Words, words, words, art.

The Blatherings Of A Blitherer

Star Wars: The Spoilers Awaken

December28

I’m sure you’re interested in more hot takes on my ass and preparing for a pilonidal surgery but instead I’m going to talk about “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” Obviously there will be spoilers.

There is a problem with people of a certain age writing about Star Wars. For many of us, there is no time before Star Wars, no time we don’t remember having seen it. It’s sunk deep into our bones, soaked into our souls, flavoring the stories we’ve told ourselves and the play we’ve shared with others. So when a Star Wars movie or tv show or book comes out, it’s hard to separate our sense of self from what we’re consuming. It’s hard to accurately judge the product because there’s so much established emotion, context, hope, love, and projection going on. There are high standards to meet, but enough love and good will that a mediocre product can still be lofted up as long as it hits the right notes. The Prequels didn’t hit the right notes, for a number of reasons.

“Star Wars: Rebels” does hit the right notes, albeit on a smaller and more intimate scale. Please read more behind the cut.

Read the rest of this entry »

posted under movies, NerdLife, review | Comments Off on Star Wars: The Spoilers Awaken

Pains in the Ass: Pilonidal Cysts and You (pt 1)

December24

I had surgery on my butt in August and I’m going to tell you ALL ABOUT IT in a series of posts because apparently what I do on the internet is talk about my ass. Which has resulted in a bunch of really interesting twitter bots following me. Lord help me when I try to get a job and they do a google search on me or something. Anyway. Pilonidal Cysts.

I have a cystic skin condition unrelated to Pilonidal Disease, so when I had gross oozing, bleeding, swelling, and pain at the base of my tailbone/ass I assumed it was just my skin being awful and trying to kill me. I’ve lived with this for LITERALLY twenty years. TWO DECADES. I was aware of what Pilonidal Cysts are, but what are the chances that I’d have hidradenitis suppurativa AND pilonidal disease? IT IS TO LAUGH. Of COURSE I’d have both! I mentioned my butt issues to my general practitioner who said “Hm, that sounds like a pilonidal cyst, pull your pants down” and I did and mooned her and she said “yup that’s a Pilonidal Cyst here’s a referral to a surgeon.”

I foolishly assumed the surgeon could like… lance it in his office and that’d be it. OH LOR. NO. It involves actual knock-you-out surgery and I’m going to talk about that in a later post. But right now I’m going to talk about what a pilonidal cyst is.

There’s a lot of misconceptions about Pilonidal Cysts/Pilonidal Disease and what causes it. The general idea most people have of Pilonidal Disease is that it’s caused by fat hairy gross dudes who sit around too much in a slouched position while playing computer games and jerking off. It’s OBVIOUSLY caused by ingrown hairs, poor hygiene, improper seating posture, etc.

Actually, according to my surgeon, it’s not! It is, I believe, related to Spina Bifida. When the fetus is forming you have the neural tube that eventually closes to form the spinal column. Sometimes it doesn’t close completely and a little pocket or closed tube is formed. Either you’re born with it or you’re not. If you’re born with it, either a hair grows into it or not. If a hair grows into it, either it gets infected or it doesn’t. If it gets infected either it comes to a head on its own and drains (like mine did, continuously for twenty years) or it just swells up and is horrific. It’s entirely chance. There’s nothing a person can do to cause or prevent it. Lancing, antibiotics, etc don’t really affect it. Even if you can get it into remission, it’ll come back. The surgeon I saw stressed that it’s something he sees all the time in men, in women, in thin people, in fat people, in hairy people, in not hairy people, in active people, in sedentary people. It’s just a thing that happens. And it can be treated.

