Saturday, October 6, 2018

Doctors Do Not Deserve the Power They Are Given Over Us

God Complex

There is one unspoken rule we learn real fast when we come in chronic sickness to the medical establishment:  

Never contradict a doctor.

You are at their mercy and you will regret it if you do.

Do my words resonate with you?  

Have you ever contradicted a doctor?

If you did, then you know exactly what I'm talking about.

Don't even dare to question them, or...else.

Have you ever heard this...?

  1. Been there!
    Changing your food won't help. You / your child need(s) drugs.”

    Hundreds of thousands of people have been told they don't have celiac disease, so they should continue to eat gluten containing foods. And yet, these same hundreds of thousands of people get violently ill when they eat gluten. Instead of changing your diet, doctors will recommend pharmaceuticals to treat your symptoms.

  2. Your test results are normal, so it must be all in your head.”

    This is what doctors say when they don't know what is wrong with you. What they should be asking is “Have you been vaccinated lately? Were you exposed to something toxic recently, such as pesticide or paint fumes? Do you have any amalgam fillings? Have you been eating a new food lately?”

  3. Those horrible side effects could not have been caused by vaccines.”

    If vaccines were a religion (which they are), doctors would be (are) the fanatical zealot prophets of doom. I've been told, "You will die if you don't get vaccinated!" I've got to wonder, at which point between being a person without an MD behind their name to becoming a doctor do they become ALL KNOWING?

    When you stop questioning, it ceases to be science.

  4. You will be disabled for the rest of your life if you don't take this drug.”

    I am a living example of proving doctors wrong and healing naturally. They pressure us to take drugs because they profit off the sales. And we are at their mercy for filling out our disability applications or writing us a note for work. We need them to perform medical procedures or prescribe our meds in lowering doses so we can wean off them safely. We need their help and we are at their mercy. Contradicting them might save your life, but they will punish you for it.

  5. Do as I say or else.”

    So here we are. We've realized that our health issues are not all in our heads. We finally realize that vaccines actually CAN and DO cause harm or death. But we still believe that doctors have our best interests at heart. We still TRUST them.

    What are doctors really learning in medical school? 

    Of course, they are learning about how our bodies work and which pharmaceuticals to prescribe for which symptoms.

    Most of us mistakenly assume that doctors also learn how to do their own research and that they upgrade their medical knowledge over time. 

    Sadly, this is not the case for most doctors.

    Doctors are taught not to question any aspect of the medical establishment.

    They are certainly not taught to do their own research (for instance, an internet search for published studies or natural treatments).

    And how do they upgrade their knowledge

    Well, they attend presentations by pharmaceutical representatives...presentations they are paid to attend for pharmaceuticals they are paid to prescribe.

    They don't even learn about vaccine injury.

    It is treated as though it does not exist, and yet side effects are listed on the insert right inside the box it comes in.

    I know a lot of doctors have terrible handwriting but I assumed they all could read...I guess a vaccine insert just isn't very interesting...

    Maybe you sense my sarcasm. 

    Maybe you, like me, feel that doctors should learn to do their own research. 

    Maybe you, like me, feel that doctors should take responsibility for the harm they cause by their ignorance.

    Let's talk about their ignorance. 

    The following statements are commonly made by doctors whom we are told to trust. 

    They are the professionals and we are merely the people who have to live with the consequences of trusting them.

    If doctors told the truth.
    Well, hang onto your hats because look what happened to these people who TRUSTED doctors with the health of their children.

    Today, every parent has to fear that their child will be removed because of a doctor who was offended by the parents being involved in the medical decision-making.

    All around us we are hearing from doctors threatening us if we do not do as they say.

    “Get your Goddamn kid vaccinated.”

    “If you refuse <random medical intervention here>, we will take your child away.”

    And you have to ask yourself, “Are these doctors brainwashed or scared of losing their incomes? Are pharmaceutical reps telling them to be such fucking bastards? Or are they just fucking bastards by nature?"

