TT: What had happened was Part I, May 02, 2006

On Throwback Thursdays I am posting old posts from the blog I maintained from 2006-2009.

The following post is the earliest inkling of what would become Patient. Poems and How Much Does it Hurt on a Scale from One to Ten? I started it by writing retrospective diaries.

For those of you who know me, you know that I am currently working on an art series that deals with the medicalization of Black women’s bodies. I am doing this through self-story telling and visual art. I began by writng the events that led up to my surgery, and so much began to emerge. I was suprised by how much I could remember. I decided to get feedback on my testimony through my blog. Because of the length of the story I will only post in peices. Please respond. Anything will help me through this process of understanding, as I still am trying to peice together exactly what happened. Here is part one of the story:

February 10, 2006

It all began with a dull but faint pain similar to menstrual cramps. I thought it was because I hadn’t taken by birth control properly, and my period was beginning early. Over the winter break in Louisiana I was unable to renew my prescription for birth control, and I had to wait until my return to Maryland. 

It was a bizarre pain. Usually while in the heaviest moments of my period I didn’t cramp up. This pain was clear and constant–never letting up.

After work, I went into my car and lay back in the driver’s seat. I just felt like I needed a moment to collect myself. Maybe I was constipated; maybe I just needed to drink more water. I started to rewind in my mind the past few meals I had in order to decide whether or not I had any salt. I read somewhere that sodium causes cramps.

I went home and lay down. I tried to sleep but the pain increased. It was actually beginning to be frightening–this pain was no cramp. I called my mother.

She suggested I go to the emergency room. I thought she was overreacting. She is very over protective of me. I was a sickly child and she never took chances. I said I would go in the morning if the pain didn’t subside. She gave me the name of a local hospital that was recommended through my aunt. [Name of the hospital omitted].

February 11, 2006

The next morning, I was surprised to find that I was still in pain. Immediately I began to work in order to pull up directions to this hospital. It wasn’t too far away and I hoped that because it was a Saturday morning, the wait wouldn’t be long. I drove to the hospital slouched in my car. It was the only way I could sit without screaming in pain. I was not a pleasant person. 

After a two hour wait and a pregnancy test (although I made it clear that there was no possibility that I could be with child), I was able to see the emergency room doctor. As he entered I was staring at a splotch of blood on the white sheets that covered the stretcher I was lying on. It was my own. My period, or something like it had come. I didn’t know what to think. 

The doctor pushed down on my lower abdomen and into my pelvis to see where the pain was, how it was. He told me I was in “hormonal withdrawl.” That the crimson stains on the stretcher sheets were proof of this. That this was not my period but a simple sloughing off of my uterine lining. I was experiencing cramps he said.

I explained that I never had cramps before, especially this badly. He began to explain to me what cramps are. They are uterine contractions he said. I began to ponder if his response to my interjection was anything different from what he had explained before.

He sent me home with a prescription for oxycodone and ibuprofen. 

That afternoon, my friend Ana came over to spend the night. I told her about my adventure and we began to share our frustrations with our bodies. We shared a similar reproductive ailment: Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). My PCOS made my menses stop, which required me to take birth control in order to regulate my period. These are the affects of not having access to birth control for a while. I was given a new prescription and would start the next day (Sunday). … to be continued.