Etiquette Hell

Etiquette School is in session! => "What an interesting assumption." => Topic started by: ------ on December 25, 2012, 11:32:13 PM

Title: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: ------ on December 25, 2012, 11:32:13 PM
I have been having an acute case of sinusitis for the past two weeks. Not to be dramatic, but I don't recall ever having been in so much pain in all my life.

The sinus pressure in my face has been agonizing (especially at night; I have no idea why. Perhaps the air pressure changes when the sun goes down and temperatures drop?? Changes in the moisture content in the air?). It feels like someone took a croquet mallet and smashed the left side of my face in. I never had a broken jaw, but the sinus pain is such that that's how I imagine it would feel. Sometimes, the pain is so agonizing that the only thing that helps is for me to stand up, bend over and touch my toes and allow the blood to rush to the top of my head. I think the gravity must relieve the pressure on my upper and lower jaw somewhat. In any case, when even that ceases to work, the only thing left is to scream and wail like a two-year-old toddler. Sometimes, I take a small pillow from the living room couch and scream into it while bending over. I feel ridiculous when I do this, but somehow the sound waves seem to relieve the pressure somewhat, or maybe the vibration does something. I don't know. I just know it kind of helps. (It also helps muffle the annoying sound.) Maybe it seems to help just by verbally releasing the pain and frustration because the pain has become intolerable. And I have to say that I think I have a pretty decent tolerance for discomfort and pain, because, well....I just need you trust me on that, though I concede that I more than likely sound like a big baby.

So I have been self-treating at home with over-the-counter medicine and various home remedies including apple cider vinegar, facial steam baths, Vick's Vapo-Rub, you name it, I've probably tried it. All to pretty much no avail, because the relief, such as it is, is short lived. Yesterday, I tried a different over-the-counter medicine which seemed to work, so I thought I was on the mend.

But then today the pain came back with a vengeance. What was before a 12 on a pain scale (1-10, 10 being excruciating) could be clocked at probably a 25, if I had to quantify it. In any case, I couldn't take it anymore and began to wonder if anyone ever died from a sinus infection. In fact, at one point, I was in such agonizing pain that I would almost have welcomed the sweet relief of death, though it does seem to be a rather extreme solution to a very minor medical problem, painful as it might be. Plus, I have a lot to live for.  ::)

I finally convinced my husband to take me in for medical help. Today being Christmas, he was none too thrilled about sitting in the ER waiting room, but then again, he is also interested in sleeping again some time this lifetime. He let it be known that my agonizing wails at 3 a.m. are not conducive to a restful night's sleep. Yeah. Tell me about it. It's also hard to sleep standing up but bent over and muffling one's screams in a pillow, but whatever.

So, angel of mercy that he is, he reluctantly drove me to the nearby emergency room. I walk in, hunched over, because honestly? That's the most comfortable position. I'm standing at the reception window, bent over, quietly sobbing and holding my scarf up to my face to keep the cold off. (Cold air really did not help improve the pain situation, so I kept my face covered.)

Per my request, DH answers the questions for me at the registration desk, since my talking would involve the intake of too much air, which is painful on my teeth. We are told to sit in chairs to wait to be called.

DH helps me hobble over to the nearest open seat. We sit down. I stand up and bend over because sitting upright is just too agonizing. At one point, the pain becomes so bad that I start moaning. This is really getting embarrassing, but at this moment that is my last concern. I take off my wool coat and roll it up, using it the same way I used the couch pillow at home - to kind of scream into (I try to keep the sound lower at the hospital) to relieve the pain.

The pain, such as it is, seems to ebb and flow. Sometimes it ebbs to a more tolerable level, and I can sit more or less upright for a short period...and then sometimes it comes flowing back like a prostaglandin tsunami, and then it's back to standing/bending/wailing into coat until it subsides. Lather, rinse, repeat.

After a while, DH whispers to me that he needs to visit the restroom, and will I be ok for a minute? I nod yes, yes, go ahead. I hardly notice him anyway, since I'm preoccupied with my own pathetic, embarrassing, special-snowflaky two-year-old toddler pain management activities.

As soon as he was out of ear shot, a woman in the waiting room sat down next to me and told me I should leave him.

I tried to turn my head to look at her, but it was a little awkward (physically) to manage that, but I did ask her "excuse me?"

Woman: "No woman should ever tolerate being beat up."

Honestly, it took me a few seconds for it to register. Oh. My. God. It suddenly occurred to me how this all looked.

"Thank you for your concern," I said. "But this isn't how it looks. I just have a really bad sinus infection." I removed my coat from my face and showed her that I have no bruises or cuts (even though that side of my face is a bit swollen from the infection). "I'll be okay. I just need some antibiotics and I'll be fine."

I smiled towards her as best I could and then turned away to resume my standing/moaning (albeit, trying to be a heck of a lot quieter/as unobtrusive as I can be).

I figured she was satisfied and would just move on.

But then she said "you are really in denial. How many times has he done this, honey?"

I was about to respond that it was a really interesting assumption, but right then DH returned from the restroom.

He put his hand on my shoulder and asked how I was doing. The woman then said "if you really cared how she was doing, you wouldn't have had to bring her here in the first place!" and then she stormed off.

DH sat down and was really confused.

I didn't have a chance to explain anything to DH because I was called in right then, and I was seen and treated by the doctor. Thankfully I am now on antibiotics and feeling a bit better and rather...goofy from the pain medicine.

On the way home, DH said "you know, this is really embarrassing. They didn't let me come in with you and people were really giving me weird looks. Now that I think about it, I wonder if they thought I did something to you?"

I told him about the lady in the waiting room and we had a laugh...for about a minute because of the misunderstanding. But then we thought it was nice that someone cared enough to say something.

I just wonder if I could have handled it better? Should I have been more insistent about explaining the situation? Should I have gone the other way? I mean, I don't want to encourage nosy behavior, but then again, I don't want to discourage anyone from trying to help someone who might really be in trouble.

Now that I think about it, I am really at a loss for what I could have said/done to avoid humiliating my husband. I feel really bad for causing him any upset; it's ironic, too, because I fell in love with DH because of his gentleness, kindness and nurturing...the complete opposite of what the waiting room - and probably the medical staff (!) assume(d). 

What can I do differently next time, which, God forbid there is, but if I have to return....oh, dear.  :o


Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: JoieGirl7 on December 25, 2012, 11:44:29 PM
I think you were far too polite.  That woman was incredibly rude to you.

If someone is already in the ER they should let the medical personnel handle whether or not the condition of the patient is indicative of domestic abuse.
 
I would have been polite the first time but when she insisted, I would have told her to go away and leave me alone.

When you are in great pain and are waiting to be seen, no stranger should be coming up to you making assumptions about why you are there and you don't need to try and be polite.  As soon as you realize they are butting in, you can tell them to go away.
 
Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: Ceallach on December 26, 2012, 04:13:55 AM
I get that she was "only trying to help", but personally I doubt her methods and timing would have been effective even if it was an abuse situation. And I would find her assumptions and judgment of my husband, myself, and our relationship incredibly offensive and would not hesitate to tell her so.  She was waaay out of line.
Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: kherbert05 on December 26, 2012, 04:43:06 AM
I'm pretty sure any woman that goes into an ER with a man, is separated and asked if she is safe especially on a high stress day like Christmas. It has happened to both my Mom and Sister. Which we got because they had bruises and broken bones from falls. (Sis even had someone do an intervention at work. Thing is BIL has been in a different part of the state or a different state for each of the serious accidents - except the time sis broke both knees skiing)


But I've gotten the are you safe at home questions for allergic reactions. That is simply part of their job and no judgement on you or your husband.


The woman in the ER was so out of line she was orbiting Pluto. She wasn't a nurse, doctor, or social worker. It isn't her job to intervene - if she thought you were in trouble she should have said something to the Triag nurse. The biggest reason she was wrong - is that if you had been abused her actions could have gotten you killed - especially the part where she confronted your husband. Could you imagine what an abuser would have done to his victim after being confronted by that woman?


