Monday, March 22, 2010

The consequences of sex

When I was young, I had severe dysmenorrhea. Not every month thankfully, but often enough so that I dreaded the next month. Nothing seemed to help but we didn't have the effective antiinflammatory drugs we have now. I remember going to the library to research this sometime in the late 60s. I was surprised to read that it was a figment of my imagination and that it was my response to not accepting my womanhood. It then described the typical dysmenorrhic patient-thin and anxious of which I was neither. It was quite crippling. During my six hour attack, I could concentrate on nothing else and usually stayed home. My grandfather, a physician, would pass his medical journals on to me. These mostly consisted of glossy ads of my future employer and its competition but occasionally one could find something interesting in them. For instance, an article about the many Fs of gall bladder disease. The typical patient: Fat fiftyish, farting female with foul, flocculent,floating, feces. But most interesting to me at the time was that women on birth control pills rarely experienced dysmenorrhea!!! First of all, they acknowledged that this problem existed but better yet, a cure. The problem was that I was 17 and would need parental permission to score these pills. My mom was well aware of the misery I was in, dry-heaving, etc. She said the same had happened to her but all went away once she had kids. I pointed out the article to her and asked if she'd help me get the pills.

Why not?!?
Because then you could have sex with no consequences.

Thanks an effing lot. Again logic wasn't her strong suit. Better that I writhe in pain one day in month than risk me trying out consequence-free sex. Once I got to college I learned I could get contraceptives from the Health Service even though I still was a minor. But you had to go through a contraception education class and fill out a history full of what I thought at the time, very personal questions such as: frequency of intercourse. My then 18 year old self was outraged. In what universe is THAT anyone's business!! I left that one blank. Big mistake as then I was asked in person. I mumbled something about once or maybe twice a month, I don't know. Well maybe you should consider a less drastic form of contraception given the infrequency of such event. Um, I haven't established a regular pattern of intercourse due in part to having no contraceptives.
That worked and no more cramps until much later when I was trying for a baby. After that, ibuprofen eliminated any pain left.

Naomi was asked to distinguish between symptoms and signs of a disease in one of her classes recently. One you experience but there is no proof of them such as headache, fatigue, nausea; the other one can clearly see: a rash, swollen lymph glands, elevated temperature. Signs are given more weight than symptoms. Heaven help those with only symptoms and no signs!

Early in labor with Shanna, I thought I was experiencing terrible pain. The nurse on duty felt my contraction and told me that it was nothing-wait till I get a 'real' contraction!!!

A gray drizzly day today. I did get a run in before the rain. Yesterday after having lunch with Josh and Julia, I went to stretch out my muscles at the Y. Fortunately my back pain is almost gone though the frozen shoulder persists. I spent too much of today renewing my license. An incredibly long line and very inefficient Secretary of State workers!!! But I am good to go for another 8 years.

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