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Jan 14 2009

Old crones get bum’s rush in Transplant-land

I’ve been called away on an aunting emergency, but before I waddle off into the wild blue, let me acquaint you with this particularly repellent little dollop of discrimination: older women are less likely than men to be listed for kidney transplants.

Women over 75, in fact, are 59% less likely to be listed than dudes of corresponding age.

So sayeth Medical News Today.

The reason given for the disparity is a whimsical concept called “perceived frailty.” That is, either the referring nephrologist or the patient herself thinks older women can’t cut it, robust-o-wise, in a transplant situation. This despite the fact that, according to the article, there is no evidence whatsoever to support the idea that older women are too frail to recover from kidney transplants; survival rates are similar in men and women.

But of course, as a result of institutionalized misogyny, both the nephrologist and the patient have been conditioned since birth to believe that little old ladies are made of spittle and pink kleenex, so these findings are as unsurprising as they are revolting.

Also revolting is the revelation that factors like race and fatness make transplants even less likely. See the short article for pertinent details I don’t have time to go into here.

Once again, folks: misogyny is a humanitarian crisis.

[Gracias, Cindy]

84 comments

  1. MLH

    The article says: “women over 45″ as the starting age. That’s not really that old. My mom (back in Spain) got one when she was a bit older than that. Since I have the same disease as she, this news worries me. But, that (and the lack of universal healthcare in the U.S.) is the reason I refuse to change my citizenship. At least I know I won’t be discrimated (for a transplant) in Spain.
    So many things have to change, so many!

  2. CLD

    Good thing my kidneys are healthy, seeing as how I’ve passed the magic old-crone age line to 46. Jesus, I must be farting dust by now.

  3. Orange

    Old ladies are hardcore, man. They are hardcore. Why is it that the 80 age group is mostly female? Do women outlive men because they’re too frail to die? Come on.

    I may need a new kidney when I’m an old lady, and these fuckers had better not fuck with me. (And they should quit fucking with other women who aren’t hip to these statistics.)

  4. Kali

    “Perceived frailty” my a$$! The real reason is that women’s lives are considered as being less valuable and less worth saving, especially past their “fuck-object” and “breeder” stages.

    The success rate for heart surgery is also lower for women than men. Guess who is blamed? Women, of course, who are urged to explain their symptoms better to doctors and ask the “right” questions and educate themselves. Women should clean up their act and train themselves to “receive” better health care. Doctors can continue with business as usual.

    Sometime back there was a study showing that parents (especially fathers) are less careful with monitoring and buckling-in their female toddlers and infants, as compared to male ones in grocery stores. The popular explanation at that time was a higher perceived robustness/independence of daughters compared to sons – the girls develop sooner than boys canard.

    The explanation varies, but the reason is the same – i.e. females worth less.

  5. Kay

    In my women and genders studies class last year, I learned that women are also less likely to get knee transplants, because doctors tend to think they’re exaggerating pain. So either women are perfectly fine so they don’t need surgery, or are so close to death that we just shouldn’t bother?

  6. cafesiren

    “…made of spittle and pink kleenex” made me laugh, but the rest of this makes me angry. And Kay’s comment (above) is telling, too.

  7. yttik

    LOL, I have daily lessons in the complete lack of fraility of old crones. Tough does not even begin to describe it. I have a 76 yr old neighbor who shimmies right up her plum trees and about gives me a heart attack every time I see her swinging like a monkey out there. Indeed, why break a hip falling out of bed when you could do it climbing trees?

    I rescued another neighbor who was standing on the road with broken glasses in her hand. I assumed she had dropped her glasses, so I helped her into the house only to discover she was bleeding from what appeared to be her hand. She insisted she was fine and just needed a cup of tea to settle her nerves. I obliged. So while we’re sipping tea and pleasantly discussing the weather, she removes her coat at which point I saw the bones protruding from her shoulder. Needless to say I am not a tough old crone quite yet, so I promptly hit the floor to put my head between my knees. The poor woman had broken her glasses and her shoulder. At that point I wanted to call 911, but she threatened to beat me with her good arm if I didn’t just call her husband. At this point I had developed a healthy respect for her, so I obliged. He drove her to the hospital and fortunately it all ended well. But I learned that day that you should always overestimate an old crone’s injuries, because some of them are prone to an almost surreal kind of toughness.

  8. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    If old crones have one foot in the grave and the other on a greased flounder, why do they statistically outlive teh menz?

  9. Cycles

    From the article: “It appears as though either the nephrologist believes women have a worse chance of survival or some women don’t think they will have a good outcome

    When the message through your entire life has been to take care of others’ needs first, ignore your own pain and symptoms, be the self-sacrificing angel to your family, your time is not your own, stop whining, is it really that surprising to hear that women don’t push their doctors to waste a perfectly good organ on them? Or that their own perception of their frailty, also beaten into our heads from birth, makes it more likely that they’ll predict the transplant will do more harm than good?

  10. VibratingLiz

    Maybe most men figure they’ll have women to take care of them round the clock after their transplant, whereas more women realize that nobody is going to step up and be there for them when they need care 24/7. So they give up in advance. I’ve felt this way myself: There’s a possibility that my survival may depend on an autologous stem cell transplant in the next few years (no donor — it’s using my own harvested and treated marrow stem cells), and I’ve seriously considered not going through with it if the need arises. Not that I fear I’m too frail by a long shot, but that I know I can’t possibly survive such an extreme ordeal on my own, so why bother with the agony and expense.

  11. lawbitch

    Apparently it’s because women are *invisible.* I found a book at the library yesterday entitled: Houston Women: Invisible Threads in the Tapestry.

    Women are especially invisible “after their prime,” as you duly noted.

  12. BadKitty

    VibratingLiz – Did you used to have a web site called Spinning Liz? If that’s you, shit, you can come stay with us if you would ever need to (dog forbid). I’m a cancer survivor, too, and my partner and I would welcome you with open arms. We could start a commune of cancer survivors and take care of each as needed.

    Of course, we do live in northern MN and the forcast is for -25 tonight so consider yourself warned.

  13. La di Da

    As an aside: Twisty, please just say fat or fatness or higher weight or something like that instead of “obesity” (or “overweight”). No need to use language endorsed by a fat-hatin’ medical establishment to medicalise a body size and separate out deviants from the normals. That is, anyone without dudely qualitites or maybe conventionally pretty young woman looks. Old, fat, “ugly”, poor, disabled, female, etc? Obviously you need curing, or if you can’t be cured, then fuck off and die and stop bothering us. Even nice doctors think this way, thanks to patriarchal models of medicine and health. I am no fan of “alternative” medicine either, for the same reasons and more.

    I know you were quoting from the article, but I had to say.

