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?