A few weeks ago, I saw a doctor. I'm having change of life symptoms, something which kinda took me by surprise. The happy part: yep, right on target, for my age! The bad part: this in NO WAY decreases my risk of becoming preggers again, probably not for about 10 years or so. I wouldn't care, except, well, I don't seem to do chemical birth control very well. It's not that I forget to take stuff. It's not that I haven't tried an implant. It's that the stuff makes me batsh*t crazy. Really. When you read the stuff in the fine print, on the hormonal birth control items, about side effects? Unfortunately, that's me. I've tried various methods; they all sucked bad for me. The alternative has sucked, too. The Big Guy and I have not been pleased with the alternatives, as a couple, either. The whole situation has been less than satisfactory. The part that I resent the most: I have to feel like the bad guy, because the responsibility is always the woman's, right? We're the ones who have to make sure that birth control works. We're the ones who have the babies if it doesn't. And if it works but makes us miserable, it's how it's supposed to be- at least, that's how it appears to me. It's not like anyone in the medical profession seems to give a rat's butt whether the stuff trashes our libidos, makes us feel like it's raining all the time (you know what I'm talking about, gals!), or if it makes us feel depressed. Or ugly. Or just plain unnatural. So. Anyway. I went to the doc, and we discussed the options. I have insurance- the Big Guy, being unemployed, does not. I'm a girl- the Big Guy is not. Under the new health insurance laws, and having said coverage, I can get sterilized. With our household budget, at this point in time, the Big Guy can't. But...to get ME fixed requires invasive stuff- stuff stuck into my abdomen, and some cauterizing. Not so, for a man- this is a non-invasive procedure for a guy- a bit of a slit and some minor stuff, plus a day or so with a friendly ice-pack and our good friends, the painkillers. But given the health coverage issue, plus the Big Guy's intense fear of needles, and the rest, I scheduled for the surgery to have my system scourged, instead. Because. Um, it would cost less, out of pocket. And I'm not scared of needles- he is. (Just scared of stuff like invasive frickin' abdominal surgery. Little stuff like that!) I've been petrified, really, these past couple of weeks. I'm not crazy about the surgery idea. In fact, I've hated it the whole time. But I thought I was stuck with it. This is where the "never assume" part of it comes in. I've been a ball of stress for a couple-few weeks now, thinking this was my road, the only road, and mine alone. Well, this was based on assumptions. And when we assume...you kids have heard the old saw, right? Break it down, babies- Ass-U-Me. But especially me.
Turns out, the Big Guy's ONLY reason not to do the male version of this procedure has been lack of insurance to cover it. Bear in mind, on paper, it would be literally about $11,000+ cheaper to do it that way. No, I'm not kidding- it would be about $12,800 for a tubal ligation for me, less than a thousand for him to do a vasectomy! But a grand isn't an amount we can get ahold of- we're lucky to get a hundred extra to do Christmas, every year. But my insurance, thanks to the new mandates, would cover a procedure for me. Completely. Regardless of the expense. Go figure. After scheduling the damned thing, setting up the time off, all of it, I finally got up the guts to ask him: why, exactly, do I have to be one to do this thing? Especially since, in a few months, he'll have healthcare (purportedly guaranteed, due to our low-income status, so it won't just be myself and the kids covered by insurance, barring yet another weird thing with our legislature), and HE could bloody-well have something cut, and a lot more easily, too. I mean, really, men have it all hanging out- the stuff that needs clipped is a heckuva lot easier to access on a guy, amirite? All silliness aside, I've stressed heavily, because who the heck's gonna COOK if I'm down? How would stuff get DONE? Who's going to remember to water the danged parsley, or feed the dog? And what if they screw up, and I get an infection or something that takes more than a couple of days to recuperate from? I finally asked, all of this stuff aside, WHY DO I HAVE TO BE THE ONE TO DO THIS??? His answer: "Uh, I'm not sure. Because you think you have to? I'd be OK with it, getting a vasectomy. I don't want any more kids than we have already, either. It'd be easier than you having it done, too. If I'm covered in a few months anyway, I'd rather do it the other way." Heh-WHA? Geez-criminiddly, Trigger! Why the heck haven't you SAID SO?! (And I didn't even have to bring up the fact that I did 5 days and nights of labor with Thing One, 3 with Thing Two, or any of the other discomforts of bringing the kids into the world, not to mention the many, many things that could be said about the long and lonely nights after they were born...he said this without any guilt trips! Take note, gals- there are fellas out there who GET IT without the whole thing having to be tripped on out!)
I charged into this as I usually do. I scheduled the surgery, I took this on...and it wasn't necessary, thank God. Life's taught me that things are almost always difficult, so I conquer. Punch in sideways and TWIST to get that door to open! Just do it. Make it work. Make it move. Make it. Period. If you push hard enough, things will do what you need them to. It's served me well, overall- I've had to fight for almost everything I've got, and I've lost more things than I've got now. (Just "things" aren't that important, but still.) As I grow older, I am finding that this stuff doesn't have to be quite so difficult. I'm grateful, because really, I'm tired of fighting. I didn't want to have abdominal surgery, even "simple" surgery. If I have to have chin-hair, hot flashes, plus the scars from having the kids already, why the $%&* should I have to have surgery to make absolutely SURE that I don't have a Thing Three? This is not a balanced deal, folks. I'm totally OK with letting the Big Guy take the hit for this one. At this point, I'd like to tell modern medicine to go take a flying, er, FARK at a rolling donut. Come up with some new ways for birth control to work, people! And put the onus on the men, for a change, so that us gals don't have to make such bitter choices- I can't be the only one whose sex drive was completely flat-lined by chemical BC methods! If these are the choices, where would I be if my fella wouldn't consider the alternatives? I know where...in O.R., at the end of next week. To the tune of $12k plus, and for no other reason than that I'm the one who has a job. It's ridiculous.
Maybe it's time to rest a bit. That surgery's getting un-scheduled, first thing on Monday.