Along with being frustrated about being treated like a drug addict, I am equally frustrated that I left the ER with absolutely NO FREAKING ANSWERS. None. There were possible diagnoses on the CT scan, but only one of my doctors seems to be concerned about that. <eye roll>
I've been reading journal articles regarding gender and illness over the last month, and I've come to the conclusion that the field of medicine is mysogynistic. I know, shocking right?
But scientific research is focused on the male body, and not the females.
Last I checked, my 160 pound female body reacts differently than any males that I know in regards to medicine. And why wouldn't it? I mean, besides the fact that my mass is smaller than the average males', the male body and the female body are quite different. Yeah, we all have 2 arms, 2 legs, etc., but our hormonal makeup and metabolism are different. Hence why Jasen can start a diet and lose 20 pounds over night and I could start the same diet and gain 20. So if we metabolize our meals differently, wouldn't we also metabolize medicines differently?
Additionally, when research is done, it is assumed by the scientific world and the popular press that it can be applied in mass to people of all race, ethnicity, and gender. For example, how many of you know the differences between the symptoms of a male heart attack and a female heart attack? There are differences. Look for yourself: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/in-depth/heart-disease/art-20046167 and see. What? Women experience a heart attack differently than men? Who'd a thunk it? Sigh.
Another difference that I have noticed is that although 1 in 5 adults will experience a debilitating illness that will forever alter their life, women are especially prone to disability with at least half of women being disabled by the time they reach 65, but there are little answers to be found for the conditions that cause disability in women and even less research into women of color and their health. For example, fibromyalgia has been around for ages, but it wasn't until the 90's that the American College of Rheumatology included a specific set of guidelines, and even now I have had a doctor and a physical therapist both imply that my pain was all in my head. <hard core eye roll> There is little research about the causes of fibromyalgia, but I sure can find oodles of research into the causes of erectile dysfunction.
In light of everything happening politically in our country, I am not hopeful that any of this will change, but I wanted to put the information out there, so that regular folks can understand just one of the struggles for women with chronic illnesses. If I cannot find research on my specific illnesses, how am I supposed to manage them? If the research that is out there is all about the white male body, how am I supposed to know how medications will affect my female body? If the symptoms put out into the world are really only the symptoms for the male body, how are women supposed to know what their body is doing? If illnesses that are typically female are under-researched or un-researched, how the hell are women supposed to fight against illness?
Having multiple chronic illnesses is frustrating, and exhausting. I'm tired. I want answers.