  14. Pandechion

    I have congenital hip dysplasia. A few years back I was in so much pain from various dysplasic side effects that I was using a cane any time I had to walk longer than a half-hour. I was thirty-eight at the time.

    My GP sent me to an orthopedic surgeon whose first words to me were, “You look fine to me.” When I went through my litany of chronic ailments and insisted that, no indeed, the pain was bad enough to cripple me for several days each month, he responded, “I find that very difficult to believe.” My jaw hit the floor. Of all the responses I anticipated, total denial of my condition was not one of them.

    A year later, I tripped and broke my leg while on vacation in Amsterdam. I walked back to my apartment and up two flights of stairs, thinking that the blinding pain was a really bad sprain. The next morning– alone and sans telephone– I realized that I’d probably broken it and threw an S.O.S. note out the window to a passing (female) pedestrian.

    Upon returning to the States, my GP sent me to– surprise, surprise– the same ortho. When I balked at the surgery he recommended, he advised me that I was of course free to get a second opinion or talk it over with “my husband, my father, or my uncle.”

    I ended up ditching him and going to a kindly older doctor-professor who was willing to treat me without surgery. Fatherly, he was. Seems the best I could do was hold out for the benign avatar of the patriarch, because oh my friends, it’s all the same game.

  15. Twisty

    “As an aside: Twisty, please just say fat or fatness or higher weight or something like that instead of “obesity” (or “overweight”).”

    An excellent point. Consider it changed.

  16. amy

    What? Everyone knows the only health problems older women get are teh fat and sexypink breast cancer.

  17. Hattie

    The medical profession believes that the ideal patient is young, thin, rich, and preferably male. Patients have this damned tendency to be sick and in need of care. Often they are elderly females, and it’s hard to see the use of them. Furthermore, who went to medical school to hear day after day that women have bad backs and knees or need surgical procedures that would be better bestowed on men?
    All doctors would like a better class of patient.

  18. slythwolf

    “Over 45″ is old, now? Huh. Guess I’ll have to stop telling my 57-year-old mother she doesn’t qualify. There’s one “little old lady” who could kick these doctors’ teeth in. See also my fat great-aunt Monica, who is totally bad ass.

  19. Twisty

    “Of course, we do live in northern MN and the forcast is for -25 tonight so consider yourself warned.”

    Great Scott! Here in Austin we have all been scared shitless by predictions of an “arctic blast” which will involve temperatures in the 20-to-30 degree range. Everyone’s out tucking blankets around their azaleas.

  20. d

    not related, but i’d appreciate your opining on this.

    http://www.advicegoddess.com/archives/2009/01/14/why_they_call_h.html

  21. madeleine

    I almost lost a very good friend because her shortness of breath and the pain in her chest were ‘normal for her age’. At 62!!!
    Later I read that heart conditions are seriously underdiagnosed in women and they have a good chance to be ‘treated’ with prozac and valium, because all this complaining can’t be normal now, can it?

  22. speedbudget

    When I started having my weird symptoms from Grave’s Disease, my doctor wanted to send me to a rheumatologist. I was having pain in my joints and a weird, swollen ankle. She told me to give her a name and she would write the referral.

    I chose a female doctor because I knew, without these statistics, that a male doctor would just sniff his nose at me and tell me I’m overreacting. I’m hysterical! Write up the order for the hysterectomy.

    When I got to said female rheumatologist, she sent me for nine vials of blood tests. And she found the thyroid condition. And she told me she sent me for so many blood tests because there are so many system-wide disorders that affect women that it could have been anything, really. To this day, I believe that if I had gone to a male doctor, I would still be having my weird, painful, upsetting symptoms and be even worse off.

  23. MLH

    After I had my kid and I suffered from post-partum depression, I took my son to one of his well-baby doctor check-ups. The doctor noticed that I was not doing well. He recommended that I have another baby. Of course, what I decided to do was to have my ex-hubby get a vasectomy.

  24. Hollywood Marie

    Note to Blamers: This probably goes without saying, but do not bother clicking d’s link. It is not worth your time and tries to paint Camille Paglia in a positive light. I guess that’ll teach me to take links from strangers.

  25. yttik

    I generally get a lecture about how irresponsible I am to not go to the doctor more often, followed by a lecture that implies all my symptoms are in my head, my hormones, my diet, my femaleness, etc. Than they send me the bill. Wash, rinse, repeat.

    It is especially fun to take a child or a husband to the doctor. In that event it is usually the exact same routine, I am irresponsible to have not brought them in more often, their symptoms are all in my head, and I have somehow caused their imaginary illness. Than they send me the bill.

    I have actually gotten medical care out of the experience, but it’s never easy. I must have a diagnosis, a treatment, and the strength to demand they take me seriously.

  26. Hollywood Marie

    My issue with visiting the doctor is that the first question is always, “When was your last period?” The follow-up is always, “What form of birth control do you use?” I guess since I’m of child-bearing age, I am automatically 1) pregnant, about to be pregnant, trying not to be pregnant, wishing I was pregnant; 2) straight; 3) having sex with men; 4) able to have children; 5) defined by 1-4. I used to say my form of birth control is lesbianism (100% effective), but that got me lots of headache with male staff and too many questions and comments about my personal life. Do they ask men what their form of birth control is?

    My mother, who is 57, is permanently handicapped from wearing high heels to work for her entire life. She was told by her (obviously male) bosses to wear sexier shoes (literally) than her comfy clogs back when people could say things like that and it was legal. Since she was a single mother, she couldn’t afford to quit and now she has many tiny messed up bones in the balls of her feet that cause her a great deal of pain whenever she walks. Of course, this could have been diagnosed sooner had the doctors believed her when she said her feet ached instead of assuming that’s a normal part of femininity.

  27. A Jennifer Original

    I think VibratingLiz is at the core of the truth (as is often the case!) when she says:

    “Maybe most men figure they’ll have women to take care of them round the clock after their transplant, whereas more women realize that nobody is going to step up and be there for them when they need care 24/7. So they give up in advance.”

    I agree that their pragmatism about availability of after-care is being written off as “perceived frailty.” All people, especially crones by virtue of their extensive life experiences under the patriarchy, know who the caregivers are and who they are not. Also, older women are much less likely than older men to have someone else in the home. Like a wife, a.k.a. servant.

  28. Shira

    I had slowly progressive pain and neuropathy in my hands and wrists for about a year starting in Aug 2007. I went to various doctors, and they ALL told me it was my fault because I was typing too much, and that if I just eased up on the typing, it’d get better – but if I didn’t, I’d permanently destroy my hands. Now, I’m only 21, so they were telling me that I had typed so much that I had somehow disabled myself without even leaving college, and so quickly I’d gone from first symptoms to *hands not working* – not being able to drive, push buttons, hold pencils or forks, any sensation hurt and any attempt at movement hurt even more.

