Yesterday, I posted a response to an article in Cosmo that bugged me. I posted it here, on my little blog, the one whose most loyal reader is my mom. (Hi Mom!) Then I went on my way.
I had the day off, so I had a girl date scheduled: mani/pedi followed by lunch and maybe a grown-up drink. Of course, when you have a baby in tow, girl time looks a little different – 15 minutes late, I blustered into the nail spa’s oasis of zen, stroller and diaper bag overflowing. Other midday mani customers (a niche demo if there ever was one; I observed several unique examples of leopard print) looked up at me and gave the side-eye. Yeah, yeah. Back to your nails, ladies.
I settled in and glanced at my phone. Notification from WordPress: “Your stats are booming! Looks like Love and Ladybits is getting lots of traffic.” Huh. That’s weird. But good? I guess?
By the time our visit to the nail spa had come to an end, the baby had charmed the pants off every leopard print aficionado in the place, my fresh manicure was already completely trashed from fumbling around in the diaper bag for random objects to be used as baby toys, and my morning diet of coffee followed by more coffee plus polish fumes was starting to make me woozy. We headed off toward lunch and I glanced at my phone again. It appears that my blog is getting comments! And people are tweeting about (at? still unclear) me! But being the good girlfriend that I am, the phone was stowed away until the final bite of birthday brownie had been consumed.
And then I started reading the comments.
Look, people. I just started this thing because it’s cheaper than therapy. Earlier this week, I talked about my (highly questionable) decision to eat leftover cake out of the trash. Then I blogged about my (highly questionable) decision to read Fifty Shades of Grey. I’m not pretending to be WebMD, or even Cosmo. Yes, I’m a health care provider, but I’m also a human being, and I’m entitled to have human opinions and human emotional responses like everyone else. So when I read something I disagree with, I’m allowed to respond however I want.
It’s kind of like that time when I was 22 and my pill was changed on me for some obscure HMO-related reason. I didn’t love the way the new pill made me feel, so I asked the doctor with the soonest available appointment to change it back. He refused, and gave me a prescription for Prozac instead. Nice.
Did I complain about it? HELL YES. It also taught me a few lessons about the type of provider I hoped to become someday. And I haven’t stopped complaining, and learning from the things I complain about.
The irony of my being called the many, many names thrown at me over the past 24 hours is that I’m actually one of the most patient-centered care providers I know. I practiced shared decision making before it had a name. I have a comprehensive list of hormonal and nonhormonal contraceptive methods that I review with everyone, even the patients who come to see me specifically to start the pill. And when a patient asks to change her method because she doesn’t love it, we work on it together until we find something better for her.
That might be because I still remember exactly what it felt like to be a college student. I felt like I knew everything and nothing, often at the same time. I’d start a feminist activism group on campus, and then miss entire weeks of class because MTV decided to run a Real World marathon. I had fierce convictions and boundless potential but not always the best follow-through.
I see that in my patients, and I get it. It’s part of why I love this population, and part of what drives me crazy about it, and all of it is 100% developmentally appropriate. Telling an 18-year-old who’s barely figured out how to use a tampon to check her cervical mucus is asking a lot. Expecting someone who doesn’t own a thermometer and doesn’t know what a fever feels like yet to reliably monitor her basal body temp is asking a lot. I’m not saying fertility awareness methods are impossible for the informed and highly motivated teenager, but it may not be right for every teenager. It certainly wouldn’t have been right for me.
And isn’t that the awesome thing about being a woman of reproductive age today? We have choices! Lots of them! This is a good thing!
Which is why it didn’t occur to me that writing a pro-pill (but really more of an anti-anti-pill) post would inspire the level of vitriol it did. I mean, if it had been coming from angry Catholics, I might have been less surprised. But it didn’t. For the record, the tone of this blog has nothing to do with tone I use with patients, and I promise that I’m not “pushing” anything…except informed choice.
Anyhow, as I get back to my role as cog in the of the woman-oppressing patriarchial/big pharma machine, I’ll sign off with the observation that I now seem to have more readers than just my mom (no offense, Mom!). And that’s certainly something.