Special Lady Time, Part II.

The next morning, as I waited for my results, I figured one of two scenarios was most likely:

A. They would call and say, “After all that radiation, discomfort, and expense, we didn’t find anything.” This would certainly be the most annoying turn of events, so it was the one I was preparing myself for mentally.

B. They would call and say, “You have a cyst on your right ovary.”

As luck would have it, it turned out to be B. I had a 3 centimeter ovarian cyst, which would explain the pain, nausea, and other good stuff.

Oh! And, while CT scans are best for most imaging, it turns out that ovaries really like Ultrasounds. And Ultrasounds, unlike CT scans, are free with my insurance. And have no downsides. Which made me wonder:

Why didn’t they Start with an Ultrasound?

But I can’t think that way. Only madness results in thinking that way.

I was excited for my ultrasound on Thursday, and wondered if I should hop on the facebook bandwagon usually reserved for impending birth, and post my ultrasound.

I decided to name my cyst “Timmy.”

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Special Lady Time.

This was a special week at Sofi Labs, a magical time henceforth to be known as Meet Your Deductible Week. In addition to going to a Very Fancy Specialist Doctor who doesn’t take insurance,*  I awoke on Wednesday with a painful twinge in my lower right side.

Now, since the lower right side has a bunch of stuff in it, including the incredible exploding appendix,** I went over to the local walk-in clinic. “It’s not appendicitis,” said the nurse practitioner dude. “But you really need to get a CT scan.”

I was all, “Hey, can I not get a CT scan and just, you know, save it for later?” and he was all, “Nope.”

At the CT scan place, a nice lady at the front desk started explaining to me exactly why, even with my fancy-shmancy health insurance, I would still be paying $500 out of pocket. She spoke sentences that were probably intended to be English, like, “So we’re taking 50% of your deductible, after we deduct what you’ve already paid, and then of course that’s the agreed-upon rate, and then we take 20% above that thanks to the 80-20 calculation.”

I got in close to her and said, “Look, I’m good at math. I took Calculus. And I don’t understand a word you just said.”

She started again, from the beginning. At last, I understood how — in a parallel universe where everything is hopelessly complex — one might be able to say I owed $500 today. I was certainly not happy that it was all so baffingly complicated,*** but I was satisfied enough for now. I took my seat.

At that point, the nice technician gave me a large cup of liquid. It was a contrast dye, so that my insides would show up better on the CT scan.

It didn’t seem so bad, in the beginning. They’d mixed it with Crystal Light®, and the taste wasn’t awful. But somehow, as I drank, it got harder and harder to get it down. I felt like Dumbledore drinking that bottomless liquid in Voldemort’s cave. (Sans zombies.)

I had 2 hours to kill in the waiting room while the contrast dye worked its way into my bloodstream. In vain, I searched for a People or even a Hello!, but they only had hyperspecific medical journals, so I had to curl up with Separation of Conjoined Craniopagus Twins: A Case Study. The article showed step-by-step diagrams of the process by which 2 twins joined at the head were eventually separated. The end showed both twins happy and relatively healthy, wearing special protective helmets. One assumes their skulls will be rebuilt once they stop growing.

Even after reading this informative article, I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to separate conjoined twins in a pinch, but it passed the time.

At last, my two hours of waiting were up, and I went in to get the CT scan. The technicians were very nice, and except for that moment where I felt extremely weird when they injected me with dye (More Dye), it all went fine.

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* “None of the good people take insurance these days,” I was assured by the office of another fancy specialist. So, this means that if you want to get medical care, you better A) pay for insurance, then B) pay for your deductible and then C) have another Large Stack of Money to pay out of pocket for the doctors who are actually good, in case  you actually want to get “better.”

** Funny story about the appendix. My friend once had emergency surgery for appendicitis, and when she awoke from surgery, her doctor said, “Congratulations! You had the Appendix of the Year!”

Turns out, her appendix had started to rupture, but then her right fallopian tube had reached over and twisted around the rupture to tie off her appendix.

This is when I realized, we really have no idea how the human body works at all. 

***  I’m reminded of the following quote, by P.J. O’Rourke:

“Beyond a certain point complexity is fraud … when someone creates a system in which you can’t tell whether or not you’re being fooled, you’re being fooled.”

What Men Say / What Men Mean

What men say:

“It’s not because you’re a woman. It’s because you’re too fat / thin. It’s because you’re too analytical / too emotional. It’s because you’re too inexperienced / too old. It’s because you’re not absolutely, 100% perfect. ”

What men mean: 

“It’s because you’re a woman.”

By Sofia Echegaray Posted in Feminism

One Morning with Martha Stewart

There is a special shame American women are taught to feel, a fear that if we were left alone in the middle of the wilderness, with only our wits and native flora to guide us — Could We Darn a Sock? Bake a pie? Sew two sheets together from muslin?

I do not think this particular expectation is foisted off on men. There’s no Martha Stewart Living for men, teaching you to feel self-conscious because you no longer melt down your own lead to create bullets. If Bob can hunt game for the winter, so much the better, but it’s not a test of his worthiness in society. When Bob’s newborn son is born, he does not feel a pang of regret because he has to go buy a rocking chair, rather than carving it out of wood. Yes, a good paycheck and IKEA are good enough for the average man.

But throughout the world, societies always place their anxiety about changing cultural values onto the women. That is why men who are atheists want devout, traditional wives, and Indian men in three-piece suits want their wives to wear saris.

