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.

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