Adonis Diaries

Archive for June 12th, 2016

Period pain is officially as bad as a heart attack

Why have doctors ignored it? The answer is simple

Men wait an average of 49 minutes before being treated for abdominal pain.

For women, the wait is 65 minutes for the same symptoms. It’s thought that this is because women are seen as exaggerating pain and being ‘dramatic’ due to sexist stereotypes

John Guillebaud, professor of reproductive health at University College London, revealed this week that research shows period pain can be as “bad as having a heart attack”. He said: “Men don’t get it and it hasn’t been given the centrality it should have. I do believe it’s something that should be taken care of, like anything else in medicine.”

Dr Imogen Shaw, a GP specialising in women’s healthcare, welcomed his comments, saying: “I wouldn’t say [period pain] has been hugely investigated,” and when asked if the issue would be taken more seriously if men experienced it, said: “I suspect there would be, being very cynical.” 

It is extraordinary how little the medical profession engages with menstruation.

Although recent years have seen period taboos broken through social media campaigns, this has yet to permeate medical discourse – and periods are seldom given serious medical consideration in research.

Scant research has been conducted on specific pain prevention or pain relief and devices such as tampons, moon-cups and sanitary towels remain rudimentary.

It’s not only women’s period pain which is taken less seriously, either – ignoring women’s pain is a concerning practise across medicine. Recent research has shown that women’s pain is taken much less seriously by doctors generally.

(Supposedly that women are more exposed and trained to endure pains?)

Men wait an average of 49 minutes before being treated for abdominal pain. For women, the wait is 65 minutes for the same symptoms. It’s thought that this is because women are seen as exaggerating pain and being ‘dramatic’ due to sexist stereotypes, while men are listened to and believed when they express the same pain and symptoms.

Indeed, the word ‘hysterical’, itself stems from hystericus, meaning ‘of the womb’, indelibly linking how society has linked wombs with overreaction, incredibility and instability.

The great historians of the world have been mostly silent on the issue of menstruation. Period pain has long been restricted to whispered exchanges between mothers, daughters, sisters and female friends, rather than worthy of polite conversation, never mind the annals of history or intellectual debate.

However, menstrual blood occasionally seeps through history’s pages, and its rare appearances reveal something telling.

For Aristotle, period blood was the elixir of life which mingled with sperm to produce babies, making it at once an unnatural horror and the natural proof of woman’s innate inferiority, leading him to conclude, “we should look upon the female state as being as it were a deformity, though one which occurs in the ordinary course of nature.”

The Old Testament offers a similar mixture of sanctimonious horror and boyish fascination at the gore of menstruation in a flamboyant Leviticus passage which advocates that menstruating women be excluded from society for 7 days, until “on the eighth day she shall take unto her two turtles or young pigeons, and bring them unto the priest, to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And the priest shall offer the one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering; and the priest shall make an atonement for her before the Lord for the issue of her uncleanness.”

(Stupid Old Testament)

In the eighteenth century, fads for astronomy brought a new element to medical discussions on menstruation. As one of King George II’s physicians, Richard Mead, pronounced: “Everyone knows how great a share the moon has in forwarding those evacuations of the female sex.”

Since these men’s pronouncements, basic research has established the link between monthly blood and the shedding of the lining of the womb.

But beyond this, precious little engagement with menstruation has entered medical discourse.

Despite affecting women and trans men around the world for days every month, the pain involved in menstruation is seldom questioned nor are serious attempts to alleviate it mentioned.

This is largely because menstruation is presented as ‘Woman’s Troubles’, and framed as a natural pain innate to women; almost a holy, mystical suffering like childbirth.

It’s as if to ask for relief is to be less of a woman, or to give up the pretence of women being silent, stoic receptacles of reproduction.

To demand medical discourse, aid or intervention in the form of pain relief would be giving up the deeply gendered game of keeping quiet, pursing your lips and simply hugging the hot water bottle tighter against your abdomen.