The surgeon I saw removes the entire Pilonidal Sinus in out patient surgery and then stitches it all up. He does not pack the surgical site unless the stitches fail, which I appreciate, as I didn’t want to deal with packing. It took me about 3 weeks before I could sit again (I basically spent two weeks doing nothing but lying in bed, which actually is awful.) In my next post I’ll talk about how to prepare for surgery, and what happened with my surgery.

posted under body issues, health, life | Comments Off on Pains in the Ass: Pilonidal Cysts and You (pt 1)

Being Fat In The World

December12

(content note: discussion of body hate, disordered eating, mental health issues, harassment, etc)

What is a microagression?

A microagression is a small, non-physical act that takes a negative, hostile, insulting, etc stance toward people of lower status. The term was originally used to refer to issues of race but is also sometimes used to describe similar actions with regards to gender and gender expression, class, ability status, etc.

On December 11th, Melissa McEwan started the hashtag #fatmicroaggressions on twitter “because I was having a moment of fedupedness with people pretending that fat people’s lived experiences are not spoken about, not known.”

I started college in 1997 when I was 18 and already pretty solidly in the grips of an eating disorder. If you’d asked me about it, I would have talked about diets and willpower and how unbelievably fat I was. At the time, I was still able to shop in “normal” clothing stores and wasn’t unbelievably fat. But adults had treated me, since childhood, as a massive disgusting fatbag one snack away from imploding from my own fatness. Didn’t I know how disgusting I was? Didn’t I know how cute I’d be if I’d only lose some weight? I look back at photos of myself as a kid, and sometimes I was a little chubby and sometimes I was skinny, but I wasn’t a fat kid. But adults around me were super quick to enforce the idea that I was a fat kid and fat kids were fundamentally worth less than non-fat kids. I think a lot of that was in reaction to the fact that my mom is fat… that they were trying to stage some sort of intervention to prevent me from going down the same (constantly dieting, constantly hungry, constantly hating herself) path she was on. And I internalized that. I took it as a given that I didn’t deserve clothing that fit properly or looked good, that I didn’t deserve to sit on the nice furniture for fear of breaking it, that I didn’t deserve people to treat me well, that I shouldn’t expect to ever find a husband or have kids (neither of which I was interested in at the time) unless I was willing to be strong and use my willpower to lose weight and get skinny. Because I was just lazy and indolent, that’s all, and all I needed to do was pay attention and count calories and measure things and work out and walk just a little bit and not so fucking much.

I stopped doing ballet (and tap and jazz) because my instructor told me I’d never be able to go en pointe, I was too fat. Too bad I don’t live in Russia or I could have joined Big Ballet, made up of dancers who weigh 220 lbs and up. I stopped doing tumbling/gymnastics because the instructor refused to help me get into positions she helped the other kids get into, and responded to my complaints of physical bullying (shoves, pokes, punches, and pinches of my little tummy) with an admonition to lose some weight (I was under ten years old). My pediatrician dismissed my mom’s concerns over my recurring ear infections, bronchitis (2-3x a year), and strep throat and advised her to put me on a diet. (When I turned 20 I got a new doctor who immediately had my tonsils removed. In the ensuing 14 years I’ve had bronchitis maybe 3 times total instead of 2-3 times a year. She also, worried about my weight, put me on an anti-depressant because it tended to suppress the appetite. She completely missed the part where I was incapacitated by Depression and Anxiety, but boy did she see my stomach and decide losing weight would do the trick. She missed the obvious signs of PCOS, too.)

By my senior year of high school, I was subsisting primarily on heavily caffeinated diet sodas. They were calorie free and filled me up sloshily and gave me energy which I needed because I was taking in so few calories. They also gave me horrible headaches thanks to the artificial sweeteners, but it was worth it, because no calories! I counted calories to the extreme, measuring out teaspoons of peanut butter for sandwiches and making hot cocoa with half the amount of the mix recommended. And when I was too hungry to keep doing it, when I’d been fasting for three or four days, I’d go on a binge and eat until I hurt while hating myself the entire time. I had excruciating nightmares for years about eating, would wake up racked with guilt from eating in dreams.

