Category Archives: If You’d Asked Me…

What’s a Mr.-and-Mrs.? If you’d asked me… *FREE READ*

Just for you: a chapter from a book in progress. You can buy a copy of the whole book, right now, in PDF format, or, if you like, as a paperback. See the collected chapters so far, FREE online at If You’d Asked Me… For details, visit our home page or send a request through our Contact form.

30

Why is there no combined abbreviation for Mr. & Mrs.?

Because even though they’re married, they’re still two individuals?

Who comes up with these questions?

Have You Ever Walked Out on a Doctor? If You’d Asked Me *FREE READ*

Just for you: a chapter from a book in progress. You can buy a copy of the whole book, right now, in PDF format, or, if you like, as a paperback. See the collected chapters so far, FREE online at If You’d Asked Me… For details, visit our home page or send a request through our Contact form.

29.

Have you ever walked out of a doctor’s office because the doctor was being disrespectful to you?

Sure enough. This happened about four decades ago. Think we live in a dystopia today? {chortle!} You should’ve been a woman in the early 1970s. 😀

Most of the time a woman of my generation expected a certain amount of condescension from doctors, and the assumptions that a) the female patient was, by her nature, not too bright and b) her time was worth nothing.

I’d gone to a gynecologist’s office (interestingly, back in the Day gynecologists were the worst in this regard) for a routine exam. Like all gynecologists at the time, this guy could make you sit in the waiting room until the cows came home — that was to be expected, so you would bring a book or a portable job-related project to work on.

This particular day, they called me into the back office, parked me in an examination room, told me to take off my clothes, don a tissue-paper robe, and assume the position. The room was COLD. Sitting there in a paper gown was uncomfortable, but then the whole procedure is uncomfortable, so a little icy air-conditioning didn’t matter much.

The minutes ticked by. And ticked by. And ticked by. And ticked by. And ticked… About a half-hour or 45 minutes later, I realized it was the lunch hour and most of the staff had left the office. I could hear the doctor and those still at the desk yakking and joking around. Possibly they had forgotten me. Or possibly they simply thought my time was worth nothing and so they could leave me sitting there until they felt moved to get around to proceeding with our (now VERY late) appointment.

I got up. Tossed the gown on the table. Put on my clothing. And walked out. Not one person even noticed me walking out of the office!

That, IMHO, is a variety of disrespect. And indeed it was: the point is that in those days a woman’s time had exactly zero value. So it was OK to waste it by leaving her sitting in an examination room until after you finished eating your lunch and socializing with your coworkers.

Why Is It Illegal to Not Wear a Seatbelt? If You’d Asked Me *FREE READ*

Just for you: a chapter from a book in progress. You can buy a copy of the whole book, right now, in PDF format, or, if you like, as a paperback. See the collected chapters so far, FREE online at If You’d Asked Me… For details, visit our home page or send a request through our Contact form.

28.

Why is it illegal to not wear your seatbelt? The only person it could endanger is yourself.

Because the rest of us end up having to foot the bill for someone who fails to wear a seatbelt.

We all pay the salaries of the police officers and firefighters who have to extricate you from the wreck that turned you into hamburger. We all pay car insurance and health insurance premiums to companies that cover the your unnecessary medical bills, which wouldn’t have been incurred if you’d bothered to put your seatbelt on. We pay the salaries of the judges who have to adjudicate at trials over the liability for the accidents in which you were severely injured.

Nope. You’re not the only one who is endangered when you drive around without a seatbelt.

Why Are You a Feminist? If You’d Asked Me *FREE READ*

Just for you: a chapter from a book in progress. You can buy a copy of the whole book, right now, in PDF format, or, if you like, as a paperback. See the collected chapters so far, FREE online at If You’d Asked Me… For details, visit our home page or send a request through our Contact form.

27.

Why are you a feminist? Which aspects of the feminist doctrine do you consider most important? How would you define your own feminism?

When I was a child, I wanted to be an astronomer. Loved astrophysics. Dreamed of spending my life learning matter, energy, space, stars, other worlds. At about the age of 12 or 13, I was informed that I would have to be a teacher or a secretary (this was in the late 1950s), but not to worry, “you can always have astronomy as a hobby.”

After I graduated from college with a Phi Beta Kappa key, I interviewed for a job in a bank’s management training program. The interviewer—ironically, a black man who one would expect might have had his fill of discrimination—said, in these words, “We don’t hire women into our management training program, but you’d be great in our secretarial pool!”

I am not a radical feminist. I personally feel the women’s liberation movement and economic changes that ensued actually limit women’s choices. We wanted to have the choice to pursue a career instead of or in addition to bearing children and caring for a man. Instead, we got the obligation to do so.

Now that it takes two salaries to keep a roof over your head, women still have no choice. Then, you had no choice to get a job. Now you have no choice but to get a job. In my ideal world, every worker—male or female—would earn enough to support a family, so that either parent would have the option of raising the kids at home.