    Why aren't doctors required to get "up-to-date?"

    Who gives doctors, with their limited understanding of healing and their excessive understanding of pharmaceuticals, the right to make medical decisions for us or our children?

    The courts give them the right. That's who. See what's happening here?

    "Vaccinate your child or go to jail." 

    Before we mandate vaccines for infants, why haven't we mandated them for doctors? Let that one sink in.

    Hell yeah.

    I apologize to the doctors out there who really are helping people and have their best interests at heart. 

    And I get that you could lose your license and your practice if you speak the truth about vaccines.

    But being willfully ignorant and using your power to hurt people, especially children...well, there's no excuse for that.  

    Doctors do not deserve the power they are given over us. 

    It is obvious that I have anger and resentment towards doctors. 

    During my health journey, I heard all those things come out of many doctors' mouths. I was vaccine injured, then told it couldn't be from the vaccine and it was all in my head.

    I was told by a pediatrician that food wouldn't help my son. Yet when I changed his diet, his health and behaviour improved dramatically literally overnight.

    I was told repeatedly and condescendingly that I would never have a normal life again unless I took immune suppressant drugs. I was at the mercy of those drug pushing doctors. The sickest and weakest I've ever been in my life and no one to advocate for me but myself.

    I had to kiss their asses, telling them "I will take those drugs but first I want to try this natural treatment I heard about. But don't worry, I definitely will try those drugs soon."

    I was treated horribly, dismissed as a headcase, sick, weak, and desperate. Doctors accused me of all sorts of things from being depressed to drug seeking.

    Yet, all the while, I was fighting for my health. Trying everything to heal. Weaning myself off narcotic pain relievers after multiple surgeries. Trying every supplement to reduce my painful, immobilizing arthritis. Trying to convince my husband that the doctors were wrong and it wasn't all in my head.

    As you can tell, I am still traumatized by my experience with the medical establishment.

    I finally found a great doctor who never pushes me to take drugs. She tells me to get off them. She never pushes me to vaccinate. In fact, she's never mentioned it.

    There are good doctors out there. If you find one, count yourself lucky. But don't trust him or her. Doctors are NOT all knowing. They know less about your health than you.

    Do your research. Take medication to survive but seek out natural alternatives because what you really want is to heal. And unfortunately, doctors are not taught to heal us.

    If there's anything you take from this article, I hope it is this:

    Doctors have great power over us and our children. We must walk a fine line of keeping them happy without giving up our autonomy and rights. Doctors are not trained to heal us. They are trained to help us with our symptoms. Very convenient but not very helpful when we are truly, deeply ill. Do not blindly trust your doctor. Do your own research and find ways to heal naturally whenever possible. If you're sick, stop drinking the koolaid (literally and figuratively). Others have healed themselves before you and you can do it too. And if you're lucky enough to find a doctor who will help you, you've hit the jackpot.

    Peace. xo

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Ten Culture Shock Challenges I"ve Faced Squaring Up

In the sex industry, there is no such thing as a taboo subject. In the square world, political correctness rules the day.

In the sex industry, oddity and originality are special talents. In the square world, uniqueness is vilified.

In the sex industry, sexuality is fluid and celebrated. In the square world, sexuality is shamed and criminalized.

In the sex industry, women make just as much money as men, if not more. In the square world, women fight to be part of the old boy's club.

The Cultural Divide

I became an adult entertainer at the age of 23 – almost half my life ago.

Since then, I have left and returned to the industry many times.

I left for pregnancy, university, a boyfriend. I left so I could put my kids to bed at night. I left to be a Support Worker; a Marketing Manager; a Project Coordinator.

But I always returned...because the adult entertainment industry is good to me.

Whenever I've been in trouble, it was adult industry people who helped me – usually by giving me jobs. And thanks to those jobs, I have never been desperate.

I have never been desperate, but I have been terrified.

Terrified to square up in the “real world.” Terrified to say or do the wrong thing. Terrified for good reason!

