Sunday, June 16, 2013
The rose featured here is “Remember Me.” She was planted in memory of my husband’s sister, Rhonda; beloved by both of us; dead too young of medical neglect. She was part of a generation of women, as I am, who grew up being told that women had responsibilities without rights and a purpose without a fully enfranchised position in society. Once a woman failed to, or reached an age where she could no longer, fulfill those responsibilities or honor the purpose, she was relegated to the “crock file.” That is to say her medical complaints were summarily written off as attention seeking gimmicks and her menopause was nothing more than an inconvenience for the medical community and her male partner’s libido.
In Rhonda’s case even though she had spent many years as a paraprofessional in the institutional medical community, owing to its putrefaction by the perverse pecking order of the Neo-Platonic and patriarchal ideal, she lacked the right to demand medical treatment or the position to be credible in stating her medical complaints. She was some twenty-years into a nightmare of pain, rejection and drug addiction before her menses became hemorrhage-like and someone decided that even though she was barren her womb might be worth examining in depth. As it turned out she suffered from chronic fibroid tumors of the uterus and had for many, many years. It is worth noting that the condition is painful and debilitating in the extreme. To make matters worse she had been seen to have fibroids earlier in life, had them removed, never been followed up even though the signs were clear and had been denied a hysterectomy when first diagnosed because she had never had a child. No one asked if she wanted a child – nearing thirty, unmarried with a career. All women want babies, right? Something is wrong with them if they don’t, right? Take a pill honey. Keep taking them until you want a baby. Doctor knows best.
It was common practice to tell a woman like my sister-in-law when she presented in her doctor’s office with a complaint no one saw any reason to investigate diagnostically, “There, there dear. You are overwrought, overtired.” With that she would be given a pat on the head, a prescription medication, generally narcotic, and sent home with the understanding, stated or not, there was no need to bother doctor again. Rhonda took the medication and took it and took it, until she became addicted. Then she began the humiliating and exhausting process of “doctor shopping,” as she went from physician to physician trying to get her drugs. It never seemed to occur to any these quacks that a doc addicted her, and perhaps a doc might help her find the options that would release her from the addiction. Addicts seldom have the strength or are clear headed enough to find such options on their own. In the end, she accidently overdosed. The final irony was that the coroner ruled it suicide – no doubt having gone to the same medical school as the idiots who prescribed the drugs in the first place.
Rhonda’s situation was not – still isn’t to a certain extent – uncommon, although due to the flourishing number of nasty bitches like me who act at times as patient advocates and the even nastier bitches who have gone to medical school and invaded the citadel, if you will; this practice is much less acceptable. Still in all it stems from one basic premise, women are utilitarian creatures. We are either decorative or procreative. If we are neither, then in all likelihood we are disregarded early on. If we are both and as is inevitable cease to be at some point in our life, then we become meaningless and discarded in our turn.
It is not surprising after decades of this stupidity being engrained in the human psyche that we see the reemerging of what for assorted knuckle dragging, mental midgets seems to be a foregone conclusion; women have the responsibility of being available and amenable to exploitation without the right to refuse or insist upon parity; we must gladly serve the purpose of reproduction without the position in society to control our reproductive lives. Accordingly, thinking of women as utilitarian in nature is the rock on which our national cathedral of misogyny is built. The foundation extends across the nation, from stumble bums like Todd Akin to the Governor of Iowa who thinks peddling enough influence to become the chief executive of his state entitles him to sit as a one man and untrained medical panel to decide who may or may not have an abortion. Currently in addition to these high profile nitwits the walls of this church for chiselers are being covertly strengthened in many statehouses and in the Congress of these United States by Rightwing hacks who are legislating women back to the ‘50’s in the name of truth, God and the American Way.
Women are told, either directly or by implication, that rape is legitimate or illegitimate and that pregnancy seldom occurs during a rape because the female body is like a computer that is overloaded and will shut down. Are any of the circus clowns currently promoting this foolishness GYN doctors, no? Hell some of these rubes sound like they barely got past the third grade. It is the same kind of self serving chauvinism and bargain basement machismo that spawned the propaganda of my youth, “a woman who is raped deserves it, is asking for it and if she hadn’t fought would never have been beaten. After all he was just trying to show her a good time.”
The purpose of all this dysfunctional and despicable evangelizing and proselytizing is to reinforce the idea that a woman can only serve her utilitarian mission if she gives forth issue, regardless of the circumstances of conception or the viability of the child, or even her own post partum survival. In the final analysis we women best honor our responsibilities and serve our highest purpose as incubators with all the dignity and respect afforded any other machine.
We have put these duplicitous, woman hating, religion spewing frauds in office. These emotional batterers, these psychological and legally sanctioned rapists have slithered to the ballot box on their bellies and we have given them legs with our vote. Is this the way we want to live, any of us, regardless of religion, race, political ideology or wealth? If it isn’t we need to pull these monsters out of office in ’14. For that is the only way to stop them, and if we don’t we stand guilty of conspiracy in our own victimization. We must do this for ourselves, our daughters, our granddaughters and because we hear the voices of generations of women like Rhonda calling to us from the grave, “Remember Me!”