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Happy Crotch...

I love using the word "crotch" in a subject line. It just feels so...right.

I wanted to post with a review and recommendation of the Chicago Women's Health Center (CWHC) for those of you that are local. I was referred to the clinic by tarirocks, and was very impressed with my initial visit. The clinic is in Wrigleyville, in Links Hall.

Having worked in a corporate environment for several years now (don't hate me, it's necessary at this time in my life), I have had the benefit of health insurance and have become accustomed to the glossy, mechanistic offices of western doctors. In comparison, the waiting area of CWHC felt like a college apartment. None of the furniture matched, and the windows were wide open letting in the blessed, ephemeral hint of spring that had made its way into the city that afternoon; no stacks of star rags and fashion magazines on the tables, no canned air, no plastic plants.

Upon filling out my medical history forms, I was elated to note the types of questions that were being asked. They seemed to me to indicate a leaning towards more holistic care, as well as an honoring of diversity and less assumptions about gender, race, class, sexual determination, etc. It was the first time that I was given the option to check a box naming myself gender queer in a doctor's office and I was amazed and pleased.

While I waited, I took in the myriad resources and information made available in the lobby. I was able to sign up with a few groups that interest me in the hopes of getting more information and finally located what looks like eco-friendly feminine hygiene products that I can stomach. Check out www.partypantspads.com and let me know what you think. If you live in Chicago, these products would be local to us - so let me know if you would like to know more about them. I would be more than willing to host a "Party In My Pants House Party" some time in the future in the hopes that some of us might further limit our land fill contributions.

But I digress...

Once called from the lobby, I really liked my health care practitioner. She went out of her way to be clear with me and this helped to create a sense of safety. She had a wonderfully holistic approach and spent a lot of time talking through my medical history and lifestyle. She wasn't just concerned with the reasons for my visit. She wanted to know what was going on in my life, and generously talked to me about my emotional state, acupuncture for pain relief (my bum knee don't ya know), smoking cessation, caffeine consumption, vegetarianism and more. She had a great sense of humor and frequently spoke of her own "lifestyle challenges" which helped me to feel like we were peers who were working together with the common goal of a healthier me. She also totally eliminated any sense of shame which was incredibly liberating.

As to the exams themselves, I was really appreciative of how she asked and then honored my boundaries. I was also quite thankful for the smaller, plastic speculum (plastic doesn't get so COLD!), which I was given the option to insert myself.

It is my understanding that you do not have to have insurance to visit CWHC, but that they will work with anyone on a sliding scale and that they always prioritize care and will do whatever they can to help folks get treatment. They also offer (as I mentioned) counseling and acupuncture - again, on a sliding scale.

If you are local and are looking for a health care provider like this, or if you'd just like to experience a health center with heart that "envisions a world in which all people have access to comprehensive, affordable, and sensitive health care", then I hope you'll check them out.

May all of our crotches be healthy and happy!


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 18th, 2008 07:07 pm (UTC)

"May all of our crotches be healthy and happy!"

That deserves a "So Mote It Be!":)
Mar. 18th, 2008 07:18 pm (UTC)
Thanks for that link. I almost died laughing when I read "PIMPs" though. Too funny!

I'm totally up for looking at alternative period gear. Maybe we could get a group together and test drive some alternatives? I kinda have a hankering to give a mooncup a try...
Mar. 18th, 2008 07:34 pm (UTC)
Re: PIMPs??
I do want to step into this...by experimenting myself and then spreading the word if I like what I find.

Perhaps we can set the intention of trying some of these products over the next 6 months, and then hosting a "moon party" to share our findings?

I'm not sure anyone else would be interested - but that's okay. I want to make this change for myself regardless.

I also think that there is vital work that could be done around menstruation and the way that it is portrayed in our culture. I am not being humorous when I say that I can see an entire "iron pentacle" workshop which worked through a filter or lens of having a moon cycle. What messages about sex, pride, self, power and passion have we received through our experiences of menstruating (including pre and post menstruation).

Hmmmm...sounds like work for a sex priestess, and I don't claim that (yet? oh Gods...). Perhaps in the future?

Love ya!
Mar. 18th, 2008 10:05 pm (UTC)
Re: PIMPs??
Bleedin' Iron...definitely something there worth digging into. I'm for it!!
Mar. 18th, 2008 08:40 pm (UTC)
I'm up for a party in my pants. I've considered making the switch to something like this for a while; I'm game for a party to explore different options. And the Iron Pentacle for menstruation/moon cycle sounds like a fantastic idea.
Mar. 19th, 2008 02:58 pm (UTC)
Cool! I think we'll put the PIMP party together this summer - after we've had time to try them (and some other alternatives). Then we can go through what we tried and can talk about what we liked and what we didn't. Kinda like a tupperware party - but not...

I miss you!
Mar. 19th, 2008 12:47 am (UTC)
very cool re. the healthcare provider. I tried cloth pads for awhile and at least the ones I used didn't stay in place. :-(
Mar. 19th, 2008 02:55 pm (UTC)
Ahhh...they moved around eh? Not so good. The PIMPs (party in my pants pads) say they stay in place...but of course I'll have to try them to judge for myself. If they're good, I'll spread the word.

Hugs to you - Jen
Mar. 19th, 2008 04:12 am (UTC)
May all of our crotches be healthy and happy!

May it be so, indeed.

I've seen, and used, Glad Rags (http://www.gladrags.com/) in the past, and I still have some. It looks like they come in more colors now than they used to, which might be a plus in comparison to items such as the PIMPs (heh). Looks like Glad Rags also distributes items like the Keeper Cup and the Diva Cup, if that's more your thing.

Thanks for the recommendation for CWHC, also. They sound like a really neat organization. I could wish that there were a similarly patient-friendly and client-centered place around that would accept male patients as well, since J has had a thing going on with his arm recently, but this is a very good start and I'm glad to see it.
Mar. 19th, 2008 03:15 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the link...I think tarirocks and I are set on doing an "eco-moon" party...so we want to try several products over the next few months so we can talk about what we liked and didn't.

As to medical treatment...one thing you might do is to call CWHC and ask if they know of any places in the city that seem to have similar values/missions who see folks who identify as male. They were SO friendly and helpful, I'd imagine that they'd share any options if they knew of them.

Best of luck!
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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