Because once you've worked in adult entertainment, the real world is a scary place. It is a place of walls and shame.

Coming from a world of candidness and exposure, culture shock is inevitable.

We may live in the same neighbourhoods and shop in the same grocery stores.

Our kids go to the same schools and play in the same leagues.

But adult entertainers and "civilians" (square folks) live in two completely different worlds.

Squaring up is no easy feat, for many reasons.

The following are ten culture shock challenges I've experienced while attempting to leave the sex industry.

Ten “Culture Shock” Challenges I've Faced Squaring Up

1. Terrifying anxiety

When my oldest daughter was a baby, I found that exotic dancing wasn't ideal for me.

I wanted to be home every night to put my baby to bed, but strip clubs are busiest at night. Some are only open in the evenings.

So, I made a goal to get a square 9-5 job.

I did a bunch of assessments and signed up to get my Public Relations diploma. It was a two year program and I was approved for funding that covered all my expenses except during summer break between the second and third semesters.

Instructors gave us leads on jobs in the Public Relations industry for, I mean students...over the summer. I applied for these square jobs and hoped for a 9-5 position that would pay enough for me to make ends meet over the summer.

In the meantime, I booked a few weeks of stripping. The rent wouldn't pay itself, after all.

My first week back dancing, I got called for an interview. The office address they gave me was in Richmond. This was perfect, as I was working nearby at the Fraser Arms in Marpole.

The DJ and other dancers cooperated with me enthusiastically to change the schedule, so I could go to the interview between shows. But as my day progressed, I developed more and more anxiety.

Every face in the audience was the face of the man who might interview me. Was he sitting right here in the club? Had he seen me on stage? Would that help or hinder my chances of getting a job? Would I even want a job from a man who'd seen me dance? How might he use it against me?

I worried I had too much makeup on. The interviewee before me, a girl from my class, had been late. So my interview was pushed back. I worried I wouldn't make it back in time for my next show. (They fine us for that.)

By the time I got into the interview, I was a hot mess. Needless to say, I didn't get that job. They hired the girl who was late for her interview instead.

The worst part is that I'd worried for nothing. The interviewer was not a customer from the audience. It was a woman who probably thought I was wearing too much makeup.

Oh well. Her loss.

2. Holes in my resume

I'm lucky because I worked in square jobs for years before I became a stripper. I'd been a waitress, sandwich artist, newspaper folder, drive thru cashier, fast food counter person, leather jacket saleswoman, laser tag manager, among other things.

Many dancers I've known didn't work in any other jobs before dancing. That definitely adds to culture shock when trying to square up.

Still, there were long gaps in my resume every time I decided to go straight. And each time I was faced with a decision – to include my exotic dance background on my resume or fudge my timeline a little.

When I graduated with my Public Relations diploma, I became a “Consultant” in all my resume gaps.

I included many of my assignments from school in my portfolio which enabled me to list The Kidney Foundation and other reputable organizations as clients.

Instructors from my courses hired me for small contracts to write press releases, articles, and pitch media outlets on stories.

I began using my training to advocate for sex industry workers rights. My website, The Naked Truth, was already well established. But now the media was contacting me regularly for interviews.

Once again, the adult entertainment industry saved me. It gave me skills and experience beyond what I could have gotten as a rookie in a square job.

I was inundated with media requests and dealt with a media crisis when the Breast Cancer Society of Canada refused a donation from our stripathon fundraiser.

Letters to the editors of several newspapers gushed in supporting us.

I handled the crisis so well, we had many other charities who had refused our donation in the past scrambling to differentiate themselves from the BCSC.

I was becoming a pro.

However, when I applied for a job at a non-profit organization that serves foster children, I decided to keep my sex industry experience on the down low.

With a little bit of imagination, I was able to make my work history look very impressive. All the gaps were filled with “Media Consultant” work. I was good to go.

If only the Executive Director who interviewed me wasn't so cunning.

