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Three Legs Good, One Leg Bad

Megan carried Simon to an ambulance gently and lowered his wolfy frame onto the stretcher. The bright yellow-orange sarong that the Fat Lady had produced from her purse let the cold breeze into surprising places, but at least the inevitable photos would not be obscene. She allowed the EMT to persuade her into the same ambulance, so she squeezed in and sat next to Simon, holding one of his front paws, and avoided looking at the way his one back leg bent the wrong way.

"So how did god ass taste?" she asked him while they waited for the EMT to come back and the ambulance to get moving.

Simon dangled his bloodied tongue out one side of his mouth and rolled his eyes in an expression Megan took for disgust.

"Looks like you may've lost some teeth in that blast," she said, peering closer at his mouth.

A shrug, she decided, was distinctly odd on a wolf.

"You have got to get better at this shit," Megan said. "You were the black man out there on the field, and you were the first one to go down. Do you have any idea how cliched that is?"

Simon narrowed his eyes and somehow made his long nose seem even longer, a sarcastic and long-suffering expression.

"Just thought I should point it out, man," she said.

Simon attempted to yawn extravagantly at her, but was interrupted by a wince. He pawed at his face with his free paw.

"They'll get you the good stuff at the hospital," Megan said as the EMT climbed back into the ambulance.

The ride to the hospital was longer than it should have been, which said something for the state of downtown. Then again, Megan thought, they weren't exactly critical patients. She expected that other ambulances were getting help from the Ultimate and the Guardians and whatnot.

Once they reached the hospital and Simon's stretcher was wheeled inside, his head went up. He sniffed the air through a swollen nose, then looked around and let out a thin whine. He tried to get up, and was too strong for the EMT to hold down. The EMT gave Megan a pleading look.

Megan laid a heavy hand on Simon's neckruff. "Back down, big guy. I'll go find out about her, okay?"

Simon gave her the big, sad puppydog eyes and settled down. Megan sighed and went in search of a nurse who looked not entirely run off her feet.

This proved to be more difficult than she thought, but then she spotted a white woman in a white nun's habit with a large red crusader cross on the back. "Sister Peacebringer," she said, pitching her voice a little over the noise of the ER.

The nun -- one of the many Mystikai who populated Wonder City -- turned her wizened face toward Megan and smiled. "Megan Amazon," she said fondly, reaching for Megan's hand.

Megan felt the serenity of the old woman's smile seep through that contact and into her own bones. Her neck muscles relaxed, all her various pains seemed to lessen, and even the little ache where she had been chewing at herself about G felt like it was wrapped in cotton wool. It was a pretty awesome power, if one didn't think about it too hard. She sighed, and returned the nun's smile. "I was wondering if you'd seen if they brought Suzanne Feldstein in."

Sister Peacebringer's eyes grew sad. "Yes, poor woman, she's quite traumatized, but not badly hurt. In shock, I think. They've moved her to a private room on the third floor, and the Gold Stars have someone guarding the door."

"Oh, thank you," Megan said. "I just came in with a friend of hers -- the one who was there when it all started -- and he was worried about her."

"That would be Simon?" the nun said. "She was asking for him. You should go talk to... I think Sekhmet is on guard duty. I'm sure she'd be glad to bring her news."

Megan thanked the good sister, and made her way up to the third floor, mostly by hunting down the cargo elevator and going up the back way. It took a while. Still, she spotted Sekhmet immediately, standing erect in golden armor just past the nurse's station.

"Hey," Megan said, approaching cautiously.

Sekhmet raised one elegant eyebrow. She was somewhat darker than Megan, but lighter than Simon, with dramatic cheekbones and a long, arched nose. Her helmet hid any other details. The right side of her face was swollen and bruised, and her right eye was closed by the swelling. Her lower lip was split. The armor had seen better days, full of dents and particles of asphalt, and some of the leather straps were torn and hanging loose.