While it’s a relief that Aristotle and the Old Testament’s pronouncements on periods are no longer considered the height of knowledge on the issue, the medical profession’s engagement with menstruation still leaves a lot to be desired.

Menstruation may no longer be the taboo that it once was, but it’s still not considered a respectable enough issue to warrant serious scientific consideration.

Women will suffer because of this, every month, until it is.

The skipper-type.  Jennifer? Jo-Ann? Not Linda…Though very appropriate

It has been terribly cold these past two weeks,

Lebanon standard of cold.

We do enjoy central heating systems…

I cannot afford the fuel.

It is 2 am, and I am not sleepy, but cold is creeping in my bones.

I got inside my “warmer” bed, and could not sleep.

Memories flooding in, dispersing haphazardly, converging, diverging,

Refocusing on a beautiful face, a beautiful face I met 37 years ago.

It was winter of 1976.

A Friday, and about 8:30 pm.

Alone, as usual, I went to watch a foreign movie,

Shown by the University Film Club at the Microbiology department.

She showed up with her girlfriend.

She is blonde, blue/green eyed, not tall, not skinny.

For my candid eyes, just the perfect beauty.

I cowered. I should have made haste, join her, and say:

“Fair lady, have a good look at my face.

I need you to remember my face.

I need you to recollect that this face once told you

“You are the most beautiful girl around…”

The microbiology department, a stupid two flat floors, a couple of microscopes, and an auditorium.

The second “complex” by the Main Library, looking south,

The South long lawn, ideal for mass student demonstrations,

I used to demonstrate around it twice a week,  with a couple hundred of Iranian students,

Chanting: “Down with the Shah of Iran”, “Down with US imperialism“, Down with the Savak”…

Three years later, the Shah fled to exile.

Only Sadat of Egypt dared give him shelter.

No, I didn’t chicken out: I terribly lack conversational skills, and still do.

No, I didn’t chicken out: I had never carried out a conversation with a beautiful girl,

I didn’t understand girls, or human interconnection…

And time never came to the rescue in any important skills: It aches,

And the aches are exacerbated with time.

A couple of months later, I met her in my apartment.

I was returning at midnight from the library.

It was a cold night, and I must have biked or walked, no other alternatives.

The beauty was “studying” with my roommate.

And I had to piss badly and profusely before I salute her officially.

I stepped out of the WC and this beauty had vanished like a mirage.

“Where is she?” I asked my room-mate Fouad.

“You know, the one I once told you was the most beautiful girl around that I met?”

Fouad looked me up in total surprise. “You mean Jennifer?”…

That’s another story: She was taking a pharmacy class with him…

Twelve years later, I met her at Zanzibar, a night club in the town.

She was sitting alone, at the bar, waiting for her new beau serving drinks,

She didn’t change a bit.

Twelve years later, and another round of “higher education” stint,

A stint that grew me old:

My Ph.D advisor told me: “At your age, I had married my three kids…”

And he didn’t look that old.

Some people mature fast and very soon.

Maturity? I am waiting for this phase to take a peek at me.

I am  the skipper-type:

From everlasting naïve kid to rotten wise.

I sat by her and whispered her name: I could still recall her name.

I introduced myself and simply reminded her of the name of Fouad, my former room-mate.

She “recognized” me instantly.

Fouad must have told her about the devastating impression she made on me…

Count on a girl to retrieve a guy’s face, formed in a split-second,

Many years later, a face attached to “You are the most beautiful girl around…”

We had no conversation: She didn’t contribute.

She was selling pharmaceutical products, a saleswoman…

I could have said: “Has one of the two bartenders invited you tonight?

Are you intending to invite a particular bartender…?”

Any small talk, the most outrageous talk would have been swell…

This cavernous silence. She was Not curious about my status.

She didn’t change a bit

I bet, if I meet her again, another 12 years later, this girl will still be the same girl,

Unchanged, not a bit:

The eyes register the first impression,

And it was good.

My eyes: setting on the most beautiful girl around.

My eyes, refusing to sleep a wink tonight.