Here in America, women have also born the brunt of our cultural anxiety about the modern age. So we’re supposed to be modern, work full time, get a paycheck – and then kick off our shoes and spend lots of time and effort doing the kinds of old-fashioned chores for which the phrase “labor-saving device” was originally invented.

Yes, we women are somehow supposed to become proficient in newfangled modern life, but also stencil and bake and crochet and set up jars of preserves for the winter. Come home with your shield, or on it.

Preferably knitting a tea cozy.

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This is all to explain how I, one recent morning, found myself setting about the Project of Cleaning my Filthy Venetian Blinds. It was fueled by disgust, of course – many, many tenants before me had ignored this issue, and by now it was truly frightening. But somehow, all those years of housewifely propaganda factored into it too. According to magazines, I had been missing out on some hitherto undiscovered height of ecstasy, easily found again if only I would enter into a gloriously tedious, anachronistic cleaning routine. So I set about to clean these things in a style to make Martha Stewart proud, assured in the promise that my fabulous orgasm would be in the mail.

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But first, let me explain my usual approach to housekeeping: Obliviousness. 

This approach works not merely for housekeeping, but for life!** Try it! You too can miss your subway stop on multiple occasions because you’re trying to remember the lyrics to Backstabbers or the bass line to Use Me.***

But anyways, back to housekeeping. Not the highest thing on my radar. For example, once or twice I’ve had people over to my place, and they’ve said, “Sofia! You have all this stuff all over your kitchen floor!” To which I reply, “I have a kitchen floor?”

Up until that point, I had been operating under the illusion that I was standing on some sort of interstellar vortex which automatically sucked away all pieces of onion, garlic, etc. that happened to fall on it.

Well, anyways. I’m terrible at maintenance cleaning, but I do like a good project, with its promise of an actual sense of accomplishment (as opposed to regular housework, which has been correctly described as ‘Sisyphean’). And this morning, I noticed my venetian blinds.

So, I thought about cleaning them “the old-fashioned” way.You know, the way Our Foremothers did. I quickly went out and enslaved someone of darker complexion than myself, and forced this hapless individual to clean for me.

Well, no.

I quickly went down on my hands and knees, and scrubbed the venetian blinds in the ancient ways of my people. Then, for dramatic effect, I died of consumption.

No; still no good.

Ok, I took a rag, and overcome with nostalgia for a time that never was, a time after plastic venetian blinds but before women’s suffrage, I dampened it with an artisanal mixture of water, white vinegar, and a tiny bit of soap. I felt good; I felt honest; I felt that judgmental busybodies who have servants clean for them so that they can oversee media empires extolling the virtues of cleaning your own house…I felt that these people would not snub me. I suppose true Martha Stewart overkill fashion would have required rags imported from France for the sole purpose of cleaning plastic venetian blinds, but my rags did just fine. (I just mistyped “my rage.” Hrmmm. Freudian typing.)

Then, I lovingly wiped down each plastic, filthy blade of the venetian blind. Top and bottom. “Who sweeps a room as for thy God makes that and the action fine,” that sort of thing. I listened to This American Life. A nice Sunday morning.

By almost the end of TAL, I had finished one half of one set of blinds. I have 4 windows with blinds. At this rate, it would take me 8 hours to finish — not including the actual windows themselves.

At this point, I had a thought which tied me even closer to women through the ages. I thought, “Who the FUCK invented Venetian Blinds? Obviously a man, or someone who never ever expected to clean them. Why can’t everyone just have curtains? Then you could just throw them in the wash and be done with it.”

The ancient imprecation having been observed according to prescribed ritual, I then thought, “There has got to be a better way.” I took another set of blinds outside, laid them awkwardly over a folding chair, and hosed them down. They are dry now, and slightly warped in places, but I think they’ll smooth out. However, I can’t seem to get them back on the little window venetian blind hook thingies. (More ancient imprecations followed as according to custom.)

I do have to admit, though, that the left half of my lovingly caressed blinds are lookin’ mighty fine. So once I become independently wealthy, then I can do the rest. In the meantime, Martha Stewart’s fictional nostalgic housewifery factory is just going to have to wait.

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** I’m not proud of this, but I got into a fender-bender last year because I spaced out trying to remember the lyrics to the theme song from “Maude.” So I would have to put a big caveat in there, which is that spaciness does Not Work when operating heavy machinery. Don’t Space and Drive.

*** 70’s funk will always have a special place in my heart.

Science and Sexism

Here’s the thing: whenever some guy tries to defend the double standard, he’ll go off on some weird pseudo-scientific diatribe about how “evolution” has made men “hard-wired” to be more promiscuous, and it’s just “natural” and “instinctive.”

But.

Whenever things really are natural and instinctive , we don’t have to debate them.

No one has ever had to go up to a group of teenagers, and say, “Look, you might consider spending some time thinking about the opposite sex, because evolutionarily you are very fertile right now.”

No…it just happens, because it’s natural.

The double standard is a source of tension because women find it unfair. Which means they care about it, because they have the same desires as men. If they didn’t, then the double standard would be unfair in principal, but irrelevant in practice. Like a Three Stooges Film Festival that didn’t admit women.

Also, there are 6 billion people in the world. That’s a lot of sexytimes. Since childbirth is excruciating and can kill you, why on earth would women risk all that if sex were zero fun?

And finally…if men are supposed to be naturally promiscuous, and women naturally monogamous…then who exactly are these guys having sex *with*?

Ok. I’m done.