Today’s prompt is conversant, which, according to google means: familiar with or knowledgeable about something. Let me tell y’all something I am conversant with (or about)… my body and how it works. And yet, I know very little about the human body and how it works. If there’s something I’ve found out in all of my studying and research, even the most knowledgeable of doctors knows jack shit about the human body and how it works. They know a lot more than I do, that’s fersure, yes they do. Which is why I still go to doctors when something goes “boing!” in my body. But all of the doctors in the world collectively still don’t know very much about how we’re put together and how we keep moving about. They’re all still just dipping their toes into what the human body does and how it functions. Think about it, we know what we’re made of (muscle and bone) but we don’t know what makes us — any living thing — go. Is it a soul? Who knows. No one knows why Aspirin works. They just know that it does. But this is my body. I’ve lived with it for over fifty years, I know what this body can do, and what it cannot do. I know what works, and what doesn’t. Though, having said that, I am always open to trying things again (just to see if things have changed).
So I was reading this article earlier today about endometriosis, (the displacement of menstrual tissue) which I no longer suffer from (thank the gods!) and there’s a bit in there about how this disease? is it a disease?… condition… whatever! I can never keep the labels straight… anyway about how endometriosis can go forever without being diagnosed because, as the article points out: …women are not considered to be reliable witnesses to their own pain. Which I’ve found to be oh, so true. I’ve actually brought my husband into doctor’s appointments with me to validate my pain to my doctor so they’ll fucking listen to me. Seriously. It’s a thing.
It goes on:
This is not just anecdotal, it’s backed up by research. The University of Pennsylvania found that women are less likely to receive pain medication in emergency centres than men, and when they do get it they have to wait longer for it. …
This is overwhelmingly the story of all the women who spoke about living endometriosis and the doctors who told them “period pain is normal”. They were told “it will settle down soon” or “sometimes women just have unexplained pain” or “it’s something all women go through” … They were made to feel responsible for finding their own cure. … They were accused of drug seeking and told they were “being a bit silly” and “it can’t be that bad” when they told doctors they were in so much pain they couldn’t stand, or sex was so painful it made them cry.
And not it’s not just doctors, or males, or male doctors. Most of my doctors — by chance really — have been female doctors, and they’ll totally dismiss me and my pain. And women out in the wild will totally look at me and say, “It can’t be that bad.” And I’m like, “Are you fucking kidding me? I live in this body. I know my own pain.” When I was treated for my endometriosis, it was diagnosed within about a year, by a male doctor thank you very much, but I didn’t get surgery for it until almost ten years later for… various reasons. However, despite those reason, so many people, from my then husband, to my at the time friends (male and female), to the many doctors I saw in the interim would tell me that the pain I was feeling wasn’t serious nor was it that painful. Dear reader, I had lumps growing in my body between my abdominal wall and my skin, inside my C-section scars (endometriosis is not always near the uterus, mine was caused by my final C-Section). Those lumps would swell to the size of a golf ball every month… I had three of them actually. You tell me that’s not painful. I eventually got mine removed, but it took two surgeries and a ton of doctor’s visits — the first (female) surgeon removed my uterus (unnecessarily) but not the endometriosis. I needed the second surgery to actually remove the endometriosis because even though I didn’t have a uterus, I still had my ovaries and thus still “cycled” which meant the endometriosis was still active. I lived with the monthly pain for 12 years, from just after the birth of my last child, until the middle of 2001. I might have mentioned this before, but painkillers don’t work for me. I can take them, but they have no effect. So yeah. Fun times.
It was during this time that I attempted to “get healthy” because being in immense amounts of pain will do that to you I suppose, and lost all of the weight having four kids in four years put on me. I went from nearly 300 pounds to about 160 pounds and I was happy there. I started with an “all natural’ diet and walked everywhere. In the beginning, I cooked everything from scratch, if I could have ground my own flour, I would have. This was back in the late ’80’s, early 90’s. They didn’t have the internet or a lot of the fancy gadgets they have nowadays, but damn, I was doing okay. I still had gut problems, and that’s about the time my gallbladder started giving me issues too. As a matter of fact, it’s about that time I ended up in the ER with my first gallbladder attack. They were going to take it out, but I was in respiratory distress so they didn’t want to put me under for the surgery (this was before endoscopic surgery). So they gave me painkillers — which don’t work on me — and sent me home. The “all natural” thing lasted about four years I think, until I couldn’t afford it anymore. ^_^ It didn’t work anyway, I mean I still had all kinds of problems with my gut — so it was a lot of effort for nuthin’. Though I still try to stick to “natural” when I buy stuff because “natural” on the label means no High Fructose Corn Syrup, which gives me migraines. So there’s that.
And thus, I didn’t get my gallbladder removed until 2013. That’s 24 years with a bad gallbladder y’all. Twenty-four years. And if you think I didn’t go to the doctors or end up in the ER with gallbladder pain in those 24 years, you’ve got another think coming. I didn’t just have being a female working against me, I was poor to boot. No insurance = no surgery for me unless it’s life threatening. And gallstones, while painful, are not life threatening. So yeah. I got sent home with painkillers, which, as I mentioned before, don’t work on me. And did I mention that this was the time period that I had the endometriosis? Well, in the beginning anyway. Got the endo taken care of before the gallstones. But hey, at least I was eating healthy and losing weight. So I had that going for me. Right? Right? RIGHT!?! So I kept telling myself. 24 years is a long time. A lot happened, gained weight, lost weight, gained it again. Got more interesting diseases and syndromes… but the gallstones (sand really) were always there ready and willing to tell me when I’d had just a little too much in the way of fatty foods. 😛 They’re good for that at least. >_< But eventually I got health insurance and got the damn thing taken out. Which opened up a whole nother can of worms. That’s another post I guess. This one is already too long.
Anyway, long story short, I know my body. I am conversant in how it works. Who would know this body better than me? I’ve lived with it the longest. Right? When something is amiss with it, I’m the first to know that there’s something wrong. I know that painkillers don’t work with this body. And I don’t shun painkillers because they are made of “chemicals” (newsflash kiddos: everything in the universe is made of chemicals), nor do I shun anything that isn’t “natural” — not anymore, I got over that nonsense a long time ago. Way back when I was doing my “au natural” kick, I found out a medicine I was taking was made from belladonna, and I was intrigued so I went to the library (this was before the internet boys and girls) and looked it up. Belladonna — which means beautiful lady — is also known as “deadly nightshade” and in small doses, it’s medicinal — hence the medicine I was taking (for stomach spasms) — but in not so very large doses, it is a deadly poison, and has been used as such for millenia. But hey, it’s natural — and a chemical. So I never really stuck to the “if it’s natural it’s good for you.” mindset. I mean, it sounds good on paper, but it doesn’t really hold up in court.