Thursday, July 7, 2011

My Planned Parenthood

Nothing truly phenomenal occurred while I was a patient at Planned Parenthood. One thing didn't happen. I did not get pregnant.

I became sexually active in high school, and I had an aunt that was kind enough to direct me to the local public health office to get birth control. My step-mother indicated that she was not inclined to pay for my birth control, and I thought that extended to my father's insurance. So the public health office was my best option. I wasn't aware of a Planned Parenthood in my area at the time.

I made it through high school without getting pregnant, and I moved to a larger city to attend the state's flagship university. I was intimidated by the Student Health office, so I flipped through the phone book to find Planned Parenthood. There were several locations throughout the city, and I had my choice of at least two nearby my residence.

I visited that Planned Parenthood for the next 6 years. I was in college for a long time. I was on the pill, so I would visit monthly to pick up my pills for the low price of $20 a pack. I was a terrible waitress at a chain resturant that promotes a $5.95 all you can eat lunch, so money was tight. Some months I could afford to pick up two or three packs, but most of the time it was a month to month situation. During this time I continued to have sex. For a while I was single, so I backed up the pregnancy protection of the pill with the STD protection of condoms. Guess where I got those condoms. That's right! Planned Parenthood gave me free protection from costly, irritating, and possibly life-threatening diseases.

Annually I was required to get an exam in order to continue to recieve birth control pills. I was always treated with dignity and respect, and the nurses and doctors were knowledgable of my medical and sexual history, even if they hadn't seen me before. This is because that office took time to review my file before opening the door and giving me duck bills. This is something that I often find lacking with doctors that my pricey insurance pays for.

Over that six-year period a lot happened. I got married. I kept going to college. I bought a house. I gained a lot of weight. I was a smoker for most of that time, and the nurses always provided me with information about quitting. They also gave nutritional advice. I would not have been able to afford this type of care anywhere else, as I didn't have insurance. They also noticed that my blood pressure was increasing. This led the nurses to see me monthly and monitor my blood pressure to make sure that the pills would not cause a stroke. I can bet that if I had been picking up my pills monthly from Walgreens, the drive through attendant would not have thought to check my blood pressure once, let alone every time before dispensing my birth control. While I found this annoying, it was also necessary in determining if I was having a health problem. Once I stopped taking Claritin and slowed the salt intake the blood pressure decreased. But were it not for Planned Parenthood, I might have gone years with damaging high blood pressure.

Since I was able to complete my education without getting pregnant, I was able to secure a teaching job immediately following college graduation. That job provided a paycheck and quality medical insurance. I bid adieu to Planned Parenthood and began seeing doctors on my insurance plan. When I became pregnant, I was able to see a variety of doctors and pay for my care.

I do not feel that these options would have been possible had I not had the opportunity to utilize the services of Planned Parenthood. The medical services that they provided helped keep me on track in college. That is why I often donate what extra money I can to them.

Throughout the country, women are being forced to go without these needed services. The beliefs of a few are affecting the health of many women. Women across the nation need these health services. Please raise your voice.

Contact your elected officials.
Donate to Planned Parenthood.
Share your story #MyPP on Twitter.
Read more at the Carnival Hub at What Tami Said

1 comment:

  1. Great post, Michele!

    So many people think Planned Parenthood are the abortion folks. Truthfully, they are about choices, and patient care. CARE being the key word. That's what the right wingers seeem to forget. If their daughters needed the type of services that Planned Parenthood provides, we would never hear about it. However that doesn't mean said services would be with-held....


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Farmington, NM, United States
Old enough to know better, young enough to change.