“I never cease being dumbfounded by the unbelievable things people believe” ~Leo Rosten
Monday, December 3, 2007, I remember it like it was yesterday. I got my daughter all set for school, put her on the van, went back in the house, showered and was dressing when the phone rang. It was the high school nurse.
I just want you to know I put up an ad looking for someone to help you with your daughter before school.
What on earth are you talking about?
She goes on this song and dance about how I should have help in the morning to bathe and dress my daughter. I get incensed.
Why do you think there is a problem?
After pushing her, I finally get this …
Well, last week I noticed that she wasn’t as clean as she could be in her diaper area.
So I ask if she is talking about the white discharge my daughter had. She admits she was. I was getting more and more infuriated. How dare she. I honestly asked:
Do you do a vulva check on all the high school girls?
Silence. I continue:
Do you know what it is like to live in a plastic diaper 24/7 for 15 years? Do you even care that she has always had a discharge a few days before her period and this is normal? Do you have a clue what her care at home is?
Who authorized you to talk to anyone about my daughter let alone hire someone? Who should pay?
And then finally, before hanging up …
Would you do this if I was her mother?
I immediately called the superintendents office. I was completely livid. I demanded to know why a mandated reporter was basically accusing me of neglect, insisting that I cannot care for my daughter, trying to hire help for me. I asked the appropriateness of it, I wanted her proof that there was an issue, I wanted to know if this was sexism, what her motives were.
I then passed on a fact that no one in the school district knew. I mentioned that in fact I was a single parent but my then current girlfriend lived with my daughter and me. Furthermore, my girlfriend had a bit of a clue in how to care for my daughter and make sure all was well. You see, my girlfriend was the Nurse Manager at a pediatric rehabilitation hospital.
Two days later I received a call. Never an apology, but an explanation. Yes, it appears the nurse had a problem with a single father taking care of a teenage girl. Sound familiar?
Let’s not forget that this puke is not alone in her confusion … while this story is a misplaced accusation of neglect, it is balanced by this story of a misplaced accusation of abuse. There is something very wrong here.
I’m sorry you have to routinely deal with such ignorance and accusations. Infuriating.