We Have Already Seen what we feared from Hillary Clinton:

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein

Passing ranked choice voting?

Ranked choice voting says you can rank your first choice first, and if your first choice doesn’t make it, is eliminated and loses, your vote is automatically reassigned to your second choice

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein takes aim at the presumptive nominees of both major parties, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

“Trump says very scary things—deporting immigrants, massive militarism and ignoring the climate. Hillary, unfortunately, has a track record for doing all of those things,” Stein says.

“Hillary has supported the deportations of immigrants, opposed the refugees—women and children coming from Honduras, whose refugee crisis she was very much responsible for by giving a thumbs-up to this corporate coup in Honduras that has created the violence from which those refugees are fleeing.” Stein goes on to say,

“We see these draconian things that Donald Trump is talking about, we actually see Hillary Clinton doing.”

Tonnie Ch shared this link

JUAN GONZÁLEZ:  Jill Stein, what do you say to those, for instance, who criticize third-party efforts as spoiler efforts throughout the history of the country—Ross Perot running in the early ’90s with the result that Bill Clinton was able to defeat the Republican candidate, then, of course, Ralph Nader in the 2000 race, blamed by some, although others disagree that that was the result, for resulting in George Bush being elected in 2000?

DR. JILL STEIN: So, let me say first off, this is a problem that could be fixed with the stroke of a pen, this electoral system that tells you to vote against what you’re afraid of and not for what you believe. And, you know, what we’ve seen over the years, this strategy has a track record: This politics of fear has actually delivered everything we were afraid of. All the reasons you were told you had to vote for the lesser evil—because you didn’t want the massive Wall Street bailouts, the offshoring of our jobs, the meltdown of the climate, the endless expanding wars, the attack on immigrants—all that, we’ve gotten by the droves, because we allowed ourselves to be silenced.

You know, silence is not what democracy needs.

Right now we have an election where even the supporters of Hillary Clinton, the majority don’t support Hillary, they just oppose Donald Trump. And the majority of Donald Trump supporters don’t support him, they just oppose Hillary.

And the majority are clamoring for another independent or several independent candidates and an independent party, and feel that they are being terribly misserved and mistreated by the current politics.

So to further silence our voices is exactly the wrong thing to do. And I’ll just point out, Donald Trump himself is lifted up by a movement which is very much the product of the Clintons’ policies.

The lesser evil very much makes inevitable the greater evil, because people don’t come out to vote for a politician that’s throwing them under the bus. And so we see houses of—the houses of Congress, we have also seen statehouse after statehouse, flipping from red to blue over the years as the Democratic Party has become a lesser-evil party.

And Donald Trump is buoyed up by the policies passed by Bill Clinton, supported by Hillary—that is, deregulation of Wall Street, which led to the disappearance of 9 million jobs, 5 million people thrown out of their homes, and by NAFTA, which exported those jobs.

That’s exactly the economic oppression and stress that has led to this right-wing extremism. So you can’t get where you want to go through the lesser evil. At the end of the day, you’ve got to stand up.

But we could fix this right now simply by passing ranked choice voting, which takes the fear out of voting.

If you can’t put your values into your vote, we don’t have a democracy.

Ranked choice voting says you can rank your first choice first, and if your first choice doesn’t make it, is eliminated and loses, your vote is automatically reassigned to your second choice.

This is used in cities across the country. My campaign actually proposed this in the Massachusetts Legislature through a progressive Democratic representative back in 2002 in the first race that I ran. I was running for governor.

We proposed that bill, filed it, so that there would be no splitting of the vote. The Democrats refused to let it out of committee. And that tells you something very important: They rely on fear. They don’t want you to vote your values. They need to use the scary tactic of, “Oh, the other guy is worse.”

Why is that? Because at the end of the day, they are not on your side. They need you to be afraid of them, because they are not for you. That alone speaks volumes about how far we are going to get.

