Friday, May 13, 2005


I thought I would try to chop off my finger today. Not really. It was more of an accident due to my racing the weather while I did yardwork. The weather in the midwest is as schizophrenic as Sybil or Truddi Chase. One minute it's sunny and 80 degrees, the next it's raining so hard I'm putting the storm windows back up. As I was edging the yard with a pair of manual clippers, I sliced through the first 80 percent of my finger tip.

Since I'm often hurting myself, I'm usually out of first-aid products. That was the case today, and I went right for the maxi-pads. Maxi-pads are incredibly absorbent, specifically designed to sop up large quantities of bodily fluid (the average period is about 3 tablespoons of blood and other vaginal secretions). What I found ironic is that while I was using a maxi-pad for first-aid, years earlier the invention of cellucotton in WWI lead female nurses attending to the wounded to invent their own disposable sanitary napkins out of first-aid items. True, the Germans had come up with the first disposable sanitary napkin in 1880, but these weren't available in America because of the Comstock Laws.

The Comstock Laws, passed in 1873, were an effort to impose morality on Americans. Items relating to birth control, sexually-transmitted diseases, pornography, abortion, and obsenity were prohibited in an effort to stop these immoral trades. In this same "Victorian Age," doctors were performing clitoradectomies on women to supress their sinful urges and help keep their thoughts moral. The risks of birth control were strongly touted, to the point that they lied about issues regarding sterility and cancer. The laws weren't repealed until 1939.

These days, in regards to hormonal birth control, the opposite is true. Women are rarely warned about the risks of birth control. What's common knowledge is that if you smoke, you shouldn't use oral contraception since it increases the risk of stroke and heart attack. What is not as well known is that even in non-smokers, hormonal birth control introduces risks of heart disease, blood clots, and stroke. Almost all hormonal birth control results in weight gain. Doctors attribute the weight gain to an increase in appetite, though I believe (with nothing but anecdotal backing) that birth control affects metabolism more than researchers understand. Depo-provera, the birth control shot, presents risks of bone-density loss increasing the likelihood of osteoporosis.

While hormonal birth control reports that it can contribute to increased mood swings, there's no determined link between depression and the birth control pill. In their defense, researches state,
Starting on the Pill may also coincide with increased sexual activity, which may cause deep psychological conflicts for the user. This inner turmoil can easily seem like depression.
Sigh. Doctors say that taking vitamin E can alleviate the mood changes, but I found this to be ineffective for me.

In a world where sex education in schools is being reduced where does a discussion about osteoporosis risks of Depro-Provera belong in an abstinence-only sex education course? As high school girls become young, sexually-active women, will they have the right information to make a good decision for their own body? Or, like I did, will they wonder in fear if they've gone insane because they've gained 10 pounds and are crying daily?

All because I tried to cut off my finger.


Matt Belcher said...

Ouch! I hope your finger is ok.

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