Your Yearly Demands
Last year I went for my yearly well-woman exam. After the "elaborate handshake" my doctor (whom I respect and admire) took off her gloves and said, "all is well!" and began to walk away. To which I said, "aren't you going to do a pap smear?" And then this happened:
DR: No, you've had three consecutive healthy lab results and the new guidelines say that you now only need exams every three years, or even fewer.
ME: I don't know about you, but I see women in my practice again and again (and know women, personally) who, from one year to the next, have major gynecological health interventions due to issues that arose that fast.
DR: Yes, that's true.
ME: So, then exactly what is this?
DR: It's the insurance companies wanting to save money.
ME: GIVE ME A PAP SMEAR. Right now. Please.
I went for my yearly exam again a month ago. Again, I asked for a pap smear. But before I had the delight (and actually, she's quite gentle) I perused the offerings in the waiting room. There was a stack of free baby stuff, most of which centered around Enfamil, a formula purporting to mimic breast milk and it's magical (read: real and meaningful) properties. "Free to mothers! We want to help! It's just like that other [incidentally also free] stuff you might be making! Etc!"
I was curious, so I turned over the can and looked for a list of what it held.
First ingredient? Corn syrup. Guaranteed to make you sick and hook you.
(Also happens to be the first ingredient in Ensure, most commonly fed to elderly and/or infirm individuals as a meal substitute.)
The idea that anything totally mimics breastmilk is absurd. But let me be so very very clear: I'm not interested in vilifying formula. (There are healthy options, which I would love for you to help me resource and include in the comments.) It's Enfamil and it's sibling non-foods that make me want to rent a dumpster, fill it, and set the contents on fire. Plenty of families, for myriad completely legitimate (and often not uncomplicated) reasons can't/don't breastfeed with their babies. I want to draw attention to the fact that the Big Pharma/Big Ag connection here is strong (corn in “medicine”? Why, exactly? And would that corn happen to be genetically-modified? Grown by whom? Hmmm....you don't say), in this instance targets women and infants (in an historical moment when broad spectrum information, proper guidance, true support for these populations is so deeply necessary). medical professionals touting a "breastmilk alternative" made of the most addictive sugar available are doing real and long-ranging harm.
Until Big Pharma stops licking the political penis of Big Ag, food in a box isn’t safe. And until the insurance companies stop making financial decisions in the sheep’s clothing of health decisions, we are not safe.
Know your rights. People of all genders, get your yearly exam. Women and people with internal genitalia, get a pap smear every year. If you’re going for anaesthetized surgery, make sure there is NO fine print about having a pelvic exam while you are under. (See the At Your Cervix Campaign if this is news to you.) You live in your body - you have every right to crown yourself Sovereign therein. Take up the mantle and wear it with joy.