    After 2 days in the hospital, they’ve already given up testing me for shit. Doctor comes in and informs me he’s “sensing a lot of anxiety” that he thinks is causing my symptoms (how silly of me to feel anxious over the fact that my hands stopped working! Damn hysterical ladybrain, fucking with the fabric of space-time again and causing symptoms by reacting to them) and he wants to put me on tranquilizers and anti-depressants. Throughout this experience, I was flipping out at every noise too, because another symptom of my condition was audiophobia. But no one treated it like a symptom, because it fit so well into the hysterical female narrative, so it could be ignored – even when I was begging through tears for someone to make the machine I was hooked to stop beeping all the time.

    It wasn’t until a female doctor came in and talked to me that someone finally believed that I wasn’t making up my symptoms, and that there was something seriously wrong with me that no, I didn’t cause and couldn’t fix by abstaining from any sort of exertion with my hands. Turned out I had a viral infection in my nerves, that could be treated by 1/4th of a tiny pill per day. I don’t know exactly how long it will take the nerve damage to completely heal, especially given how bad it was allowed to get, but thank god I’m finally able to control it with medication. I feel like everyone just wanted to assume it was my fault and I was exaggerating besides.

    The hospital bill was over $30,000 for two days, by the way. If I wasn’t lucky and didn’t have great insurance through my dad’s union job, I don’t know what the hell I would do. I don’t want to think about how much more difficult it would have been for me if I were older, or black, or poor, or fat.

  29. panoptical

    I just want to note that the same “fatherly” attitude is given to children when they have an ailment. I had asthma and chronic bronchitis as a child, and pneumonia four times. By age twelve I intimately knew the symptoms of all three, so when I went to the hospital and explained to the doctor that I had pneumonia and that he should give me a chest x-ray to confirm, he sort of laughed at me and gave me some medicine and came back in an hour to give me a fatherly smile and an “I told you so” and pat me on the head and send me on my way. He was so surprised when my symptoms didn’t go away. When he got the results of my chest x-ray he refused to admit that I had been right! He called the test “inconclusive” and put me on antibiotics “just in case.” I almost wanted to call him a week later when the antibiotics “cured” my “symptoms” – just so I could “thank” him.

    Maybe someday doctors will stop using age, sex, race, weight, and other non-medical factors as their first and only diagnostic tool – but until then, it really pays to know your body, do your research, and always get a second opinion.

  30. another voice

    Doctors are (for the most part) full of shit. Their first, second, and last concern is their own ethos. In between those concerns, come patients’ health.

  31. panoptical

    Regarding d’s link above:

    It is certainly true that there are places that have not experienced women’s suffrage or women’s rights movements and that there is a place for a movement that tries to help women in these places. However, the American Enterprise Institute is not concerned with helping these women – they are concerned with “liberating” these women in the same way that Bush “liberated” Iraq. The funny thing is, if you bother to listen to the human beings – especially the female ones – in these countries, you’ll find that their concerns often prioritize things like feeding themselves and their families, not being raped or killed in war, and generally being allowed to live in peace and prosperity rather than have their countries attacked by imperialist western powers. Global poverty, disease, and war – caused by European and American colonialism, capitalism, and imperialism – are absolutely feminist issues and absolutely human rights issues, but these self-proclaimed “humanists” and “equity feminists” don’t seem to care about the oppression faced by those who fall on the wrong side of their “classical liberal” ideology.

    As far as the “victim feminist” thing – call me crazy, but I don’t think that anyone needs to invent “new ways and perspectives” to regard women as oppressed and subordinated to men. Unless you consider the point of view that it is wrong for women as a group to be paid less and raped more than men to be a “new way” of looking at the world. Which, I suppose, the folks over at the American Enterprise Institute do.

  32. Erzebeth

    Before my Mom was finally diagnosed with brain cancer, she was told she was just depressed or burnt-out and sent to a therapist.

    When I was suffering from stomach ulcers caused by my orthodontic (metal) braces, I was sent to a psychiatrist.

    Yup – sensing a theme here. “It’s all in your head”, namely. So I’m not surprised by any of this.

  33. speedbudget

    All I can say is: Thank god they aren’t doing hysterectomies on us as a matter of course these days.

    Amirite?

  34. jenofiniquity

    Last year, my mom began, apropos of nothing, to feel very tired. She’s 68, but up until that point she had been vigorous and healthy and full o’ pep. When she went to her doc, said doc told her that her tiredness was just a symptom of growing older, never mind the fact that it had cropped up with alarming suddenness. My mom, who isn’t one to complain (especially in the face of Medical Authority) went home and got more tired. About 10 days later, still feeling like absolute shit and now bruised all over her body, she finally went back to the doctor, who this time bestirred herself to do a bunch of blood tests, and was astonished to find out that my mom had such a low platelet count that she shouldn’t have been able to walk herself into the office. Turns out she had a case of severe myelodysplasia, a nasty blood disorder. I still seethe that her doctor’s first instinct was to not take her seriously. I do BTP.

  35. Jan

    I knew two women who were diagnosed with depression many months before finally getting diagnosed with cancer (esophageal and pancreatic). Both only lived a short time after the cancer dx. There’s no way to know if either could have lived longer but they never got the chance to find out.

    I really believe this happens routinely and have been wishing for years someone would do a serious study. I don’t know how this could be done as the docs want to keep this stuff under wraps and probably the insurance companies too since it’s cheaper for people to die.

  36. thebewilderness

    I wish they would spend a bit more time looking at the perps.
    There are usually multiple victims for every perp.
    Which explains why “victim feminists” are dismissed out of hand, what with them going round demanding that something be done about the perps.

    Even the best doctor I ever had, saved my life he did, still dismissed my symptoms for years before finally ordering the tests that revealed the cancer.

  37. zooeyibz

    One of my best friends, age 25, collapsed in excruciating pain one day, was whisked to hospital. The male doctors determined she didn’t have appendicitis and told her to go home. A couple of months later she sees her GP and he says: ‘I see you had a bad urinary tract infection’.

    Apparently, the chaps who treated her at hospital correctly diagnosed the raging infection, but didn’t bother mentioning it to her – or treating it. Obviously, UTIs are hysterical-wimmin problems. Nothing for the dudely docs to worry about.

  38. Doctress Julia

    Ugh… this is like that time I had a really bad car accident, and got a cervical sprain and dislocated jaw (I had arthroscopic surgery on it). It continued to bother me until, finally, it flared up really bad and I went to see the doc who did the surgery, and he asked me if I was “SEEING” ANY MEN AND DID ONE OF THEM HIT ME???!!! AAARGHH!! I think I just said fuck you and walked out. Sure could have used some painkillers though.

