This post will be about an outrageous incident that happened to me recently, describing what a woman can hear from a medical professional in XXI century. If anyone was still skeptical whether we still need feminism, or what is the point of sexual education, I hope after reading it the answer will be obvious.
Disclaimer: it contains humiliating sexual content, description of health struggles, and some brutal, unconstructive feedback regarding mental health. If this is a problem, do not read further. At the end of the post I will include a safe TLDR.
Recently, I am struggling with my health more than usual. I am an increseangly frequent visitor at hospital’s emergency ward due to incidents of irregular heartbeat, powerful heart palpitations, shortness of breath, and genuine fear for my life. The incidents were the most unpleasant and scary thing I have ever experienced. The first one happened less than a month ago, so this was a novelty that I did not know how to deal with.
Right now the situation is under control, I am aware of the fibromyalgia mechanism that puts me through it, the significance of emotional stress that is currently haunting me, bipolar disorder not helping, and the fact that I am in the process of changing medication, and currently my dosage of fibromyalgia meds is too small to be significant. To spare you the details, it is an overactive nervous system issue, plus potassium & magnesium deficiency, with nervous system already too sensitive for electrolyte imbalance. So this is something I just have to wait through until I can safely increase the dosage of meds, and I am already taking supplements, not going out in the heat, resting a lot, etc. I have received proper care, and additional beta-blockers for the heart, since my tests results were rather poor, so I hope the last time I visited the hospital was really the last, and that I won’t have to go there again. So, worry not, my friends, this might sound serious, but I am not bailing on life just yet. I am just incredibly annoyed, and might survive all of humanity, with my Satan-given mighty force of screeching hatred.
The last time I had to call the ambulance was as memorable as it was unfortunate, thanks to one of the paramedics. I already knew what was going on, but was specifically instructed to react if something bad is happening, because I am introducing my body to two new medications that could have screwed up with my heart. When the paramedics heard what has happened, one of them silently set up the EKG, heart monitor, and took my blood pressure, while the other decided to share his wisdom with me, while I was recovering mentally from the ‘alright, this is it, I am dead’ shock.
‘All this happens for just one simple reason. Women have very big hormonal fluctuations, that are decisive for their comfort. During ovulation, period, or around the period (whole month?) their bodies crave one thing, and their heads most often don’t realize it.’
Since I was rather shaken and confused, my reality processing slowed down. I remember only thinking ‘I hope this guy isn’t going with this where I think he is’. The stream of knowledge continued, and I sensed that the only paramedic who was doing his job was dealing with second hand embarassment for his partner, because he spent the entire time silent, not looking at either of us. When the tests were done, I was instructed further.
‘You should go to the bathroom now. Check your day of the cycle.’
‘Check your day of the cycle to see if you have ovulation.’
‘And how would I do that?’
‘What do you mean how? Just stick your fingers up, and check your vaginal fluids.’
I remained still for a while, since the last time I heard about such practices it was year 1998, the calendar was a popular contraceptive method, and men had as much knowledge about female reproductive system as they had about quantum physics.
‘Sir, I am taking hormonal pills.’
‘Just go check for ovulation!’
‘I am on hormonal contraceptives, I do not have ovulation.’
‘Listen. Your body just wants to have sex. Your mind doesn’t know it and it perceives it as stress, anxiety, etc., but what’s really going on is that you just need to get laid. This is what the men are for.’
‘… So what you are saying, when my heart is going to explode and I struggle to stay conscious, and am in pain, I should…?’
‘… Just calm down, and ride that bull. And now, go check for ovulation.’
Annoyance has finally fueled my brain, so I delivered bad news to shut his mouth. In a different way than punching it into oblivion. Sadly, a paramedic on duty is an official serviceman, and hurting him anyhow is a criminal offence. Doesn’t matter if he has knowledge of female reproductive system, and personal empathy, of a boulder with a drawn-on face.
‘Sorry to inform you, but I have had an intercourse little over two hours ago. And I am on hormonal contraceptives. Therefore I am unable to check anything based on any fluids.’
His stupid grin turned into a disappointed, annoyed face. I wish I had the audacity and the confidence of a lower-than-mediocre, short, balding, elderly man, who has never saw a vagina in his entire life. He decided to take another approach in coaching a woman, who was in panic moments ago. And what could be better than sexual harrassment sugarcoated as pseudoscience? You’ve guessed.
‘You are what now, twenty five? You will deal with fibromyalgia and bipolar disorder for the rest of your life. If you cause problems like this right now, think of the future. You need to get a grip, because you are a young person, and with issues like this, soon nobody will stand being next to you. You will end up alone, and miserable. Nobody wants to deal with problematic women like you. This is just for your own good. You gotta manage yourself. It’s a shame to waste life like this.’
‘So, for all that issues, I just have to calm down.’
‘Yes. It’s for your own good.’
As I just sat there with my undetected sarcasm, the other paramedic walked up to him, seeing that he finally finished his monologue, and gave him my test results.
‘The EKG is incorrect.’
The Dumbass Paramedic familiarized himself with the papers. He eventually muttered ‘that heart is overloaded…’, gave it some thought again, and then just informed me ‘alright, we need to rush to the hospital. You will have more tests done, and you need to be under control.’
At this point I decided I don’t care, and tried to talk my way out of it. Especially since I already had incidents like this, I already was hospitalized, I was already under cardiologists’ care, and waiting for Holter results, and there’s a good chance I will be alright for the rest of the night, and I did not feel like spending another night awake, in uncomfortable chair, around mostly drunk people. Plus I hate potassium drip, it makes me feel like Thanos when he almost burned his hand off. I gave up arguing eventually, but on the plus note, the doctors at the hospital once again proved to be competent, and helpful.
I am still considering filing a report on this man. At the end, it gave me a headache and anger, but I can’t imagine what could have happened to a less assertive person. Or a woman who would require immediate help, for example due to myocarditis. Or some underlying problems that are not easily spotted by EKG test, since it’s not uncommon for it to give false-positive results. Or a woman who is in depressed state, vulnerable for self-harm. Imagine a person on the edge, who hears ‘just get over it, or everybody will leave you, and you are wasting your life’. Or an overweight woman, because it is very common for them to be just sent home with ‘just lose weight’.
Women’s health has been, and still is a greatly ignored, and trivialized issue. But in year 2019 I hoped to hear ignorant bullshit like this only from uneducated people, who have no access to internet. But this is a medical professional, who is working directly with people in possible danger, requiring immediate assistance. Medical field is not a place for idiots, when it’s people’s life that’s at risk.
TLDR; A woman in possibly life-endangering situation has heard from a paramedic that her issues were basically caused by Female Hysteria, was questioned about her sexual life, and told that she should just calm down, get over it, and hop on the nearest dick for relief.