My Planned Parenthood: Planned Parenthood is me

My Planned Parenthood: raise your voice. tell your story. July 7.

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My story is different. At least, that’s what I tell myself, because I don’t know if I could deal with it otherwise.

[Trigger Warning for following content: rape, sexual assault, “pro-life” protesters]

I started going to Planned Parenthood when I moved to Washington, had no insurance, and needed birth control for my horrible periods and because I wanted to have safe sex with my boyfriend. The providers at my local clinic were, and have always been, professional, helpful, informative, and trustworthy. That last part is key.

It was key because I could trust them. I could trust them to insert my IUD properly, and help me deal with the aftermath of an expulsion. Another IUD insert, and the aftermath of a contaminated insertion leading to PID. They helped me understand that PID is not just from STIs, and that there was no shame in it, no matter how you got it. They helped me heal the infection that would have killed me had it stayed untreated.

And during that treatment, my life changed. I walked through the gantlet of protesters, eyes hidden behind sunglasses yet body language betraying my fear and anxiety. I was not there to get an abortion, yet they treated me as if I were – offering pamphlets, little baby dolls, prayers, “help.” I was called a baby killer. I was treated as a murderer. I was none of these things: I was trying to save my life, Planned Parenthood was helping me, and because I could not go to a “regular” doctor, I was the target of harassment.

That experience galvanized me, gave me purpose. When I was recovered enough, I contacted the clinic and told them that I wanted to volunteer, to escort. Thrilled, they got me in touch with the coordinator, I went through training, and found myself on the sidewalk wearing a garish orange vest and terrified out of my mind. The protesters know when “abortion days” are [our system is so underfunded and understaffed that the team rotates through the state at different clinics] and show up in force. Most of them are middle-class soccer moms, with some older men as well. 99% of them were white, while the clientele was not.

I helped so many people during my time escorting, before I had to “retire” due to medical problems. I shielded them from the scorn, the hatred, the accusations and pointing fingers. I watched so many people walk in those doors, uncomfortable with the protesters but with their minds made up.

I wonder how many lives I helped to save or turn around. I don’t think I’ll ever know, really, but that’s ok.

What most people don’t know is that Planned Parenthood helped me in ways beyond gynecological care. At a time when I was struggling to come to terms with my worsening disabilities, with my assaults, with my sexuality, purpose in the world, and other things, they gave me a chance to help others. They trusted me to help them help others. In so doing, they helped to pull me out of the increasing depression I was in, gave me something to focus my nervous energy on.

Now, I’m still a volunteer with them. I staff the table at local fairs – if you go to a fair in upper Washington state and see a Planned Parenthood table, there’s a good likelihood I know the people there. Tabling is a different sort of thing. Instead of protecting patients from potentially violent protesters, I help spread the word about Planned Parenthood and our campaigns. Right now we’re trying to get “crisis pregnancy centers” regulated under HIPPA, and that involves getting the signatures of voters.

Being able to see people change their minds, to sign the petition, and walk away proudly wearing a Planned Parenthood button or sticker, is an amazing feeling. Seeing parents encourage their children to talk to us, to get swag, is so encouraging.

Sometimes I think about where I would have been if there were not a Planned Parenthood in my area, and I cringe at the thought. They have helped me grow, change, and heal from the abuse, assaults, and the rape. They’ve let me help others who desperately needed it, and in so doing they helped me when I most desperately needed it, although I didn’t realize it at the time.

My Planned Parenthood is me.

oiiiii

there are certain words in the English language that should never ever EVER be put in the same sentence.

Words like “needles” or “scalpels” and “girlie bits.”

Because honestly, fucking ouch.

Two things

…that are totally unrelated. First, Harry Reid addressed Dr. Tiller’s murder — and finally, someone in power called it what it really was: an act of terrorism. There are two really good discussions on the matter here at ontd_political and here at ontd_feminism, both on LJ.

Second, either my allergies are doing things they’ve never done before [brave new world? I fucking hope not], or I’m dying.

To be more specific, it’s extremely hard to breathe, my inhaler [asthmatic here] isn’t doing much, and I’m whistling when I breathe. And no, before you ask, it’s not the air going by the perforation in my septum, since I’m kinda not breathing through my nose. Soooo… dunno what’s going on but I’m more than a tad worried. The other factors are only creeping me out more, as it potentially means a pulmonary embolism, though that could just be my I’M DYING sense kicking in.
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Now playing: VNV Nation – Illusion
via FoxyTunes

Oh, look — a blog post; wherein I “come out” about things

It’s been some time since I’ve felt the energy to make a post here.  I’d say I’m sorry for being missing all this time, but — it’s been entirely out of my control, so I’m not really anxious to take the blame for medical reasons.

I’m also writing this with a [most likely] broken elbow, so… there may be typos and stuff you normally wouldn’t see here.  Such is life, apparently.  also, a protip: if your hand’s turning purple, your splint is WAY way too tight.

Life has been interesting.  I’m in between therapists right now because my previous, awesome one finished his internship and is leaving [v. sad] and I’m waiting to make an appointment with my new one.  This, of course, would have to happen right as things blow up, medically, mentally, and emotionally.  There’s something going on with my personal life that I’m having a very hard time coming to grips with — and I’m not comfortable posting about it until I talk to a couple very specific people first.

