Discharge

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“He told me he didn’t have anything. My husband gets checked by his doctor every three months.” She looked at me accusingly, as if I were lying to her.

“They check him for STDs every three months?” Oh, dear. This was worse than I thought. “Why?”

“I don’t know what they are checking for, they just do bloodwork because of his diabetes.”

Oh. Well…. “They don’t test for this STD with bloodwork. And you said his last visit was two and a half months ago?”

“What are you saying? He gave it to me?”

“Someone did, yes.”

“I have only had sex with two men in my entire life and the other one died 25 years ago.”

“I understand.” 

“It isn’t something I could have had for 25 years?”

“No, ma’am.” 

“I couldn’t pick it up from a toilet seat?”

“Not unless you were making love to it immediately after someone else who had the infection made love to it… while it was still juicy.”

Stunned silence. 

I watched her face as she processed the information. No tears. Yet.

“Should I leave him then, Doc?”

“Not necessarily. You have been married for thirty-nine years. That is between the two of you. I want you to understand the implications, but you have to decide what you can and cannot live with. I will be the last person to judge you. He does, however, need to be treated before you or anyone else has sex with him again…”

What is faithfulness? What is infidelity? What is love for that matter? What can YOU live with? Why? Why not?

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102 thoughts on “Discharge

  1. Yikes! That’s a sticky situation. Sort of a relief because it does not affect the long term physical health of your patients (as long as treated).Just requires the truth and a modicum of tact.

    Liked by 2 people

    • What is right for one person is not necessarily right for others. I have had to learn that the hard way. There is often a lot more going on in people’s lives that I don’t know about so urging them one way or another is never helpful. I have also found that people lie, even when they seem to be very truthful. We assume she is being honest but when caught with something like this that causes stigma…. You just never know…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. If you are lucky you do not have to make this decision. Most people believe they know the answer, but confronting the reality is something else. Marriage is more than one thing. Doctors aren’t judges, but it sure puts you in the middle.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, I am so sorry. So many factors here to deal with. Health, emotion, love, trust, sex, partnership….Not only “What do you live with?” But, how? Someone to counsel you both? Wishing you much love and good health.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This whole lying STD riddled story sounds like an episode of House. It’s easy to thump chests and declare what someone should do, it’s entirely different to actually be the one making the decision. Your commenters have all been pretty rational sounding folks.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Well, I know what I would do, but then I’m not as forgiving as many other women. You gave good advice.

    (Also, I like your comment in which you say, “We assume she is being honest” – that aspect didn’t occur to me, that she could have contracted the STD through her own infidelity and was trying to blame her husband.)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What I can and can’t live with depends on the day. lol

    No, really, I do think what we can and can’t live with depends quite a bit on how much we feel we have invested and how much return we’re getting on that investment. I know that probably sounds cold and business-like but I think there’s more to it than meets the eye. If we viewed our relationships like contracts where partners didn’t have expected roles but rather asked themselves as part of their contract what they owe to their partner it might make for better negotiation and satisfaction.

    Anyway, I do have deal breakers. Some may seem small and petty. Things that might not be a deal breaker may seem huge by comparison.

    Faithfulness means different things to different people, too. Some marriages are open or they “swing”. If both parties agreed to it up front it isn’t being unfaithful. Any sort of betrayal, whether it be intimate, financial, emotional, or physical is unfaithfulness. At least that’s the way I see it.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. 39 years. That’s a long time. Some might find it worth fighting for, including the one who imported the infection into their lives.

    I wouldn’t like to have to answer this question either, but the older I get, I suspect emotional infidelity would kill me more.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I don’t feel I can give an opinion given I’m not in their shoes. I know what I’d want to do personally if I were but, again if faced with it, it’s not as easy as it may sound. It’s so sad all around.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I lived with a pathological liar for 7 years before I divorced him. Surprisingly, this is the one thing I think he didn’t do….so I think I have more issues with the lies, though with the infidelity it would also depend on the frequency and duration of his trysts (a one night stand vs. ongoing emotionally charged affair?)

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I rebloged your post and then added my own response there. But here is what I wrote… Very disturbing choice of title by the way Doc….

