where the cornflakes are

this blog may appear to be experiencing an on-going existential crisis - it isn't quite sure whether it's about knitting, crip stuff or life in general

Monday, February 13, 2006

I weep for the future

I've been meaning to do a post for a while about a letter I received in the mail just before Christmas. I just read something over on Gimpy Mumpy that reignited my anger, so I've decided to finally do it. That, and Marmite reminding me that I'm not really the most regular blogger in the world. ;-)

Anyway, this letter was a copy of a referral to a gynecologist. Kind of a long story, but I had this weird migrane and my regular doctor wanted to take me off the pill because she thought it might be related to that. I'd had an infuriating conversation with her at the time, because she assumed that stopping the pill would have absolutely no consequences for me at all. I was frustrated to have to explain (after repeated attempts at hinting) that I use it for birth control, not just for the hell of it. After she picked her jaw up off the floor and poked her eyes back into their sockets, she asked many inappropriate questions about whether or not I only shag other crips, then decided to put me in the "too hard" basket and send me to someone else.

She's such a twit that I really shouldn't have been surprised when I read the letter that began - "Stella has severe Osteogenesis Imperfecta and is wheelchair-bound. Surprisingly, however, she is sexually active and requires contraception."

Um, excuse me? Surprisingly? Wheelchair-bound? I wasn't quite sure whether the subtext was, "despite being completely hideous and socially unacceptable, Stella occasionally gets some action", or perhaps "Oh my God, this thing might actually breed!" Even more horrifying was actually going to see the gynecologist, where I had to justify my disturbingly normal lifestyle once again. I'm 23 years old, women my age occasionally have partners, and sometimes even shag them. To assume that I don't, based on nothing other than the way I look, is totally offensive. Never mind the fact that using contraception is actually a responsible and sensible thing to do, and no-one should ever have to justify that.

My anger about this experience was re-fuelled this morning when I read about a woman with OI who has just had a baby. Obviously, the fact in itself doesn't make me angry, I think it's kind of cool. People have been telling me about it all weekend though, just because I have the same impairment. Although my stroppy crip reaction is to roll my eyes and ask why I should care about that any more than I would if anyone else had a baby, I've resisted. It is an interesting story, and a wonderful thing that a much loved baby has been bought into the world.

Reading Mumpy's account of things this morning though, I've discovered that, as usual, there has been some seriously dodgy reporting of it by the press. This article is pretty indicative of that. "Her tiny, distorted body left little room for a fetus to grow and Vasquez suffered two miscarriages before doctors at Stanford University's Lucile Packard Children's Hospital delivered her son, Timothy, by Cesarean section on Jan. 24."

Sigh. What hope do we have if we keep reading these sorts of things about ourselves and our lives? Even from doctors, supposedly some of the more educated people in society. It's no wonder so many crips grow up with hang-ups and self-esteem issues.

On that note, I'd best be getting my "tiny, distorted, wheelchair-bound body" back to work, ey?


At 12:21 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Honey, just don't read the crap! In the words of Molly Meldrum, "Do yourself a favour" and purchase the inspirational "Defiant Birth" which will be officially launched March 1 at some bookstore in the city. (will let you know which one) Yours truly will have the privelege of speaking!
Their tiny minds simply cannot comprehend we crips (and I include myself in this) having a sex drive! I simply cannot comprehend such brainiacs ever even being passionate! When I think of some of the docs I have encountered!!!!! (apart from the scrumptious Ravi!)

At 12:38 pm, Blogger stella said...

Oh now THAT'S cheered me up!

Hmmmm.... Ravi....

And I'll be at your book launch with bells on babycakes! ;-)

At 4:14 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this.
Of recent times I've been reading Leisa's writings and for the first time considering such things. Other than vague notions and the occasional experience, I had no idea just how many self-absorbed, insensitive people there are out there. Still, they are the minority - it's just that we pay attention to them. Maybe we should stop and they'll just fall back into the crack they crawled out of.

At 4:36 am, Blogger Gimpy Mumpy said...

Hi Stella :)
I'm still angry about that article, grrrr! I thought you might like to read an old post of mine though about an experience I had with another narrow-minded doctor:
As the post says, Leave My Labido Alone! :P
I hope you find a better doc & a better gyno.
I was supposed to have my annual visit and this time with a new doc last week. I had alot of the same crappy questions about my sex life and I must say I wish I had a video camera to tape the nurses responses! If it weren't going into my permanent medical record, I would truly have fun with some really extreme hard-core answers. It would be worth the look on her face!

At 7:17 am, Blogger marmiteboy said...

What really angers me is not just the way the story was reported but that it is a story at all. Just because the mother is a disabled person suddenly means that having a baby is news. It's disgraceful and shabby.

As for your experience Stell, well it left me gobsmacked. Cheeky cow that doctor, maybe she isn't getting any and is kinda jealous;-)

Us crips aren't supposed to shag you know. We might breed and inflict some more freaks on the world. Can't have that can we. Bastards.

At 10:31 pm, Anonymous Money said...

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At 6:58 am, Blogger Margherita said...

Hi! I'm a girl from Italy!! I have OI too and I have a project, writing a book for charity, if you are interested in knowing more about it, pls contact me
anyway, the doctor you talked with is a shit.... I am 20, I have OI, and I LIVE WITH MY BOYFRIEND AND MY SEXUAL LIFE IS MORE THAN ACTIVE!!!
pls send that doc to the hell.....

At 2:11 pm, Blogger MJK said...

What's even more horrible, imo, is that this attitude sometimes ends up wearing off on some people who are disabled. I was joking around with a friend of mine a few weeks ago, she is wheelchair bound, but not lacking any necessary biology and or any nerve endings or anything, and I had made a joke regarding sex and she basically said, "Oh, I don't know why you would assume I'd be having sex, no one could ever want to have sex with me." *My* jaw hit the floor. This marvelous wonderful lovely lady and she thinks that because she's in a wheelchair...? Grr.


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