Everyone says that living in rural areas is so serene. There’s no crime, no pollution and everyone knows everyone right? The people who live here are real, hard-working, salt-of-the-earth people.
As someone who’s been exiled to the frozen wasteland and grew up in some of these small, “idyllic” communities, I can say that it’s a load of bullshit. Small towns are petty, ignorant, and full of people who were not smart or skilled or lucky enough to leave so they wrap themselves up in their self-righteous small fish superiority. “Let’s not talk about it” is the memo that everyone gets about anything, which allows the dominant culture to do whatever it wants, unchallenged. Most of the time it’s just annoying; such as the lack of any type of cultural touchstone (museums, restaurant that aren’t sports bars, concerts), but other times, the ignorance and hypocrisy is down right dangerous.
Biting Beaver has an excellent post up illustrating the problems of this ignorance.She had a condom break, and then the run-around she got in her rural environment in order to get Plan B. Read the whole thing, and her follow-up, it’s very enlightening.
I have never had to get Plan B; however, this hasn’t stopped me from having to deal with asshole doctors. One night, soon after I had lost my virginity, I was sleeping at my boyfriend’s dorm and had to go to the bathroom. And as soon I had gone, I needed to go again…and again, after this happened a few times, I started to urinate blood.
At this point, it was about six AM and I was freaking out. I didn’t know if it was a STD or not, even though my boyfriend and I were fascistic about using condoms. I was embarrassed, and I was in pain. I came in, told my boyfriend (who, in his credit, was half-asleep) and said “I’m going to the hospital” to which he replied “It’s down the hall...*snmph snort* snuggle” before rolling over and going back to sleep.
The only thing open at this hour was the emergency. Weighing my options carefully, I decided that bleeding in places that do not normally bleed while in immense pain qualified as an emergency. I drive myself to the hospital, and rushing in. The very bored looking receptionist goes “what are your symptoms?” I, attempting to be mature, but still embarrassed as hell about the whole situation, said “frequent urination and bleeding….down there”.
The nurse, perhaps trying to keep me from being embarrassed, said kindly, “I’m going to need to know a little bit more specifically where “down there” is.”
“You know…I’m urinating blood”.
“Oh,” she said. “You have a UTI. Don’t worry too much about it…we’ll get your blood pressure and the doctor will do a blood test to confirm it. It’s no big deal…it’ll be uncomfortable but not deadly”
I immediately felt better. The nurse looked completely assured that this was what it was, and lots of people have had UTIs. No big deal.
So I’m sent to the doctor’s office to wait. And wait. And wait some more. I’m in pain, pissing blood, and the doctor takes about a half hour to get there. When he FINALLY gets there, he asks me again, what my symptoms are.
I said “Pain, frequent urination, and blood in the urine”.
He then gets this odd look on his face and says “When was your last period?”
I respond “I have no idea. I don’t exactly keep track of them, since they are so erratic.”
“Are you sexually active,” he asks, horrified.
“Yes,” I say, figuring it must be relevant to the discussion.
“Are you sure you’re not pregnant?” he asks.
“I’m pretty sure,” I said, taken aback. “I always use condoms”.
“Hmm,” he said. “Well do you want a pregnancy test?”
At this point, I’m pretty annoyed, tired, and still in pain. I go “Would a pregnancy cause me to PISS BLOOD? Because otherwise, I’d like to get that taken care of first, please”.
He gets annoyed, and says “Well, it may be a STD. I’ll take some blood, and test it, and get back to you.” He then storms off.
I’m left to wait in the doctor’s office. When he finally comes back, the doctor goes “Well, you’re lucky: you just have a UTI. I’m going to give you medication that won’t harm fetal life if you are pregnant. This should clear this up the pain in a few hours. Call me if anything unusual happens”. He then storms off.
I go up to the nurse, because I don’t know where to get the prescription filled. She was much nicer. “It was a UTI, wasn’t it sweetie?” I nod. “I thought so,” she says. “You probably got a medication for it, right?” I nod again. “Did he tell you anything?” I shake my head. “Hmm…let me guess, you just started having sex?” I blush furiously. “I’ll take that as a yes. UTI aren’t uncommon among girls who have just started having sex. If you just make sure to use the restroom after sex, you shouldn’t have this problem again. And also, this medication that you have, it will turn your urine weird colors, so don’t freak out about that. Mmm, the pharmacy isn’t going to be open for about another 20 minutes, but I know the guy’s already there, so I’ll ask him if he’ll open up for you”.
“Thank you,” I say gratefully.
PART TWO AND CONCLUSION coming soon