The only thing I can think of that you could have done differently is get help sooner. I have frequent sinus infections. My doctor told me not to allow them to get that bad, because the infection can damage the bones if allowed to go on to long. If they are keeping you awake at night it is time to get help.
Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: Amava on December 26, 2012, 06:07:02 AM
I am really torn here.

On the one hand, my gut reaction would be to get really offended and angry, along the lines of: "How dare you make such a rude and disrespectful assumption. Leave me alone, I have a sinus infection, I'm in a lot of pain and you are /not/ helping."
That is the "mama-bear" (or should I call it "wife-bear") in me who would go into a vicious protective mode if someone made such a leap of judgement about my husband.

On the other hand, what if I reacted that way and caused her to not dare to speak up if the next time she met a person who was really being abused?

Maybe the woman has been abused in the past, herself. Or maybe she has just been watching a bit too much of "What would you do".

Ideally I would love to sit down with her for an hour to discuss that I understand she means well but why her approach is rude and dangerous. I don't think I could do that if my face was hurting so much, though.

Aside from the etiquette issue at hand, I am really sorry you are in so much pain, Mrkitty. And I am also sorry you had to deal with such a reaction from a stranger on top of that. I hope you get well soon!
Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: ------ on December 26, 2012, 06:13:36 AM
The woman in the ER was so out of line she was orbiting Pluto. She wasn't a nurse, doctor, or social worker. It isn't her job to intervene - if she thought you were in trouble she should have said something to the Triag nurse. The biggest reason she was wrong - is that if you had been abused her actions could have gotten you killed - especially the part where she confronted your husband. Could you imagine what an abuser would have done to his victim after being confronted by that woman?



I hadn't even thought of that. Very good point. I guess we looked at it from the perspective of a rather huge invasion of privacy but a kind gesture nonetheless. Now that you brought up this angle, I can see how her intervention could have taken a very dangerous turn if the situation was as she thought. I don't think I personally would ever have the nerve to go up to someone like that.
Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: KenveeB on December 26, 2012, 08:16:12 AM
The woman in the ER was so out of line she was orbiting Pluto. She wasn't a nurse, doctor, or social worker. It isn't her job to intervene - if she thought you were in trouble she should have said something to the Triag nurse. The biggest reason she was wrong - is that if you had been abused her actions could have gotten you killed - especially the part where she confronted your husband. Could you imagine what an abuser would have done to his victim after being confronted by that woman?

Exactly! I could see saying something to the woman if you think she's being abused and want to know she has support or can get help or something. But to make her little smug, self-righteous speech to the person she thinks is an abuser? What on EARTH would that have accomplished except to make sure he'd take it out on his wife later and not allow her to seek medical care in the future? Good grief! That was not just rude and not helpful, it was actively harmful if it was the situation she thought it was.

On a side note, OP, I hope you're feeling better! That sounds horrible.
Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: MommyPenguin on December 26, 2012, 08:25:48 AM
MY question is... how are you feeling?  I was reading the story waiting to find out if the doctor was able to do anything to help.  I hope they could!

I agree with the others that the woman is a busybody.  Honestly, even if you *did* have a black eye and a bruised face, that wouldn't mean your husband did it.  So *starting* her approach with "you should leave that man!" would be wrong in a huge number of circumstances.  And even if he *had* done it, that approach would immediately put you on the defensive.  A *much* better approach would be more along the lines of, "Your face looks pretty painful!  Did your husband hit you?  You should know that that's really not the way a normal relationship goes.  Most husband don't hit their wives, and it's not right.  Please tell somebody, they'll get you help, honest.  You could tell the doctor here when you go in."  Or something.  I'm not saying this is perfect wording, but women tend to stay with abusers because they think they love him, that he loves her, or because they think it's normal, or they don't know where else to go or what to do.  Starting a conversation with "leave him" won't get anywhere.
Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: Sophia on December 26, 2012, 08:56:35 AM
I once had a black eye from whacking myself with a doorknob.  (It took talent.  I was sitting on the floor and used a door to help myself up)
I had many days of explaining what I did to myself.  I was fairly new at work, and I think it was only the lack of repeats that convinced co-workers and boss that I wasn't a battered woman. 
Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: CaptainObvious on December 26, 2012, 09:15:05 AM
I'm pretty sure any woman that goes into an ER with a man, is separated and asked if she is safe especially on a high stress day like Christmas. It has happened to both my Mom and Sister. Which we got because they had bruises and broken bones from falls. (Sis even had someone do an intervention at work. Thing is BIL has been in a different part of the state or a different state for each of the serious accidents - except the time sis broke both knees skiing)


But I've gotten the are you safe at home questions for allergic reactions. That is simply part of their job and no judgement on you or your husband.


The woman in the ER was so out of line she was orbiting Pluto. She wasn't a nurse, doctor, or social worker. It isn't her job to intervene - if she thought you were in trouble she should have said something to the Triag nurse. The biggest reason she was wrong - is that if you had been abused her actions could have gotten you killed - especially the part where she confronted your husband. Could you imagine what an abuser would have done to his victim after being confronted by that woman?

The only thing I can think of that you could have done differently is get help sooner. I have frequent sinus infections. My doctor told me not to allow them to get that bad, because the infection can damage the bones if allowed to go on to long. If they are keeping you awake at night it is time to get help.

I am curious as to why you always jump to the worst possible conclusion in every thread?
Yes the woman was out of line, but I am pretty sure the chances of you being in a situation like this again are slim to none.
Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: KenveeB on December 26, 2012, 09:24:43 AM
I'm pretty sure any woman that goes into an ER with a man, is separated and asked if she is safe especially on a high stress day like Christmas. It has happened to both my Mom and Sister. Which we got because they had bruises and broken bones from falls. (Sis even had someone do an intervention at work. Thing is BIL has been in a different part of the state or a different state for each of the serious accidents - except the time sis broke both knees skiing)


But I've gotten the are you safe at home questions for allergic reactions. That is simply part of their job and no judgement on you or your husband.


The woman in the ER was so out of line she was orbiting Pluto. She wasn't a nurse, doctor, or social worker. It isn't her job to intervene - if she thought you were in trouble she should have said something to the Triag nurse. The biggest reason she was wrong - is that if you had been abused her actions could have gotten you killed - especially the part where she confronted your husband. Could you imagine what an abuser would have done to his victim after being confronted by that woman?

The only thing I can think of that you could have done differently is get help sooner. I have frequent sinus infections. My doctor told me not to allow them to get that bad, because the infection can damage the bones if allowed to go on to long. If they are keeping you awake at night it is time to get help.

I am curious as to why you always jump to the worst possible conclusion in every thread?
Yes the woman was out of line, but I am pretty sure the chances of you being in a situation like this again are slim to none.

I don't think it's the worst possible conclusion, it's an entirely possible consequence of that idiot woman speaking like that. It has nothing to do with anyone being in that situation again, it's an answer to why the woman was out of line.
Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: CaptainObvious on December 26, 2012, 09:31:30 AM
I'm pretty sure any woman that goes into an ER with a man, is separated and asked if she is safe especially on a high stress day like Christmas. It has happened to both my Mom and Sister. Which we got because they had bruises and broken bones from falls. (Sis even had someone do an intervention at work. Thing is BIL has been in a different part of the state or a different state for each of the serious accidents - except the time sis broke both knees skiing)


But I've gotten the are you safe at home questions for allergic reactions. That is simply part of their job and no judgement on you or your husband.


The woman in the ER was so out of line she was orbiting Pluto. She wasn't a nurse, doctor, or social worker. It isn't her job to intervene - if she thought you were in trouble she should have said something to the Triag nurse. The biggest reason she was wrong - is that if you had been abused her actions could have gotten you killed - especially the part where she confronted your husband. Could you imagine what an abuser would have done to his victim after being confronted by that woman?