I’ve been dealing, on and off, with back pain for a long, long time.  Like, thirteen-fourteen years “a long time.”  At the beginning of the month, however, it got severely worse, to the point where I could barely make myself breakfast [when said breakfast consisted of toasting a bun and slicing some cheese up].  My doctor, however, told me that I didn’t need imaging, that the dowager’s hump I have is “just fat!”, and that I just need to [here it comes, folks!] LOSE WEIGHT AND EXERCISE.  Right, because I can totally run or lift weights or use the elliptical if I can’t stand, y’know?

Two visits to the emergency room, one myelogram, and some unusual meds later, I find out what’s going on.  No herniated discs [thank fuck for that, I’m not exactly excited over the prospect of spine surgery right now], BUT: I have degeneration in both of my sacroiliac joints [where your spine connects to your pelvis AKA rather fucking important] as well as what amounts to an extra joint in my lumbar spine.  And yes, both of them are extremely painful.

What this means to me?  I have no “hope” of ever “losing the weight by being active” again.  It’s taken a long, long time for me to admit it, but here it is: I am disabled.  I’m not in that “able with issues” group any longer, I’m fully in that “yep, I’m fucked!” stage.  And while this, again, is only my view and take on it, it’s … shocking.  Even though I had a niggling feeling for so, so very long that there was Something Wrong with me, I’d not only refused to admit it, but I wouldn’t have accepted it if a doctor told me, flat-out, that my spine was fucked.

I guess that’s the danger of a slow, slow crawl from “fully able and active” [I did gymnastics, soccer, flag football, and seven very successful years of softball when younger] to “disabled.”  It’s harder to accept, because you can’t see the changes.  You’re too close to the problem, something like “not seeing the forest for the trees.”  And while I can’t say that a car accident would’ve been preferable [oh hell no], I still wonder how my thought processes would have wandered if it had been something sudden.

And here is where I gripe, yet again, over the state of health care in this country.  Because I look “just fine!” other than the terrible, terrible sin of daring to be fat, nobody believes me when I say that I have spine, hip, and other problems that preclude things like, oh, I dunno… walking across the [very large] college campus in one go.  The looks I got last week while doing a visit for ~daring~ to sit down and rest after walking some distance were … extremely hurtful.  The alternative, of course, would have been to keep walking and collapse in a fit of pain-induced vomiting fifteen steps later.  I’m not joking, it’s really really fucking painful and there comes a time during the day when I have to sit/lay down and rest or I will be making a trip to the ER.

And sadly, a number of the people giving me the nastygram looks were people with other disabilities.  Canes, wheelchairs, walkers… whatever.  And — at this point in time, I take my cane with me almost everywhere.  It’s not worth the risk of not having it when needed anymore, so it’s not like people can’t tell I’m having problems.  It’s an “invisible disability,” but I’m not without visual cues that shit’s fucked in Kaieville.

Well, now that I’ve rambled for some time, gonna try to get back on track.

The thing is, it’s not easy for me to accept this.  And I know that certain of my ~medical care team~ will do everything they can to shame me and bully me into thinking that I did this by *omg* being fat.

Except — lumbarization is not something you can control.  You can’t sit there and say, “hey, spine, don’t fully fuse at the sacrum/lumbar intersection!” — it’s automated, and you can’t fuck it up by doing… whatever.  And the degeneration?  Yeah, family history there.  Hips?  Injuries and sciatica… blah blah blah.

I’m not really looking forward to my next appointment.  And while yeah, I could technically switch doctors, that’s not as easy as it sounds.  Because, you see, Medicaid is a jackass and limited me to one PCP, one controlled substances provider, one pharmacy, and one hospital [for non-emergency purposes].  And so all referrals need to go through my PCP… which… means I can’t vet or change doctors without him approving it.

Can you see it?  “Yeah, doc, I want to stop seeing you and check out other doctors because you’re not doing what I need you to do; can you give me a referral?”  In a perfect world, this wouldn’t be an issue.  Hell, in a fucking perfect world, I wouldn’t be needing to switch doctors.  But, in this fucked-up system and fucked-up world, you take what you get.

And besides, how do you successfully change a doctor’s worldview from “your fat olololol CALORIES IN CALORIES OUT” to “yeah, being thin isn’t the end-all-be-all, just focus on being healthy for now”?  Especially if he thinks that your spinal problems will go away if you just… oh, forget it all.

I’m having a rough time, honestly.  I’m withdrawing into myself again, because I can’t get outside often, and when I do, it’s either to the doctor’s office, the pharmacy, or the grocery store.  That’s it.  I haven’t been “out” for fun in… since my birthday, actually.  Two and a half months.

It’s hard being alone.

And it’s even harder when none of your providers can accept that shit needs to happen BEFORE you’ll be able to ~lose weight~, especially if you can’t be “active” at all.

That’s gonna be a helluva appointment.

And with that, I bid you adieu for today.  I hope to post more often, but — I won’t guarantee anything.  Just keep checking back as you can.