reproductive justice

Female Inmates Sterilized in California Prisons Without Approval


In 2006 I Had an Ordeal With Medicine

It is very hard for me to put this into regular words without it becoming a fragmented mess. But it went something like this: At the beginning of my second semester of graduate school what I thought I was doing as a student and would be scholar changed quite dramatically. On February 10th, 2006, I went to work for the first day at a professional organization for heart doctors. I got the position through a temp agency. I had an uncomfortable pain throughout the day. Something like cramps but—off. I was hoping it was cramps. My period was extremely irregular those days due to PCOS and I was often relived when I would have a naturally occurring menstrual cycle. By the time my work day was over the pain became worse… bad enough for me to stop in a parking lot and recline in my car for a bit before I had to endure the frustrating traffic of the DC suburbs during rush hour. I went to sleep that night deciding that this pain was odd enough that if, in the morning, it wasn’t gone, I needed to go to an emergency room.

The next morning I went to a county hospital, the nearest hospital (to my knowledge at the time). After a wait in the emergency room I got, what would become the usual battery of questions throughout this ordeal: How much does it hurt on a scale from one to ten? When was your last period? When was the last time that you were sexually active? It ended with me peeing in a cup and heading for a bed. The doctor, a male doctor this particular time asked me the same set of questions. I hadn’t yet bled and told him as much but when I got up from the bed there was a spot of blood. He sat me down and explained to me that I was experiencing menstrual cramps and that menstrual cramps are form the uterus working at shedding its lining. When I say that I was in my first year of graduate school, let me be clear, I am no child prodigy. I am 22 years old in this scene.

He sent me home with a lovely cocktail of ibuprofen and oxycodone.

To be continued.