When Day Three of my Not-So-Swine Flu began with limited progress on the wellness scale, I dragged my sorry butt out of bed and to the doctors. Now to be clear, as the daughter of doctors, as a friend of doctors and as a former pre-med student, I hate having to pay for medical advice. But, I needed to talk to someone about changing my Pill and I needed a medical certificate. The verdict? Not swine flu (duh), some other viral thing (duh), and I just have to wait it out (duh). That was $45 dollars well spent.
But it gets worse. When discussing my options for a different pill, I was forced to reveal that I am not currently sexually active. To which the doctor responded with the rather challenging question "then, do you really need to be on the pill?". A question I had never even considered and, to be perfectly honest, left me feeling quite flummoxed.
I have been taking the Pill since I was 17, which is nearly (oh God!) ten years. It's a part of my life, a habit. I started taking it not as a contraceptive, but as a treatment for acne. The doctor's question flustered me because it forced me to examine something I have been doing every day for (nearly) ten years, and ask the question – why am I bothering? The problem is that the answers to that question are not very flattering, the answers are vanity and control.
Vanity because when I am not taking it I get acne. And do not even bother trying to convince me that I am 'older' now, and that it probably won't happen again. Both of my parents are in their fifties and they still get pimples. And when I have my monthly 'week off', I get pimples. And control because I have never, ever had regular periods. Hell, the reason I am wanting to switch from my current Pill is because I am having issues with spotting and I am sick of buying panty liners (there – I said it – spotting!). And the one time I went off the Pill, when I was 19 (or 20), I did not have a normal period for nine months, freaked out, then went back on it again. Not too mention the epic levels of randiness I experienced thanks to a previously suppressed libido. And the acne.
Fortunately during my inner-monologue on this issue I was able to construct the control thing as a positive pro-feminist approach (why should I let my biology control me etc. etc.), but I have struggled a bit around the vanity thing. And what am I doing to myself when I take the Pill? Pumping my body with hormones that it doesn't really need (well, to avoid pregnancy at least) that when used over a long period time can have significant health risks. You know, like breast cancer. That friggin' doctor has completely tripped me into an existential crisis.
When relating all of this to my good friend, co-conspirator and GSD Rule Mistress Lulu Latanza** she proffered the following pearl of wisdom:
"you know the answer to this – just start getting laid…"
And god-dammit, she's right. I'm going to fill that script and I'll show that doctor who needs to be on the Pill!!
Now if only I could kick this not-so-swine flu in time for the weekend . . .
**Not her real name. And yes, she did make it up.