Women of A Certain Age…
I have noted the current health care debate that rages around us, through us and over us. Statistics and hypothesis are being flung at us by seething teams of political combatants, talking heads, and influential, special interest groups who have long since lost any sight of any middle ground and compromise. If the current course goes unchecked, the victors, be they blue or red will rule over the smoldering wreck of our Republic.
Listening to the many voices of the healthcare debate has reminded me of my paternal grandmother, Mimi. She would probably observe that the combatants are too busy counting coup (the winning of individual prestige during the larger battle) rather than working to secure the long-term well being of the People. Mimi was of Iroquois blood. A matriarchal society, the Iroquois honored women as the keepers of culture, responsible for defining the political, social, spiritual and economic norms of the tribe. The Iroquois are matrilineal, meaning descent, and therefore properties, are traced through the mother rather than through the father. According to Mimi, Iroquois women lead or participated in the tribe’s healing, spiritual and political ceremonies. The elder women nominated the male chiefs and other tribal leaders and made sure they fulfilled their responsibilities.
I find myself asking, “Who is representing the needs and concerns of the women of America?”
Perhaps it is time for wise women and their younger sisters to pull their attention back from the slogans emblazoned on signs and shouted from bullhorns and ask some questions that are not being addressed by either side of “heath care reform”.
Why are intelligent, accomplished women just compliantly submitting to the “medicalization” of their bodies?
Why don’t we question need for the pill, procedure or process?
Are women too intimidated to ask their health care professionals to explain the possible side effects or consequences of the suggested medical solution? Why are we afraid to ask for alternatives suggestions to replace the standard Big Pharma solution?
At the end of this health care legislative juggernaut will women have more of a voice concerning our bodies?
Will we have access to primary care doctors who understand that women are not small men and the health challenges we face are not by definition “women’s issues”?
Will women have the same access to tests and blood panel work as male patients? Recent studies reveled when women and men presented with the same symptoms and concerns, tests are more likely to be ordered for a man than a woman. Women are more likely to receive a script for an antidepressant.
In the industrialized world, the mature woman can become invisible in plain site — voiceless in the cacophony of a 7/24/365-culture that no longer recognizes or understands the natural cycles of our lives.
Mature women are often alone within the confines teaming society — a society that offers no guidance, and certainly no acknowledgment of the natural cycles of womanhood. For many women, the only assistance comes in the form of pills and pity.
How much is a woman’s increased reliance on medical solutions a direct correlation to her increased isolation in a youth-oriented society that marginalizes mature women?
Readers of the Inconvenient Woman know that I feel the American health care system is, in many ways, broken. Women are being misdiagnosed, improperly medicated and subjected to unnecessary operations to fix ill-defined “female problems”. I have come to believe that physical and mental health has less to do with blindly ingesting Big Pharma’s latest wonder drug, and more to do with the conscious choice to change our lifestyle to include sound nutrition, some exercise and more sleep.
The health and wellbeing of our daughters, grand daughters, and ourselves is a relevant rational for activism. It is imperative that women be proactive in all aspects of our wellness. An Inconvenient Woman is one who insists on full disclosure of the known and probable side effects and interactions of any pharmaceutical prescribed by a health care professional. Education and the willingness to ask questions and demand answers is a start. Sadly, through lack of alternative information, women have become unwittingly complicit in the travesty we call modern medical treatment.
No matter which side of the current health care debate you favor, I ask you to be an Inconvenient Women. Inconvenient Women come in all shades of Blue, Red and Purple and each of us must commit to taking a more proactive stance concerning our health. We want to encourage all women and girls to become Inconvenient Women:
Ask Questions, Demand Answers, Verify Answers with an Independent Source, and Make Informed Decisions.