind words. I will keep writing, as I don’t seem to be able to stop.

      • Nova permalink
        November 23, 2017 20:06


  9. November 23, 2017 11:54

    Being ignored is the worst feeling, it’s so distressing! I can feel you my dear… hugs❤

    • November 23, 2017 16:59

      Yes, as humans we all need someone to pay attention to us! Thank you for your kindness.

  10. November 26, 2017 21:23

    I can feel the pain and frustration in your writing, so palpable it comes across. Your words are heard and I’m sorry for your frustration.

    • November 27, 2017 22:03

      Being heard is so important! Thank you.

  11. November 28, 2017 08:37

    Unfortunately it’s no different here (I’m in Wales, UK) – we’re ignored. But here, I’m not sure it’s just women… I think as soon as people become ill, weak, in need, those who aren’t and who should be there to care for them – just ignore them. Money speaks, beaurocracy speaks, unfortunately sympathy and empathy rarely do these days. I’m sorry about your mum’s problems and yours in trying to get care for her.

    • November 28, 2017 10:46

      In a capitalist society, anyone who is not producing for the system is not worthwhile…so children, the elderly, the ill – they all get treated like garbage. I am not a dogmatic religion person, but I do believe the true message of Jesus is that we need to value everyone because we all have intrinsic value in the eyes of God.

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