"I just wanted to let Suzanne know that Simon was just brought in. He's okay, got a broken leg and missing some teeth, but he'd like to see her."

Sekhmet smiled crookedly. "She has been very concerned about him, and asking us to find out what happened to him. I will tell her. Thank you, Ms. Amazon."

Megan nodded and didn't even grimace at being recognized.

She found Simon again in a bed in the ER. Someone had convinced him to turn human, and had cleaned up his face and splinted his leg. He lay there, bruised and puffy and pathetic, plucking irritably at the flowered hospital johnny with the hand that didn't have an IV in the back of it. He brightened and sat forward immediately upon seeing Megan.

"The Gold Stars have a guard on her room," Megan said, "but I passed on the message that you were all right and wanted to see her."

Simon settled back on the bed. "Thanks," he said with a lisp from the swelling in and around his mouth. "I'm glad... thanks for letting her know." Megan was amazed to be able to watch his body seem to collapse in on itself as his adrenaline crashed. She noticed that his eyes were glassy, and assumed the good stuff was in that IV line. "I wanted to call my mom, but I left my clothes out there with my cell phone and stuff."

Megan gestured to her sarong. "My cell phone is slag, man. Along with my jeans and shirt and my leather jacket and boots..."

"No!" Simon said. "Not the jacket!"

Megan nodded sadly. "I thought for a minute that I'd have to use the scraps to improvise a loincloth."

"Megan Amazon, savage pinup model," Simon said dreamily.

"Fuck you," Megan said, smiling. "You're high as a kite, aren't you?"

"Yeah," Simon said. "They got me the good stuff. Could you call my mom?"

"Sure," Megan said. "I don't know if I can get through to her, though. She's probably busy."

"It's only," Simon said, slurring the syllables, "that they're saying that the leg is too bad to repair, and they think they might have to take it off."

"What?" Megan said, horrified.

"Yeah," Simon said, looking sadly down at his leg, which was, now that Megan had a chance to look more closely, splendid in colors that it oughtn't to have been. "And that would suck."

Megan stood up. "I'll find someone who can get through to your mother."

"She's got this thing she made," Simon said vaguely, "that does stuff to speed up healing and... stuff for the family."

"I'll find her," Megan said, turning toward the door.

"Megan?" Simon said quietly.

She turned back and was taken aback by the tears trickling down Simon's face. "What?" she asked.

"Some dickhead put me down as 'female' on my chart," Simon said, scrubbing at his face like a little kid.

"I'll take care of that too," Megan said. "Get some sleep, man."

"Thanks," Simon said, and he fell asleep.


From Jude:

Today's post wasn't triggered by donations, but by outrage. Many of you have probably seen this article, but for those of you who haven't, a summary: Erin Vaught went to an Indiana ER because she was coughing up blood. She was mocked, disrespected, abused, and finally refused treatment because she is a transwoman. This isn't uncommon. This is appallingly common, in fact. Common enough that I wrote this episode before I saw this news break.

What can you do? There's a petition to demand that Ball Memorial Hospital stop discriminating against LGBT patients. There's a Ball Memorial Hospital Facebook page where you can tell them what you think of them (warning: you have to "like" the page to be able to comment). You can write letters (which are often more effective than e-protests) to the administrative offices of Clarian Health and the hospital (snail mail addresses and phone numbers here).

And you can remember that this isn't an isolated incident, but something that happens every day, everywhere, and you can speak out against transphobia and homophobia and racism and sexism.

New Feature: Simon Says
Likely starting in the next week or two, I'm going to start posting signal-boosts of stories and LGBT/anti-racism/anti-sexism/anti-ableism activism. I'll do my best not to spam you, and will probably experiment with some different formats to minimize disruption. I know you're here for the story, after all!

Vote for us at Top Web Fiction!


Date: 2010-08-04 04:55 pm (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
From: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This was a wonderful episode.

