Friday, August 30, 2002

sort of a poll

I had a doctor's appointment today. The only downside I've experienced to dating a health care professional is that they seem to think every physiological anomaly warrants a visit to the doctor. I myself try never to pass across the threshold of a doctor's office unless I feel my life is in jeopardy. There's no phobia; I just think people go to the doctor when it isn't really necessary, and that overmedication sabotages many of the body's natural methods of building resistance, strengthening your system against its enemies. But whatever.

My point is I have this mole on the back of my head. Baby found it and has since been hounding me to 'have it seen,' and so today the mole was looked upon. Dr. Lackson, tall and pretty, parted my hair in the back and then imparted her professional wisdom, which was that I should see someone else. She meant be seen by someone else. The Referral: that'll be X dollars to tell you nothing but go to Dr. Specialist, who you may then pay Y dollars for the trouble of looking. What a drag.

Anyway, when I was first sent into the examination room, I waited there for ten or fifteen minutes before the doctor arrived. The room was very sterile and specified. There were no magazines to read, nothing save the voluminous Physicians' Desk Reference, atop which sat this past month's PDR update, a little Reader's Digest-sized magazine supplement the publisher mails out to registered PDR owners that gives new drugs' listings as well as relative concerns: forthcoming developments, test results, and the like. For lack of anything else, I began to read this supplement while I waited. Thus I learned of a stunning breakthrough in the field of contraception about which I think you all should know.

But first, a few words on contraception. It's easy to forget what we're talking about is an attempt to prevent nature from taking its course. As is always the case where Mother Nature is involved, despite any lab-generated odds, she does what she wants. I am living proof, soon-to-be father of an adept contraception assassin. Baby never even missed a placebo, and yet here still is a tiny flickering heartbeat on the monitor, half the size of the fingernail on my pinkie. Because you can't front on Mother Nature. She don't play.

Then I read this. A pharmaceutical company called Barr Laboratories has developed an oral contraceptive for women which is intended to reduce the number of yearly menstrual periods from 13 to 4. That's right-- four periods a year, ladies. I can hear some of you cheering from here. Named 'Seasonale,' the pills would be on a 91-day cycle, with 84 hormone tablets and 7 blanks, same old system on extended reach.

Granted, being male, I have no business bearing an opinion one way or the other, but the idea admittedly makes me uncomfortable. I mean, I know it sucks, but having a period seems a fairly important part of being a woman to me, too important a part to tamper with so radically. What might be the psychological implications? They've guessed, but they're only guesses.

I know that the Norplant in effect already does this-- in fact, Baby has a friend who went for four years without a period on the stuff-- but because it is subcutaneous, many patients cannot use it, and I'd wager many more are put off by the mere idea of scalpeling their skins for birth control when so many other simpler options are available. If approved (and it will be), the Seasonale system would be much more popularized, I think, and likewise much more widely used. Which is what concerns me. But I don't know, maybe I'm way off base altogether.

What do you think?

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