The only thing I can think of that you could have done differently is get help sooner. I have frequent sinus infections. My doctor told me not to allow them to get that bad, because the infection can damage the bones if allowed to go on to long. If they are keeping you awake at night it is time to get help.

I am curious as to why you always jump to the worst possible conclusion in every thread?
Yes the woman was out of line, but I am pretty sure the chances of you being in a situation like this again are slim to none.

I don't think it's the worst possible conclusion, it's an entirely possible consequence of that idiot woman speaking like that. It has nothing to do with anyone being in that situation again, it's an answer to why the woman was out of line.

The OP asked what she should do if she is ever in a situation like this again, I replied. I think it is a bit much to refer to the woman as an idiot, she was mistaken, but she did think there was reason to be concerned. 
Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: Nora on December 26, 2012, 09:32:30 AM


I am curious as to why you always jump to the worst possible conclusion in every thread?
Yes the woman was out of line, but I am pretty sure the chances of you being in a situation like this again are slim to none.

I thought the exact same thing as she did, and I find your comment incredibly unhelpful. It is extremely likely that an abuser would react poorly to such an intervention and take it out on his victim!

ETA: from PM I gather you think I'm agreeing with you, but I wholly agree with Kherbert. It's unwise to get in the face of an abuser in front of his victim and then flounce off thinking "that showed him". The only thing it shows him is that he should not be so kind as to take her to the ER the next time. Which will probably be later that same evening because she must have done something to attract attention from that lady, right?
Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: onyonryngs on December 26, 2012, 09:39:23 AM
I'm glad you're feeling well enough now that you can post!  ((hugs)) That sounds like a horrible way to spend Christmas.  This type of thing does not happen often and you probably won't have to deal with again, but you did well and can do the same thing if, by chance, it does happen in the future.
Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: CaptainObvious on December 26, 2012, 10:08:38 AM


I am curious as to why you always jump to the worst possible conclusion in every thread?
Yes the woman was out of line, but I am pretty sure the chances of you being in a situation like this again are slim to none.

I thought the exact same thing as she did, and I find your comment incredibly unhelpful. It is extremely likely that an abuser would react poorly to such an intervention and take it out on his victim!

ETA: from PM I gather you think I'm agreeing with you, but I wholly agree with Kherbert. It's unwise to get in the face of an abuser in front of his victim and then flounce off thinking "that showed him". The only thing it shows him is that he should not be so kind as to take her to the ER the next time. Which will probably be later that same evening because she must have done something to attract attention from that lady, right?

He wasn't an abuser though, so I didn't look at the situation as if he was. I read the post at face value, I didn't read any what-ifs into it. I didn't imagine any additional scenerios except what is stated in the OP.
Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: Hillia on December 26, 2012, 10:10:19 AM
But Assumption Lady was operating on the belief that he was an abuser - with no evidence to support her assumption - and PPs were pointing out that *if* her assumption had been correct, she had just made the situation worse.
Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: KenveeB on December 26, 2012, 10:53:58 AM


I am curious as to why you always jump to the worst possible conclusion in every thread?
Yes the woman was out of line, but I am pretty sure the chances of you being in a situation like this again are slim to none.

I thought the exact same thing as she did, and I find your comment incredibly unhelpful. It is extremely likely that an abuser would react poorly to such an intervention and take it out on his victim!

ETA: from PM I gather you think I'm agreeing with you, but I wholly agree with Kherbert. It's unwise to get in the face of an abuser in front of his victim and then flounce off thinking "that showed him". The only thing it shows him is that he should not be so kind as to take her to the ER the next time. Which will probably be later that same evening because she must have done something to attract attention from that lady, right?

He wasn't an abuser though, so I didn't look at the situation as if he was. I read the post at face value, I didn't read any what-ifs into it. I didn't imagine any additional scenerios except what is stated in the OP.

But the whole point is that even from her perspective, she wasn't being remotely useful. She was either making a bad situation worse if he was an abuser or insulting an innocent person if he wasn't. In no possible scenario did she do anything helpful. Which makes her rude and an idiot.
Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: JoieGirl7 on December 26, 2012, 11:05:51 AM
I think Assumption Lady was being selfish.  Her actions were all about her trying to e a hero, not concern for the OP.
Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: Minmom3 on December 26, 2012, 12:39:34 PM
I got the "is she abused" question about my 3 yo daughter in the check out line at the supermarket.  Little white skinned redhead with Orphan Annie curls.  She had two pea soup shiners her 3rd Christmas.  Looked just wonderful. 

Thing was, she had done it to herself, two times, seven days apart.  She ran into her bedroom, lost her footing and hit her forehead (3rd eye position) on the side rail of an antique brass bed.  Gave herself a glorious goose egg, 2 weeks before Christmas.  We put ice on it, and she went about her day.  Goose egg turned purple and color sagged, as gravity has its way even with blood cells inside your body.  So, she ended up with shiners and then green eyes even though her eyes had actually not been involved in the injury.  Then, just as it was starting to go away, she did it again.  Exactly the same way, too!  Bigger goose egg.  Bigger bruise.  More pea soup eyes.  She DID look like she'd been punched, really couldn't argue with that.  She also looked worse than many darker complected children would have looked, because she's a very fair skinned redhead with nearly translucent skin, and she didn't even have any freckles at that age. NOTHING hid those bruises.  We have Christmas pictures that are just lovely....  The only thing I could do about those two injuries was take down the bed she hit her head on.  It was packed away for several years.
Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: Hillia on December 26, 2012, 01:12:45 PM
My brother and SIL had this problem all the time when their daughter was young.  While not a redhead, she also had that translucent skin. They were very, very careful about sun exposure and got sunscreen recommendations from her pediatrician.  Niece wore sunscreen, a hat, etc on every outing.  She never got burned, but her face did flush from the heat (southern Arizona).  Invariably they'd get several people stopping and chastising them for 'letting her get so burned', and nothing seemed to stop it.
Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: JenJay on December 26, 2012, 01:18:49 PM
That happened to me once. When I was pregnant I had to be on an injectable blood thinner, heparin. It caused bruising around the injection sites and, because I had to do it every 12 hours throughout my entire pregnancies, I had quite a few quarter-sized bruises at any given time.

By my third baby I was pretty adept at my shots but with the first kiddo I bruised myself a lot. I went in for a regular check-up, I must have been about 6 months along. A nurse I hadn't seen before came in and did the usual preliminary stuff, then she asked me to raise my shirt so she could measure my belly. She looked at me and gasped. I said something like "Oh yeah, pretty, huh? It looks worse than it feels." She had this look on her face like she was ready to kill someone and she said "Who did this? Did your husband do this to you?" I was so mad! I said "I'm on heparin because I have APS and you would have known that if you'd reviewed my chart before you came in here!" She didn't say another word, just finished up and left. When I left she gave me my check-out papers and I didn't notice until I got to my car that there was a business card for an abuse hotline attached to it.  >:(

Some people believe what they want. Shut them down once and then ignore them.
Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on December 26, 2012, 01:25:03 PM
My aunt in law got something like this when her son was little.  He was a very active and clumsy kid, and there's an incident he likely will never live down, in which he was running around the yard, wasn't looking where he was going until the last second when it was too late and went face first into a tree trunk. 

Well she took him for a check up and the nurse looked at all the bruises on the child and asked in a horrified tone "What have you done to that child!" AIL said "I don't have to do anything to him, he does it to himself!!"  The doctor was not pleased that she said it that way, as she was supposed to just note her own concerns and leave them for him to address, and AIL said the next time she went that nurse was no longer there.
Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: Iris on December 26, 2012, 02:07:24 PM
I don't think it's inherently rude  to express concern to a possibly abused person, even if you are not medical /social worker personell. An unfortunate side effect of that is that some of us may be exposed to some 'interesting assumptions', but , still think that's better than the previous attitude of 'Don't get involved' .  That said, THIS woman was rude . 'Is everything okay?' would have been a much better start than 'Leave  him', and to confront a potential abuser is rarely wise.