She asked very good questions testing my knowledge and abilities. But she didn't want general answers. She wanted true life examples.

Well, my heart started racing as I realized I was cornered. I had to come up with a lie fast or admit my sex work experience. I took a deep breath and spilled the beans...

“I used to be an exotic dancer which led to doing advocacy for sex industry workers...”

All my best examples came from my advocacy work for which I had never been paid a cent.

At the end of the interview, she told me she'd call in a few days and let me know if I was hired. I walked out having no idea what she thought of me.

But a few days later...she hired me.

Peeler power for the win!

3. Getting caught

I wasn't trying to hide my sex industry work experience. I'd appeared on a talk show using my stage name, but my face was clear as day. I was me.

Everything was going great at my internship at a local university. After getting my diploma, I was hired for a six month contract. All of my new co-workers assured me that I'd get hired on permanently.

“They always hire the people they like,” I was told.

But everything changed when a woman from administration saw a re-run of the talk show I appeared on.

She spread the news to all the university staff. She waited two days before she approached me, which I can only imagine was on the advice of a compassionate coworker.

I barely knew her. We said hi as we passed each others desks, but that's about it.

“Did you used to be a stripper?” she asked innocently.

My heart jumped but I had no shame. “Yes,” I replied, wondering how this would play out.

“I saw you last night on the Fanny Kiefer Show,” she said.

I didn't know how to respond, so I smiled and nodded while she exclaimed how she thought it was me but my stage name had confused her.

When she left my desk, I went outside for air. Tears prickled my eyes. I knew this was not good. My ho senses were tingling.

Stigma is Status Quo
Sure enough, the temperature at work dropped considerably.

People who previously smiled and chatted with me became cold and wouldn't look me in the eye. They walked right past me, pretending not to see me. No more lunch invitations. I was an outcast.

There were no more assurances that I would be hired on permanently. Now people said things like, “Well, I know they're scaling back due to budget concerns.”

My boss, who knew I was a former stripper and that I'd appeared on the talk show because I'd had to book time off work to do it, had no idea that I'd become the butt of everyone's joke until one day the joke became malicious.

I'd worked from home for a few days due to sickness and had just returned that morning. I was working on an article at my cubicle when my boss approached my desk. He was about to tell me something when he noticed my name plate.

It was a plastic, re-usable name plate. My boss had simply printed my name and position onto a piece of paper and slid it into the slot.

But while I was away, someone had tampered with it. It no longer said “Trina Ricketts, Media and Public Relations.” It now said:

My boss was flustered. He said someone must have changed it as a joke. But no one ever came forward laughing about the name plate joke.

No one said sorry. No one ever mentioned it to me.

I was caught, my past exposed. Someone decided that my experience as a stripper made me deserving of ridicule.

I don't know why it hurt so much. Why should I care?

I know I'm a kind and caring person with a lot to offer any company I work for. And yet, I was broken up about it.

In retrospect, I'm glad they didn't hire me after my contract ended.

Those people were assholes and the job itself was extremely boring.

But my boss was awesome. He couldn't hire me permanently so he sent me contract work whenever possible.

That was the beginning of my paid consulting career. And he was a great work reference for my future endeavors.

I still have that name plate to remind me that no matter how “normal” adult entertainment culture is to me, I'm still an outcast in the real world.

4. I don't take any shit

How do people get on in life without telling assholes off?!

I really struggle with this.

In the adult entertainment industry, I can tell anyone off that I want anytime.

My co-workers, my agents, even my customers. If they cross the line, I can stand up for myself without being fired.

Telling my agents off might result in a few weeks without work, but generally it's a good thing because it shows them I'm not their bitch.

Fast forward to civilian life and here I must bite my tongue.

It's unprofessional to tell a colleague off no matter how ignorant she is and I'll lose my job for standing up to a boss or customer.

In the real world, it takes so much effort for me to NOT stand up for myself, that I will usually end up in tears. It's gotta come out one way or another.

I became so used to having the freedom to defend myself in the workplace that swallowing my retort in the square world is painful.

