Talmbout: Women’s Health & Why Medical Professionals Suck When They Don’t Have To
A yearly exam at my local gynecologist is enough to get me to consider seeing a therapist *before* I even step my feet into those stirrups.
Women, you know what I’m talking about. The questions about your sex life (or lack thereof), or the change that you WebMD’d before you went into the office, or the “hmm your cervix looks a little red” during the exam and you’re like WAIT DOC IS THAT NORMAL, or that super crazy indifferent, almost bored look your doctor has pre-, during and post-exam. The whole birth control question and my favorite: “We’ll call you if anything comes back abnormal” last sentence before you are herded out of the office.
As a woman, my relationship with my gyno & my reproductive organs is more intense than with anybody else, and certainly any other healthcare professional. I will cancel trips or life changing events to see my gyno but my dentist, eye doctor, my boyfriend can wait.
I won’t go into my history but every woman, at some point, has been worried sick about something going on. How often do we have an open chat with our fellow women about some deep shit relating issues about lady bits and what we’ve been told or what we believe to be normal? How many conversations have we had with our girls about this?
This collective ignorance about our own bodies, along with the medical professions lack of treating women like human beings and more like pathological events has meant their is a huge, HUGE hole in our knowledge, our agency, the investment of the medical community to making sure we are educated properly about what is going on with us, caring for us as people and giving us real, real options. I don’t want to be written a prescription for this or that or asked to come in for more testing until I fucking KNOW I’m not some test subject but that I was fully in control of how to proceed, pros and cons of each.
Statistics, frankly, may help the medical professional in terms of how to proceed with anything but they do NOT help me as a woman understand what is going on with ME and how I should relate to MYSELF in a given situation. Has the healthcare community forgotten that there is a sense of shame or hush-hush around women discussing their own bodies?!? I mean, in some cultures women are viewed as UNCLEAN or simply as vehicles for pleasure and birthing babies and elements of these beliefs are continuously prevalent in how women interact with their bodies. I mean, bacterial vaginosis for example. Or a yeast infection. Or heaven forbid an STD. Think about all of the judgments that you have about these conditions, or what you will think of yourself, or what you think others will think of YOU. I’ve gone online and have found myself WebMD’ing conditions because I had no idea whether or not they were natural and have come across HUNDREDS of forums, online communities and medical websites where women ask each other “This is happening…is this normal?!” because hopefully some other empathetic person will give you not just an answer, but support. SUPPORT. Even in a regular checkup, I don’t always see my gyno as a supportive person. I don’t always know if they really care, if I’m just a “case”. Or if I’m just an economic opportunity. I went to one gyno who, upon discussing birth control, didn’t give me options but told me to try a specific kind. I went back a few weeks later to report physical and psychological symptoms that were distressing and the doctor just switched me to another version of the birth control.
That’s when I realized something: when a doctor doesn’t want to switch you or tries to convince you to stay on a certain medication, leave. Their relationship with their salesperson from XYZ pharmaceutical company is MORE important than you. That’s something else people don’t know: pharma companies have a sales force that go to doctor’s offices to pitch their products. If doctors elect to use these products, it means they push just those products on many patients even though EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT. This also happened at two dermatologists I went to. Healthcare is NOT NOT NOT one size fits all. Ladies, beware.
I realized I don’t always know what’s normal and having someone who cares and who listens makes all the difference. I don’t want to be treated like a test subject, poked and prodded, or like a diagnosis and given treatment options without fully understanding, or even worse being told about follow-up. I don’t want to be attended to by a physician who is more concerned about pathology than the person, who doesn’t think educating women about their bodies is worthwhile or who thinks giving a woman brochures to read up on is enough. I don’t want a doctor who won’t give me options. I look forward to the day when healthcare professionals who are holistic in their approach to care are widespread and for whom giving a legitimate fuck is a requirement and a nice to have. I look forward to the day when more research is done to benefit women. I look forward to the day when I can feel confident about calling my medical professional.
There’s a lot going on under the hood lately with me and music.
My last performance of the season will be this Saturday at Bowery Electric.
I’m going to devote the fall to recording my new EP. Not performing during this period keeps things distraction-free.
