"Married or divorced?" she asked last week. And I stared beyond her shoulder at the anonymous "administration" art on the wall for several seconds too long.

"This usually isn't a question people have to think over.".

"Here we go again." I was sitting at Outpatient Registration, signing up for some routine tests my doctor wanted. I hadn't really thought through the preliminary bureaucratic processes, preferring to spend my limited energy reserve clutching bravely, self-effacingly, toward my ailing innards while imagining myself gowned in flattering, feather-edged negligees as nurses conveyed effusive floral offerings from concerned well-wishers. Oh, nothing serious, thank you for asking, just a touch of suspicious indigestion, but if one has to worry the details of one's life, one might as well be well dressed and appreciated for the occasion.

At that moment I discovered my evolution.

"Well, you see, I"m a lesbian," I responded matter-of-factly. "I don't know what hospital policy is on the subject. So while I"m not legally married, I certainly consider myself married.".

"Well, Honey," she placated. "That's nobody's business but your own.".

"Well, no. Actually." My turn without hesitation ".if I should be hospitalized because of this test (dramatic visions of a consumptive Camille wafting just inside my eyes) I want to make sure that my partner can get into the room, help make life or death decisions, and is treated like a family member.".

"Oooohhhh." She responded, understanding dilating her pupils. "Why, that makes sense all right." And she typed the name I gave her into the space for Next Of Kin.

I didn't think about "Coming Out" at the hospital. I didn't think about my political responsibility for enlightening or informing another uneducated being about being in the exhaulted presence of a previously undetected member of an aberrant, yet normally occurring, social sub-set. I just wanted my partner/companion/gf/so to be able to bring me coloring books and pizza way past visiting hours and be able to make life-or-death decisions on my behalf just in case.