The Abortion Debate 

I find the debate on the SCOTUS HB2 ruling to be disheartening. Really it isn’t a debate at all. Everyone who supports the bill shares a link or says, “Thank Goodness!”, but wow are the other side chomping at the bit.

I get that they are impassioned, I really do. It’s an issue that is at the heart of many peoples religious and moral beliefs and while I don’t partake of the same view, I do support their ability to share their side of the argument. However, while perusing through a fair number of posts, it seems to be that they have fallen off their rockers. I am always up for a lively debate, one that is well informed, fair and intelligent, but I feel like this is not what they are up for.

Posting personal attacks on people or resorting to name calling makes you lose all credibility, but they just don’t seem to care. They also don’t seem to care about scientific facts or studies. Maybe this is just the nerd in me, but aren’t those things kind of important? I do a fair bit of reading and consult with my best friend, who happens to be a doctor, when forming opinions regarding medical practices and rules, and I think that everyone should. It’s easy to make decisions with your heart, but unfortunately it’s not very good at reasoning or logic or risk/benefit analysis.

We need to live in a world where we are making decisions based on facts, science and our best judgement, not our feelings, because those are intangible things. We are all individuals with different life experiences and values, but those shouldn’t be forced upon others.

***Edit: I ended up having a lovely discussion with someone about the ruling, who was on the opposite side of the issue from myself. It can and does happen. Keep your minds open and your comments respectful and you end up having more in common than you would think! Thanks to Epiphanies and Serendipities for her awesomeness!

On being Erin

Some of you know that I have had some trouble with my arm over the past year and a half, but what I may or may not have divulged is that it’s not just a little thing.

My entire left arm, which happens to be my dominant hand, is affected by what the doctors like to call an Ulnar Neuropathy. They call it that because they don’t know what else to call it. Through X-rays and MRIs, ultrasounds and nerve stimulation studies, they have come up empty handed as to why this is happening to me. I have tried more drugs than I can name, with side effects that have crippled my ability to function.
In the end, I have been left with severe chronic pain that affects my ability to be a mom, partner and human being. Pain that cannot be measured on a scale or quantified in medical imagery. Pain that isn’t good enough for the insurance companies, so I am forced to jump through endless hoops to “prove” that I am worthy of the benefits I am granted through my work, just to be able to pay my rent.
I share this with all of you, because in trying to live my daily life, I want people to know that just because I smile or go to choir or make a joke, that doesn’t mean that I am okay. Those things can be a wonderful distraction from the endless exhaustion, depression and pain that plague my every day. These things make me feel normal when few things these days do.
Least of which is being labelled as having a disability. The first time someone used that word with regard to me, I cried. And the next time, and the next. I was healthy and happy and had a wonderful career, and now I am here. I am 31 and have a disability that prevents me from working or from picking up my son. It means I take forever in the grocery store trying to not wince as I push the tiny grocery cart and use my other arm to pack the bags, while the people behind me sigh that I am taking too long. It means that I cant get my son to school on time, because I am literally exhausted just from getting out of bed and it takes me forever to help him put on his shoes or brush his teeth.
It sucks. There is no way around it, it just does. I have sugar coated it for a long time with people, because its uncomfortable divulging it all to people. I think they won’t believe me, tell me its all in my head, think I am weak or will just tell me that they are sure I’m fine and that it will just go away. Unless you have had a serious illness or long term condition, its hard to understand the level of impact that these things have on not just your body but on your mind.
I recently had a friend talk to me about her medical struggles on a deeper level than we had ever spoken on before, and she told me some things that have really affected me and the way that I am trying to live my life from now on.
She told me not to worry about what other people are thinking or saying. That the people that matter know the whole story, not the people at work, not the people at the grocery store. So if any of them have anything to say, let it go. 
Accept help. I literally cannot do it all anymore, and thats okay. There are people who love and support me and I need to say yes when they ask if they can help, or speak up when I need to get help. No one will think less of me for asking or saying yes. They want to help, I’m not a burden. 
Understand that this is my current situation and accept that, and live within that framework. That doesn’t mean that I can’t hope for better days or ever wish that things were different, but living in a world of endless hope and no reality just sets me up for a huge disappointment.
So this is me now, I am different then before, but still me.
(If you are still reading this and are wondering what to do from here, you can read this article. Its awesome.)

