Wednesday, May 25, 2005


I am tired. A good tired, but tired none the less.

Good busy day, tried to make a difference and all that sort of thing, and topped it all off by getting what is, I hope, the last of the year's mulch.

Had my usual Same Day Care clinic this morning, followed by quite the busy County Health Dept Family Planning clinic, the second week in a row. I usually only do an afternoon a month, which is about what I can take as it is such a manic place. I love it but can't do it all the time as I turn into a small puddle afterward. Today I saw 18 young women in 4 +1/2 hours, tackling everything from 2 solid months of heavy bleeding on Depo-Provera despite added birth control pills, several with pelvic pain, the usual discharge stuff, irregular periods, one who needed contraception but might be pregnant but if she wasn't then couldn't abstain from sex for the 2 week wait to make sure she wasn't pregnant but was too late for the "morning after" pill. I suspect some abuse but she denied it. Another with the mentality of a 5 year old, no schooling past grade 4!!, couldn't read the intake form, and having sex with whoever, whenever. She is terribly sweet and will certainly end up used by mean people over and over. It is just so sad. Another with no money, no insurance, needing further (read expensive) evaluation. Managed to get her signed up with the other clinic. Will be a delay but at least she will get the care, provided she follows through. I think she will but am not sure as her English is very rudimentary. Thank God for interpreters. My Spanish just isn't good enough and comes so slowly. I can get the basics but not the detailed answers.

And so the cycle will continue. If they could just not get pregnant. Finish school. Finish college or something similar. Find someone who treated them well. THEN have the kids.

Sorry. Usually it's not so much of a battle. Some of them are the most amazing successes, though. Horrible family lives yet get through the muck, unscathed, pulling themselves along to achieve amazing things. However do they? I've been doing stuff like this for 16 years now and people still never fail to amaze me, both the successes and the tragic ones.

How the hell did I get so lucky?

I live in fear that the re-incarnation believers are right. No way I can ever have it this good again, no matter how saintly I live.

Well, tomorrow, back to housewifery and gardening. Tonight there is a book and a nice glass of wine with my name on it. I haven't truly earned it but feel I have.

Here's to being blessed.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

We both have identical jobs: we never really know what we have done unless we stumble on the results later on down the road. I guess lying to ourselves that we really do make a difference all the time helps, but I know that that isn't 100%. And all I had to deal with was fetal alcohol syndrome and beat-up kids escaping with something chemically weird. Anyway, have a glass on me from me to you. Yeah, kid, we really made a difference.


10:43 PM  
Blogger Rozanne said...

I see why you end up as a puddle after all that. How emotionally draining.

I'd say you definitely earned that glass of wine.

11:54 PM  
Blogger The Lioness said...

Such heartbreak, these stories. I truly don't see how some people do it, how they live.

And no matter how many reincarnations, Diana, you will always have it good bcs you will always be good. I KNOW these things bcs, er, Portugal is Pisces so we're all sensitive, I'm told. Plus I'm a Pisces. See the beauty? It's all good.

6:11 AM  
Anonymous Gerah said...

Wow. Brings back some memories... I mean, I was never that troubled teen, but I did go to Family Planning when I was in high school and college (and actually once again not too long ago)and took advantage of services like the ones you're providing, since it wasn't available to me elsewhere.

I credit our free family planning clinic in the area for turning me into a great adult, because, who knows - without it, I could have been pregnant at 17 if I hadn't had access to these free services (and I didn't have to go through my parents to get them.)

I am not in the medical field, but I absolutely think you have a calling, because I'm passionate about this cause as well. I've actually always dreamed of working for a clinic like this, and having a job that helps educate young girls and women about sex and contraception. I do feel that teen pregnancy, or unwanted pregnancy is the root of many societal problems. If we can get to the root, we can help re-grow lives and turn things around.

BRAVO for what you do.

8:42 AM  
Blogger Diana said...

Dad- We do seem to have a lot of similarities, I've always thought that. You do what you can and keep trying. Sometimes a smile and listening is all we can do.

Rozanne- A well earned glass tastes best. That one was a Door County Cherry. The last thing I needed was something serious.

Lioness- I am a Virgo. What does that say about me? What a terribly sweet thing to say. I know we make a difference, all of us, it just seems that that difference is so inadequate, given the need.

Gerah- Truly, THANK YOU for sharing your experiences with your family planning clinic. The teen pregnancy rate in the town I work (and until last year, lived in) is horrifying. Our 1st year there, Charles handed me a copy of the high school paper with an article on birth control pills and how dangerous they were. It was written by a student and was lie after lie. I wrote a rebuttal but didn't hear back. Lies like: The Pill causes ovarian cysts (actually they diminish them and are accepted for treating recurrent cysts), and infertility (just plain wrong). So much for fact checking. Went down well with the conservative powers-that-be. Last week, as happens all to often, had to turn a patient away as she was found to be pregnant. Too damn late. And thank God for no parental notification. What a bad idea that is. I am delighted when a parent brings in their daughter but the usual story is, "my parents won't find out, right?" I bet you would love doing that sort of thing and would be great at it, too.

2:55 PM  
Anonymous Stacy Moe said...

Hi Diana,
Finally checked out your blog. Sounds like draining but necessary work. Understand the situation now that I am at the Mission and work with homeless/addicted. I was just thinking back to Southgate days when I drove past the theater (which is still standing empty) Allison is big, wonderful, beautiful smart 5th grader, and Justin and I are doing well. Regards to you and the family! Love ya, your old pal- Stacy

3:29 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

Stacy Freakin' Moe!
(runs over, gives enormous hug) I was just thinking about Southgate the other day. Last I heard it was a dance lesson place.

For all those who aren't familiar with the SE Portland suburb of Milwaukie in the 1980s, it had this mediocre theater called Southgate, where Stacy, Charles, I, and several friends worked during school. Hell, even my sister worked there. (She and Stacy were best friends.) It finally died after a very protracted decline.

7:10 AM  
Blogger CarpeDM said...

Boy, this brings back memories. I had to go to the family planning clinic a few times in my twenties. A few pregnancy tests and a few AIDS tests and oh, hey, can you treat me for clymidia (I know I'm spelling that wrong but I'm too lazy to look it up) later, finally realized that hey, I'm worth more than this.

You amaze me, you really do. I don't know if you've ever read anything by JD Robb (Nora Roberts) but there is a doctor in them known as Louise Dimatto (I think that's the name). Anyway, you remind me of her. No matter how hopeless it seems, no matter how difficult it may be, she keeps going, helping others. Bravo to you.

6:10 PM  
Anonymous MG said...

Just wanted you to know that the abandoned Southgate lot is still good for something: I took your youngest sister there for her first driving lessons. As for your volunteer work, it's never done, but bravo for putting yourself on the line, trying to make a difference. Even if it seems hopeless at times, at least you didn't turn your back and ignore it. Old Jewish Proverb: try to leave the world a little bit better place than you found it. Thanks for doing your part.

12:43 AM  

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