I've taken to studying how my civilian coworkers do it. Some of them cry, like me. Some of them say they just let it bounce off them. But when I try that, it bounces off me and wants to punch the rude prick in the face.

I'm doing my best and I think I'm getting the swing of it, but I have to say this is one of those culture shock issues that I struggle with deeply.

It's also the reason I've changed jobs a lot. If someone is treating me in a way that I am barely stifling a reaction, it's time for a new job. I don't want to burn any bridges, after all.

And I know it's just a matter of time before I say what I really think. *shrugs*

5. Ostracizing my children

What happens when you cross a stripper and a mother? You get an ostracized child!

It's not right, but it's true that adult entertainers are stereotyped as bad parents.

When moms at my daughter's school learned that I was a stripper, those playdates suddenly dried up. There were a few last minute cancellations, then no more playdates.

We moved and were given another chance at a new school. So, I taught my children about stigma and stereotyping.

I told them they could talk about the stripper pole in the house or about my experience in the adult entertainment industry if they wanted – but there might be consequences if they do.

“Your friends might tell their parents; and then their parents might say you can't be friends.”

My kids have thus far been very mature about the whole thing. They, like me, think the close-mindedness of most civilians is laughable and ignorant.

For the most part, my children don't mention the sex industry to their friends. But there have been instances where someone is trash-talking strippers that my kids felt obliged to defend the industry.

(It's the activist blood and superior intelligence I passed onto them. ;))

My kids know I am a loving, responsible mother. I am present. I am health conscious. I listen to them and I teach them life skills. I am the most important person in the world to them. Other people's misguided beliefs don't change how my children see me.

There will always be a few who cannot get beyond the idea that I am a pervert and low-life. But most people accept me and my children. The ones that don't...well, they aren't the kind of people we want in our lives anyhow.

6. Potty Mouth

Whoops, I dropped the F bomb. Whoops, I did it again. Uh oh, I said cock instead of penis. Doh, I shouldn't be talking about penises.

Shit, I shouldn't have joked about that guy's bulge. That bum sex joke was probably not appropriate either. Shit, I need to stop saying shit!

Surprisingly, I find that most of the civilians I meet feel just as suffocated by real world expectations and the unspoken rules of the moral majority as I do.

Most civilians would love to be able to talk freely without censure. They'd like to be their true selves without apology.

They'd be thrilled to tell people off when it is deserved and hold nothing back when discussing a topic they are passionate about.

But they do hold back because being frank and forthright is not socially acceptable in the real world.

Certain topics are an absolute no-no. No sex talk. No bodily fluids talk. No talking about your wage. No religion, politics, or activism talk. Sex jokes can land you in deep trouble.

Tip-toe around all that shit if you want to be safe.

As a person coming from an open, honest culture like the sex industry – I have a very hard time behaving in a socially acceptable manner. It is a constant effort to stop myself before I speak.

Adult entertainment is one of those mind-blowing cultures that has the power to erase all previously held beliefs.

That's why sex industry workers are usually critical thinkers. We've learned that not everything we're told is true.

Like the stereotype of the weak, degraded sex worker, for instance...say what?! Every sex worker I know is a strong, empowered, determined entrepreneur.

Or the stereotype that all sex workers are drug addicts...WRONG AGAIN.

But if someone were to tell me a stereotype that all sex workers have potty mouths...well, I can't really argue with that. In our culture, the F word is a most common adjective.

7. Sexual Harassment

There are two scenarios for this particular culture shock challenge. The one where I am sexually harassed and the one where I am accused of sexual harassment.

Both occasions occurred during my time in college studying for my Public Relations Diploma.

Many of the courses I took were combined classes of PR students and Journalism students.

I made friends with some of the budding journalists, including one woman who asked if she could write an article about my PR efforts for sex worker rights for the college paper.

Around this time, I was still hiding my real name in the media.

I went by my stage name, Annie Temple, for this and many other interviews I participated in.