At some point in college I encountered the Venus of Willendorf and, possibly somehow through that, Marilyn Wann’s website Fat!So? which was a life changer. They both started me thinking in a very fundamentally different way about my body and my place in the world. I later discovered Intuitive Eating and Health At Every Size (HAES) and Kate Harding’s Shapely Prose and other blogs from the fatosphere.

I’m a lot healthier– and a lot fatter– now than I used to be. I rarely have my blood sugar drop so low I get shakey and nearly pass out. I haven’t fasted or binged in a long time. Keeping a food log can trigger incredibly unhealthy mindsets and behavior in me, but I can keep one if I need to (for instance, to be sure I’m taking in enough calories in a day). I still deal with stress by losing any inclination to eat, and sometimes realize that it’s almost bedtime and I’ve literally eaten nothing that day. I still have deep rooted problems, physical and mental, from the way people have treated me and my body for daring to exist as a fat person.

And I encounter similar problems pretty much every single day, people pre-judging me and my worth based on my size.

When I was pregnant, my first OB-GYN did not have a scale that went above 250 lbs. In order to weigh in, I had to leave his office, walk into a different office of a different doctor, and ask to use THEIR scale. I’ve had doctors fret that I was too heavy for their exam tables (I’m not). I’ve had medical staff refuse to use a larger sized blood pressure cuff (which skews my BP reading, making it register as abnormally high) or insist on using a thigh cuff (which is too big, and also gives a false reading… this time of too low). I’ve had many medical staff offer me exam gowns that were ridiculously small, because they simply don’t stock plus size gowns. When I had just delivered my child via C-Section, which is major abdominal surgery, and was still unable to feel anything from my chest down, I was expected to self-transfer from a gurney to a bed because the nurses didn’t want to touch my fat body. When I accidentally soiled myself (again, just had major abdominal surgery, had no sensation below the chest) they refused to clean me up and I lay there caked in feces for over an hour. When they DID clean me, they did an incredibly poor job. The morning nurse assumed I was simply incontinent and had regular bowel leakage because that’s just how fat people are. Medications, including birth control, are not tested on people over a certain size, resulting in fat people routinely being given the wrong dose of medication.

Every day that I leave my house I know I am going to be judged harshly by people. They are going to pull faces if I sit near them on the bus or train. They are going to be extra angry if I’m too slow crossing the street. People who see me with my kid assume I’m his aunt or nanny and not his mom. I know for a fact that I’m statistically likely to receive inferior medical care, that if I need an EMT they might stand around mocking my size instead of assisting me, or might post photos of me and insults to twitter or facebook. If I go into a grocery store, someone would feel it well within their rights to take photos of me and post them online with insults. In fact, there’s websites devoted to mocking people my size. People feel it acceptable and normal to casually insult me simply for existing, to judge me and find me wanting based solely on what they see.

I’m not going to pull that ridiculous “last acceptable prejudice” card or claim that anti-fat bias is somehow unique in the world of hatred and -isms. I’m also aware that as a white woman who usually doesn’t look obviously disabled I don’t get slammed with as much bias as other fat people in the world.

But still.

Every day I wake up and go out into a world that’s full of assholes. Every day I wake up and brace myself for absolute strangers to attack and deride me. Every day that I post something online i wait for the “lol ur fat” responses to roll in– and they frequently do.

So Melissa McEwan started this hashtag and people started posting under it. And some of it’s petty little shit like cashiers side-eying their Halloween Candy purchases and some of it’s bigger stuff like being denied birth control or having eating disorders and other medical issues go undiagnosed/untreated. And some people responded with WELL THAT ISN’T REALLY MICRO NOW IS IT.

I have 2 responses to that.