  39. Alderson Warm-Fork

    I have a friend who reported intense pain to the doctors several times, repeatedly being sent away to drink lots of fluids or whatever, and only found out she had endometriosis after she collapsed unconscious on the waiting room floor. Eventually they had to surgically remove one of her ovaries.

  40. Kristin

    So here’s the most pressing question on my mind right now: What’s the best way for us to find the least-misogynistic health care possible? I wish there were a place for feminist reviews of doctors.

    Right now the issue is moot for me, because I don’t have any health insurance and can’t go to the doc at all. Someday, though,. I might actually be covered, and then I might have the temerity to want treatment of my undiagnosed fatigue and anxiety problems. Which, naturally, would be amongst some of the easiest symptoms to have dismissed as my imagination, or medicated away with improperly-prescribed Prozac.

  41. TwissB

    OK. I give up. What is the source of “teh menz” and what is it intended to express??

  42. ElizaN

    Kristin, is there a women’s bookstore or resource center? Whenever I move, I go somewhere like that and ask the women there what doctor they see. It’s always worked out well so far.

  43. Sara

    “My issue with visiting the doctor is that the first question is always, “When was your last period?” The follow-up is always, “What form of birth control do you use?” I guess since I’m of child-bearing age, I am automatically 1) pregnant, about to be pregnant, trying not to be pregnant, wishing I was pregnant; 2) straight; 3) having sex with men; 4) able to have children; 5) defined by 1-4. I used to say my form of birth control is lesbianism (100% effective), but that got me lots of headache with male staff and too many questions and comments about my personal life. Do they ask men what their form of birth control is?”

    The when-was-your-last-period question covers more than your pregnancy status, but the second question is one that I, as a health care provider myself, am surprised that is asked in that way. (I’ve been asked that exact question in those exact words by several different doctors. They didn’t teach us to do it that way in med school.) I tell them “I don’t.” then let them reason through it. I think my favorite was the one who skipped the assumptions about my wanting to become pregnant – she simply asked why. I replied that my partners are generally female, so the need really hasn’t come up. She looked like she felt about as foolish as she should have, and simply replied “Oh. That’s a good reason.”

    I spent the past week shadowing a young-ish female provider and an old-ish male provider at a GYN clinic; both experiences left very much to be desired.

  44. Hedgepig

    Sara, does this mean there is some sort of health provider review system operating somewhere in the western world (not sure where you are)? Is that what you do/have been doing? And does this mean there may be some push within the medical profession to improve the attitudes/practices of health providers?
    ‘Cos the stories I’ve been reading on this thread here are horrific.

  45. thebewilderness

    Hi Twiss,
    Teh is of course a common misspelling, on the interwebs, of the. Teh menz is a way of saying not your nigel, of course, or any of you other lots nigels, but rather all those other men out there, men in general, as well as the idea of men that cultural propaganda promotes.
    At least that’s my take on it.

  46. thebewilderness

    Oh, and, we made it up, right here in the commentariat.

  47. denelian

    Pandechion
    i have the same thing. but of course now one knew it at first – or even bothered to look anytime in the time since i started having probs with my leg (i was 3!) it finally got so bad i was using a cane (still do, sigh) and i was sent a neurologist.
    who absolutly refused to believe that i gained weight AFTER my leg got so bad. in his mind, the ONLY REASON I WAS HURTING WAS BECAUSE I WAS OVERWEIGHT. even when i told him he had the causality backwards, that i had not gained weight until my leg got so bad, he told me i was hurting because i was fat. he did the pin test, and literally said to me “while i see a lot of point-nerve death and a fair amount of nerve damage in your leg, i think the only thing wrong with you is you weight. exercise”. i said “I CAN’T FREAKING WALK!” please note – i’m 5’8″ and i weigh 180 lbs. i’m only 20-30 pounds overweight, and a part of that is the fact that i have over large breasts.
    over and over he WROTE ON MEDICAL REPORTS that my ONLY problem was “obeisity”. when it was finally worked out what was REALLY wrong – displaysia of the hip – i went back to him and told how incredibly fucked up he had been. he said “well, how am i supposed to realize there is a medical problem when you are too fat for me to see it?”
    my jaw DROPPED. i said AGAIN “But i TOLD you that i had gained weight because i was no longer able to walk, let alone exercise!” and he said “well, your a woman, and most ailments in women are just them wanting attention. you saying that you gained weight from a leg problem is the same thing; you don’t want to be blamed for not being attractive for your husband, so you it’s a medical problem. but really, you’ve just let yourself go. until you realize that you have a problem with your weight you won’t try to lose the weight, and you will just be another unhappy fat woman whose husband cheats on her”. i was FLOORED. i had just given him the DIAGNOSES of what was wrong, and told him about the surgery to fix it, and HE STILL THOUGHT MY ENTIRE FUCKING PROBLEM WAS MY WEIGHT! that i had MADE UP THE PROBLEM AND THE SURGERY TO EXCUSE MY WEIGHT!
    and i don’t have a husband.

    it STILL makes me scream!

  48. jezebella

    I have no idea how you managed not to beat that guy to death with your cane. What an incredible asshole.

  49. Sara

    Hedgepig – sorry, no. I’m a young doctor, and we spend time following around more experienced doctors – the idea is that we learn what to do by watching the oldsters do it right, but sometimes all you can do is look at them and say (to yourself) “Oh man, now I know how I *never* want to do that!” I wish there were that review system that you speak of, if only because I don’t trust myself to always filter out the bad – I’m afraid that marinating in it is slowly leeching bad things into my brain.

  50. Twisty

    “What is the source of “teh menz” and what is it intended to express??”

    Two question marks? You must really be curious!

    “Teh menz” refers to the great faceless horde of dudes who exert male privilege without compunction. Antifeminist men. The term conveys feminist antipathy toward same, with sarcastic undertones.

    I’m generally a fan of Blametariat nomenclature, but I have to admit I kind of wish “teh menz” would fade out. As a matter of fact, and for no very good reason, all of the “teh” constructions popular on teh weblogs of today vaguely irritate me. Not that anyone should care what I think.

  51. unree

    Awesome stories and great post, but isn’t “old crones” redundant?

  52. Carolyn

    Wow. I guess I’d heard stories like this before but I think I’m finally getting it. When I came home from a year working in Malawi I had all sorts of amazing diseases, including one that on the face of it wasn’t really serious–thin white lines, which looked a bit like healed scars, that appeared overnight on my forearms and seemed to be working their way up to my torso. I had no explanation for these, and neither did any doctors I saw–though one cleverly said, despite the fact that I told him the lines always looked like what he was seeing and had not looked different before, that I must be scratching myself in my sleep. I’m sure this was neither the first nor the last time I’d run into the ‘women lie’ meme, but it’s the first (and thankfully the last) I remember running into the ‘women lie for random reasons about objective medical symptoms’.

