I have been having so much pain lately that it's not even funny. Last night the nausea and the pain from my migraine was so bad I was crying. This I woke up at 8:30 this morning and decided to go to the free clinic and see if I could get any meds for my pain. The thing is, this free clinic is in a church, so it's ten thousand kinds of fun to go there and not know what I'm going to face in terms of doctrine or judgment. Their phamphlet even says they won't offer referrals for treatment that goes against their doctrine, so they don't offer birth control and they don't offer HIV testing (um...not going to touch that one...) and yes, these things give me pause, but I don't have much of a choice. Beggars can't be choosers, so I go to the clinic and try to censor my speech so nothing I say causes me to get beaten with Jesus. Typically, when I keep my mouth shut and they don't ask and I don't tell, we get along because nothing ever comes up that would cause them to disagree with me and judge or condemn or insult me. It's a very stressful thing for me, this having to worry about what I say, and it makes whatever sickness I'm feeling worse just knowing I'll be going there.
So I got there an hour before it opened because the last time I got there after it opened they said they had too many patients and turned me away. After I got in and had my wait time I had the fun pleasure of talking to a doctor who acted like I was making up every one of my ailments (ok, that's not totally true, they're usually accommodating of my migraines even though they act like I'm lying when I say that ibuprofen makes my headaches worse) but for instance, these sores in my mouth...apparently they're invisible, but you guys, I'm NOT MAKING THIS UP. My tongue and sides of my mouth HURT, they feel like they have burns on them, and I almost cried when the doctor said she didn't see anything because when I was a kid my mom always said I was making them up too, but they're real. I am NOT just saying this for attention. I HATE attention, and why would I go out of my way to talk to a doctor just to have him/her tell me I'm an idiot? Yeah, THAT kind of attention is exactly what I want. Look at me, basking in the warm glow of attention here. GAH. I guess I'll just keep using home remedies (yes, I use salt water, no, I don't use mouth wash-the alcohol makes them worse but yes, I use diluted peroxide, yes, I just discovered that using a black tea bag helps, yes, all of these things help the pain, no, they do not make it go away). Then the other issue came up. Here is where all hell broke loose.
Ever since I had the fun and exciting cervical surgery, my body has been having cramps like they used to have back when I actually got a monthly period (yay, depo, I will love you forever). Now I have had cramps so bad I literally could not walk, I throw up, I had waves going in front of my eyes, I screamed and cried...they were bad. Every time I try telling other people about this they always Always ALWAYS act like I'm exaggerating. Mostly men but even some women seem to think that cramps aren't anything worse than a stomach ache and there's no way they could be as bad as I describe. I don't understand this propensity toward thinking people are lying and making things up, but whatever. You'd expect a doctor to know that cramps can be really bad sometimes, but apparently, I expect too much from people. Anyway, the cramps that I'm having now are not so bad I can't walk. They hurt, but they could be much worse, this I know. So anyway, I mentioned this to the doctor and she told me to ask the pharmacist if they had any pain medicine I could get for that, so that's what I did.
When I asked the pharmacist if he had any medicine for the cramps, he talked about Midol and heating pads, and how those help with cramps, and I got a little confused, because these aren't REALLY cramps, they're scars healing from the surgery, so I don't know why we'd have to use medicine specifically designed for menstrual cramps for this pain (and Midol doesn't work for me anyway) so I told him I just didn't know what to do, because I was on the depo shot and that took care of my regular cramps, but these pains from the surgery were different and I didn't know what to do about them, and the other people in the pharmacy kept shifting their feet and glancing at each other, and I realized that I was somehow saying something wrong, but I still didn't get what was making everyone so uncomfortable. Finally after going back and forth like this for awhile, the pharmacist guy got this really loud abrupt tone in his voice and said "you can try Midol and try the heating pads, but there isn't anything I can give you without getting into pills that terminate early term pregnancies, and I'm not willing to do that for you."
After he said that I sat stunned for a moment, and then he said "Ok" and I said "Ok" and stood up and walked out and walked out of the building and I made it to the end of the parking lot before I started sobbing.
First off, I wasn't asking about birth control. I know the clinic doesn't provide that and whether I agree or not isn't the issue, it's that since they perceived me to be asking for something that they consider immoral, they treated me like a leper. Back when I was a fundamentalist Christian, I didn't believe in using birth control either, because it could alter the lining of the womb and prevent a fetus from latching on and growing to term. Somehow, back then it made sense to me that even if I wasn't having sex and only needed the birth control because I had a week every month when I couldn't function or walk because of intense screaming pain, I needed to stay away from birth control because it was immoral. Nowadays, I see things differently. MY friend Heidi, even though she has never had sex and doesn't believe in having sex until marriage and believes it's a sin for a girl to be in the same room alone with a boy is Catholic and because of that she doesn't agree with using birth control, either. I get to see her crying and writhing in pain once a month too, and it's fun times. I see these things, and I think, "wow, God must really hate women if he expects us to writhe and suffer in pain like that every month even if we're not having sex." I mean, I don't have sex with men, and I haven't had sex with anyone in two years (though this damns me to hell anyway I'm told) so when I use depo, it is to prevent the onslaught of pain from hell, not to control birth (though I suppose I could still be raped and get pregnant, but that's now what I'm saying, my point is, even if you're not having sex, somehow birth control is STILL evil and you can't use it unless you want to be evil, too).