But what really makes her rude to me is when she responded to your reassurances with nastiness. The most common pattern of domestic abuse is one where the victim's sense of self worth has been systematically undermined.  Since you weren't abused it was just flat out rude. Assuming you were abused, making you feel bad about yourself with nasty remarks is the opposite of helpful. I really can't imagine what she was thinking'



Edited to fix formatting
Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: rashea on December 26, 2012, 02:11:30 PM
I've worked as an advocate. There's a way to reach out, and this isn't it. But, then if this had been me, I would have known that they separate the patient and ask a few discreet questions just in case.

Confronting the abuser (if he had been one) is almost always a bad idea. It just starts all sorts of issues.
Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: Onyx_TKD on December 26, 2012, 03:39:27 PM
I don't think it's inherently rude  to express concern to a possibly abused person, even if you are not medical /social worker personell. An unfortunate side effect of that is that some of us may be exposed to some 'interesting assumptions', but , still think that's better than the previous attitude of 'Don't get involved' .  That said, THIS woman was rude . 'Is everything okay?' would have been a much better start than 'Leave  him', and to confront a potential abuser is rarely wise.

But what really makes her rude to me is when she responded to your reassurances with nastiness. The most common pattern of domestic abuse is one where the victim's sense of self worth has been systematically undermined.  Since you weren't abused it was just flat out rude. Assuming you were abused, making you feel bad about yourself with nasty remarks is the opposite of helpful. I really can't imagine what she was thinking'



Edited to fix formatting

I think one of the huge mistakes this woman made is assuming that her interpretation of the scene must be true. If she had approached to ask "Are you okay?" like Iris suggested, the OP probably would have looked up (revealing her unbruised face) and mentioned that it was horrible sinus issues (which seems like a fairly unlikely explanation if she was actually trying to hide domestic abuse injuries). In that case, the issue of abuse might never have even come up, and the OP would have been left with a pleasant memory of someone checking on her to make sure she was OK. If the woman had still suspected abuse, but had brought it up more delicately and been willing to back off when the OP told her it was not a concern, then the OP might have been slightly embarrassed, but she and her husband would probably just have had a good laugh about it later and thought no more of it (and if she had been an abused spouse who was not willing to admit it, then the seed of thought that other people wanted to help would be planted).

Instead, the woman jumped straight to "leave your husband, because he's a horrible abuser" and accused the OP of being a liar when she didn't agree (the overly familiar "honey" while telling a perfect stranger that she's "in denial" about being abused just adds insult to injury). She followed that up by drawing the husband's attention to the fact that she thought he was abusing his wife, which seems pretty much guaranteed to either horribly insult an innocent man or inspire an abuser to just be more careful about hiding his wife's injuries, if not add a few more out of anger. I'm trying to imagine who this woman's approach could possibly help, and I'm coming up blank. If an abused wife were ready to accept a perfect stranger's opinion that her husband is a worthless human being who she needs to leave immediately and she had the resources to actually leave him, wouldn't she already have done so? Most people aren't just going to believe the statement "[Your family member] is horrible and worthless" from even a friend, much less a stranger, unless they've pretty much decided it themselves already. Everyone else is just going to get defensive. And if the hypothetical abused wife did believe it and wanted to leave him, nothing this woman said suggested that she was prepared to offer any concrete resources to help her do that. So what on earth did she think she was going to accomplish? ???

ETA: Trying to help victims of domestic abuse is wonderful. Calling people liars, assuming you know how to run their lives better than they do, and telling them who they should and should not associate with is not helping. In fact, it sounds a lot like the red-flag behaviors I've heard for potential abusers. Way to kick someone who (she thought) was already down. >:(
Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: nuit93 on December 26, 2012, 04:00:59 PM
This is a tricky one. 

It would have been one thing for the stranger to ask the OP "are you okay?" (well, obviously she's not since she's in the ER now that I think about it) and maybe offer the number/business card of a women's shelter if abuse was suspected.

Accusing the OP of lying...getting into dangerous territory.  I sort of understand where she was coming from (denial by abuse victims is common enough) but still risky.

Confronting the husband?  Definitely not okay.
Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: Mental Magpie on December 26, 2012, 04:17:06 PM
I don't think it's inherently rude  to express concern to a possibly abused person, even if you are not medical /social worker personell. An unfortunate side effect of that is that some of us may be exposed to some 'interesting assumptions', but , still think that's better than the previous attitude of 'Don't get involved' .  That said, THIS woman was rude . 'Is everything okay?' would have been a much better start than 'Leave  him', and to confront a potential abuser is rarely wise.

But what really makes her rude to me is when she responded to your reassurances with nastiness. The most common pattern of domestic abuse is one where the victim's sense of self worth has been systematically undermined.  Since you weren't abused it was just flat out rude. Assuming you were abused, making you feel bad about yourself with nasty remarks is the opposite of helpful. I really can't imagine what she was thinking'



Edited to fix formatting

I park my pod here.
Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: Seraphia on December 26, 2012, 04:44:54 PM
Ouch! I'm so glad you're feeling a little better. I hope the antibiotics wipe that nasty bug out.

I don't know that there was a "right" response here, aside from the truth, of course. This woman was a hero in her own mind, and probably went home congratulating herself on trying to reach out and help that poor battered woman in the ER and telling off her terrible abuser husband. There's a right way and a wrong way to ask those sorts of questions, and the only method I can think of that might have challenged her assumptions would most definitely not have worked with you feeling so poorly.

Quick story: When the hubby and I were still dating, we played on an intramural softball team together. I, overcompetitive klutz that I am, managed to catch a thrown ball with my face and had to go to the ER for stitches. Our coach drove me, and the intake nurse definitely went into 'Abused?' mode. She asked me: "Now, did this injury happen as a result of some sort of argument with your partner?" Just as my poor BF walked into the room too. I defaulted to humor: "Nope. The third baseman just has terrible aim. And he owes me a beer." She laughed, he laughed, all good. But that was also her job - not so much the random people sitting in the chairs outside with the coach.

I think you did the best you could, and I'm not sure you could have changed the initial assumption in any case. Hopefully she'll come to the realization on her own that there are more helpful things she could do for abuse victims than confronting random couples in the ER.
Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: ------ on December 27, 2012, 06:04:51 PM
MY question is... how are you feeling?  I was reading the story waiting to find out if the doctor was able to do anything to help.  I hope they could!

I agree with the others that the woman is a busybody.  Honestly, even if you *did* have a black eye and a bruised face, that wouldn't mean your husband did it.  So *starting* her approach with "you should leave that man!" would be wrong in a huge number of circumstances.  And even if he *had* done it, that approach would immediately put you on the defensive.  A *much* better approach would be more along the lines of, "Your face looks pretty painful!  Did your husband hit you?  You should know that that's really not the way a normal relationship goes.  Most husband don't hit their wives, and it's not right.  Please tell somebody, they'll get you help, honest.  You could tell the doctor here when you go in."  Or something.  I'm not saying this is perfect wording, but women tend to stay with abusers because they think they love him, that he loves her, or because they think it's normal, or they don't know where else to go or what to do.  Starting a conversation with "leave him" won't get anywhere.


Thank you for asking, MommyPenguin!

I wanted to give it a day or two to see how things are going before I answer - goodness knows, I don't want to "jinx" anything! I have certainly been wrong before thinking I was getting better...but wasn't.