1) When you deal with toxic bullshit every single day, what should be a huge instance of hate and bias kind of sinks into a background noise. Pretty much every very fat person I know has had their medical concerns dismissed because they’re fat and “they just need to lose weight.” So on the one hand, that is (or should be) a huge fucking issue. On the other hand, it’s incredibly common. Almost every fat person I know dreads having to find a new doctor (or A doctor if they haven’t got one) because it means you’re probably going to have to shop around extensively just to find a person who treats you like a human being and not a gross sack of lipids. So a lot of the things mentioned under the hashtag? Are super huge things and not micro at all. But you know what? Those things are so common, so ubiquitous, and so many people feel they are deserved, that they just… lie there. Accepted. Acceptable.

2) It’s rare for the voices of fat people to be centered, to be heard, to be granted legitimacy. So fat folks see these kind of thing, and on twitter there’s very little barrier to entry, and suddenly… they’re entered into a conversation with other people who have Been There, who have Experienced That, who have Survived That, who Know How It Is. And the dam breaks. And all this fear and resentment and anger comes pouring out. Yes, there’s a difference between that woman on the bus who got up huffily after you sat down because your thigh touched hers and she didn’t want your gross fat cooties and the time you went to the doctor and he dismissed your questions about MS and advised you to eat more kale and lose weight, but at the same time, those exist on a spectrum of hate that affects all fat people and both are equally acceptable ways to react to fat people: with disgust, with anger that they exist, with dismissal. Just go away and don’t come back until you’re skinny.

The trolls, of course, have come out.

It’s easy to lose weight, they say. You’re just making excuses, they say. One asshole, whose entire account seemed to have been created solely to seek out and harass people who’d participated in the hash tag, tried to dismiss some of my claims. MAYBE THEY JUST SECRETLY HATE YOU.

Look.

Darling.

Sweet troll.

Precious little one.

It’s not a fucking secret.

It is socially acceptable and valid to hate people, to treat them as less than human, to consider them both worth less than thinner humans and also to consider them worthless.

That’s not a secret at all.

Voting

October25

I am very unenthusiastic about voting right now, especially as I live in Chicago and a lot of our local political options are especially dire. I kind of feel like I’m being asked to chose between being stabbed in the arm or being stabbed in the leg. Both are going to hurt and be bad for me, but which will hurt less? Which will lead to less long-term damage? Do I want to go with the leg, which will bleed more; or with the arm, which may lead to nerve damage of my hand/fingers? It’s a hard question to face, to make a decision on. Frankly, a lot of the platforms that a lot of politicians are standing on are directly designed to hurt me and people like me. They are literal attacks on me and people like me. I’m talking about stuff like restricting access to health care and abortion (even in the case of rape or incest! BTW: if it’s incest, it’s probably rape! even in cases where it will literally kill the mother! ABORTION: MOST EVIL THING EVER; WOMEN: TOTALLY EXPENDABLE), slashing important funding for stuff like education and government services, cutting funding for WIC and SNAP and programs that feed the poor and also stimulate the hell out of the economy.

I’m disgusted by the continuing attacks on the “Obamacare” initiative and the utterly foolish allegations about stuff like “death panels.” At least once a week, often more frequently, I read a blog post from someone about their personal life or a friend of theirs or someone in their church or community who needs medical assistance. Maybe they need new corneas, or need surgery on their jaws to keep all their teeth from falling out. Maybe they need a new heart and also anti-rejection medication. Maybe they need medication for their mental illness. Many of them either have insurance that simply magically doesn’t cover this expensive thing, or else they are uninsured either because they don’t have the option of insurance at all or because they’re uninsurable or because their insurance options suck (trufax: I once had the option of health insurance that paid out less than what you paid into it. For instance, you paid $X per month, but would have to pay out of pocket for anything that cost more than $Y for the year. $Y was less than $X*12 and also you had to pay into the plan for six months before you could use it. One was better off stuffing one’s money into one’s mattress and praying.). There is a gripping and vital need in the USA for affordable, comprehensive health coverage and access to medical care. People are literally dying without it, but as they aren’t affluent white dudes I guess it isn’t really that important or something so hey let’s talk shit about Nancy Pelosi in political ads. Saving Lives: It’s A Bad Thing Apparently.