  53. Kossack

    I mentioned this transplant research to a friend who teaches in a top-ranking nursing school. She thought perhaps there were caregivers for older men (their wives) and not as many for older women (because they are widows or don’t want to burden others). In this event, the disparity could be due to older women not choosing (in consultation with their docs) to list themselves because they are relatively more likely to be socially isolated. (The disparity persists in Scandinavian contexts though, so this is not just about our lack of a social welfare kind of safety net. Obviously it is a gender issue.)

    So, Cycles is really onto something imho up towards the beginning of this thread. But it’s not only that some women have internalized the “women are weak and unworthy” lines. It’s also that they’ve internalized the “I do not deserve to bother my support system to live” line. Although as anyone who’s had a medical/financial/other life crisis knows, there is some likelihood that the non-transplant seeking women who appear to have internalized that line actually know from experience that they can burn through that little black book and no one in their support system will take care of them when push comes to shove. Let’s not blame the victim (unless, you know, she’s really asking for it).

    Taking care of those who provide scads of unpaid labor is unpaid labor, and so the working assumption of these women — and the primary cause of this disparity — may well be that nobody wants to do it.

  54. virago

    “I’m generally a fan of Blametariat nomenclature, but I have to admit I kind of wish “teh menz” would fade out. As a matter of fact, and for no very good reason, all of the “teh” constructions popular on teh weblogs of today vaguely irritate me. Not that anyone should care what I think.”

    Well, I agree with you Twisty. I hate that particular phrase myself.

  55. atheistwoman

    ZOMG is also quite tiresome.

  56. thebewilderness

    Criminy!
    I’ll think about what you think about the term teh menz.
    However, “the great faceless horde of dudes who exert male privilege without compunction” seems a tad bit awkward. Accurate, though.

  57. Pandechion

    Denelian, I have no idea how you managed not to reply with a hearty, “You have got to be fucking kidding me.”

    They really hate it when you know what’s wrong with you, that’s for sure. When I started off my conversation with the asshole ortho by saying I had congenital hip dysplasia, he smirked, “Well! It’s not very often I have a patient come in here with her own diagnosis.” Yeah, and you know what? If I’d been blind from birth I’d probably know the clinical name of what caused that by now too.

    Which reminds me of another chapter in this saga. After I was out of my long-leg cast, my physical therapist sent me to the Best Ankle and Foot Guy in Manhattan to get fitted for orthotic insoles. (Seems once you break a bone, people actually start believing you might have a problem and allow you to do things like get therapy and orthotics.)

    Said specialist had a framed article in his office in which he was quoted as saying that high heels improved women’s sex drives by strengthening their pelvic floors. When he gave me the instructions for how to break in the orthotics, he said, “So are you going to be a good girl and follow all this?” I replied, “No. I couldn’t possibly be a good girl because I’m nearly forty and a grown woman.” He said, laughing, “Oh don’t sell yourself short! You look great!” As the only complaint I could have with being treated like a child was that I didn’t think I deserved the compliment.

  58. Pandechion

    “As the only complain…” = “As if the only complaint”.

  59. Hedgepig

    unree: I think Twisty is using irony, satire and/or sarcasm when she employs the term “old crones.” Mind you, I’d rather like to reclaim the word “crone”, just as Twisty has transformed “spinster” from a belittling, derogatory archaism into So Hot Right Now!
    Also, “hag.” Any thoughts?

  60. orlando

    How could you forget ‘shrew’? That has to be the reclaimy priority.

  61. sonia

    Dude! Shrew is the best one-I always think of Mary Daly’s reclamation-

    “shrewd”

    plus you just know how smart we shrews are.

    too smart to get married, buy shit we don’t need, resist messing with arrogant, egotistical..people we run across.

  62. Hedgepig

    If only we were too smart to do those things. I think I’ll have to aspire to shrew(d) and admit to hag.

  63. Aunti Disestablishmentarian

    As many of you know, the Boston Women’s Health Collective who brought us ‘Our Bodies Ourselves’ has been a tireless advocate for women controlling their own healthcare for the past 40 years. Some of their work has successfully changed the medical establishment’s approach to various aspects of women’s health, but it remains an uphill battle. The climate is still, as we all have seen all too well, decidedly Victorian. A few of the BWHC people teach at medical schools and public health programs, so at least a few newly minted health professionals are getting a different perspective.

    http://www.ourbodiesourselves.org/book/default.asp

  64. Rozasharn

    I don’t know of a list of doctors who don’t dismiss women’s health, but Fat-Friendly Health Professionals is a list of doctors who don’t dismiss patients for being fat. I bet there’s some overlap: that people who don’t stereotype fat people are less likely to stereotype female people. Also, http://www.ratemds.com/social/ lets you read other people’s reviews of their doctors.

  65. Valerie

    With me it was being young and skinny that was the problem actually. I have pseudotumor cerebri (spinal fluid does not absorb fast enough and tries to smush your brain, hurts badly), but the doctors are convinced that only fat women get this disease. Ever. With no exceptions. Fat women are the only unhealthy ones.

    So they refused to diagnose me with what I very obviously had and handed me the appropriate prescription “just in case.” My repeatedly stating that my head felt heavy/I had pounding in my ears/my vision was obscured/I had the worst headache of my life for a week on end/it was worst in the morning/it all got better when I drank lots of caffeine (which is a diuretic) did nothing to convince my doctors because they believed that I was too young and female and stupidly hawt to know what the heck was going on with my body. Instead, based on my age, they declared that I had meningitis. When I told them I’d been vaccinated, they declared it viral meningitis. Then they did another spinal tap, found no virus in my spinal fluid, and declared me cured.

    Based on the fact that they thought I looked weird/alternative, they would not give me painkillers even after their failed attempts at spinal taps made me scream repeatedly. Because, you see, people who dress funny are all addicts. And women don’t feel pain.

    Oh, and having my spinal cord fucked with that much actually made me have to go into the ER for another trip because they’d ripped it up so bad it was leaking and wouldn’t heal so I couldn’t stand up. This time, they refused to believe that I was hurting until I passed out on the floor in the waiting room, at which point a male security guard tried to yell at me to stand up.

    Now that I’m all healed up, I just drink a lot of caffeine. Turns out that my case is fairly mild, as they go. Also, the prescription meds made me sick.

  66. Veganrampage

    Perhaps women organ donors should insist that only other women be recipients of their generosity. I know this is not legal now, but maybe it would be if a large percentage of female donors insisted this be the case or else. Why should we give men our organs anyway, when a huge number of them don’t believe that our organs are ours to begin with? Besides, I can’t believe that organ donation isn’t as corrupt as any other institution in the big P. I think you should be able to chose whose life you want to extend. At least it would be out in the open.