The doctor put me on a 10-day course of Amoxicillin and three days of Vicodin for pain. Knock on wood, but I am thinking the antibiotics are starting to kick in....it almost seems like things are loosening up a little and instead of pain in my upper/lower jaw I have a massive all-over headache, much like a traditional head cold. Then again, being on a strong pain killer, I can't say whether the pain in the jaw is gone, or if it's just being suppressed from the medicine. But given that the headache is here and the jaw pain isn't coming back immediately after the medicine wears off before the next dose...I'm very hopeful.   :D

I can tell you, though, that it's been a very interesting couple of days on the Vicodin...I have been having vivid dreams in technicolor that are most entertaining...last night I dreamed that we received a very large shipment of pure green catnip...and the kitties were most happy.  ;D Don't ask me why.

I'm looking forward to getting off the Vicodin, though. I could live without the constant dizzy feeling and nausea.  :o Me and anything stronger than aspirin don't get along well.

I hope this isn't TMI, but I did want to let anyone know who is interested that going to the hospital was probably for the best, despite the weirdness I encountered in the waiting area.

If I had been a little more clear headed (ahem) at the time, I might have explained to the woman that her approach to "helping" a suspected abuse victim was anything but helpful. In the most polite terms imaginable, of course.  ;)

If, God forbid, I need to go back because this infection isn't done yet (special Rosary being said by me for this purpose), I thank everyone for your feedback - I think I have a better idea now of how to handle it. Not that I want to. I don't even want my worst enemy to go through that.

Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: CakeEater on December 28, 2012, 04:20:26 PM
I don't have any advice, but I'm glad you're feeling better. Your original story entertained me no end this morning - is it wrong that I found your description of your pain very funny in places?  ;)
Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: violinp on December 28, 2012, 04:28:46 PM
I would have not been nice at all to that woman. I would have said "Excuse me??" the first time, and after that say, "What you're saying is libelous and untrue. Stop telling me I'm a liar and that my husband abuses me."

Then again, I have no patience for people who think they know better than I what's going on in my head or my life.
Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: ------ on December 28, 2012, 06:23:59 PM
I don't have any advice, but I'm glad you're feeling better. Your original story entertained me no end this morning - is it wrong that I found your description of your pain very funny in places?  ;)

Ha! No, not at all! In fact, I think I love you a little bit for saying that...I have a dark, dark sense of humor...and I find things funny that probably shouldn't be....but yet they are. Heck, even me and DH had a hearty laugh, savoring the absurdity of the whole thing.

Good thing I wasn't in my right mind, because then someone would have wound up abused (verbally) in that waiting room for throwing around those insults.*

*Just kidding! I would never intentionally deploy retaliatory rudeness. Never.    ;D

Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: yokozbornak on December 28, 2012, 07:58:09 PM
From your description, I don't understand where she got the idea you were being abused from anyway.  It doesn't even remotely sound like an abuse situation.  If anything, I would have thought that you were either in a)great pain or b) in withdrawals.  The woman was way out of line. 
Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: VorFemme on December 28, 2012, 08:03:18 PM
Back in 1998 (my, how time flies), DD had a sinus infection - the doctor she saw in the morning "diagnosed" a migraine because the pain was so horribly bad.  The headache got worse & we went back to the ER while a neighbor watched her four-year-old brother.

The guy taking her upstairs at midnight for X-rays started the elevator with a jerk because she was apparently "didn't look that sick" - she threw up on his spit shined boots (Army hospital).  The doctor gave her double the usual number of antibiotics and strong pain pills because of how badly "stuffed" her sinuses were in the X-rays. 

I've had a few sinus infections in my day and so has she - they are HORRIBLE...but you don't really look like you've been beaten up, you just FEEL that way.  The ever-so-helpful old biddy in the ER wanted to feel like she'd made a difference in your life and the life of your DH - but she was about as helpful as a rock in your shoe.
Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: mmswm on December 28, 2012, 08:20:04 PM
I don't have any advice, but I'm glad you're feeling better. Your original story entertained me no end this morning - is it wrong that I found your description of your pain very funny in places?  ;)

Ha! No, not at all! In fact, I think I love you a little bit for saying that...I have a dark, dark sense of humor...and I find things funny that probably shouldn't be....but yet they are. Heck, even me and DH had a hearty laugh, savoring the absurdity of the whole thing.

Good thing I wasn't in my right mind, because then someone would have wound up abused (verbally) in that waiting room for throwing around those insults.*

*Just kidding! I would never intentionally deploy retaliatory rudeness. Never.    ;D

I have a pretty dark sense of humor myself, so I'm quite relieved to find that I wasn't the only one who found part of the narrative amusing, and very relived that you're okay with us laughing at parts of it.

I'm also a fair skinned red-head, so I've been through the "abuse" rounds many, many times.  It does get tiresome.
Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: ------ on December 28, 2012, 08:23:26 PM
@ yokozbornak and @ VorFemme:

I know, right?! I removed my coat and showed her that I had no bruising or cuts. I wasn't about to remove any other articles of clothing to prove I had no bruises elsewhere. It's weird she wouldn't take my word for it, and I, too don't understand why she drew that conclusion. I, too, thought it was pretty obvious I was in great pain. I don't know about the withdrawals, as I've never had any, and I've only seen the TV version.   :o

I guess it just goes to show that people see what they want to see. Plus, I suppose a county hospital ER is a rogue's gallery of the human condition. The lady might have had her own baggage/issues and perhaps was projecting.

In either case, it wasn't particularly helpful in terms of sinus pain management. I'm just very glad that she did that to me and my DH, instead of someone who might actually have been at risk for domestic violence. That part is NOT something I think is a laughing matter.  :(

As far as the rest of it though, I had a good belly laugh. It's the best medicine.

Short of Vicodin and Amoxicillin, that is.  ;D

mmswm, CakeEater and anyone else: if you want to laugh with me, please go for it. It helps take the sting out  ;D
Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: It's good to be Queen on January 11, 2013, 11:51:37 AM
The local women's shelter has little cards that they give out at various events.  It has information and phone numbers for abused women to use if they want help.  They suggest you quietly slip one to a person you think is being abused.  That way if she does need help she knows how to get it
Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: Yvaine on January 11, 2013, 01:45:53 PM
This happened to me once in a grocery store. I had adding machine ink on my face and hadn't noticed.
Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: nuit93 on January 11, 2013, 03:35:47 PM
The local women's shelter has little cards that they give out at various events.  It has information and phone numbers for abused women to use if they want help.  They suggest you quietly slip one to a person you think is being abused.  That way if she does need help she knows how to get it

See, now this would be a perfectly acceptable way to handle it, IMO. 
Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: RooRoo on January 11, 2013, 10:09:00 PM
I think I told this story before...

I fell off a horse, landed wrong, and got nasty bruises all down one side. A week later, I was up late, on the 'net (probably reading E-Hell). At about 3 am, I sneezed. That pain is what I use as my "10" on the scale.

So I woke up DH to take me to the ER. He is quite muscular. He gets mad if I'm hurt - because I'm in pain. When he's mad, he tenses up, his eyes snap, and he looks like he might explode at any minute. (A completely false impression.) Add being woken up on the middle of the night to that, and...

We go into intake. He sits in the corner while I talk to the very nice male nurse, who took my information and asked me about my bruises. He glanced at DH a couple of times, then leaned closer to me and quietly asked if I needed a safe place to spend the night. Unfortunately for me, I cracked up! Laughing when you have two broken ribs is... painful. But I've never forgotten how careful he was to ask me that in a way that wouldn't have alerted DH, if he had been an abuser. (He's still "Mr. Right" after 18 years.  :)  8) )
Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: Amava on January 12, 2013, 12:54:15 AM
He glanced at DH a couple of times, then leaned closer to me and quietly asked if I needed a safe place to spend the night.

"*sniffle* yes please... somewhere with no horses..."  ;D
Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: Diane AKA Traska on January 12, 2013, 04:00:13 AM
He glanced at DH a couple of times, then leaned closer to me and quietly asked if I needed a safe place to spend the night.

