Monday, October 31, 2016

Doctors tell a women to greatly risk their health for sex while men get to shut it all down for a headache. How this Mama Finally Said "Enough!"

A men's birth control study has been stopped due to 20% of men getting headaches. This really pisses me off. It isn't because I really need new birth control. My husband and I are no longer having intercourse.  No, I don't hate him, or sex. This isn't a mind game or a test. This is a health decision, and we are still happy, because I stopped listening to doctors. 

Let me start at the beginning. In my 20s when I began the pill I had horrible cramps all the time. They were constant. They were so painful that children couldn't sit on my lap when I was an intern. This couldn't be normal. The doctor told me to "get used to it" and wait months. Perhaps, I had a low pain tolerance? They put me on a lower dose. The cramps continued but they assured me all would be well. Really, I must be so sensitive. 

The pain continued. So did headaches and some mood issues. But, I wanted to be strong. I dreamed a monster was tearing at my stomach. I woke up and the pain was horribly real. After this stopped taking the pill immediately. Due to this I had really bad mood swings and two periods that month. I called people during crying jags. I cut corners at work. I know I had some really unrealistic expectations in my 20s that had nothing to do with whatever the pill did to me. But, after that month I felt failed as an adult and like many 20 somethings moved back home. I took much solace in Buffy The Vampire Slayer and my dog. I will say my mistakes were fully on me. However, all of this hormone dipping and diving did not help. 
Years later, I was in labor with my daughter. The hospital gives pregnant women these orders:

"Make sure the contractions are reasonably intense. Ten centimeters is fully ready to have the baby. If you are lower than three centimeters you will be sent back home until you are more dilated."                                                                                 

In other words: Don't be pussy about your pussy.  I went when the pain was bad for me. I was so afraid they'd sent me home. How embarrassing being weak when you're about to be a mother. But I wasn't. I was at seven centimeters and staff was surprised how well I handled it. 

It turns out I am a pain tolerance badass mama. So, I can't imagine how bad the pain was while I was taking the pill. I wonder what a man would say about it? How many studies would my pain have halted if I were a dude? I wonder what the women in the study for the pill said about the pain and how they were ignored as "hysterical.
At this point in my life I thought the world would leave me and my body alone. (I'm not talking about the constant pressure to have another baby and be thinner. Let's not get crazy. I just mean I thought people would leave my everyday bedroom stuff alone.) I am a "married woman with a child." I'm doing everything this culture wants me to do, right? So bye, Felicia to everyone being up in my business...
But, there was also this other problem - constant urinary tract infections (UTIs). These infections can cause a lot of pain. They would affect me so badly at times with my disability I couldn't walk. They really messed up my professional life too as I was often sick. They would happen every time I had intercourse with my husband. Every time.
Luckily, I could take an antibiotic after intercourse and that stopped them. Yay! Then the antibiotics stopped working. Boo! The UTIs often had atypical symptoms. No burning urination, lucky me. Instead I was utterly exhausted and in pain.
The last time I couldn't recognize a UTI I thought I must have cancer or lupus, or I was just being "crazy." I could barely make it to a child's birthday party down the street after sleeping the whole day. I was missing quality time with my baby girl. This lasted for three weeks until the UTI was realized. This time, I made the decision that I had enough.

I was no longer going to have intercourse. 

-The antibiotics didn't work.
-I was truly getting an infection every time we had sex.
-I am a mother of a young child.
- I am a woman with a disability that would lose the ability to be independent and take care of my child when I had these infections.
-It doesn't take a genius to see what the best and safest thing to do was. 
But no! I can't tell you how many doctors (4 and 3 of them female) told me that stopping intercourse was a bad idea. That this would "destroy my marriage." This is a real quote. In 2016. In Berkeley, CA. The docs acted like whiny high school boyfriends who just really want me to shut up and do it.
Here's all their advice:·      

-Can't I take cranberry pills? (Doing it. Not working)
-Can't I just jump up and pee after sex?? This works for other people (Tried it. It does not for me. Maybe I'm just not a fast jumper with the limp and all)
-Can't I just drink two glass of water before and after sex...? (Okay, that’s a bit..)
 -...And then shower right away

Okay, guys, you want me to drink a ton of water, jump out of bed and pee right after. Then you want me to drink more water and shower? Should I drink while showering? This isn't very romantic. Where are you during all this? On to your next Tinder date? I'm get the feeling you don't really care about me here, doc(s). You just really want me to do it, do it, do it... I have higher self esteem than that. Also, someone who really loves me and doesn't want me to go through all of that. So, what the fuck am I doing here with you? Get out! Get out of my bed. All of you! But.. I suppose I should be grateful for these doctors. The cancelation of male birth control is nowhere near the least disturbing story I have heard these past few weeks.  There is also the story of catholic hospitals who refuse to give birth control, tubal ligations, and abortions for any reason. They will not give abortions when BOTH the baby and mother will die if they don't do it, or when they know the baby will live for a few minutes and be in horrible pain.If catholic hospitals still see woman as only breeding stock. So, I suppose I should be grateful for my doctors who want me on hormones and are pushing me to suck it up and have sex with my husband lest I want my marriage destroyed. 

