So, here's a picture of yours truly, prior to getting some surgery, yesterday.
I was in the hospital to get a vasectomy.
It went really well for the most part. We showed up. I gave my name. They asked me some questions, I took off my clothes, put on a funny hat and the hospital-gown-what-makes-your-butt-hang-out.
One thing that did come up was people kept asking me, and Missy, if we had children, if we wanted children, were we sure about the procedure, etc. etc. etc. It got asked a lot. I kept saying I was sure, no we didn't have them, no we didn't want them. It was honestly kind of upsetting.
I could tell that much like the silent e that follows some words what they were really asking was either, "So you're not going to change your mind in a few days, right?" or maybe, "After you sign these consent forms and we invade your body to cut you up a bit, you're not going to come back with a lawyer and sue our pants off, right?"
There was even this brief bureaucratic mix-up, where the normal hospital policy is that you can't be scheduled for a vasectomy until 4 weeks after you've made the decision. I was clocking in at a way-too-fast-for-their-comfort three weeks. Because I'm so in a rush, right?
Actually, this is a decision I've been considering for the better part of a decade. I'm 46 years old, recently started a new business which is very likely to make me travel a whole bunch. Plus, I'm polyamorous, and have loving connections with my partner Alissa's children, whom I'm not exactly a parent to, but not exactly not one either. I already raised my ex's kid, my stepson T. for the better part of nine years too.
So I'm pretty set on my choice. Which is good, because it happened yesterday.
The reason I'm talking about it here, where the gratitude comes in, is because the whole experience made me aware of just how much agency, how much control I have over my own body and my own life. Yes, the hospital administration and staff, and my own urologist got all up in my business about my choice. But in the end, I signed papers, and they shut right the hell up and did what I wanted.
My co-pay for the hospital stay was twenty bucks.
I have a female friend, L., who never wanted to have children, and was looking to have some sort of procedure to do something about it. I can't exactly recall whether she wanted a tubal ligation or a full hysterectomy, but she spent the better part of her 20's trying to find a doctor who'd agree to do it, and coming up empty.
Frankly, that ticks me off.
Sure, as a polyamorous, kinky person I'm not quite like most folks. But I do have good "vanilla" face. From the outside, I sure look like a typical cisgender white middle class male. And it comes with a lot of privilege.
It's got me yet more cognizant of how other people who are not in my same demographic don't have the advantages I do.
There's already stuff I do to try to help with that. I'm a big old lefty when I vote. I actively give money to the ACLU and do micro-loans through Kiva.org. For which I want no pat on the back whatsoever.
This is why universal, single-payer healthcare is a deciding issue for me. It's why I understand reproductive health isn't a luxury, it's a right.
EVERYONE should have the power and ability to make the choice over their body, their life, that I made over my own yesterday. I think part of the purchase price of having agency over one's own life is making sure society changes to give it to everyone.