Anyway, that being said, here’s Eight False Things The Public “Knows” Prior To Election Day by Dave Johnson.

posted under Chicago, life, politics, social responsibility | Comments Off on Voting

Latest Terrorism Attack on American Soil

May31

Dr. Tiller, one of the few doctors in the USA who is willing and able to perform late-term abortion, was shot to death while leaving church services. He has been shot before, his clinic has been bombed, the women who have gone to him for health services have been intimidated, terrified, threatened, and injured. Now he is dead, murdered by a person or group who doesn’t believe that women have the right to make decisions about their health.

Late term abortions, those performed after 20 weeks, represent only 1.4% of total abortions performed by doctors in the USA. 1.4%. Even if you nudge the definition of “late term” back to 12 weeks gestation, a time where the fetus is maybe sort of possibly viable if you have cutting edge technology and millions of dollars to spend on health care (or a willingness to declare bankruptcy instead of paying astronomical medical bills), the total of abortions performed is only 6.2%. Yet late term abortions are presented by those who call themselves “Pro Life” (yet aren’t above murdering people) as incredibly common. Save the babies! It’s an epidemic of murder! God’s baby garden is getting too full of precious miracles!

Of course, the women who chose late term abortions generally do so not because they suddenly realize OMG I AM PREGNANT OH NOES if only I weren’t such a slut! I better get rid of the evidence and murder this baby! They do so because they are physically or financially unable to have an abortion earlier, because a sexual partner or family member prevented them from having an abortion earlier, because they did not know that it was possible to get an abortion or that it was ideal to have an abortion before X weeks. In other words, most women who have late term abortions do so out of ignorance or fear of someone hurting them. Those eager and willing to murder men who provide medical services to women, however, are quick to paint these women as too stupid to make any sort of medical decision for themselves, even when it’s the efforts of these murderers that have ensured that young women in this country grow up taught little to nothing about their bodies and contraception, and have fought to deny funding to organizations that provide contraception and reproductive health services, and which assist women who are having financial difficulties while pregnant.

So women whose much wanted babies are hydrocephalic or have malformed organs or don’t have brain tissue or are already dead and starting to rot are pretty much fucked because the doctors who can provide needed medical services to them are either prohibited by law from providing those services or have to worry about being murdered if they continue to provide these medical services. Assuming, of course, that the women themselves can make the journey, often across state lines, to a medical provider and then can safely enter and exit his or her clinic without getting harassed or assaulted themselves.

People who claim to be religious and who claim to “respect life” value the “life” of a lump of poorly formed non-viable tissue over the life of the woman carrying said tissue in her body. People who call themselves “pro life” have no issue with attacking women. While claiming to “respect life,” they seek to inhibit women’s access to health care, contraceptives (one of the best ways, if not THE best way, of reducing abortions is to reduce the amount of unwanted pregnancies) and contraceptive education. After negatively impacting her reproductive health, these individuals have also tried to strip away social safety nets that can help women with children. Funding has been pulled for health care, WIC, food stamps, and child care and welfare programs. Women are expected to “pull themselves up by their bootstraps” while also going into debt paying for vaccinations for their kids. They are expected to go to work and support themselves and their kids, but child care is so expensive that it’s very possible to turn over one’s entire paycheck to a day care facility. There’s a reason so many little kids from economically depressed backgrounds are shaken to death or otherwise killed by their care providers: their moms can’t afford anything better for them.