A few weeks before the interview came out in the college paper, I met the head of Marketing for the college at an event I attended through my internship.

My boss introduced me as Trina Ricketts, a student in the PR program. The Marketing dude from my college was very polite but dismissive. I shrugged my shoulders and went on with my life.

The schmuck didn't remember my real name, but he remembered my face.

When he picked up the college newspaper a couple weeks later to see my smiling face inside the front page, he recognized me.

He emailed me.

I got excited. I didn't want my diploma to lead nowhere – or straight back to dancing, for that matter. The point of going to school was to find a 9-5 job so I could put my kids to bed at night.

I painstakingly fixed up my resume. The jerkass kept the ruse up a little longer with some emails going back and forth. Finally, I suspected he was yanking my chain.

Sure enough, when I confronted him there was no position available. I guess he thought he could get off on some email exchanges by using his position and power to lure me in.

I guess he thought I was an easy target because I was a stripper.

I guess he was right.

My complaint to the college wasn't taken seriously at all. They told me the emails seemed harmless and innocent. They didn't consider his behaviour inappropriate.

I didn't pursue it, even though I wasn't the first or only woman he'd sexually harassed at the school. I learned of at least two others.

The guy was a douchebag but I didn't have the energy to be skewered as a sexual deviant in a hopeless fight with the college.

The sexual harassment challenge also works in the opposite direction. Only, in my case, it really was harmless and innocent.

In my culture it's okay to tell a women that her boobs look fabulous in her low-cut shirt. In the real world, at college, I found out the hard way that's a no-no.

I can't describe the shame and humiliation I felt when I was pulled into an instructor's office and told my comment was sexually inappropriate.

I was a feminist. How could I be a sexual harasser of women too?

I feel the need here to say that this particular instructor was guilty of some pretty serious inappropriate behaviour herself.

She was having a relationship with one of the students in our class. A student who didn't like me. The same student who overheard my comment and reported me to the self-same instructor.

The woman whose boobs I complimented said she wasn't offended at all.

But whether I deserved a sexual harassment warning or not, this experience is an extreme example of the culture shock I have experienced leaving the adult entertainment industry.

Boobs are a favourite topic in my culture. In the real world, boobs are totally off limits.

Lesson learned!

8. Low Pay

The biggest reason we find it difficult to leave the adult entertainment industry and also the biggest reason we often go back is because of the money.

It's not just better pay than most square jobs. It's also more money in less hours. More flexibility. We can take time off when we want. We can take working vacations almost anywhere in the world.

If I need money today, I can pick up work tonight. If I need money this week, I can pick up work tomorrow.

I remember that summer between semesters when I got turned down for the square job in Public Relations, I decided to try waitressing for the summer.

That lasted less than a week. The hourly pay was minimum wage. The tips were negligible.

I had to pour ketchup from one bottle into another every shift.

That job sucked the life out of me. I felt like I had sold my soul.

I was the Slop Slut. At least, that's how I felt. It was degrading.

The other staff weren't very friendly. I didn't like taking orders. I certainly didn't like slopping ketchup into bottles.

After adding up numbers for the few shifts I'd worked, I realized I wouldn't be able to afford rent and groceries.

Needless to say, I quit and went back to dancing. And I breathed a huge sigh of relief. I was home.

9. Expert "Flirt"

I make eye contact when I talk to people. I know exactly when to break out my secret weapon: a big, broad, twinkling smile.

I laugh at the right moments. Talk conspiratorially. I make people feel like they are interesting and funny – and they usually are.

People shine most when they are focused on in a caring and interested way. I am an expert at making people shine.

In the sex industry, all customers are equal. It doesn't matter who is better looking or what kind of job they do. If they are respectful and financially attentive, they get our respect and attention.

Habits are hard to break. In the real world, we (adult entertainers) don't cease being masterful conversationalists.

We don't cease treating people equally regardless of their quirks and eccentricities.

