“And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.”1 Timothy 2:12
Locally, one of the biggest labor disputes in Toledo’s history is underway. Last week, nearly 2,000 Mercy Health employees walked out on their jobs and began a strike citing poor working conditions that include 40+ hours on-call in addition to their regular 40-hour work weeks. Compound overworked employees with poor health coverage, and you can completely understand why they are standing their ground. Today is day nine of the strike.
Having overworked healthcare employees is detrimental to our health as patients, because without nurses, we’re essentially fucked. Not only does being overworked lead to poor outcomes, it doesn’t leave room to absorb new, valuable information which is critical to their livelihoods. Healthcare is constantly evolving, and it is essential to read up on it consistently. How does someone working 80+ hours a week have room to progress? The answer is: They don’t. As patients, we suffer and have to carry the burden of reading up on and researching our own conditions as well.
Quite frankly, I’m disappointed in Toledo’s mayor over his stance. I’ve noticed that people who aren’t involved in the healthcare system can possess arrogant viewpoints because they don’t put themselves in the shoes of all parties involved. I mean, c’mon Wade, really? Would you want to be on your feet for over 80 hours a week while facing life-or-death decisions? And so sorry that this is so unpleasant for you. What a way to show appreciation for the folks that pay taxes and make your city run. Here’s a little ditty for you, sir:
Mercy Health is Ohio’s largest healthcare system. This translates into Catholicism trumping science, especially when it comes to women’s health. This is unacceptable within a country that was founded on the freedom of religion. It is my human right to empower myself with reproductive health decisions, and until I went to a Mercy Health Gynecologist last week, I didn’t know my choices are limited in this regard. And I’m not going to stay quiet about it, Timothy. Since women cannot decide whether or not their eggs will fertilize, we deserve the right to mitigate the risk of pregnancy as we wish.
Due to my insurance, I was unable to go to my OB/GYN practice and had to find another place to go. My Oncologist and Family Doctor are in the Mercy Health Network, so I decided to keep it in the family. BIG MISTAKE. I walked out of my appointment feeling as if my opinions did not matter, like I knew more than the Gynecologist, and in great pain.
For starters, if during a yearly pap smear the Gynecologist has to take a piece of your cervix, you as the patient (ESPECIALLY a breast cancer patient) should be prepared for this when the appointment is made. I’ve learned firsthand that pain afflicted by a physician should come with warnings, because it can place a patient back into a mindset that isn’t conducive to healing (i.e. PTSD).
Upon the completion of my exam, I inquired about birth control options, as many methods of birth control are no longer on the table because both estrogen and progesterone make my breast cancer grow. The copper IUD seems to be my best option, and yet, it is off the table at Mercy Health because it is seen as contraception. Married or not, taking birth-defect-inducing meds or not, the Gynecologist basically gave me a Kanye shrug.
But wait, it gets better! I inquired increasing the dosage of Citalopram due to hot flashes and mood swings from Tamoxifen. She informed me that the dosage I am taking is the highest possible, then made an additional suggestion: “We can put you on Wellbutrin if you’d like.”
I nearly jumped out of my seat. “NO! Don’t you know that Wellbutrin and Tamoxifen don’t go together?! Wellbutrin lowers the efficacy of Tamoxifen!” She tilted her head and said, “well, I guess I’ll be reaching out to a few patients today since that’s what they’re taking.” Both Tamoxifen and Wellbutrin inhibit the same enzyme for absorption and due to this, Tamoxifen isn’t completely absorbed into the bloodstream, essentially lowering its effectiveness.
Like I said, it’s essential for patients to stay current on information regarding their diagnosis, but what I experienced was unacceptable. This situation is an unfortunate reminder of why The CanSurvivor Network exists: To advocate for all breast cancer patients. There are a number of disconcerting passages in the Bible that directly contradict a woman’s right to make her own choices, and I believe that it is time for Mercy Health to put women’s health first. They are a healthcare system and all…
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