A Plagiarist and Proud of It!

Just for you: a chapter from a book in progress. You can buy a copy of the whole book, right now, in PDF format, or, if you like, as a paperback. See the collected chapters so far, FREE online at If You’d Asked Me… For details, visit our home page or send a request through our Contact form.

26. I was accused of plagiarism for an original work I wrote. I feel honored that someone thought my writing was that good. What do you think?

Strange response: to feel honored because someone thinks you’re dishonest?

First, you need to know why: what specific passages or characteristics caused the reader to believe the copy was plagiarized? If (and only if) you can prove everything that you based on some source was properly cited and documented, then demand to know what passages the accuser believes were plagiarized and also that the person produce the source and highlight the allegedly plagiarized passages.

Second: consider the context. If you’re an undergraduate or graduate college student and some professor decided you must have plagiarized something in a paper, you may be sure the person will tell his or her colleagues, giving you a fine reputation for dishonesty. If (and only if) you can prove your paper was not plagiarized and if the paper was marked down or you were failed out of the course because the professor unjustly believed you plagiarized, file a formal complaint against the person. This will raise he!! and put a block under it, but sometimes that’s what you have to do to defend yourself.

If you’re in a job setting, you probably should go to your boss (or, if the accuser is your boss, to HR or to the boss’s boss) and present your defense. To do this, you’ll have to couch your argument in conciliatory terms, not accusing but saying an unfortunate mistake was made.

If You’d Asked Me…Child Guest Turns Up Nose at Dinner?

Just for you: a chapter from a book in progress. You can buy a copy of the whole book, right now, in PDF format, or, if you like, as a paperback. See the collected chapters so far, FREE online at If You’d Asked Me… For details, visit our home page or send a request through our Contact form.

25. Was I wrong to not give a five-year-old guest child the food that she wanted?

I had snacks (veggies, cuties, cheese, pretzels) and she refused it. She also refused the pizza because it had veggies. She later told her mom that she hadn’t eaten.

On the other hand…broccoli???

No, you were right to stand your ground. A kid is not going to starve to death in a few hours. If it had been a couple of days . . . maybe. But maybe not: maybe that’s the time to call the mom and say “come get your little darling.”

Though five is a bit young to learn this, she should be made aware that it’s rude to refuse what is offered to you at the dinner table, especially when you’re a guest in someone’s home. The only time this is acceptable is when you are genuinely allergic to something—for example, shellfish allergies can cause anaphylactic shock in some people. But “I’m not eating because I want you to go out and get me a McDonald’s?” Don’t think so, kiddo!

If You’d Asked Me: Don’t need no steenkin’ vaccinations?

Just for you: a chapter from a book in progress. You can buy a copy of the whole book, right now, in PDF format, or, if you like, as a paperback. See the collected chapters so far, FREE online at If You’d Asked Me… For details, visit our home page or send a request through our Contact form.

24. How did babies survive when there were no vaccines a long time ago?

They didn’t. Until the discovery of microbial pathogens led to understanding of the importance of hygiene and to development of vaccines and antibiotics, about half of children would predecease their parents.

My dissertation addressed 16th- and early 17th-century English and Continental history. In the course of the research, I learned this to be the case. If you reached adulthood, you were pretty tough. If you were female and you survived the endless pregnancies to which you were subject, you were extremely tough. Most people who lived long enough to have families saw about half of their children die, many in infancy and early childhood. Large numbers of women died in childbirth or from infections following on delivery.

People who imagine they can do without vaccines delude themselves. Most of us would not want to go back to those particular good old days.

If You’d Asked Me: Long Wait at the ER

Just for you: a chapter from a book in progress. You can buy a copy of the whole book, right now, in PDF format, or, if you like, as a paperback. See the collected chapters so far, FREE online at If You’d Asked Me… For details, visit our home page or send a request through our Contact form.

23.

Why doesn’t anybody coming to the “emergency room” seem to understand that an emergency means urgent?

Understood that ER workers are stressed to the max and that they have to make quick decisions about who needs care and when. But . . .

Back in the day before ACA, poor people here in the American Southwest used the ERs for medical care whenever their kids had a bad cold or flu and for conditions adults and children should have had treated in their GP’s office. Phoenix has a large population of working poor and unemployed, many of whom live, shall we say, very close to the bone. And in those days, if you didn’t have insurance, you couldn’t even get in to see most doctors. An ER, on the other hand, is not allowed to turn you away. So, when someone without insurance or cash needed to see a doctor, they would go to the ER and sit there until they could finally get in. This meant waits for everyone that extended for many hours.

It was Christmas time. A flu epidemic was raging. And conveniently, my body chose that moment to develop appendicitis.

In terrible pain and throwing up, I persuaded my ex-husband to take me to the ER at a large regional medical center called St. Joseph’s. It was late at night.

The ER was packed. The receptionist, overworked and miserable, was rude to me and gave me a dirty look when I threw up into the bucket I’d brought.