Women are expected to be virginal creatures, and if they have sex these “pro life” assholes expect them to be punished for it. They deserve pregnancy, as a punishment. They deserve poverty, as a punishment. Women aren’t meant to enjoy sex, and those who have sex out of the strictly defined marital bed deserve to be punished. And since a potential baby has more value than a living woman, even if the fetus is non viable (and conceived during heterosexual wedlock in accordance with Christian religious values), said fetus should be treasured and made comfortable despite any risk to the mother’s health. Because, you know, those women had SEX and sex is BAD when women have it, and they need to just shut the fuck up already and PAY THE PRICE. And if that price means KNOWING that their babies don’t have heads, they need to just continue gestating them for 28 more weeks with all the physical pain and discomfort that pregnancy entails and also the emotional discomfort and pain with knowing that their babies are going to be born DEAD, and carry that lump of malformed tissue “to term” and either push it out their disgusting, filthy cootches or else have major abdominal surgery to remove it. Because every life is sacred, as long as it’s not an adult woman’s. Sure, the precious angel fetus might die and start to rot and poison the woman and kill her slowly, but that bitch shouldn’t have been having sex anyway, am I right? Sin of Eve and all that.

There is a continual chipping away at my rights as a human being. Women should be able to go to clinics to get cervical exams without assholes who claim to represent Jesus shoving pictures of dead babies at them and harassing and assaulting them. Women should be able to visit womens’ health doctors without worrying about being shot to death doing so. Women should be considered, wait for it, rational human beings who are capable of making their own health and reproductive choices; not treated as childlike innocents who need these choices made FOR them. Time and again individuals and organizations have targeted people who provide medical services to women and have stalked, harassed, threatened, and killed them. Places where women receive medical care have literally been bombed and destroyed. Clinics that provide reproductive medical services (often to less affluent women) like PAP smears, vaginal and cervical exams (you know, to detect cancer), and contraceptive services (which, you know, prevent pregnancy), are picketed and pressured to not open. Women seeking medical care are verbally harassed and sometimes assaulted or murdered. This has been going on for YEARS and rarely is anything done about it. This is terrorism directed at women, and it’s going unpunished.

I’ll leave you with this graphic:
Chart of Abortion and Reproductive Issues

Begging

May17

I don’t do this.

I almost never do this.

By “this” I mean jump on a begging train and ask for folks to donate money to someone online. The times I’ve done it in the past where for an artist who needed oral surgery to keep all her teeth from falling out and for breast cancer. I do it for stuff that hits close to home.

Gwendomama, whose blog I read only rarely, had a husband. He apparently beat the shit out of her, and then spent all the family’s money on his bail. He didn’t pay rent, bills, etc. So after being betrayed by her husband, who beat the shit out of her, and having to deal with police, etc. She finds out that if she doesn’t come up with $800 that suddenly isn’t there she’ll lose power.

Stay classy, abusive dudes. Stay fuckin’ classy.

I’m very furious at the guy for doing this. I’m furious that a woman who “played by the rules” and called the cops on her abuser and “did the right thing” (you know, because women who stay with their abusers and don’t report them are unfeminist scum who deserve what they get, according to some people) is being fucked like this. A person who was assaulted in her own home had her assaulter steal from her. A person who was assaulted now faces a struggle to keep her utilities on and not get evicted due to the direct actions of the person who assaulted her.

This is beyond fucked up. Seriously.

posted under social responsibility | Comments Off on Begging

State Aid (contains fuckwords)

May14

Once upon a time, in my parents’ time to be exact, a single income household spent 50% of its income on basics like rent/mortgage, utilities, and food. Now a dual income household spends 75% of its income on the same. I’m not even talking luxuries like “a car” or “cable tv” or “vacations” or any of that shit. Basic needs. The cost of living has skyrocketed, but for most people pay hasn’t risen to match.

We are currently two adults and a baby living on one incredibly shitty income. So I figured, hey, I might as well fall back on one of those safety nets my taxes have been paying for since I was 16 and started paying taxes. I put things in motion to apply for WIC, which is essentially food stamps/aid for Women, Infants, and Children. If you’re a guy and you’re hungry, fuck you. Women and kids only. Also, they’re only open during “normal business hours” or less, so if you work or rely on someone who has a car but works, you’re fucked. Unless you take time off of work, of course. Which for most people making shit money means you lose income on that day because you’re not exactly rolling in vacation/sick time. So just fucking APPLYING to WIC costs money, assuming you have a job.