"*sniffle* yes please... somewhere with no horses..."  ;D

"No no, we have a very stable relationship.  I'm fine hitting the hay at home, but I know I can bale if I need to.  Besides, even though he looks ready to explode like a Pinto, I wish you wouldn't saddle him with such a pejorative!"
Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: Minmom3 on January 12, 2013, 12:03:56 PM
Snerk!  Did that just fly off your tongue, or did you have to think for a few?  Because that's an impressive conglomeration of puns you have there...
Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: VorFemme on January 12, 2013, 02:53:34 PM
I'd have told him that you were thinking about trying to sell the one that beat you up at the next horse auction.....but weren't sure that anyone would want the big oaf as he ate like a horse...
Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: Diane AKA Traska on January 12, 2013, 07:06:30 PM
Snerk!  Did that just fly off your tongue, or did you have to think for a few?  Because that's an impressive conglomeration of puns you have there...

I blame Fark and their headlines.  :D
Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: RooRoo on January 12, 2013, 10:31:59 PM
Quote
"No no, we have a very stable relationship.  I'm fine hitting the hay at home, but I know I can bale if I need to.  Besides, even though he looks ready to explode like a Pinto, I wish you wouldn't saddle him with such a pejorative!"

I trotted that bit by DH and the result was unbridled laughter.

Explode like a Pinto! ::snort::  >:D
Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: Shea on January 22, 2013, 02:45:29 PM
There's a way to reach out to a woman (or indeed man) who's being abused, and what that woman did is not it. Asking if she's okay is, I think, fine, but saying straight out (on absolutely no evidence) that the OP's husband was an abuser and she should leave him was entirely inappropriate. Even asking if she was being abused, in this case, wasn't appropriate because there was simply no evidence. The woman was a busybody.

Last year I was at the doctor's for my annual exam, and the doctor noticed a long scratch surrounded by a large bruised area on my inner thigh. She was immediately suspicious and asked gently how it had happened. Fortunately it was not the result of an abusive partner, but of a friend's gigantic half-grown Bernese Mountain Dog puppy, who was so excited to meet a new person that she leaped up on me, and her claw caught my leg (I was wearing a mid-thigh-length skirt at the time, so the result was somewhat unpleasant). When I told the doctor, she seemed to believe me and didn't mention it again. I didn't mind her asking because she's a medical professional and that sort of thing is her job, and also it did look rather unfortunately like the result of some sort of sexual abuse :-[.
Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: Ceallach on January 22, 2013, 03:50:16 PM
There's a way to reach out to a woman (or indeed man) who's being abused, and what that woman did is not it. Asking if she's okay is, I think, fine, but saying straight out (on absolutely no evidence) that the OP's husband was an abuser and she should leave him was entirely inappropriate. Even asking if she was being abused, in this case, wasn't appropriate because there was simply no evidence. The woman was a busybody.

Last year I was at the doctor's for my annual exam, and the doctor noticed a long scratch surrounded by a large bruised area on my inner thigh. She was immediately suspicious and asked gently how it had happened. Fortunately it was not the result of an abusive partner, but of a friend's gigantic half-grown Bernese Mountain Dog puppy, who was so excited to meet a new person that she leaped up on me, and her claw caught my leg (I was wearing a mid-thigh-length skirt at the time, so the result was somewhat unpleasant). When I told the doctor, she seemed to believe me and didn't mention it again. I didn't mind her asking because she's a medical professional and that sort of thing is her job, and also it did look rather unfortunately like the result of some sort of sexual abuse :-[.

And I imagine somebody trying to lie to hide their abuse would be unlikely to think of a detail such as "Bernese Mountain Dog"!    If you'd given a vague answer about tripping and falling then she might have probed further!

I agree, it's appropriate in that context for them to ask, she wouldn't have been doing her job if she hadn't at least queried it.
Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: Shea on January 22, 2013, 04:11:31 PM
There's a way to reach out to a woman (or indeed man) who's being abused, and what that woman did is not it. Asking if she's okay is, I think, fine, but saying straight out (on absolutely no evidence) that the OP's husband was an abuser and she should leave him was entirely inappropriate. Even asking if she was being abused, in this case, wasn't appropriate because there was simply no evidence. The woman was a busybody.

Last year I was at the doctor's for my annual exam, and the doctor noticed a long scratch surrounded by a large bruised area on my inner thigh. She was immediately suspicious and asked gently how it had happened. Fortunately it was not the result of an abusive partner, but of a friend's gigantic half-grown Bernese Mountain Dog puppy, who was so excited to meet a new person that she leaped up on me, and her claw caught my leg (I was wearing a mid-thigh-length skirt at the time, so the result was somewhat unpleasant). When I told the doctor, she seemed to believe me and didn't mention it again. I didn't mind her asking because she's a medical professional and that sort of thing is her job, and also it did look rather unfortunately like the result of some sort of sexual abuse :-[.

And I imagine somebody trying to lie to hide their abuse would be unlikely to think of a detail such as "Bernese Mountain Dog"!    If you'd given a vague answer about tripping and falling then she might have probed further!

I agree, it's appropriate in that context for them to ask, she wouldn't have been doing her job if she hadn't at least queried it.

I was actually worried she'd think I was making it up because of the details, like I was adding things to make it seem more believable!
Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: Jocelyn on January 26, 2013, 11:15:34 AM
Last Monday, I was volunteering at an animal shelter. One of the kittens was up on my shoulder, lost his balance, and threw a paw out to try to catch himself. Instead, he caught me mid-cheek, leaving a scratch down to my jaw. Several students asked me what had happened, and I replied, 'Exactly what you think happened'. I don't think I'll ever be able to avoid claw punctures long enough to have my entire body healed up.  ::)
Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: Yvaine on January 26, 2013, 11:28:48 AM
Last Monday, I was volunteering at an animal shelter. One of the kittens was up on my shoulder, lost his balance, and threw a paw out to try to catch himself. Instead, he caught me mid-cheek, leaving a scratch down to my jaw. Several students asked me what had happened, and I replied, 'Exactly what you think happened'. I don't think I'll ever be able to avoid claw punctures long enough to have my entire body healed up.  ::)

I had a Labrador scratch the daylights out of my back right before an event to which I was wearing a dress with a keyhole back. I forgot all about the dress design (and failed to check the right spot in the mirror) till I arrived at the event and realized I looked like I'd been wrestling tigers.  ;D
Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: Figgie on January 26, 2013, 12:11:59 PM
I fall all the time.  So, I have pretty much constant bruises in varying shades of healing all along my arms, legs and trunk of my body.  I'm fortunate, in that I fall enough that I am very good at it and that means most of my bruises are generally covered up by my clothes. :)

Mayo Clinic told me I would be in a wheelchair full-time by the time I was 50.  So far, it is eight years past that and I can still manage with a walker or cane or even just grabbing walls and doorways to take a few steps.  Probably in my case, because I have kept pushing myself to keep the few "steps" that I have. :)

Which means that when I fell in a hotel room and gave myself a concussion (slipped on a pool of oily cleaner that had been left by the housekeeper on the floor of the bathroom and whacked my head against the side of the doorway), I ended up in the emergency room and the bruises that were uncovered (from previous falls) were pretty impressive.

Did you know that if you fall sideways into a doorknob the bruise that forms looks exactly like someone hit you in that spot with a fist?  :) 

They asked my spouse to leave, but since he and I had discussed this possibility previously, he refused and told them to ask me about the bruises.  I told them they were all self-inflicted and they didn't believe me.

Since my family physician had told me that this might happen if I ever ended up in an emergency room other than the one at the local hospital, he had given me his work, home and cell phone numbers to carry with me.  So I told them to give me my purse and I would give them phone numbers so that they could contact my personal physician with any questions that they might have about my bruises.  :)

Which immediately appeared to alleviate their concerns, as they moved on to treating me instead of believing I was being abused.

