Thursday, 10 December 2015

The Crotch Rot Doc Rocks

Hey guys, remember Dr Dickface McBullyo? AKA The Worst Doctor I Have Ever Had, AKA The Only Thing I Don't Miss About Living In Seven Sisters?

A recap:
PATIENT: Hi there, medical practitioner. I have been experiencing some abnormal and uncomfortable heart rhythms. Maybe we could check that out?

DR DICKFACE MCBULLYO: I see from your file that you have a history of depression. You're having panic attacks.

PATIENT: No, I have had panic attacks in the past, these are not panic attacks. Also, when the odd heart rhythms are occurring, I'm not panicked, and you'd think I'd notice if I was under so much stress that my body was initiating a fight/flight response, no?

DR DICKFACE MCBULLYO grabs PATIENT's arm and points vigorously at five-year-old self-harm scars.

DR DICKFACE MCBULLYO: What are these, then? You did these yourself, didn't you? You're having panic attacks. I can prescribe some anti-depressants.

It was supraventricular tachycardia, motherfucker.

Consider this Exhibit A, or, One Of The Worst Ways To Discuss A Patient's Mental Health.

Exhibit B: Yesterday a Superhero Nurse was taking my blood pressure. She gestured to my now ten-year-old self-harm scars (without touching them), confirmed they were very old, offered me an appointment with a counsellor, and took my word for it when I said my mental health needs were covered elsewhere.

And that is how you do it, Dr Dickface. You notice, you make it possible and comfortable for someone to disclose issues if they feel it's necessary, you offer relevant services without pushing, and you believe what they're saying to you.

You know. You treat them like a fucking human being.

Episode 36 in I Fucking Love GUM Clinics.

My blood pressure is perfect, by the way.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Today in the colonialist history of medicine, and everything else you love in this world

Fun things about working in a hospital:

1. People walking round in pyjamas
2. People walking round carrying coolboxes which are presumably full of internal organs. I gaze at them in the lift, thinking, damn, it really matters whether or not you come to work in the morning.
3. Being able to nip downstairs on your lunch break to have a quick chat about the pros and cons of the progestogen-only pill, get a prescription, squeeze in an unrelated blood test and still have time to get yourself a sticky bun.

Fun things about researching hormonal contraception:

1. Turns out I'm not the only person who found that the combined pill made me (more) sad, (more) tired, and utterly annihilated my sex drive. "Congratulations, you can now have all the sex you want!", I imagine The Pill saying to me. "YOU WILL NOT WANT TO HAVE ANY EVER AGAIN."

LIBERATION! And chronic nausea.

This is definitely something I'd like to look into more, but finding reputable sources is going to take some digging - there's a delicate but important line between "the pharmaceutical industry is deeply, systemically, globally fucked up, and is more into making a profit than promoting human wellbeing" and "oh, I never take drugs, all those nasty chemicals; I imbibe only Natural remedies derived from dew settling on flowers" (I wish I was joking), and I very much don't want to end up reading bollocks written by the kind of people who think vaccinating their children against fatal diseases is likely to give them autism. Got any resources? Gimme!

2. "When asked about the potential of a male contraceptive pill, politicians involved in the public defense of the trial disregarded the idea as ridiculous and impossible, on the primary explanation that the drug could do harm to the man and his reproductive system." AHAHAHAHAAAAA. I mean, I can't actually find a source for this (the quote's from Wiki), but man, I hope it's true. Well: I hate the idea that people could be so ridiculously bigoted as to think "it's totally cool to footle about with women's bodies, I mean, we don't really know what we're doing, we're giving people double the necessary dose, but it'll probably be fine, right?" at the same time as holding The Mighty Wang and its associated support systems as sacrosanct. But I also find such blatant hypocrisy really fucking funny.

3. Have you heard of the Puerto Rico contraceptive trials? I had not heard of the Puerto Rico contraceptive trials, and I am well into feminism, and history, and contraception. But until yesterday, I was not aware of the Puerto Rico contraceptive trials. I was not aware that the researchers developing the pill were like, "we can't get FDA approval until we do a large-scale trial, but we can't do a trial in Massachusetts, because contraception is illegal. I know! We have this useful little colony! It's full of women! Let's do it there!"

And if you're thinking that this bright idea is a massive ethical minefield, clearly you just don't have the far-sighted revolutionary thinking necessary to exploit women in the developing world in order to make a whole bunch of money.

"Uh, so, a lot of these women are illiterate, a lot of them don't speak English. Are we going to provide translation services to ensure full, informed consent?" said ABSOLUTELY FUCKING NO ONE.

"Uh, do you think that making 'agreeing to carry a pregnancy to term should you conceive during the course of the trial' a condition of participation is a touch coercive, maybe?" said NOT ONE SINGLE PERSON.

"Uh, this pill seems to be working, but it also might be, sort of, killing off some of the participants a bit? Should we mention this to the FDA? Should we mention it to our future target market, US women? Should we mention it to the participants in our fucking study?" said our old friend, NO ONE AT ALL.

The Puerto Rico contraceptive trials: tell your friends.

4. Is there any way to assuage one's conception-anxiety without supporting morally bankrupt organisations, if one is into touching a P with a V? Haha, NO.

5. This song is still the best.

Friday, 4 December 2015

Strong in the broken places: I heart Jessica Jones

"SO there is this new show on Netflix about a woman who's not long out of an abusive relationship, and how she deals with the trauma of him coming back into her life, and how he manipulates everyone around her to get her attention and fuck with her head, and it deals with PTSD and self-medicating and the impossibility of getting authority figures to believe you, yet alone to convict him, and it discusses rape of the non-stranger-jumping-out-of-the-bushes variety AND doesn't even have a super-sexy titillating rape scene, and...

Oh yeah, and the two of them have superpowers."

You guys, I submit to the court that Jessica Jones is freaking amazing.

The classic superhero thing doesn't really appeal to me - it always seems to be all about fancy costumes and bombastic storylines rather than anything as humble as character. But Jessica Jones is about, well, Jessica Jones: this mardy, hard-drinking, casual-sexing, small-business-owning, abuse-surviving, fucked up, fucked off young woman. It's about how she got to be that way and what she's going to do about it. It contrasts her superhuman physical strength with her only too human emotional frailty; and, ultimately (spoiler!) it's the fact that she was so broken by Kilgrave that makes her able to defeat him in the end. ("Strong in the broken places": sometimes Papa Hemingway got it right.)

On my second viewing, I'm noticing other things that make its world seem vividly real. It's set in a New York that is not (as is so often the case in TV Land) populated entirely and inexplicably by white people. It has a load of ladygay characters whose ladygaiety is not the entire point of their characters.

It's like Veronica Mars and Buffy got together to talk about all the things they didn't get right and had a beautiful foul-mouthed baby.