In July 2017, I started writing a series recounting the last three years I had spent dealing with severe Crohn’s disease and a botched (?) colorectal surgery. I wrote because that’s generally how I rationalize what happened. The whole thing took me about a year and a half — it turns out that putting three years worth of trauma into words can be hard.
As I wrote, I realized how much I had been failed by the medical system and how vast the gap is for women receiving quality healthcare, even in a country with a generally well-regarded public system. And if I, an educated, upwardly mobile white woman, had to fight so hard to be listened to, then what is it like for people that don’t have my privilege?
Where do I go from here? I’m more dedicated than ever about amplifying how unbalanced the medical system is for women. I will ask every candidate in my riding in this year’s election if, and how they plan to make women’s, LGBTQIA+, racialized and Indigenous healthcare a priority.
And while you’re here — I encourage you to donate to this GoFundMe for Clinic 554 in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Clinic 554 provides general practice care as well as non-judgemental women’s and reproductive health services for underserved populations. It was recently damaged by flooding for the second year in a row. The Clinic provides essential care in a province that desperately needs it.
What the Hell Happened to my Body Omnibus:
Part I: When it’s not just burnout, the pain of admitting to yourself that you’re sick, and waiting until your roommates are asleep so you can give yourself an enema.
Part II: When doctors are happy to keep you sick because you have a uterus, the false starts and bad timing of scheduling a surgery for the middle of July and being sent home with a prescription for Tylenol-3 and not much else.
Part III: Burning off skin, a European vacation with a large surgical wound and feeling like a damn fraud.
Part IV: My vacuum-sealed butt, the 2016 election and the habit of locking yourself in the disabled bathroom and crying on the floor before class.
Part V: Medical gaslighting, medical debris and realizing that it wasn’t all in my head.
Part VI: The aftermath of having medical debris inside your person for five months, when your plastic surgeon is so nice you could cry and the final insult.
Epilogue: Reader, I fainted. Riding in an ambulance without pants, revisiting New England and getting my life back.