Where did this come from? How did we get here? When did the pain and torture of women become some kind of sign of righteousness? I know cramps aren't that bad for every woman, but for those of us who go through agony once a month, why in the name of god would a just and loving god want us to endure that kind of torment in the name of protecting symbolic, hypothetical children? I can guarantee the fuck out of this: if men had this kind of pain once a month, it wouldn't even be a consideration, they would take pills to stop that pain. But somehow because it's woman we're supposed to sacrifice our lives so that we can project this image of honoring the sanctity of life? Because taking a pill that could in some cases cause a fetus to die is wrong, even if we're not pregnant? What kind of fucked up bul;lshit is that? And those of you who think I'm exaggerating, I'm not. think about this: chemo treatments can harm unborn fetuses, so can lots of other drugs, but Christians don't rail against those things. Because birth control pills were designed specifically to control birth, somehow Christians think they're evil, even if they literally gave me MY life back. So I'm immoral somehow because I'm not protecting the sanctity of life? What about MY life? What about my friend Hedi's life? Do those lives not matter to God? People say "well we need to protect the unborn because they can't protect themselves, you're an adult, you can protect yourself" but I can't protect myself when I'm serving the kind of God that would want me to go through this torture every month rather than take a pill. What, on the off chance that Heidi is raped and becomes pregnant, she needs to stay away from birth control, because protecting the life of the possible child her body could conceive if she gets raped is more important than taking away Heidi's agonizing pain every month? Staying away from birth control is the "just in case you get raped" clause for good Christian girls? What kind of message are we sending here?
I cried all the way from Trinity Fellowship until Kmart and had to stop and compose myself, and the lady at the pharmacy noticed the tears in my eyes, but I couldn't take it anymore. This was my breaking point. I've been called a baby killer how many times in the last week? And we're only three days INTO this week. Maybe if I dind't love kids so much this wouldn't bother me, but it does. I LOVE kids, I love them to death and I'd jump to take a bullet for a little kid any day, but putting a woman through torture (and yes, the pain IS torture for some women) just to protect the life of a hypothetical child that could be conceived if a woman is raped? Are we in the Twilight Zone here? I know some women take birth control and have sex, and I'm not saying it's OK to call them baby killers. I'm saying that it doesn't matter, apparently, if you have sex and have an abortion, because even if you DON'T have sex you can still be a baby killer just by trying to manage your pain. God must be one vindictive little son of a bitch.
This just proves to me something I've worried about for years. No matter what you do, no matter how closely you try to follow your sect of Christianity, there will always be SOMETHING you believe or do that makes you evil in their eyes. Heidi? My very devout friend? She voted for Obama. she got a lot of shit for it too, and someone even called her immoral and said she was shortsighted and didn't really care about Christian values. I wanted to kick their teeth in. She gives up her life for a week out of the month on the off chance that if she's raped she won't potentially kill the child that might hypothetically be conceived because of that act, and she's not devout enough? Because she voted for someone who might pass a law or protect a law that might allow a woman to choose to abort a fetus somewhere down the road? If she's not devout enough, then I'm fucking screwed. And I knew that before, too. Even when I was devout and didn't use birth control and didn't vote for democrats I still watched horror movies (which I was told was a sin because if Jesus were sitting beside me I wouldn't watch those things and I was in defiance of his wishes for me) and I cried in church and was shy (which was a sin because I wasn't letting God work in my life and change me). No matter who you are or what you do, there will always be something you do that makes you unworthy. There are too many rules to follow and you can't ever possibly hope to follow them all well enough not to be condemned to hell. And I'm tired of stopping everything I enjoy, everything that stops my pain or gives me pleasure or stimulates my intellect or turns me on, everything that makes up every fiber of my being, everything that makes me ME, in order to follow some ideal that I'll never be capable of reaching anyway. Saying I can ask forgiveness for these things and someday I can train myself not to do or like them...I know all that. I did it for years. But I'm coming to the point where I realize that if Jesus only loves me if I act like a robot who looks like me on the outside but is empty on the inside, then Jesus doesn't really love ME.
My only hope is that god is bigger than all the bullshit rules. If not, I'm fucked. I'll save you a seat in hell, guys.