Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Ayyyyy me duele!!

Culture. We all have it. In mine, stoicism in the face of pain - emotional or physical - is valued. I'm not saying that's right, I'm just laying it out there. Apparently, an ever-elusive perfect weight is valued as well as newFNP's family always has a comment about weight during any visit - too much, too little, but not-as-of-yet just right. Anyway, internal demons aside, newFNP is one to grin and bear it, pull herself up by her bootstraps - bootstraps which will one day bear the Prada insignia if all goes well.

This cultural bias and placement makes it exceedingly difficult for newFNP to stomach the (perceived) histrionics of pain during exam. The vocalization of "Ayyyyyy, me duele.... aqui, ayyyy me duele!! Doctora, me duele!!! Ayyyyy, dios mio, me duele!!" It makes me crazy. I don't doubt that it hurts, but I would have to be carrying my own detached arm to the doctor to complain half as much as these women do. A good fashionista pal pointed out that perhaps some of these women have no other place to vent their pain - a good hypothesis, I believe.

Cultural bias takes on other forms as well. Today, a 40-year old patient came in for a pap. She had sex last night - no condom. Generally, no condom = no pap, but her case was different. This woman has had sex virtually every day for the past 26 years with her husband, whether she wanted to or not. According to her, she "rarely" wants to. According to him, it's her responsibility. Even though she complies with this, again, nearly daily activity, her husband has had many extra-marital relationships and has, according to my patient, transmitted chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes and pubic lice to her throughout the course of their relationship.

How is that for insult to injury? Sexually transmitted infections through forced sex. Incidentally, she denies IPV. Hmmm..... can you see where newFNP's culture is sneaking in?

I asked her if she thought it was okay for her to have sex with her husband when she didn't want to. She responded, "No se." If she doesn't know, how am I supposed to know? I know what the answer is for me, but is this a universal truth or a newFNP truth? Her affect and her tears told me what she really believes, but I could only offer her the tools available to us: our counselor.

I am so glad I got to come home to my apartment, no abuse, maple yogurt and Boston Legal on the tube. I wonder what her night will be like.

Incidentally, in the area where my clinic is located, I have noticed a cultural value of slow-assed fucking driving. Ayyyyyyy, me duele, the slow drivers. Mueve!

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