  67. cris

    Our medical health is OUR responsibility. When we leave it up to the “professionals”, we give up our own control. I look at physicians as a resource. I do not have any issue going to another resource, be it my own ability to research or another practitioner.
    My partner of 20 years (our country will not allow us to marry, so she is “partner”) fought with various illnesses for more than 5 years. We had good and bad treatment from male and female docs, nurses, techs etc. We went through the “too fat”, its all in your female head, and the “lets try another test” game for all that time. This summer she had a double organ transplant after almost dying.
    One doc could have resolved this whole issue so many years ago, but he never passed on the results of a test to our primary doc.

    my suggestions: do not ever go to an appointment alone, have an advocate with you, because if you are sick, you have less energy to fight the stupid system (mostly caused by insurance companies, but supported by the medical community as a whole), and question everything. Stop them in their tracks…no matter how hurried they are, ask why, what are the end results, when will i know, how will my body react, what do i do if it doesn’t. question everything you do not know or recognize, ask about interactions between meds, know what the meds do or are supposed to do before you take them. Take responsibility for your own life or the life of your loved one.

  68. TwissB

    Thanks to thebewilderness, Twisty, and Virago for not only kindly confirming that “teh menz” is about what John Adams brazenly described as “our Masculine Systems” but also for suggesting that it may be losing a bit of its freshness. On to the next bafflement in my basket.

  69. Claire

    Oh, the shit I’ve been through with male doctors (and some female ones, too), and just male people when it comes to physical pain, injury, and illnesses of all kinds. This shit is horrendous, just sickening, but totally believable based on my experience. Which, of course, is just fucking sad.

    I have so many stories, but I’ll just tell the one.

    I was recently hit by a truck. While out walking. That’s right, a truck. It hurt, a lot. It was fucking scary and I was shrieking and screaming and bleeding all over the place (my face and left knee splashed down on the pavement really fucking hard after I was thrown through the air. I lost two teeth and had road rash all over the right side of my face and left leg. It was nasty).

    Firstly, the guys who hit me almost didn’t stop. When they did, they kept their distance and kept telling me to calm down. They did not call the police or ask if I was okay. They told me to calm down. They just hit me with their motherfucking truck, knocked two of my motherfucking teeth out and shredded up my left knee, my face was covered in blood, blood was pouring out of my mouth, but I needed to calm down.

    Uh, yeah. Fuck that. I kept right on screaming, calling for help, and telling them to call 911. Fortunately, people in the residential area where this happened (thank fucking gawd for location, because if this had occured on a street with no houses, I know those fucks would’ve left me there, and I probably would have bled to death or been run over by another car. Just another fragile woman dead, poor bitch couldn’t hold up against a truck and concrete, no reason to stop, who gives a fuck anyway right?) came hauling ass when they heard my screaming (I have my whiteness and relatively middle-class and youthful appearance to thank for this, of course. If I was older, darker-skinned, jobless, not dressed so well or able to articulate in the manner expected from good white victims, I’d also be dead. Yay classism, looksism, and racism! Woohoo!), and put blankets over me, supported my head, kept watch for cars coming around the corner, and had my back until the ambulance came.

    I do wish the guy supporting my head would’ve quit asking me to calm down too, though. I had just been hit by a truck. I had just lost two teeth and wasn’t quite sure that my knee hadn’t been busted. I was scared to fucking death. I thought I was going to die. It would’ve been nice to have been granted the fucking human dignity of crying and freaking out freely, you know? But at least he supported my head, and didn’t balk too bad at the blood/spit combo I was spraying as I screeched that I was scared. There’s that.

    There was visible displeasure/discomfort on the part of the good samaritans and the emergency techs at the sight of my hairy legs, love handles, stretch marks and body acne. Good victims are taught, shaven, have young and unlined bodies. My bad.

    Then there was the assertion by the doctor in triage that the two teeth forced upwards into my jaw, swollen and puffy, torn and with the shard of one of them hanging fang-like in my mouth, and obviously the product of very recent trauma, had always been that way. Apparently, without my knowledge, I’d actually been walking around my entire life without two of my front teeth, and a fang. Bizarre at best, absofuckingloutley bottom-of-the-barrel traumatizing and insulting at worst.

    I was asked if I did drugs (thanks, arm tattoo! Third time that’s happened). I was asked if I had unprotected sex/was pregnant (must’ve been the ‘am I still sexy?’ jokes I asked the attending nurse who only wiped the dried blood off my face and hands after asking him twice. Good victims don’t mention sex or that means they’re prostitutes! Drug-addicted, pregnant ones at that).

    I was denied an MRI to check for internal injuries. I was in such good, cheery spirits from the shock, cracking jokes and trying to make the best of things in the ambulance, not really feeling anything yet, that I quite obviously didn’t need one. Which is basically what he-doctor said. He probably thought I was pregnant.

    I was pretty much ignored for the entire time I was there. I was discharged an hour later with a prescription for Vicodin, which I took, and subsequently gave me a paranoid panic attack, and worsened the PTSD I experienced for nearly a week straight (narcotics are generally not good for, or given to, people with a history of depression/anxiety. I was not told Vicodin was a narcotic, nor was I given a list of it’s side effects, nor was I asked if I had a history of depression/anxiety. I made due with Advil after that). I walked out of the emergency room without so much as a nod in my direction from the doctor. I looked like death. I was sheet white, covered in road rash, my jaw was twice it’s normal size, and there were two teeth lodged in my upper jaw.

    At least they gave me a recommendation for a good oral surgeon.

    I was given an x-ray to determine whether or not my knee had been broken or fractured, but was never given the results. Guess since I can still walk on it, it must be okay (had it checked by another doctor a few days later. Not broken. She also checked for internal injuries. None. Note the ‘she’ part).

    Anyway, this is a book and you get the point. This was not the first time, or even the worst treatment. I have never had an encounter with a male ‘medical professional’ that hasn’t been at least uncomfortable, if not outright terrifying, degrading, and enraging.

    So yes, nobody gives a fuck about women. And the older you get, the fatter you get, the uglier you are or get, the darker skin you have, the poorer you are, the worse it is.

    Fuck patriarchy. It kills women in all sorts of ways. It kills us with knives, guns, drugs, rape, money, surgery, and it kills us with emotional, mental, and physical neglect. It just kills us. It seeks to kill us. It succeeds in killing us. Every day we die because of it.

    Fuck patriarchy, fuck men, and fuck medical misogyny.

    CJ.

  70. Claire

    I neglected to mention that the fact I didn’t have insurance didn’t go over well either.

    Not only was I not thin, not only was my skin not perfect, not only was I hairy and hideously bereft of front teeth, I didn’t even have the decency to have medical insurance!

    Probably why I was discharged so quickly, and refused an MRI, now that I think about it. Why provide me with needed treatment when I might not be able to fork over the cash for it? Poor people don’t deserve adequate health care, after all.

