Elective Medical Procedures
Listing Tiny Violences is a way I process the microtraumas of my lived experience. This week they are thematic and somewhat chronological but don’t bet on that. Let me know what you think in the comments.
A pregnancy being called “geriatric,” by a woman 10 years my senior.
Feeling the meaning of subcutaneous as I bite down on the previous night’s popsicle stick while injecting one, two, three $87.50 vials of something I haven’t bothered to look up into my lower abdomen every day, twice a day, for ten days.
Medical insurance not covering any of the meds.
Bloodwork every two days.
Fingernails and lips cracking from dehydration no matter how much water I drink or Vaseline I apply to them.
The sound of the cold clear jelly of unknown composition being applied onto the 6-inch ultrasound wand.
the pressure of the wand being inserted and moved around inside of my vaginal canal every two days.
The glare of offense and the tone of annoyance from the white male doctor after I tell him I do not allow examinations from men.
Hearing his voice outside the door the next day: she doesn’t see male doctors.
Seeing his face inside the examining room right after hearing him.
Having to ask him if it’s necessary to have an ultrasound of my ovaries two days in a row, as I sit on the exam table with my ass out.
Learning this wasn’t necessary for every visit because we can tell from the bloodwork.
Forgetting to inject the prescribed vials on time.
Having the doctor pet my fur coat hanging on the back of the examination room door.
Feigning excitement when she asks Are you a fashion person? as I sit on the exam table with my ass out.
Having to tell her no, for the third time.
Having her compliment my bag, my earrings, and my ovaries in one sentence.
Situating myself to look out the window to avoid the curious stares of the white people in the panoramic waiting room.
being the only Black woman or Black family in the waiting room
Having the reproductive endocrinologist say aloud, while I’m on Facetime with my partner that she’ll be so jealous of all the eggs you have.
Feeling proud of that fact.
Feeling ashamed of that pride.
Signing a waiver releasing the surgeon of any culpability if my pelvic organs are perforated, or if I become infertile, or if I die.
Doing this minutes before she uses a needle to extract my eggs from my ovaries.
Signing another waiver acknowledging my BMI makes me more susceptible to complications from anesthesia.
No one explaining how it is more complicated.
Meeting the anesthesiologist two minutes later.
Being told that’s normal when the drug used to knock me out is being administered through the IV into my hand—and panicking at the freezing pain and numbing tingle making its way from my arm to my face.
Waking up alone.
The heaviness and quivering of my womb
Sending emails to peers, colleagues, and professors when the recovery process is longer than one day. Being compelled to disclose that I’ve had a medical procedure.
Doing this from bed.
If you’re not already signed up, subscribe here.