I had tried several times to contact a WIC office, but they consistently had no working phone lines. Or else had nobody answering the phones. Or just didn’t care to answer the phones. All I kept getting was a recorded message with the hours of operation and a request to not leave a message. I finally got ahold of someone and found out that:
1) I had to come in person
2) I had to bring my nine week old infant with me (because if there’s one thing you want to do with an infant, it’s expose him to as many crowded, germy places as possible!)
3) I had to bring a bunch of paperwork with me.

I figured out how to get there via public transit, and that just left hauling a heavy stroller, carseat, and baby up and down flights of stairs and onto and off of the bus. Which, you know, considering I just had major fucking abdominal surgery was less than fun.

But I did it!

I got off the bus 3 or so blocks from the place I was supposed to be at, and looked in the diaper bag for the address and paperwork I’d brought with me. Only to discover, of course, that I’d left it at home. Along with my inhaler and pads. But I had diapers!

I almost turned my sweat self around to go back home. I mean, I didn’t have my paperwork. Why continue? But I am already “in the system” because I use state insurance and have 2 caseworkers (one who knows stuff and one who is either brain dead or the laziest fucker on the face of the planet), I have the fucking baby, I have my fucking photo ID, maybe we could at least put the ball in motion, right?

I walk to the building, which has steep stairs in front of it.

I have to walk around the entire fucking building before I get to an entry that has a ramp. That entry does not have automatic doors, so I had to wrestle the stroller through narrow doors while holding them open. I am, once again, really damn glad I’m not in a wheelchair because this little expedition, like so many others, would have been impossible if I were. Good job, city of Chicago/State of Illinois. Once inside the building, everything was labeled incredibly poorly and solely in English, which is a bit surprising considering the VAST majority of people there were not native English speakers. I got in line at the information desk to ask where I was supposed to go when a guy wandered in front of me and started talking to the employee. They had a GRIPPING fifteen minute conversation about ferns before I finally gave up and just started asking random people where WIC was. It’s downstairs. I headed down. Once down, I had to wander around because there were no actual signs indicating where to go.

I finally stumbled upon a large room with a bunch of folding chairs, women and their kids, and two cubicles. The cubicles are labeled “milk program” and “food coupons.” There’s two cafeteria type tables covered in hand outs, but no place to sign in and nothing saying that this is, actually, WIC. Apparently I made an appointment so I could just stand around in a room full of other people. Efficient!

I finally got hold of an employee and asked if there was a sign in sheet or someplace else I was supposed to go if I had an appointment. “an appointment for what?”

I was thrown by that mother fucking question because everyone EVERYONE everyone I’ve talked to concerning WIC has stressed that you motherfucking need a motherfucking appointment and can’t just walk in. But apparently WIC employees don’t know this!

Remember I said I didn’t bring my paperwork with me? It turns out that didn’t even matter because there’s a bunch of fucking paperwork I never got that was supposed to have been filled out by Nick’s doctor concerning his weight and height and stuff. Which led to a really fun “who’s on first” type conversation where I kept asking when I was supposed to have received this and from whom and who was supposed to fill it out and did I need to make a special fucking trip to the doctor just to get this fucking paperwork filled out. The answer is, no, I don’t need to make a “special” trip, I need to make a “necessary” trip. Oh! Well ok then!

Then I was advised to stop seeing the pediatrician I’d BEEN seeing, who has all of Nick’s records, and switch to the over crowded clinic upstairs. Oh, hey, that’s a great idea! Let me switch from the office that’s five minutes away and has extended hours to the one that’s fifteen minutes away and has incredibly limited hours! Fabulous! That makes total fucking sense! I was then told to go upstairs to said clinic and hope they could see me that day! Because a clinic that’s so crowded it has people waiting outside of it should be able to squeeze us in! And they could totes fill out that paperwork even though they didn’t have any of his medical records! And pigs could totally fly out my ass while flocks of angels descend from heaven singing the glories of the efficiency of State institutions!