    Ugh. Now I’m done.

  71. speedbudget

    All I can say after reading all this is: Nurse practitioner. I have a female doctor. She’s kind of a shit, too. So I asked to please let me see someone, anyone else in the office. They gave me an appointment with the nurse practitioner. That woman, my friends, is totally thorough. AND SHE LISTENS. Plus, she’s cheaper than the doctor to begin with. I’m sure there are male nurse practitioners. I wonder if their level of assholery is lessened because you kind of can’t be a sexist bastard and be a nurse in our society, given all the female connotations with that job. I just started dating a Nigel. He’s an LVN. Most enlightened man I have ever met, outside of my dad. He gets it. I wonder if that’s true of other nursing males.

  72. lauredhel

    “All I can say after reading all this is: Nurse practitioner.”

    While you can improve your chances, I don’t think any particular choice of healthcare practitioner will make you safe.

    I was just blogging the current lawsuit (civil only, apparently, WTF) against a ?NP?PA who yanked out a woman’s IUD when she went in to have the strings trimmed, then lied about how it just accidentally came out when she gave it a gentle tug, so it couldn’t have been in properly, and no she wouldn’t insert another one, because IUDs kill Teh Babyeez, and wouldn’t she like the pill or Depo Provera instead? Apparently she does this all the time, and the other people in the office thinks she’s a hilarious scallywag.

  73. urocyon

    I have dealt with a lot of muscular and joint pain not being taken seriously, and it is more scary than aggravating after seeing what happened to my mother, who died at 60 right before Thanksgiving.

    She had chronic pain, dismissed as fibromyalgia, depression, you name it. (Yeah, she did start out with less “serious” muscular pain and a bad back.) This was ignored and not treated as it got worse and worse, to the point that I had no clue how bad it had gotten. It was even ignored after she had a mastectomy five years ago. She carried on until she couldn’t any longer, kept up a good front, then physically collapsed.

    What happened on her first trip to the ER from that? She was dismissed as a drunken Indian, because she was so sick she could barely stand up, much less walk straight. They honestly suggested that she go into rehab. She did not drink at all, being diabetic. They did not even check her obviously broken ribs, one of which was stabbing her in the breast ever after that fall. This was last June or July.

    Next time she insisted on going to a different hospital. They held her for testing, actually noticed that she had no apparent hemoglobin, and gave her a bunch of transfusions and IV magnesium for the muscle spasms. Once she was halfway stable, she got sent home with inadequate pain relief.

    To make a long story shorter, it turned out that she had been sufferering from bone cancer, which had gone into her breast five years ago from her ribs. Who knows how long it had been going on before that, and she was having to carry on–taking care of my grandmother with dementia full time–in excruciating pain. Until she absolutely couldn’t do it anymore. Pretty much every bone she had was eaten up with it. They never bothered to do any kind of scan before she collapsed for the third or fourth time.

    I spent months back in the U.S., looking after her–and thank goodness for the hospice. They were the only ones who took her seriously during the whole thing. She could not get an appointment with an oncologist until after they expected her to be dead–guess it screws with your stats to take on clearly terminal patients–and her GP stopped returning calls at all. One of the practice nurses was crying over the phone at us, she was so appalled at the situation. Not only did they treat her with dignity, the hospice took up the slack for those shitpokes, providing all her medical treatment.

    To add insult to injury, “breast carcinoma” was listed on her death certificate, neatly covering for the fact that they had ignored her cancer when it was not in her breast.

    Nobody should have to live through that, especially with having their pain dismissed. I know I have a tendency to keep carrying on well past the point that anybody ought to, and have seen even better reason to be afraid. We all know who’s to blame for that.

  74. Bird

    Before my mother refused to leave her doctor’s office before she (she!) would finally book a head CT, the good doc wanted to give her an anti-depressant so she’d stop worrying so much and just accept the “effects of aging”. Turns out my mother has terminal brain cancer. But hey, a little Prozac will clear that right up, right?

    Even in a country with public healthcare, I do not trust 99% of doctors to make a priority of their women patients. I highly recommend my mother’s stubborn attitude to any woman who feels her concerns are being ignored by her doctor. Too many women I know only got results after practically throwing a tantrum in the office, and all too often, the test results show they were right to demand proper care.

  75. chihiro

    I’m 20 and know I’m childfree therefore I thought it was perfectly reasonable to ask a doctor if he or she could refer me to someone or could tell me themselves how to get Essure and where. The doc I saw stared at me blankly when I finished my question and then asked “…what’s essure?” so I explained , he tried to correct me “no, I THINK you mean this form on contreception…” so I said no and explained how the procedure is done, what it is, it’s effectivness, everything. Embarressed by his lack of knowledge he did a quick google search and found the essure website, as helpful as it was it still doesn’t say WHERE I can get it done in the Uk all it told me was to ask a GP. The doc then exclaimed ” OH! sterlization! …..how old are you?” I tell him my age and he then questions why I’m asking about sterilization so young. “Because I don’t see the point of taking hormones for 30 years when I KNOW I don’t ever want children, I would much rather get someone permenant in a few years time and it be over with” logical right? Not for this doc , offended by my knowledge and the fact I thought this through he proceeds to patronize me. “You’re too young to know what you want” so I calmly say there are women my age and younger then me choosing to have children and they are not questioned or laughed at like childfree women who simply want the opposite in life. “It’s permenant you might change your mind!” so are children I say but again no doctor tells a pregnant woman “she’ll change her mind” or warns her how permenant kids are. I realize the doctor has derailed me a bit so I ask again “can you refer me to someone who knows about sterilizations or does them please” he chuckles and said he personally couldn’t (wouldn’t more likely) do it but then “no ethical doctor would sterilize a girl in her twenties” I calmly say “someone in the UK must ” and get ready to leave I’ve had enough by this point. In a last ditch effort he tries to explain that even though I feel this way NOW when I hit thirty I will be flooded by magical hormones that will make me change my mind , I’ll just suddenly want babies by then. I’m through being polite and say with a smile “actually…. isn’t is around 30 when women get the most pressure by society to have kids cos “time is running out”? If the message is “breed breed breed” constantly then yes some women will give in and unfortunately they DO have regrets or realize too late it was the wrong choice for them after all, sad isn’t it?” He isn’t happy and I just smile and say “thanks for your help” and leave his office. If anyone has info about Essure in the UK i’d be very thankful thanks.

  76. Billie

    On the subject on the words obese, overweight, etc – a great word to use is just “large.” When you use it, it gets to the fear people have of large women. They are just large….women.