I've had busy-body people approach me about any visible bruises (more often when it is warm than when I am bundled up in the winter) and I handle it by laughing and telling them that I manage to bruise myself up all by myself.  Since when I am out and about, I am in my wheelchair, that does seem to stop people from arguing with me.  If they did argue, I would just end the conversation and move away from them.
Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: Just Lori on January 26, 2013, 01:23:04 PM
I keep thinking of my friend, whose back bore the bruises of multiple beatings. He tried to hide them in high school, but one time he removed his shirt and the gym teacher saw his back.  The teacher told him to put his shirt back on and never said a word again about it.  Granted, this was probably three or four decades ago, so I don't know if mandatory reporting rules were in effect.

The instance in the OP was inappropriate and rude.  But I really appreciate everyone in this thread who didn't take offense when medical professionals questioned them.  I'd rather be asked about every bruise than know there are other people like my friend, whose bruises are ignored.
Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: mmswm on January 26, 2013, 04:41:06 PM
There's a way to reach out to a woman (or indeed man) who's being abused, and what that woman did is not it. Asking if she's okay is, I think, fine, but saying straight out (on absolutely no evidence) that the OP's husband was an abuser and she should leave him was entirely inappropriate. Even asking if she was being abused, in this case, wasn't appropriate because there was simply no evidence. The woman was a busybody.

Last year I was at the doctor's for my annual exam, and the doctor noticed a long scratch surrounded by a large bruised area on my inner thigh. She was immediately suspicious and asked gently how it had happened. Fortunately it was not the result of an abusive partner, but of a friend's gigantic half-grown Bernese Mountain Dog puppy, who was so excited to meet a new person that she leaped up on me, and her claw caught my leg (I was wearing a mid-thigh-length skirt at the time, so the result was somewhat unpleasant). When I told the doctor, she seemed to believe me and didn't mention it again. I didn't mind her asking because she's a medical professional and that sort of thing is her job, and also it did look rather unfortunately like the result of some sort of sexual abuse :-[.

Oh, dear, I hope I don't have cause to go to the ER until after my excitable 18mo Mastiff puppy settles down a bit.  I have scratches and bruises in various stages of healing everywhere.  He's already 120lbs and really just has no idea how big he is.

In all seriousness though, I would not be offended if I was asked by a medical professional about the bruises and scratches, but I would be if they wouldn't take that as the answer.
Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: Twik on January 27, 2013, 02:08:43 PM
A little O/T - when I was in university, I had to go to Student Health for some my annual physical. While waiting interminably, I started reading a medical magazine, with an interesting article on how to identify patients with alcoholism. One giveaway, apparently, is that they tend to have a lot of bruises on their legs, from bumping into things while intoxicated.

Of course, once into the exam, the first thing the doctor mentioned was, "Hmm, you have a lot of bruises on your shins!" I felt very awkward trying to explain that I had naturally poor coordination, and a roommate who insisted on having coffee tables with really pointy edges.
Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: Xandraea on January 27, 2013, 02:57:32 PM
I bruise like a peach.  I am quite fair-skinned and I am always finding little bruises and having no recollection of bumping into something.  Lately, I've been known to turn a finger purple simply by bending a knuckle and feeling a vein pop. It's rather ridiculous, really.

One day a few years ago I played volleyball with a bunch of friends, using what were unfortunately old, and/or overinflated rock-hard volleyballs.  I enthusiastically played as long as the games went on, and the result was that I ended up with deep purple bruises from my elbows to the palms of both hands.  By the next day they didn't hurt, but they sure looked terrible!  I prayed for cooler weather so I could wear long-sleeved shirts, and for the next week it was indeed long sleeves weather.  About a week later I was working as a nanny and in chasing the kids around got quite warm, so pushed up my sleeves without thinking about it, as my arms felt absolutely normal.  Queue surprised horror from the kids' mother when she saw the fading bruises, which were well on their way to green.  I told her about the volleyball day and she seemed relieved.  Thankfully I had many witnesses to back up my explanation that "I was attacked by a volleyball!"
Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: Sophia on January 27, 2013, 03:46:14 PM
...and a roommate who insisted on having coffee tables with really pointy edges.

Yes, me too.  I remember boyfriend when I was in college suspected I was having ...overly physical scramble with someone else because of all the bruises on my thighs.    Until one day he saw me walk into a room, bump into the corner of some furniture of his, barely say "ow", and then a nasty bruise appeared. 

My husband on the other hand, doesn't bruise easily and he will show me a bruise and expect me to feel sorry for him.  He's never reached the level where I would remember the injury. 
Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: Jocelyn on January 27, 2013, 05:19:24 PM


They asked my spouse to leave, but since he and I had discussed this possibility previously, he refused and told them to ask me about the bruises.  I told them they were all self-inflicted and they didn't believe me.

You do realize that this is exactly what an abusive man would do, under the circumstances?
It might not be the best way to handle the situation, in the future.
Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: Mental Magpie on January 27, 2013, 08:07:11 PM


They asked my spouse to leave, but since he and I had discussed this possibility previously, he refused and told them to ask me about the bruises.  I told them they were all self-inflicted and they didn't believe me.

You do realize that this is exactly what an abusive man would do, under the circumstances?
It might not be the best way to handle the situation, in the future.

I thought the exact same thing...
Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: Figgie on January 27, 2013, 09:17:37 PM


They asked my spouse to leave, but since he and I had discussed this possibility previously, he refused and told them to ask me about the bruises.  I told them they were all self-inflicted and they didn't believe me.

You do realize that this is exactly what an abusive man would do, under the circumstances?
It might not be the best way to handle the situation, in the future.

It's the way we always handle it.  They are not (and have not) ever once just believed me when I've told them that the bruises are self-inflicted.  And that is whether my spouse is with me or not. 

You wouldn't believe the interrogation I got from a medical student who was working with my family practice doctor...one of the few times I've had to tell a medical student  to leave the exam room because I wasn't going to discuss my bruises with her any further.

And since I prefer my spouse stay with me (which I also express along with him refusing to leave), I will keep on keeping on the way that I already am. :) 

My responsibility to medical professionals is to tell them my medical history, including explaining that my inability to walk more than a few steps unassisted is what leads to my falling and the bruises.  While I understand and respect their need to ask me about possible abuse, they also need to respect my answer.
Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: River on February 20, 2013, 06:30:54 PM
I once managed to literally walk into a door one day, then the very next day bashed the same arm on the car door getting out. http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/Smileys/default/rolleyes.gif This resulted in two bruises perfectly placed and shaped to look like finger marks on my arm. I just happened to have a doctor's appointment when they were nice and purple and he asked me about it. I think my answer "I walked into two different doors" raised a bit of suspicion! He looked me right in the eye and said "It looks just like someone grabbed your arm." I explained in more detail, but I think he was still quite concerned when I left! Honestly, if it hadn't been me it happened to, I mightn't have believed it either.
Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: Mental Magpie on February 20, 2013, 06:58:17 PM
I don't know why I didn't remember this before in this thread, but the Eagle bruises very, very easily.  We like to wrestle which often results in him trying to pin down me to tickle me and me grabbing his arms to ward off him.  This results in fingertip bruises all up and down his arms.  I wonder what people thought...
Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on February 20, 2013, 09:39:17 PM
I had a friend in college who, for a while, bruised very easily, so much so that one of our mutual guy friends quietly and gently asked if everything was okay between herself and her boyfriend.   The girl laughed (genuinely) and said they were fine, she was just a klutz!

Turns out it was a malfunctioning spleen that caused her to bruise so easily, so she had it removed and the bruising stopped.  The bruises did look pretty bad, though.
Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: Calistoga on February 22, 2013, 08:38:42 AM
"I understand why you're concerned, but I have a sinus infection, and you're being very rude right now".

Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: Yvaine on February 22, 2013, 09:46:00 AM
I don't know why I didn't remember this before in this thread, but the Eagle bruises very, very easily.  We like to wrestle which often results in him trying to pin down me to tickle me and me grabbing his arms to ward off him.  This results in fingertip bruises all up and down his arms.  I wonder what people thought...

