Thursday, September 22, 2011


Some may call me a sexual health hypochondriac. Others may label me paranoid as every single bump in the night leads to me frantically calling the nurse's hotline in the morning and running to my local gyno office. I, however, think of it as necessary maintenance for my lifestyles as both a proud slut and sex-worker. My doctors, products of a private health care system, don't quite know what to do with an anomaly such as me.

Some of the time I get helpful, genuine responses from nurses and physicians. Most of the time my candidness about my sexual status is responded to with facts and care dished with a side of awkwardness (apparently they don't prepare interns to actually hear the truth about their patients in med school.) Every now and then I confront a medical professional who goes above and beyond their duty to answer medical questions and to treat ailments, choosing to (obviously) let their personal opinions creep into my health care.

The last chapter in this saga was just last week (this may very well be tmi. By all means skip ahead if you'd like to not hear about the health of my cooch.) when I called the Kaiser Permanente advice nurse to ask about a prescription for a normal bacterial or yeast infection, things most women regardless of profession and relationship status get all the time. At first she was friendly and patient then (thinking, like always, it is best to divulge as much information about myself so I can get the best health care I can) I told her my sexual history (including the fact that I use condoms and gloves regularly) and got erratic, unsettling behavior. She swore I had herpes and probably some other STIs too and that I was jeopardizing the health of my future babies by my actions, making me an appointment for my gyno the next morning.

(Let me pause here: this is ANOTHER big thing that is crappy about dealing with health care providers. They assume since I have a uterus I want and will have children. Big news for you KP: I don't want any, nor do I plan on having any so you can please take your patriarchal head out of my ovaries.)

I went to my appointment a nervous wreck, knowing that I had been treated poorly, but actually convinced that I needed to seek medical attention. My doctor took a quick look between my legs and said no one in their right mind would have diagnosed me as having herpes or any other STI, though she did a full screening just to pacify my still worried and confused expressions. Owning my original concerns to regular female biochemistry (what I had thought in the first place!) she inferred again that had the advice nurse actually listened to me the night before the appointment and my night of worrying about my life choices would have been avoided entirely.

In the past I have swept such negative interactions under the rug, whining and woe-ing to friends and co-workers about the BS sex-workers and sluts have to go through dealing with doctors and nurses while never actually doing anything about it. I'm tired of whining to the choir and listening to others preach about how they've had terrible experiences with their doctors and their nurses too. This time I'm going to do more than whine -- I'm going to encourage others to whine too. AND to whine loudly.

Do you have stories to share? Please do!

Do you have resources for others to submit grievances and feedback to health care providers? Please share!

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