As women we are being pulled apart by both sides of our culture. There are so many ways to get sick because of sex. Including not being allowed to be sick of sex. Doctors have a responsibility to be better than this!

Maybe doctors aren't very creative people because "no intercourse" does not mean no sex. You think these Godless pill pushers would know that? You think they would know it's also really insulting to my husband to say no in-and-out will tear us apart. 

Do doctors think he is just some animal and that if I don't immediately offer up a hole he is going to take off? He is not Tori Spelling's husband, and Tori Spelling's story should tell you it doesn't matter if you offer up a hole when your husband is already an A-hole.

You want to know what is really stressful on a marriage:

  • Death,Pain,Illness that leaves one of you unable to care for yourself and your child,possible permanent kidney damage... 
  • These are all things that can happen to women with an undiagnosed UTI. I suppose I am lucky I have a husband that understands that these things are more stressful than no breeder sex. Especially, since no medical professionals seems to think he will. They all seem to think intercourse in the end all and be all of sex, which shocks me.

I wonder if it were gender reversed if people would think my hubby was lucky I understood that it wasn't safe for him to have intercourse. Or if I would just be excepted to halt all of my desires, like the male birth control study, because he has some pain.

I can't help but think of all the lives lost or ruined due to secondary complications of the pill and/or doctors pushing women into dangerous situations because we are still either meant to breed or keep other people happy. So, male birth control is being stopped due to men 20% of subjects having headaches? You can just say I have a headache forever. I'm not in the mood. Not for this discriminatory bullshit and not for intercourse, both are making me sick. 

Friday, October 28, 2016

This is my Ash vs Evil Dead/ Evil Dead meets The Disability Film Festival Story

I confess, at times, I don't like the Berkeley disability scene. I always feel like we are all in some contest and I'm not sure of the rules. It makes me nervous. But, I went to The Disability Film Festival this year.

 "Are you nervous?"  I asked filmmaker Russ Turnball of Terminal DeviceLater, I felt like it was a stupid question. He was an experienced film maker. It was all because I would be very nervous showing a film to the Berkeley Disability crowd. 

Anxiety is often why I go to comedy. Comedians were there. I wouldn't have set foot (or scooter wheel) in there if they weren't.  My friend, Nina G, was hosting the festival with another great comedian from Montana, Mike. They joked about the everyday hassles of disability. It turns out pushy do-gooders that are really more like harassers exist all over the country for people with disabilities. Mike told a story of a woman chasing him around a store asking if he needed help until he dropped a salad dressing bottle breaking it. This then confirmed her world view that he indeed needed help.

Young Russ Turnball with family 

The films were great. Especially   Russ Turnball's Terminal Device:
"The cinema loves the one-armed bad guy, but just who is Captain Hook? Terminal Device is an autobiographical essay and an inquiry into cinematic representation. Refracted through pop cultural images, the director's story as one of the men with hooks acquires unexpected resonance. "
 Then my discomfort the scene was realized when a hippy white woman asked Turnball, the straight white male Canadian filmmaker:
 "Can you talk more about the racism along with ableism in films with amputees? Also I was wondering what you made of the gay subtext of Peter Pan and Captain Hook?" 
"I do NOT want to talk about that, but thanks for noticing."

Turnball DID talk about race and being "the other" in his film. It wasn't that this question was a terrible one... at least not the race one. 

I do thank sweet baby Jesus he didn't talk about Peter Pan's gay subtext. Don't get me wrong, I'm a geek. I can talk about gay subtext until the day is long on (almost) anything. I can write fan fiction about it, but when it literally involves minors I would greatly prefer to leave it at the door. Turnball handled both questions beautifully. But, what does this have to do with him and all the other great points he brought up about disability identity in his film? Nothing. 
Captain Hook finds someone  age appropriate !

 This woman asking this question because she wanted to show what she was aware of more than anything else. But, this is fine. When we are looking at art aren't we all narcissistic?   But, still, I was kind of annoyed. I wanted someone to ask something specific to his film. I also wanted a little levity. I realize these were my own desires. 

 There was another issue. This was after the crowd had also shouted "Free Palestine" near a visiting Israeli 17 year old filmmaker. They didn't do it too aggressively.  It was a micro-aggression. They did it as the panelist announced that the films fest was brought to us by The Jewish Museum. 

