When I began to feel the pangs of yet another urinary tract infection yesterday I started to panic and curse my womanly body with all my might, which is the standard reaction for me. "Why urethra? WHY are you so prone to this hellish pain? Why must I survive another bout of utter agony?" I've gotten them all my life, even when I was a little kid, and the past few months have proven particularly bad. In between infections, when I'm calm and happy, I think about how I need to work on prevention, but when they arrive all I want is a doctor and the most powerful antibiotics known to man. Antibiotics that might cause diarrhea or yeast infections, fine, but good God, get rid of the pain, the fire and burning. Yesterday though, for the first time, maybe ever, I decided to calm down. I decided the neverending routine of infection and then treatment and then infection again wasn't working all too well for me and so I calmed down and turned to the Mecca of all knowledge: Border's book store. By the time I got there - well, either the relaxation techniques had worked, or these infections just naturally don't hurt so much after a while (which I'd never know because I drive myself STRAIGHT to the doctor for Cipro) but I was feeling better. Very contented with my new self, full of restraint, goddess of maintaining control, really, I walked over to the women's health section and got busy looking up my oh so consistent problem. I settled on the newest edition of "Our Bodies, Ourselves," after a while. I was actually more drawn to the hippie books, the ones that talk about drinking marshmallow root and never taking a drug again, but I decided that it was best to trust a collective of real doctors rather than someone who'd interviewed, oh, witches. Or spiritual healers. Plus, the book I got has both practical medical advice as well as alternative techniques. Perfect. Border's was warm with Christmas decorations and people and I was being such a proactive non-victim! When I headed out into the damp night I felt nothing but pride. And only a little bit of stinging.
I got home and poured myself a glass of water. I sat on the couch and turned the radio to the classical station. The dogs lay peacefully at my feet, although completely aware that I wasn't up to their antics. I sat down and read my new book. Neighbors' windows shown brightly up and down the street. I started to get excited about the season. J came home and asked how I was doing and sat down with me. Everything was so cozy, and then he spotted my new book, said how great it was that I'd bought it and was looking into my health, opened it, turned to a black and white diagram of the female reproductive system, took a sharp intake of breath and said, "Look!"