    A feminist – I forget who, once pointed out that in the twenties, it was about the first time that boyish thinness was the vogue. Before that, varying shades of roundness was the style. Her proposition was that the sexual liberation of the twenties flapper had an underlying subtext: you can either have a sexual appetite or you can have an appetite for food – you can’t have both. A women must be on the leash somewhere or she’ll go all wonton or something. After that point, it was made illegal for chubby women, particularly white women to have a sex drive. By the way, this was not revoked after prohibition went away. Scary women with appetites. It is the most revolutionary thing for a large woman to be sexual.

    Hey, this thread is a major, major, major story to me. I cannot believe (although I can believe) the testimony here on what treatment women have gotten in their own times of needing care. Why is it not front page of every feminist blog? Let’s form a posse and make sure that other blogs and news outlets cover it.

  77. Hedgepig

    chihiro: Brilliant! Children are permanant and you might change your mind – great logic, obviously lost on your doc and most of society.
    I get “what if you get to your 80s and you regret never having had children” a lot. Well, if I get to my 80s and I don’t have any regrets about my life I will be very surprised. Doesn’t mean I should rush out and do everything I DON’T want to do, just on the off-chance I have some regrets later.
    Good luck with the Essure.

  78. chihiro

    Thanks hedgepig, I know my mindset and my personality enough to know that my mind won’t change, I always compare being childfree to being gay, you just know it, no amount of penis offering is going to change your sexuality, likewsie getting bingoed to death (statments or questions aimed to change a CF person’s mind “it’s all worth it!” “who will take care of you when you are old?” “all women love babies!” etc) won’t change that characteristic.But the pressure to be straight/have kids is bloody overwhelming in a patriarchal society to a point where some unfortunately give in and regret it. I found out that Essure isn’t properly licensed in the UK yet (it’s not covered by the NHS) but there have been doctors preforming it on patients here, there is always tubal but that’s surgical and I’m a bit wary of it. I’ll just have to patient I suppose and keep asking about it.

  79. Veganrampage

    Chihiro-

    This is the info For the international site of Essure, under Europe. I hope this helps.
    You have a logical argument about children being a permanent decision and all, bwa ha ha. Spock couldn’t disagree with that. Just so you know, I turned fifty in December, never birthed nothing, and am glad of it. I haven’t even had kittens for crying out loud. I secretly believe that any offspring I might have had would be smarter and more compassionate than my siblings’ kids, so don’t tell’em K? Good luck fixing yourself, hope you get a good female Doc, and I’m mighty proud of you, if I dare say so.

    Contact Us
    Conceptus in Europe
    Conceptus, SAS
    7/9 rue du Marechal Foch
    78000 Versailles, France
    Phone: (33) 1 3084 7515
    Fax: (33) 1 3021 1925

  80. Silence

    Chihiro –

    Great screen name, by the way. I’m 38 here, child free, and thus far have no cravings to have a youngun or two crawling about. I call bull.

    Besides, why do doctors always forget that if you get yourself sterilized and these mysterious cravings suddenly do materialize, there’s this little thing called ‘adoption’ which is capable of satisfying those cravings while providing home and care for a needy child at the same time?

    Oh, that’s right: because only women who actual give physical birth are ‘real mothers’. Fuck the patriarchy and good luck with the search for essure.

  81. Kelsey

    Hollywood Marie, totally! I don’t know what this obsession is with doctors trying to foist birth control onto women. I honestly think that they receive some kind of commission.

    I had to have an ovarian tumor removed at the age of eighteen. (I’m twenty-one now, so this wasn’t long ago.) First thing the dude asks me is about my method of birth control, and then shakes his head when I told him I used a barrier method. Apparently, the only method of birth control that really works is to pump yourself full of hormones – a really irresponsible thing to say to someone that age. What if I had just stopped using contraception, period?

    Then, he informed me that my cramps, which were so painful that I would cry and occasionally pass out, and were beginning to happen throughout the month, were normal and that I was just being a wimp. The best cure for cramps (suprise) is the pill. I insisted on an ultrasound and oh, well, you’re just being difficult, but if you insist, hey, what’s this giant object attached to your ovary?

    Then, when I was preparing for surgery, the man wouldn’t even tell me if he planned to remove the ovary or not. He even mentioned removing both of them “just to be safe.” The guy flat-out told me that I could wake up with both, one, or none, and there was no room for discussion. Luckily, it was benign and I still have both of my ovaries.

    Then, during a checkup, I asked when it would be safe to have sex again. A pretty simple question, right? He launched into a fifteen-minute lecture informing me what position I should use, how I should move, and suggested I “have a glass of wine” beforehand. I would never had dealt with any of this is I hadn’t been so young. Seriously, the older I get, the more messed-up it seems. If I ever go back to my hometown and see this jerk around, he’s going to get an earful.

    On a more positive note, I visited a (female) doctor on my college campus who didn’t immediately blame my symptoms on pregnancy/STDs/wimpy lady-ness. I got in, was diagnosed, got my prescription, and got out in fifteen minutes. From now on I’m always going to go with a female doctor (even though I know this doesn’t guarantee anything).

  82. madeleine

    Chihiro, THANK YOU for the info about Essure. All other methods have major minuses for me, and I had never heard of Essure and not for lack of asking. I will get it and I will spread the word.

  83. Theener

    Someone already gave the link to http://www.ratemds.com, but there is also http://www.vitals.com as well as http://www.healthgrades.com and finally http://www.zocdoc.com where you can not only read reviews of doctors but also book appointments online.

    The previous doctor for whom I worked used to get very insulted that they call doctors “providers” now. It’s exceedingly difficult to find someone with whom you are compatible, and I would encourage the blametariat to think of them as just that. Providers. I’m lucky to be white, middle class, and working in healthcare because I’ve had the opportunity to take the time to see, for instance, five different specialists before actually finding one that helped me. Of course, I finally broke down and saw someone that takes no insurance (I’m in the US) and I have no out of network coverage through my health plan.

    I’ve had a doctor actually say to me that she prefers caring for poor, immigrant women in the hospital rather than in her more highbrow private practice because the poor immigrant women just do what she says without asking questions.

    It shocked me nearly breathless and oh, how I blame.

  84. Kaite

    Thanks for posting. My mother has been theoretically on the transplant list for over a decade now (two transplants that didn’t work out means she’s not super-high on theit priorities), and it’s interesting to see everyone’s views about the concept of ‘female frailty’. My mother has said numerous times that she’s not sure if she’d take one were it offered. There are so many mitigating circumstances that can bugger up a transplant that I can understand caution being excercised, but along the lines of what I presume is referring to biological sex just doesn’t make sense to me.

    I wonder if I would feel differently and react differently if it was my father in the same position – to what extent are we as a (feminist-identified) family overly-cautious because of Mum’s gender?

    The weight thing I can sort of understand because of the immense pressure on the heart – I know Mum was advised to lose weight before her scheduled transplant. Then again, most renal patients have problems keeping weight on rather than getting it off, so perhaps the implication is that weight gain is down to another complication?

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