>> Today's post wasn't triggered by donations, but by outrage. <<

Yeah, I saw the background for that; it's all over the LGBT lists. I was reminded of the segregation age when colored people were turned away from white hospitals. I hope the offending staff members lose their licenses.

By the way, there's a petition on Change.org:

I like the idea of using creativity to fight discrimination. Last year somebody said that women can't write hard science fiction, so I slotted that topic into my January Poetry Fishbowl. It was quite popular.

>>New Feature: Simon Says
Likely starting in the next week or two, I'm going to start posting signal-boosts of stories and LGBT/anti-racism/anti-sexism/anti-ableism activism. <<

Woohoo! I do some stuff like this and would be happy to see what catches your eye. If you're not already watching it, I find "Teaching Tolerance" useful for wide-scope anti-ism resources.

You can probably use the tag feature to let people sort what they see -- tag episodes with "story" and articles with "Simon Says" or "activism" etc.

Anyhow, thanks for all you do. "Wonder City Stories" is a highly evocative exploration of issues that affect our lives.

Re: Wow!

Date: 2010-08-07 06:04 pm (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
From: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
It makes me feel a lot less tongue-tied than I normally do in conversations about controversial topics.

That's another good effect. I hadn't thought of that one, being a noisy flavor of activist myself, but I know a lot of people who would probably find this useful.

Thank you so much for your continued support and kind words. They mean a lot to me.

*bow, flourish* Happy to be of service! I really appreciate all the hard work you put into this weblit.

I mean no offense, but

Date: 2013-01-10 03:43 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Wouldn't a doctor need to know what your body's gender is, rather than what you self-identify as? I suppose they could ask for both; add a little T next to the M and F, but a transgendered individual could just as easily do the same, right?

Re: I mean no offense, but

Date: 2013-01-10 02:16 pm (UTC)
heavenscalyx: (Default)
From: [personal profile] heavenscalyx
In general, no. There's just not enough difference between the sexes, biologically, to make a difference in health decisions, especially when you're talking about a broken leg. If it's a matter of diseases of the ladyparts that an FtM person still has, it matters (and often, FtMs are refused treatment for things involving their ladyparts, even up to and including cancer, etc). Even worse, is if a gender is written down on a form, then the constantly changing hospital staff will always misgender the person -- and may do so maliciously. Also, the gender on the form being at odds with the person's gender presentation may open them to outright harassment and abuse. And, in the end, I can't imagine many things more nightmarish if you're sick and in pain than being addressed by the wrong pronoun or name.

I strongly recommend that if you're on Twitter, you go read the very recent hashtag #transdocfail. That tag contains stories, often just heartbreaking, from transfolk who have encountered sometimes horrific issues with healthcare professionals. Also, there is this article in the Guardian about #transdocfail. The hashtag and article are UK-focused, but the problems are rife, terribly common, and awful in the US and elsewhere.

Re: I mean no offense, but

Date: 2013-01-10 02:43 pm (UTC)
tigerflower: (Default)
From: [personal profile] tigerflower
Hi, medical historian here. Doctors in general are trained to treat all bodies the same regardless of the biological sex of the body in question. For most conditions that do not immediately involve the sexual/reproductive organs, biological sex is either immaterial to diagnosis and treatment or has only incidental practical bearing on how a doctor decides to diagnose or treat a patient.

That is what medical science teaches and has taught since the early 20th century.

What doctors do, and whether a doctor's personal responses to a patient's sex alter how that doctor treats an individual patient is a different question.

Doctors are not immune to prejudice and bias, unfortunately. Doctors do sometimes bias the treatment decisions they make for their patients based on personal prejudices. Sometimes this has bad, or even tragic, consequences.

It is not uncommon for transgendered people who do not have a medical need to disclose their transgender status to doctors to choose not to do so, to avoid encountering potential prejudice.

So long as the medical issue in question does not involve the sexual/reproductive anatomy or any drugs that interact with sex hormones, this is generally not problematic in the slightest and can in fact let people avoid unnecessary trouble.


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