That they'd never seen an eagle with arms before?  >:D
Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: Zilla on February 22, 2013, 10:08:45 AM
I don't know why I didn't remember this before in this thread, but the Eagle bruises very, very easily.  We like to wrestle which often results in him trying to pin down me to tickle me and me grabbing his arms to ward off him.  This results in fingertip bruises all up and down his arms.  I wonder what people thought...
Who is eagle?  Your son?  I know when my kid got stitches on her forehead at age 3, I got funny looks at the store.  I felt like putting a sign around her neck, "She really did run into the corner of the wall!" lol
Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: amylouky on February 22, 2013, 11:26:15 AM
Our DS5 is constantly hurting himself and getting little bruises. So much so that I was nervous last year when taking him to the pediatrician for his checkup that they'd think it was suspicious.
I love our ped.. he just looked at DS's shins (which probably had about 10 bruises on them at the time) and said, "Yep. You're a 5 year old boy, all right."
I guess they can tell when bruises are a cause for concern.
Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: Mental Magpie on February 22, 2013, 03:41:52 PM
I don't know why I didn't remember this before in this thread, but the Eagle bruises very, very easily.  We like to wrestle which often results in him trying to pin down me to tickle me and me grabbing his arms to ward off him.  This results in fingertip bruises all up and down his arms.  I wonder what people thought...
Who is eagle?  Your son?  I know when my kid got stitches on her forehead at age 3, I got funny looks at the store.  I felt like putting a sign around her neck, "She really did run into the corner of the wall!" lol

The Eagle is my fiance.
Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: EllenS on February 22, 2013, 04:14:54 PM
Our DS5 is constantly hurting himself and getting little bruises. So much so that I was nervous last year when taking him to the pediatrician for his checkup that they'd think it was suspicious.
I love our ped.. he just looked at DS's shins (which probably had about 10 bruises on them at the time) and said, "Yep. You're a 5 year old boy, all right."
I guess they can tell when bruises are a cause for concern.

Our pediatrician looked at my dd's bruised shins and said "Leading edge bruises ...good, you're enjoying your summer!"
Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: Garden Goblin on February 25, 2013, 10:40:38 AM
We go into intake. He sits in the corner while I talk to the very nice male nurse, who took my information and asked me about my bruises. He glanced at DH a couple of times, then leaned closer to me and quietly asked if I needed a safe place to spend the night. Unfortunately for me, I cracked up! Laughing when you have two broken ribs is... painful. But I've never forgotten how careful he was to ask me that in a way that wouldn't have alerted DH, if he had been an abuser. (He's still "Mr. Right" after 18 years.  :)  8) )

My mother in law fell and got injuries to the side of her face that matched more or less what someone would get from a roundhouse or a backhand by someone strong.

The doctor in the ER was so subtle about questioning her that she thought he was just a ditz who kept needing her to repeat herself.  I caught on and found an excuse to leave the room for a few minutes so he could question her privately for his peace of mind.  When I explained to her what he'd been doing, she was all insulted on my behalf.  I found the whole thing amusing and reminded her that it was one of the reasons I liked this hospital so much - they actually care about their patients.
Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: Garden Goblin on February 25, 2013, 10:46:50 AM
My responsibility to medical professionals is to tell them my medical history, including explaining that my inability to walk more than a few steps unassisted is what leads to my falling and the bruises.  While I understand and respect their need to ask me about possible abuse, they also need to respect my answer.

A friend of mine ended up switching clinics because so many of the staff at her old one wouldn't accept her answers.  She and her SO boxed, and also were involved in an alternative lifestyle.  Yes, she was bruised, yes, he'd left the bruises, no, she wasn't abused was just impossible for the staff to wrap their minds around.
Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on February 25, 2013, 11:03:50 AM
I had an interesting 4th year.   Within the time span of one year I was in the hospital 4 times, three of which were in the ER for a broken leg, dislocated arm and stitches across my nose and eyebrow (or just under, it's been 30 years and I have trouble finding that scar though the nose one is still visible).  I also ended up having surgery to have my adenoids removed. Only good thing I (vaguely) remember from that year is getting my ears pierced.  It's one of those things I am not sure if it's an actual memory or based on what I was told.

I do remember being strapped to a papoose board as they sewed up my nose and eyebrow, screaming my lungs out.  Got that from falling down the stairs.  My mother told me that a nurse warned her during one of those incidents that if I ended up in the ER again, CPS might get called.   AFAIK, CPS was never called. 
Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: mmswm on February 25, 2013, 11:58:07 AM
I had an interesting 4th year.   Within the time span of one year I was in the hospital 4 times, three of which were in the ER for a broken leg, dislocated arm and stitches across my nose and eyebrow (or just under, it's been 30 years and I have trouble finding that scar though the nose one is still visible).  I also ended up having surgery to have my adenoids removed. Only good thing I (vaguely) remember from that year is getting my ears pierced.  It's one of those things I am not sure if it's an actual memory or based on what I was told.

I do remember being strapped to a papoose board as they sewed up my nose and eyebrow, screaming my lungs out.  Got that from falling down the stairs.  My mother told me that a nurse warned her during one of those incidents that if I ended up in the ER again, CPS might get called.   AFAIK, CPS was never called.

I had CPS called on me for "failing to treat a broken wrist".  The only person who ever said anything like that was a doctor who'd been filling in for our regular pediatrician.  This would be a doctor who, if she cared enough could have looked up the child's medical records and confirmed that the large bump on the outside of his wrist was the result of a bone tumor between the ulna and radius pushing the ulna out of place. While we would eventually attempt to fix it, at the time multiple hand surgeons had deemed it inoperable.

Here's what it looked like on the outside:

(http://i301.photobucket.com/albums/nn67/mmsw1/IMG_0470-1.jpg)

And an x-ray
(http://i301.photobucket.com/albums/nn67/mmsw1/wrist2_zps806706a5.jpg)

I called our primary ortho when the social worker showed up at my door and he hit the roof, finished work and drove 4 hours to where we lived to go visit the social worker himself, as well as filing a medical board complaint against the doctor who called CPS to begin with.

Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: VorFemme on February 25, 2013, 05:16:08 PM
My responsibility to medical professionals is to tell them my medical history, including explaining that my inability to walk more than a few steps unassisted is what leads to my falling and the bruises.  While I understand and respect their need to ask me about possible abuse, they also need to respect my answer.

A friend of mine ended up switching clinics because so many of the staff at her old one wouldn't accept her answers.  She and her SO boxed, and also were involved in an alternative lifestyle.  Yes, she was bruised, yes, he'd left the bruises, no, she wasn't abused was just impossible for the staff to wrap their minds around.

I'm gathering that she liked boxing and "being bruised"?
Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: JacklynHyde on February 25, 2013, 06:14:43 PM
Seriously, MM?  One look at his medical history would have shown EXACTLY why your son's wrist looked like that.  Sheesh.
Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: laud_shy_girl on March 31, 2013, 04:01:50 AM
mm you were reported for your child having a broken wrist, when he didn't and she was basing it on the appearance if his wrist?
Did she not touch his arm or look at it in anyway? the arm does look like it might be broken to layman like me but if a child shows no outward signs of pain?  and without looking at the x ray first?  :o



ok my brain just broke.
Title: Re: It's not what it looks like. No, really. But thanks for asking...I think.
Post by: mmswm on March 31, 2013, 01:20:20 PM
That's why it was so insane!  And also why I posted the x-ray picture.  This woman had access to his complete medical records, including that particular x-ray.  I also keep copies of all x-rays, images and official reports for all my children.  Each child has his own thumb drive, and I have all the original CD's stored in a safe place. She asked about the bump, I explained it and pointed her in the direction of his medical records and referred her to his hand and arm ortho (the boys have different specialty orthopedists for different body regions of the body) if she had additional questions.  She decided to call cps instead.