I got a tetanus shot today!

When walking in Chinatown yesterday I felt something in my shoe, like a tiny rock or shard of glass. I tried to push it to the side, or ignore it until I got home but after about 20 minutes I Just couldn’t stand it any more. Turns out a staple had poked through the sole of my shoe. And not a regular office staple, it was industrial sized and my toe was bleeding. I limped home and this morning made my way to an urgent care clinic a few blocks from my apartment.

Some things I learned about tetanus while frantically googling:

  • It has a 72 hour incubation period
  • You should get a booster shot every 10 years (so I’m set til 2026!)
  • If you may have been exposed and you haven’t had the shot in 10 years you should try to get it within 24 hours

The clinic I went to was surprisingly great. It was clean and everyone was super nice.  I was the only one there so my visit went incredibly quickly.

I needed an x-ray (too see if any foreign bodies were floating around in my toe), so, being a woman, I had to pee in a cup to they could give me a pregnancy test.

“Oh, but I’m on my period,” I said, “I’m definitely not pregnant.”

“We gotta do it anyway.” They said.

I don’t blame the clinic workers. I totally understand why they had to do it. It’s procedure/protocol/required whatever. But what if I were a virgin? A lesbian? What if I were completely baron? It’s just so crazy to me that the rule is to not trust the woman who’s body it is, but to perform the test no matter what.

Seeing no point in fighting with these guys, I peed in the cup. To no one’s surprise the result was no: not pregnant.

It reminded me of the last time I had to take a pregnancy test at a doctor’s office. I’d decided to go back on oral contraceptives but was still about 6 months away from my annual exam with my gynecologist, so  I asked my PCP for a prescription. He insisted on a pregnancy test (blood that time). When I’d gotten my previous BC prescriptions my (female) gyno never had me take a pregnancy test first. She just told me to start it after my next period.

In the end I wasn’t pregnant. I ignored his prescription and postponed getting birth control until I could see my gyno. She did not have me take a pregnancy test.

Last week I picked my brother up from the hospital (after a routine procedure involving anesthesia, requiring him to be released to an escort). While waiting for him I noticed all the bathrooms had a sign asking female patients between 11 and 55 to alert the receptionist before using the bathroom. I asked if I had to alert the receptionist and was told only patients needed to. Why, I wonder, do fertile women need to alert the staff to their bathroom visits in this hospital? I still haven’t figured it out.

I consider myself lucky I don’t have a more serious medical condition (especially in my lady parts such as endo or PCOS etc) and in fact I have pretty standard order parts, and yet there is so much involvement on the part of the medical establishment when it comes to my reproductive system. I fear this will only continue, and these experiences will grow at an exponential rate, especially should I end up becoming pregnant, until menopause, at which time the medical establishment may cease to care about me at all.




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