    I remember it like it was yesterday, but it was thirty years ago almost to the day. We had just celebrated 11 years of a very rocky and an unhappy marriage. I knew he was a snake then and in truth I knew it before I married him. But I wanted out of the abusive home with my parents and I wanted to be safe in my own home. I ended up married to a worse abuser and liar then my father.
    We had just bought our first house the previous year. I saved every penny while he squandered and stole from me. But I made the down payment and closing costs and I had my dream home and my first gardens. I loved the little house and worked every night and weekend wall papering and painting. In May, I was downsized and lost my position. I received unemployment and took the opportunity to work on the house. He worked the late shift as a police officer. He would go off to the gym before his shift or when he worked days after work. He never lost weight and one day I realized, his gym bag remained untouched and no dirty clothes.
    He made being unfaithful an art. He could turn the best bullshit and I was pretty innocent. I wanted to believe he was not cheating, but in my heart I knew he was. I worked on the house during the day and escaped nightly into a bottle. Sometimes I would sit with my neighbor swapping stories and wine until very late. One night we ended up chatting all through the night and into the next day. My husband did not come home and there was no denying it, I was awake. The next night after he left to “go to the gym” with his best friend, and was not home by 11pm, I called his friend who rolled over on him. He was having an affair.
    I remember feeling like someone had sucked the air out of my lungs. I waited for him to come home, which was very soon after my call to his friend. He probably called him to warn him. I sat perfectly still in my chair, my heart was pounding in my ears but I was braced for the truth or so I thought.
    He sat across from me and confessed. He said later he will never forget my face when he told me. Good. It broke me in two. I have never felt such betrayal and heartache. See, I still loved him. After a moment I reacted in a rant and started breaking some of his things. It was a reaction I had witness in my father many times. Once I calmed down, I asked for details. He said it was only once. But…..
    Seems she has gone to the Doctor and had an STD. He was pretty sure he had passed it on to me and I need to get checked out. He was dreadfully sorry and it would not happen again. He still loved me.
    I still can feel the shame I felt. The next day, I sat on my porch stairs and called the OBGYN. He was a cool doctor and been trying to help me with my fertility issues. That is a whole other story. I cried when I had to tell him what had happened and he made an appointment to see me the next day. In embarrassment, I sat on his table and told him the whole story, weeping and sobbing. He was compassionate and non-judgmental. It made all the difference.
    Epilogue: so thirty years later I am laughing at this. But this was a major destroyer of my soul. What trust I may have had was gone in all people. My self-worth and fortitude went down the tubes and I stayed with the asshole for another fifteen years. The truth of his one-time affair was that he had been seeing this bitch for nine months prior and continued the relationship through the rest of our marriage. The last contact I had with him after our divorce was an envelope he sent to me with my tax return in it. It had her address crossed out. He did end up with her either.
    What he did not know, is that I figured out who she was and called her at her office a few days after I had been to the doctor. You could hear the phone drop when I said in a clear and strong voice I was so and so’s wife. I said to her, I hear we have a medical issue going on and I want to tell you that I passed the condition on to you because we were still having frequent and great sex. And hung up. We weren’t, believe me. I also was cleared medically; no STD. I had some hutzpah when I needed it.
    .

    Liked by 3 people

  11. If anything would test the stability and staying power of a relationship, this would. Whether these two will survive depends on how much they truly love each other and if trust can be re-established. My husband has had this conversation with more than a few patients!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I love how she doesn’t seem concerned about her health or treating the infection ASAP but her primary concern is about leaving her husband. That in itself tells you it had nothing to do with the STD…

    Liked by 2 people

    • In all fairness, she had already been treated so she was feeling better. She didn’t realize something was going on until after it was treated. I pressed the issue because her urinalysis kept showing a terrible infection but her urine cultures were all turning out negative.

      Liked by 2 people

  13. Awful.
    The truth is, infidelity is enough of a reason to leave, broken trust, lies, deception…However, marriage is made of more than fidelity. When I was younger, I’da been quick to leave. Now, I don’t view it the same. Now, I know the worst bits make us stronger. I’d be as angry as anyone else, but I’d try to repair the damage. There’s just too much good stuff to throw away.
    Also, Imma knock wood all the way to bed. Ugh.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I don’t know what I would do honestly. Many women after a certain age cannot do anything – they say they have nowhere else to go, hence they are sticking it out knowing fully well about the double/triple life the husband may lead. It is kind of sad

    Liked by 2 people

  15. I have nothing really to add to todays comments. I think everything was covered, instead I’ll tell you a little true story. Back in the 60’s I lived in an apartment complex on the second floor. My kitchen window overlooked the court yard. Early one morning I heard sirens. I went to the kitchen and looked out the window. There was an ambulance and police cars. Paramedics and cops entered the building directly across from me. About twenty or so minutes later the paramedics carried a man out on a stretcher and although they had him covered I could see the blood staining the walkway. Another twenty or so minutes went by and the police walked out with his wife in a yellow rain parker in handcuffs. It was the talk of the neighborhood. Turns out she found out he was sleeping around so she shot him while he was sleeping right between his legs four times. The ending to this is. He had to have constructive surgery on his penis and groin area. He refused to press charges and they got back together. Go figure…….

    Liked by 2 people

  16. I value emotional fidelity over sexual fidelity; but in the end they are linked unless both people in the relationship decide that they aren’t.

    If she has not agreed to an open marriage then this is an emotional betrayal, especially if he is having unprotected sex.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I would have explained the toilet seat comment in exactly that way. It’s vulgar but my patients seemed to understand it better when said that way. Stay? Go? Who knows what works for any individual?
    Take home lesson, don’t be afraid to get checked for STDs. We will not judge you.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. “Not unless you were making love to it immediately after someone else who had the infection made love to it… while it was still juicy.”

    LOL!!! I cannot even imagine saying that or the look on her face when you did. Bravo. It isn’t a funny situation but this line just had me rolling.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Who would truly know the answer? Until faced with a situation we can only place some sort of loose prediction based on our current moral standing, however that is flexible depending on the variables. We can easily pass judgment on others and their choices, but their decision can only be understood by them. I don’t know what I’d do. Fill my prescription and go for coffee?

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Pingback: My Article Read (10-30-2015) | My Daily Musing

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