I plan on unveiling the EP later in the fall/early winter which just feels right. The ideas for this new effort came about late fall last year. This is an EP to be listened to and enjoyed under a winter’s sun.
There will be an EP release party and information about that will become public once the EP is fully finished.
The truth about PRISM has gotten real, and real uncomfortable
So the Guardian just posted an article today with scathing news that the NSA paid major telecommunications corporations for their compliance in handing over user data to the government.
In other words, the government paid Google, Yahoo, Facebook etc to comply with taxpayer dollars for handing over user data to the government so the government could spy on its own taxpayers.
This leaves me in quite a difficult position and in a bit of a quandary. I know I can download my data from Facebook and Google (which is being done as I write this) and shut down my accounts, even though a record of my data still lives on its servers or I can do nothing and just say, “Mehh, that’s what happens, what can we do about it?”
Inevitably, it seems, emerging technologies would come head to head with the reality that we global citizens have been paying for these “free” services with our data, which in many ways is much more valuable than money. And while a copy of the data trail I’ve left in the world will live somewhere, it does not mean that I shouldn’t be more vigilant of my electronic footprint and who has access to that information.
So I’m seriously debating whether or not to delete my Facebook account and while deleting my Gmail account is all but impossible (my new employer uses Google apps, my personal Gmail account, which I’ve had for 6 years, is what I use for everything), I plan on seriously limiting my dependency on Google products and not using Google Drive and other services (Chrome, I’m looking at you, sadly). The price we’ve paid for convenience is a large one and I’m not sure I want to keep paying it.
I have nothing to hide, that’s true. But neither do many people who want their own room or time away from everyone. You might barge in on someone in their room who is just watching TV or writing a paper for class, but the principle of PRIVACY and PERSONAL SPACE need not be explained. We are all connected; but just because I visit the bank and connect with a teller who I collect money from, it doesn’t mean that the teller nor the bank have any right to snoop on my accounts or in my private life. No. That just doesn’t hold. These examples aren’t necessarily the best, but they do illustrate certain issues we face. What if one day the government decides, for our own “security”, to mandate the installation of surveillance video in a private home? Then what?
I love being an American but I’m not down with this. I didn’t sign up for this. I’m a citizen working hard, trying to get ahead in life by continuously learning and working hard. That companies stand to benefit for complying with my government and getting paid MY HARD EARNED MONEY means that we are paying these companies with more than our data, we are shelling out CASH for it! We’re basically GIFTING them our data, our money and waiving the right to question who gets to access our data and when and for what purpose. I’m not down for that.
Once upon a time we were told that hackers and identity thieves were our greatest enemy on the Internet. They were the reason for which passwords and two-step identifications and other security measures were created. But the government gets in through the back door and by their own admission, they can’t even separate data originating from foreign users and domestic users, which means somebody somewhere else who may have written an email in LAX and then flown back to their home in Korea could have had their emails accessed while they were here. I’m not down for that.
There are no special interest groups for the American people, no one representing the interests of regular old taxpayers or people who want to work but can’t find a job or mothers who struggle to find affordable child care for their children, all of whom interact with the products that these communications corporations offer. We use Facebook, we use our nifty phones from Verizon and Sprint and AT&T, we look for updates from employers on our Gmail and Yahoo accounts. We are the reasons these organizations are successful and similarly we are the people who sign the government’s checks. So we need to make major demands of the government and we need to flip the script on this system. No more lobbying from corporations, no more paying corporations MY MONEY and then turning around and saying you want to tax them more, no more lies. Period. Just like I don’t expect to be spied on when I’m in my house in my PJ’s eating a tub of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream I do not stand for my data getting used in ways unclear to me and my money inadvertently being used to finance the spying activities against me.
Oh and Yahoo! owns Tumblr, right? You are welcome to share this post with the government and tell them that I, as an American, am appalled and ashamed by the activities you’re doing against me. I voted on the belief that you were better than that.
NYC, this is your LAST time to see me on stage until later in the year & I’ll be joined by @sirbeardo. Saturday, Aug 31, Bowery Electric. 7PM SHARP, $8 entrance. COME THROUGH!!!! #livemusic #music #newyork #boweryelectric #performance