What Rand Paul and Ben Carson don’t know about GYN could fill several textbooks

Dr. Jen Gunter

Sen. Rand Paul and Ben Carson, two GOP hopefuls who are also physicians, have called for defunding of Planned Parenthood.
This is based not in science, but on heavily edited videos around a false narrative that Planned Parenthood makes a profit from donation of embryonic and fetal tissue for research. Multiple media outlets have reviewed the videos and spoken with experts who use human tissue for research. Sadly, facts matter little to Drs. Paul and Carson.
Sen. Paul and Dr. Carson should know that embryonic and fetal tissue are vital for medical research. As doctors they should also not be surprised by the images in the videos nor the language as they should understand the difference between a clinical conversation between colleagues (or…

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Midwives Rock: Confessions of an OB/GYN Physician

burning the short white coat

midwifeI am an OB/GYN physician and…

I love midwives. In fact, I think MIDWIVES ROCK. Midwives deliver over 50% of the babies in our birth unit. When it comes to normal birth, they are the experts. Let me explain.

As OB/GYN physicians, we endure a very extreme four-year residency training program. We learn how to deliver babies in the most intense environments and difficult situations. We take care of very sick women while they are pregnant. We learn the art of intervention. We fix things. We come to the rescue. We save the day. We have many tools – vacuum, forceps, versions, cesarean. If things aren’t going well, we can make it better.

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The Daily Beast says an over-the-counter-pill isn’t safe. Science says they’re wrong.

Dr. Jen Gunter

The Daily Beast has published what I can only describe as a hack job on the quest of the oral contraceptive pill (OCP) to go over-the-counter OTC). The piece opines that it isn’t safe for women to take OCPs without a prescription from a doctor and intimates that a lot of women are at risk for blood clots.

The reporter, Sarah Watts, doesn’t quote any published research on OCPs going OTC although there is plenty, after all the idea has been kicking around for 20-25 years and has stalled due to politics not medicine. Instead, the article rests heavily on the opinion of Dr. Poppy Daniels, an OB/GYN in Springfield, MO (who hasn’t published any work on the birth control pill that I can find in PubMed), and the views of Holly Grigg-Spall, a woman who tried four or five different pills and then wrote a book about how the…

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Cosmo suggests donut enhanced fellatio, doctor says idea not without merit

I was dying reading this. Who says medicine is boring?!

Dr. Jen Gunter

I was alerted to Cosmo’s suggestion of pairing a donut with a penis this morning. “Gently stick” it on and nibble away.

Not altogether inappropriate for Valentine’s Day, but the question was “As a doctor, what did I think?”

IMG_0821

My first thought was the person who wrote this for Cosmo hasn’t seen or touched too many penises or donuts as a typical donut hole is cut with a 1 1/4″ diameter cutter leaving the ability to “gently stick” the donut on the shaft of most penises, even with a generous amount of industrial lube,very much in question. My second thought was Cosmo should have better captions as “gently stick” just didn’t sound very sexy.

But the physical plausibility of it all aside, what about the science?

For the donut wearer the risk of serious adverse effects is probably low (especially given it is unlikely any donut will actually fit on…

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Toronto Star claims HPV vaccine unsafe. Science says the Toronto Star is wrong.

Dr. Jen Gunter

When I was 22 weeks pregnant with triplets I had a craving for a Jamba Juice. So I had one. Three days later I ruptured my membranes and my son Aidan was born and died.

During the hospitalization that followed I had a craving for another Jamba Juice and my then husband stalled and delayed until he finally admitted that he didn’t want to get it because what if it had caused my membranes to rupture? I was still pregnant with two boys and he just couldn’t take that risk.

Now I did many things that I don’t typically do the week before my membranes ruptured. I made tomatillo salsa, I ate home-made egg salad sandwiches. I watched Casablanca.  But he was fixated on the Jamba Juice.

It’s easy to see why. When something terrible and with seemingly little explanation happens we start searching for the cause. This…

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