Originally Published: September 6, 2017 6 a.m.
Dear Annie: I would like your opinion on a very distressing problem that I — along with a lot of other females, I’m sure — have. It concerns my desire to have control over who sees my body while in a non-emergency medical situation.
I recently was confined to a hospital bed for four days because of a non-emergency situation. While there, a male nurse tried to pressure me into letting him conduct very private and intrusive exams and procedures on me. He became almost belligerent in trying to make me believe that he had “every right” to do what he wanted simply because he was a trained nurse.
Annie, I was sexually abused in the past and am traumatized at the mere thought of a strange man — even if he is a nurse — touching me. Please don’t write me off as just some kook who doesn’t want to be hassled; it goes so much deeper than that, and unless people have been through what I’ve been through, they can’t understand. The philosophy of a lot of hospitals and medical settings seems to be that a male nurse is entitled to tell me what he can do with or to my body.
Fortunately, I was given a female nurse after I spoke with a supervisor and convinced her that I would leave the hospital and die before allowing this strange man to take care of me. It’s not as if the majority of nurses aren’t women and readily available anyway. Please help by putting out the word of how much damage can be done to people like me. — Tortured in New York
Dear Tortured: Health care providers should put each individual patient’s needs front and center. When you made clear that you were uncomfortable with this nurse’s touching you, he should have stopped, even if he was just trying to administer care. After all, it’s not “care” if it’s unwanted and distressing. Though hospitals aren’t required to give female nurses to female patients, many will try to accommodate such requests, especially if the patient has been a victim of abuse in the past. The next time you’re scheduling a visit to the hospital or doctor’s office, let the staff know your needs upfront.
Additionally, this might be a good time to revisit counseling to address the trauma of your abuse. If you need help finding a counselor, you can call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Helpline at 800-662-4357.
Dear Annie: I suspect that most millennials do not even read newspapers, but here is my message for them.
If you are planning a wedding, find someone to advise you on wedding protocols, including writing proper thank-you notes. Do not use the internet to thank gift givers. Do not use Facebook, email or even a telephone. It should be a handwritten note; the note should mention the gift; and it should be sent out as soon as possible. Wedding gifts are more expensive than in the past, yet they receive less acknowledgment.
Your generation seems to be focused on making weddings big affairs — yet often without the level of expertise or manners that should accompany such an event. Keep it small, gracious and welcoming for the folks giving you their best wishes. Forgo trying to throw an affair more lavish than you are knowledgeable enough to manage! — Disgusted in Florida
Dear Disgusted: I agree that modest weddings are wonderful weddings. Social media have contributed to the “go big or go home” attitude many people seem to have toward wedding planning these days. I encourage young couples to celebrate their love, not their Instagram likes.
Send your questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org. To find out more about Annie Lane and read features by other Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.