Sunday, August 14, 2011

I Hate Doctors

I was reminded a couple weeks ago about how much I hate doctors.  I had forgotten because for the last few years I had been going to the Planned Parenthood for all of my medical needs because 1. they are competent, knowledgeable, and nonjudgemental and 2. they were covered by my old health insurance.  My new insurance does not cover any out of network doctors and so I can't go to the Planned Parenthood anymore.

I miss them so much.

My new doctors is..... a doctor.  She'll have to do.  I went in because I have decided to go on birth control and I wanted to talk about my options.  There was definitely some judgement on her part- when I told her that some of my friends had gotten pregnant while using the pill she said that they probably just didn't take it right and when I told her that I didn't want an IUD because it was icky and creepy, she looked at me like I was an idiot.  I get that my feelings about IUDs are not rational, I know that. But when I talked to someone at the Planned Parenthood about it a couple years ago, I told them that I was worried about it getting ripped out of my body if I walked by a big magnet and they calmly (and remarkably, with a straight face) told me that copper was not magnetic.  No judgement whatsoever.

My new doctor told me about how the pill worked and gave me an information packet.  I looked through it while she went to check on a test I had taken and I saw that the pill actually interacts with a medication I take for bipolar disorder.

"Um, I have a question," I said when she came back into the room. "It says here that this could interact with some seizure medications and I take one and so...."

"You have seizures?"  She started typing and looking at a computer in the room.

"No, I have bipolar disorder, but one of my medications can be used for seizures."  I kept my eyes on a poster behind her head that showed different types of birth control used throughout history.  A lemon was one of them.  "I wanted to ask you about that because I know that the pill can affect people's moods and since I'm bipolar I was worried."

"You'd have to talk to your psychiatrist about that."  She looked up from the computer. "It says that there is a chance that it will make that medication less effective, but you should definitely talk to you psychiatrist about it."

"That seems like a bad combination." Causes moodiness AND make my medication not work? I thought.  It's going to be a "fun" fall.

She gave me several pamphlets which I made the mistake of reading in the middle of the night on the first day on my period.  Totally freaked out.  I came to the conclusions that I was most definitely going to die, no matter what choice I made, and that I should just give up heterosexual intercourse forever.

A couple weeks later I went back into see my doctor and she was a lot friendlier.  Maybe I had judged her a little too harshly.

"I don't mean to push the IUD onto you," she said after I told her that my psychiatrist said that the pill would make my medication 50% less effective, but that I could up my dose if I wanted. "I just really think that it is the best option for you."

I knew she was right.  But logic and reason don't change the fact that it makes me sick just thinking about getting an IUD.  I haven't heard anything bad about them from friend- only good things in fact.  With the exception of the terrifying pamphlets, every source of information about an IUD tells me that it would be a perfect option for me.

And yet, and yet, and yet.

It is not a completely rational decision.  Yes, it could be.  I could suck it up and get it and just deal.  I have intellectualized many other things before, why not this?  But I... I am the one who has to live with it.  It is going to be inside of me at night when I can't sleep or when I have a cold, or when I finally fall in love again.  I know in my head that I won't feel it, but I cannot convince my heart of that.  Is it ok to be irrational about these things?

My doctors isn't the one to talk to about these issues, she is not equipped.


  1. Ugh, doctors can be awful about this kind of thing. I've had doctors explain to me why & how I should take birth control... even after I've told them I'm gay... and let's not even talk about my experience with The Pill (which I took for a year to alleviate my acne). Oy. You have my every sympathy.

  2. Hi, Allison!

    I found you through your comment on the Feministe self-promotion thread (I do not usually comment on Feministe, but I read it sometimes), and I wanted to tell you that it's totally okay not to want to use a certain type of birth control for "irrational" reasons!

    I have similar limitations, in that I can't insert anything into my vagina, so IUDs/cervical caps/rings/Essure/whatever else are Right Out. I also have severe depression (ruling out any formulations of the Pill that will mess with my mood) and am large (ruling out progestin-only pills, which tend to be less effective in larger women). Luckily, I had a nurse-midwife who prescribed me a pill that worked with all of those restrictions, but if there were no such pill? I don't think I would consider my physical comfort, my freedom from pain, and my bodily integrity to be negotiable. I think you would be similarly justified in considering your peace of mind non-negotiable.