I’m not a wife beater – honest!

Phone rings; it’s a caller asking to speak to my wife who is out of the house just now.  I can tell it’s the nice lady from the hospital or such like, just by the accommodating tone of voice.  I explain that Maria is not in just at the moment.  The caller says

“it’s important please could she have Maria’s mobile number.”  I say, “well, who is it calling?” the caller says, “it’s personal”. I say, “well ok, don’t tell me what it’s about, just tell me who it is calling and I’ll give you her number, I mean are you from a BT Call centre, or maybe a market research person or maybe a caller from the hospital”. “I can’t do that It’s personal”.

This is staring to get annoying, I mean the caller clearly thinks that on the basis of a medical record she has more “personal” rights than I do, despite being married to Maria for 26 years. Why should I give a private number to a complete stranger on the basis that “it’s personal”.  I try to reason,

“Let me make this very simple; tell me that you’re not a sales person, but a caller from say the hospital or such like, and I’ll give you her number”

The caller irritated by my impudence decides I’m probably an abusive wife batterer and hangs up. The march of the individual over the couple, family, group continues on, and at the risk of becoming a grumpy old man, I find it destructively stupid.  I understand that a person’s private medical records should be private, but for goodness sake, it’s safe to say, it’s the dentist calling, or the hospital or the vet.

Next I’ll be judged as an overbearing idiot for even suggesting that I am a husband of a wife, or a father of a child, or a son of a mother.  Imagine the audacity of even suggesting that by virtue of actually taking part in voluntarily entered into marriage vows that somehow 26 years later that could mean something.  Well by law it does so why won’t a hospital caller give any recognition that in the life of my wife I mean something.

In my view the lady from the hospital should have asked me who I was in relation to my wife, “her husband” I would have said.  She could then have said, “well I can’t discuss her details, but it is the hospital calling”. Fine I would have said.  But instead we get the impression that I might as well be the window cleaner or a serial rapist.  Not funny – actually a very sad indictment on our modern individualist lives.

4 thoughts on “I’m not a wife beater – honest!

  1. Yup, fair enough on both sides, to my mind. You’re both trying to protect Maria’s privacy, from someone whose authenticity is unknown. And both getting annoyed at having your authenticity questioned. At least you have the advantage that you’re answering her phone number!

  2. I guess if a patient dies, then they acknowledge marriage etc, whereas in life it means nothing.

  3. Very annoying I know. I think the only person who would do that, apart from the NHS, is the person calling to say your premium bonds won a million! But they come to your house in person 🙂

    Best thing is to get Maria to put in writing that she wants them to share all her info with you (naming you). That usually does the trick.
    The reason they do it is because people split up from their spouse in acrimonious ways, then get up to all sorts of tricks to try and find out the spouse’s medical info, often to use it against them in court cases about access to children. He/ she is not physically/mentally fit to look after the children etc.

  4. Thanks Grace, it’s just the principle. Call me a soppy idealist, but I think that institutions should have as a default position the idea that a relationship that involves a cohabitant be they married or not should be wholesome and not otherwise.

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