As I am being wheeled into the emergency room and barely able to hold my head up, the first question I’m asked: What’s your name? The second: Date of Birth? The third: My social security number? The fourth: Confirm my address. The fifth: What’s going on with you tonight? Four questions I have to answer before I am treated like a person. Four money grubbing questions. This is part of the reason that I am a medical anarchist.
For my pregnancy, I had chosen to see a midwife. No it’s not because of religious preferences, I’m not even sure how it could be. It’s because I wanted to be treated as a person who is going through a natural process. A person who is educated and knows what she wants. A person with authority. There is no way to have authority in our medical system unless you are willing to fight tooth and nail. While I find myself willing to fight, the medical profession has been known to fight dirty during pregnancy and birth. How so?
During even low risk births, there is a time line to be met in the hospital and they Will meet it. Hospitals are in the business of being efficient. Healthy and efficient in the birthing process are often very different things. For example, many women receive pitocin to speed up their labor. This increases their chance of getting a caesarean by nearly 50%. A dutch study found that if you ruptured membranes (broke the water) and administered pitocin, you could almost guarantee (98%) a birth would happen within twelve hours. Bam! You’ve got a timeline based on an augmented birth process. Not to mention the birthing position, legs up lying on your back. It increases the chance of tearing (the word my husband is never allowed to say), episiotomies (medically induced tearing), suction, and a host of other interventions. Why this position? Well, so the doctor can see what’s going on of course. In fact, many professionals agree that low risk birth is more dangerous at a hospital than at home. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Pitocin makes contractions longer and stronger inducing fetal distress and leading to more c-sections. Pitocin leads to longer and stronger contractions and therefore women get tired more quickly necessitating a c-section.
Beyond the many medical complications for the sake of keeping a schedule, The entire process is degrading. You are treated as though you have no knowledge or authority of your own body. Your agency is taken. Your words not trusted. Your choices reduced or at the least seen as insignificant. How do I see it this way? Just for my miscarriage, I was hooked up to cords which necessitated my asking to go to the bathroom. I couldn’t get up on my own and just go, not because I wasn’t capable, but because they wanted to monitor me. When I told them that I had a miscarriage, each one asked the same question: what makes you think you had a miscarriage? Hmm, maybe meeting my child six months early in my house. Maybe that’s why I ‘thought’ I had a miscarriage. And when I had pains, they asked me what I wanted to help. Knowing that a.) the pain was endurable and b.) I’d rather just deal with it than be nauseous, I told them I just wanted some Tylenol. Even that choice could not be respected, the doctor smiled at me as though I was a child and said, “We’ll see. We’ll start with tylenol.”
All of these things contribute to the reason I consider myself a medical anarchist, but pregnancy and birth isn’t the only concern I have. Health is not the aim of the medical field. Solvency is the aim of the medical field. When I was trying to get pregnant, I asked the doctor if I should be taking any vitamins. Not really was her response. Did you know that the spinal cord forms in a baby about when most women find out that they are pregnant? I don’t know about you but I’d rather prevent deficiency. Lack of symptoms does not equal health. I can take excedrin for my headache, but that doesn’t mean it’s fixed. It means that I don’t know there is a problem. It’s the inducement of ignorance.
The total disregard for nutrition, and alternative methods to heal compounds my decision. Did you know that a doctor in Texas was curing terminal cancer? Did you know that the only person who died of chemotherapy complications cancer-free was treated by him. That’s Dr. Bursynski. The only reason that little girl died was because she was not allowed to be treated by him until she went through chemo and radiation. He cured her stage 4 brain tumor, gone, no surgery but she still died. He only took terminal patients. The ones that the hospital already gave a death sentence to, and he was curing them. Can you imagine what he could do to help those who weren’t stage four? Gerson’s has also made great strides in reducing, preventing and curing cancer and many illness. Why aren’t these things being used in the wider medical community? The answer is simple: money! Cancer is one of the most profitable industries in the world. If you can cure it, they can’t sell as many drugs.
Another thing that lead me down the path of avoiding medical intervention was my biopsies and the reaction of doctors to them. I found a lump in my breast which was the size of the top section of my pinky- not small. When I went to see my current Ob-gyn she found another one and later found two more which she recommended that I get biopsied. Everything was fine with all of them, and I went on with my life. When I switched doctors, he looked through my file and told me that I needed to stop examining myself because I’m too young and it’s going to make me paranoid. I immediately told the office that I didn’t want to see him again. All my time in women’s studies classes told me that I was being pushed onto the fainting couch. And I will not have it.
The truth is that we should know our own bodies. We should research and know natural processes and know when it is unavoidable to allow medical intervention. The truth is that health should be the goal, not simply lack of symptoms. The truth is that unless they believe what we tell them, they are blind. The truth is that the decision should be ours. We deserve to know all the risks, and all the alternatives and not be scared into anything.
The magical part of all this is when I had asked a million questions and shown that I knew what to ask and why, one of the doctor’s was honest. I asked him, “Is this necessary?” He replied, “Necessary is a subjective term.” If it’s subjective, that means no. Thank you and goodnight.