There was no place to sit down. The floor was truly filthy, so I didn’t feel I could sit or lay down on the floor. Three hours later, I found myself sitting outside on a concrete bench, in the cold, next to a woman who was miscarrying and who had been waiting over four hours. We waited another couple of hours without anyone caring whether we lived or died.

Finally, I gave up. I figured if I was going to die, I’d rather die at home in my bed than in that place. I called a friend, waking her out of a sound sleep, and persuaded her to come get me.

At dawn I was in agony. I called the Mayo Clinic, where my old doctor was practicing. They told me to call 911 and have them bring me there. I said I thought they would take me back to St. Joe’s and I couldn’t withstand another fruitless, endless wait. She said no, they have to take you where you ask them to take you.

That, as it developed, was wrong. They would not take me to the Mayo —the twenty-minute drive would take them out of their area. I sent them away and called another friend, who kindly took me to the Mayo.

The Mayo, being in a more upscale part of town, was not crowded with people who couldn’t afford to see a doctor. Within minutes after I walked in, they had me headed for surgery. By then I’d been suffering from acute appendicitis for over 13 hours. In the elderly, this may be life-threatening. Afterwards, the surgeons said the appendix was “a mess,” one of the worst they’d seen.

On the one hand, my feeling is that I wouldn’t be in the ER if I didn’t have an emergency. Obviously, I needed to be seen in less than four hours. Obviously, I needed to be seen when I came in.

On the other hand, I surely understand that when everybody and his little brother and sister use the ER for routine medical care and show up when they have a bad cold or flu, the staff is overwhelmed and the likelihood that they will fail to recognize a true emergency is high. I also understand that an inner-city ER staff sees not only the routine heart attacks, strokes, accident, and appendicitis cases, but a steady flow of knifings, gunshot wounds, and drug overdoses, and so of course they do not have time to deal with people’s colds and tummyaches.

With the ACA, this problem was somewhat relieved because more poor people could get insured. Once that goes away, though, we can expect those conditions to return. When people can’t get insurance and doctors turn the poor away because they’re uninsured and can’t pay, then ERs will fill up again with folks who need routine medical care. And the next time you have a serious condition that really does need immediate attention, you may not be able to get it.

If You’d Asked Me: How to Treat a Swollen Lip

22. What is the treatment for when you have a swollen lip?

Just for you: a chapter from a book in progress. You can buy a copy of the whole book, right now, in PDF format, or, if you like, as a paperback. See the collected chapters so far, FREE online at If You’d Asked Me… For details, visit our home page or send a request through our Contact form.

How to treat a swollen lip? Depends on what caused your lip to get swollen.

Got a whack on the mouth, but no busted teeth? Make an ice pack (wrap it in a clean dishtowel or several layers of paper towels) and gently chill the injured area.

Ingested something you’re allergic to? Tongue showing signs of swelling? Betake yourself to an emergency room, now not later.

Got a cold sore? Too bad, so sorry: not much you can do about it. Refrain from kissing people, please. You’ll just have to wait till it passes, which it will in a week or ten days.

If you don’t know what caused it or if some other circumstance that you don’t understand well caused it, consider that it could be a herpes infection. Call your doctor.

If You Asked Me: Squeamish about Insulin Shots?

21. My coworker administers his insulin injections at his desk or at the lunch table in front of everyone. Is it appropriate?

Just for you: a chapter from a book in progress. You can buy a copy of the whole book, right now, in PDF format, or, if you like, as a paperback. See the collected chapters so far, FREE online at If You’d Asked Me… For details, visit our home page or send a request through our Contact form.

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a) He is not harming anyone by taking a few seconds or a few minutes and administering a dose of life-sustaining medication to himself. If you don’t like it you can get up and go to the bathroom, where maybe you can comb your eyebrows until you figure he’s finished.

b) It’s none of your business.

c) Your remark reveals a great deal about you, and none of it is flattering. It is hard not to feel sorry for you.

I’ll say this, though I’ll bet it doesn’t apply to your case: When I was a little girl, my family and I lived in a Third-World country. We had to take about a half-dozen shots, and some of them were pretty painful—about every six months my parents dragged me, literally kicking and screaming, down to the clinic for another hurtful episode. In those days, cholera, typhoid, and typhus shots were very painful, and the rest were just not any fun.

One time a nurse threw me flat on the floor and put her foot on my chest to hold me down so she could jab me with one of those ferocious shots.

That experience along with all the lesser events left me phobic about injections. Whenever I have to have a shot or have blood drawn, I cannot look at the equipment or watch the procedure, or else I will have a panic attack or even faint.

Okay . . . so maybe you’ve had some traumatic experience that left you with the heeby-jeebies about injections. In that case, I take back my implication that you’re kinda pathetic. But even if that is the case, all you’ve got to do is say, “Excuse me, gotta go to the men’s,” stand up, and walk out of the room for a couple of minutes. How hard is that?