I got my first paying job when I was sixteen, and I’ve been paying taxes ever since then. Which means I’ve been paying into WIC and other social safety nets the entire time, as has my husband and my parents and my brothers and my in-laws. I would really really like to use this service that I have been paying for for the past fourteen years but they seem to operate under the idea that if you make it hard/frustrating enough for people they’ll stop trying to use said service. Which is essentially why I stopped going to Stroger hospital for followup care after I had my miscarriage, despite the threat of OMG ECTOPIC PREGNANCY SEPSIS DEATH INFECTION. I mean, I’m sorry, but I like my bathroom stalls to have doors, you know? Also, when I make an appointment and have to travel an hour and a half to keep it? It’d be nice if it weren’t randomly canceled.

I hate relying on the government for this kind of shit not because OMG WELFARE QUEEN SHAME SHAME BOOTSTRAPS SHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAME but because I know that I’m going to get treated as less than human when I try to avail myself of the services. For WIC, you have to make an appointment, but once in the office, you just sit in a chair wondering if you’re in the right place until a cubicle has an empty seat. You aren’t told what paperwork to bring, which renders the visit a waste of time, and it’s assumed that you haven’t had any doctor’s visits for the kid. Automatically assumed. The building, like just about every safety net related building I’ve been too, is barely handicap accessible and the vast majority of signs (when there ARE signs) are in English only, leaving those who aren’t fluent in English fucked. Hours are incredibly limited, making it hard for people to use the services at all.

I’m out an hour and a half of my time, spent $4.50 on transit, and my back hurts from carrying baby equipment up and down stairs and wrestling with doors, and I have nothing to show for it. And I can’t move forward on this until I straighten out the doctor paperwork, at which point I’m sure there’ll be surprise! other paperwork I need to fill out/obtain/sign with the blood of a unicorn.

posted under baby, social responsibility | Comments Off on State Aid (contains fuckwords)

Oh, so that’s why. Ok.

May12

For those of you who haven’t been following along closely, I had a C-Section on March 16th. It was pretty normal and boring and run of the mill, and recovery has been tedious and infuriating but really, it’s been normal and boring and run of the mill. For the most part. I started hormonal birth control 2 weeks ago instead of waiting for my menstrual cycle to resume because really, who could say when I was going to start again? Hormones! So mysterious! So I just jumped right into the pack of pills.

Two weeks into them and I have my period.

GOOD JOB UTERUS. Nice to know we’re all on the same page.

Also, thanks so much for starting on Mother’s Day. I’d punch you if that wouldn’t be a spectacularly bad idea.

Anyway! I have cramps. This is pretty normal for me except for one thing.

I can feel where they sliced into and then stitched up my uterus.

Everywhere else is kind of “ho hum cramp cramp cramp ow cramp whatevs” but in the front? It’s like I’m being stabbed. Sort of. Or being touched with a length of hot wire.

How bad is it? So bad that advil and ibuprofin don’t touch the pain, and I took some vicodin.

I’m also feeling tired and out of it which, again, is pretty normal for when I have my period. Except! I talked to my mom and told her I had an owie and she was all “OH NO MAYBE YOU ARE BLEEDING INTERNALLY GO LOOK AT THE INSIDE OF YOUR EYELIDS.”

Outwardly, I was all “Maaaan, I’m not bleeding internally, I just have my period and some excruciating pain. Major abdominal surgery! Remember?” Inwardly, however, I was all “OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD HOLY FUCK I AM BLEEDING INTERNALLY I AM GOING TO DIE WHAT THE FUCK NOOOOOOOOOOO.” and taking constant stock of just how tired and shaky and out of it I felt.

Then I ate some dinner and felt better.

In short, there is a reason I’m a nerve-wracked hypochondriac who always assumes the worst, and that reason is named Gretchen and gave birth to me.

posted under baby, body issues | Comments Off on Oh, so that’s why. Ok.