I do agree with these white hippies views on Palestine whole heartedly. I just don't  think the  Israeli 17 year old wheelchair user needed to hear about our Berkeley views on Palestine. I doubt there was much he could do about it. The film his father did with him was a travel film. It taught me a lot about accessible issues while traveling in Europe. (Farewell Paris. Unless I want to lost 70 pounds so my husband can carry me in a baby bjorn. Not happening.)  Like most people with disabilities at 17 this boy  wants to think positive. He only has his able bodied family's and able bodied community's point of view and on disability. 

One of the best moments of the panel was when panelist, Jim LeBrecht, asked the teen more about himself and what he was interested in. He loves theater. Hopefully Peter Pan isn't ruined for him forever, at least not by the subtext question.

Teens with disabilities have a harder time with independence. He is still probably far too young to make his own bio pick yet. His father reported he had to fight to go to public school in Israel. So, I'd hold off on those complex views about relations with Palestine just yet.

Personally, I sometimes feel a great pressure with in the disability community to literally solve every problem with every statement I make. I know this is pressure I also put on myself. 

 I think this is something the American disability community has internalized from the able bodied culture about us: We can't just be ordinary people. As people with disabilities we MUST be extraordinary and make others around us feel like they should be too. 

This is  why I probably commented to the panel about Russ Turnball's  point in the film when he said  Ash, played by Bruce Campbell, in the first Evil Dead (1981) was the only example of empowerment through chopping off his arm. Turnbull's film features many horrifying clips of men with hooks doing violent things. One that literally horrified me was a clip of I Still Know What You Did Last Summer with an utterly terrified young Anna Ferris doomed to be sexually violated by a hook before she died. The clip showed little blood, but the anticipation of it and her face was so much worse. I can only imagine what it would be like for someone with a prothetic hook to see themselves that way. 

But Ash... Ash was different. Ash "maimed" himself to be free of a demon. He was liberated without that hand. I was disappointed that Turnball hadn't seen Evil Dead as a teen. Turnball was the epitome of a man who seems cultured without being the least bit of a snob or trying to show off his knowledge of subtext. I  became a subtext geek, rather than a snob, when I excitedly told him, and the crowd, about Ash Vs. The Evil Dead

The show features Ash thirty-five years later and still played by Bruce Campbell. Unlike Berkeley intellectuals It does not take itself seriously at all. But, I think that Berkeley intellectuals would hate all the blood no matter what. As bloody as the show is (very) all of the blood and guts tend to happen after the people have died or with demons, or in a dream. So, unlike the I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, the focus isn't on a human beings suffering. 

Human pain ends quickly on Ash Vs. The Evil Dead , even when fear doesn't. Ash and his crew never cause human beings pain. They just cause pain to demons. The demons, called deadites, often possess human bodies. However, once they are found out, they make it very clear just how inhuman they are. They are way too strong. They no longer need eyes. They seem to feel no pain. In other words, they are nothing like a person with a disability. 

Ash and his crew try to save people. Lots of times they are not so good at it. 

 I think this is just how I felt as I told the crowd Ash was still around. I was trying to save them from taking it all so seriously. I was trying to show them that this character who was empowered by "disabling" himself was now in his sixties. He still had his a chainsaw prosthetic arm and a regular prosthetic arm. He switches up the prothetics as disabled people do with all of our tools.  This confuses able bodied as they think a person just uses one device all the time to "solve the problem". 

I talked about how Ash used his chainsaw hand when fighting demons and how people often tossed it to him. I also told the crowd Ash was often stoned and not always the best decision maker. I said this made him a great anti-hero. 

I didn't really do this as some conscious micro-aggression but there it is. I think I couldn't take the pressure of how we all had to be these great heroes. I didn't want us to miss out on all of our individual stories because we are trying to solve all these problems of not being seen as a group. 

We can't free Palestine. We can't see all the gay subtext. We should be able to see each other if the rest of the world can't. 

Maybe I should of said to the Berkeley crowd the show: 

Regularly passes the Bechtel test.

-stars a man with a disability

-Co-stars Jewish woman, a Latino man and a woman over fifty.

Turnball said while appreciated Ash and the Evil Dead stuff probably was too weird for him. It is very weird. I hope Berkeley didn't seem to weird to him for different reasons. Later we talked about how as a kid with a disability people take so many pictures and records of you and how weird (and sometimes horrifying) it can be to find that stuff later.  People with disabilities share weird experiences.  I want to say how much I appreciated his film. When we can really listen to each other's stories we can find out new things about our own. It also made me realize how much Terminator is a disability film. I never realized that even though it greatly influences my weird sci-fi writing work.