In this race, I’ll just conclude saying, this is a unique moment now. We’ve never been here in history before. What we are facing is not just a question of what kind of world we want to be, but whether we will be a world at all, the way the nuclear arms race has been re-engaged, the way Hillary Clinton wants to create an air war over Syria through a no-fly zone against another nuclear-armed power—that is, Russia—the climate crisis, where the day of reckoning is coming closer and closer all the time.

We can’t keep using this failed policy of silencing ourselves with this politics of fear. It’s time to forget the lesser evil, stand up and fight for the greater good like our lives depend on it, because they do.

AMY GOODMAN: And to those Sanders supporters who have started saying, “If it’s Hill, it’s Jill”? And this is going back to the point of what would you say to Sanders supporters worried about Trump.

DR. JILL STEIN: Yes, exactly. I’d say putting another Clinton in the White House is only going to make that right-wing extremism greater.

We will see more of these neoliberal policies, like Wall Street deregulation, like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which Hillary has always supported. She’s changed her tune a little bit, but Hillary has walked the walk.

Look at the walk and not the talk. In fact, you know, Trump says very scary things—deporting immigrants, massive militarism and, you know, ignoring the climate. Well, Hillary, unfortunately, has a track record for doing all of those things. Hillary has supported the deportations of immigrants, opposed the refugees—women and children coming from Honduras, whose refugee crisis she was very much responsible for by giving a thumbs-up to this corporate coup in Honduras that has created the violence from which those refugees are fleeing.

She basically said, “No, bar the gates, send them back.” You know, so we see these draconian things that Donald Trump is talking about, we actually see Hillary Clinton doing.

And it’s not only the militarism that Trump talks about, it’s Hillary’s massive record of militarism: the rush into Libya, which was really— she was the prime mover behind that campaign, which the military advisers were largely against; her approval for the war in Iraq and so on; you know, her threat to bomb Iran; and, you know, she—and her demonization of Russia and China, and the pivot against China.

We are rushing towards war with Hillary Clinton, who has a track record.

And on climate, Trump talks terrible on climate, although in Ireland, I believe it is, he does believe in climate change: He’s trying to build a wall to protect one of his luxury golf courses in Ireland, because he’s worried about sea level rise from climate change, according to the papers that he’s filed for that permit.

And on climate, Hillary Clinton established an office to promote fracking around the world, while secretary of state.

So, the terrible things that we expect from Donald Trump, we’ve actually already seen from Hillary Clinton. So I’d say, don’t be a victim of this propaganda campaign, which is being waged by people who exercise selective amnesia.

They’re very quick to tell you about the terrible things that the Republicans did, but they’re very quick to forget the equally terrible things that have happened under a Democratic White House, with two Democratic houses of Congress.

It’s time to forget the lesser evil, stand up and fight for the greater good. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.

Neither party of the evils will do it for us.

AMY GOODMAN: We just have 30 seconds, but your unsolicited advice, unsolicited by Bernie Sanders, for what he should demand when he meets with President Obama today, and then your advice to him when he comes outside?

DR. JILL STEIN: You know, I don’t think President Obama is going to change his tune because of something that Bernie Sanders says to him. I think what’s really important— in the words of Frederick Douglass, “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never has, and it never will.”

This is why third parties are effective, whether they’re in power or whether they are simply pushing. Otherwise, there is no counterweight of the power of corporations, which have basically taken over the two major corporate political parties.

I think it’s very important for Bernie to—you know, to have a teachable moment here and to take heed of his experience of the last many months, and for him to actually stand up and do what the world needs for him to do and what the world needs for this movement to do.

And if Bernie is not able to overcome his experience of many decades as a loyal and faithful Democrat, I really understand that. But I think for those of us who are living in today and who are seeing what tomorrow looks like, it’s very important for us to move ahead and take back the America and the world that works for all of us, based on putting people, planet and peace over profit.

AMY GOODMAN: Jill Stein, we want to thank you for being with us, 2016 presidential candidate for the Green Party.

This is Democracy Now! When we come back, a debate on the executive order just issued by New York Governor Cuomo on BDS. Stay with us.

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