But I've come to learn that in the square world, my behaviour is considered flirting.

I am indiscriminate with my “flirting.” Male, female, transgender – I'm flirting with you.

I'm not trying to pick you up. I have no ulterior motives. In fact, in my culture (of adult entertainment), we are much more up front if we are trying to pick someone up. We come right out and say “You're sexy. What are you doing later?”

Not so in the real world. Here, I am considered to be flirting if I feign interest in any way. Being nice can even be considered flirting.

You can see how this becomes a problem for those of us coming from the sex industry.

In the square world, being forthright and confident makes me an expert flirt. And there is a lot of silent pressure to “tone it down.”

But why should I? This is me. I am an outgoing person who enjoys seeing people's true selves shine through. What is so wrong with that?

As Marianne Williamson famously said:

“There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

The moral of this story is: Be like sex workers. Go ahead, you have my permission. ;)

10. Slut-Shaming

I am a confident, happy woman who likes to dress nice and look good. I guess that makes me a slut because, in the square world, women often slut-shame me.

Maybe it's something about the way I carry myself. I do have good posture.

It could also be my candidness. I don't generally volunteer the information unless it is relevant to the discussion at hand. But I decided a long time ago that I wouldn't allow stigma to shame me into a double life.

For that reason, I make a point of not hiding my past experience in the adult entertainment industry. And for the most part, this works for me. People accept me and treat me the same as if they did not know.

But sometimes...and when it happens, it's a woman 99% of the time...sometimes, my past work experience makes me the enemy.

These women who hate me always call themselves "feminists" despite that they themselves are oppressing women in the name of feminism.

They call themselves victims of the patriarchy but they blame me for their victimization. They trash-talk me. They accuse me of diminishing women's rights and perpetuating rape culture.

They do all of this because they are insecure about their own bodies and they want to make me as ashamed as they are. They are miserable and they want confident, happy, self-secure women to be miserable too.

I feel sorry for them because they can't see their own beauty. They don't own and wield their power for good. Their lovers suffer for their insecurities. They think we should all hide our bodies like good little girls.

This is the dichotomy of "bad girls" vs "good girls." Guess which one I am.

It happened to me recently at work. A woman I am in regular communication with because of our respective roles slut-shamed me behind my back. I didn't find out about it until a couple weeks later.

All that time I had been my usual outgoing and friendly self with her. She had been sweet as pie to my face.

This woman's trash-talking about me hasn't threatened my job. But it hurts none-the-less.

It reminds me that I am an outcast trying to fit into a rigid, judgmental world.

It reminds me that #cultureshock isn't just something you experience when you immerse yourself in a new culture. It continues to surprise you even when you think you've got it all figured out.

People wonder why we usually go back to adult entertainment many times through our lives.

It is for the money, but it's also because no one else understands us. We can be ourselves with each other – no worries about our potty mouths or whether our colleagues think we're hitting on their lovers.

Adult entertainers are also great conversationalists and usually quite pleasant to look at too. It's a win-win situation.

I can't tell you how many times I've really connected with someone, only to find out later that they are a current or former sex worker.

I've learned to trust my ho-dar. It hasn't been wrong yet.

These are my people. We share a wickedly, awesome culture. And the square world better watch out...because we're infiltrating.

But seriously, I know where I belong. The culture that lives in my heart is the sex industry culture, because despite their fake names, it is there that I have found the most authentic people.

No matter how much time I spend pretending to be a civilian in the real world, I will always be a ho in my heart.

And proud of it. <3

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Loving An Addict Without Destroying Yourself

I've loved many addicts.

Most notably, my father, who post-separation from my mom, would drunk dial me as a child. 

After an interminable, one-sided conversation, I'd hang up the phone only to hear it ring again immediately. My dad again. The exact same conversation all over again.

“It's you and me against the world, little darlin'.”

“I love you too, Dad,” I assured him.

He never remembered those calls. I never forgot them.

For several years I worked the front lines of addiction services at drop-in centers, through street outreach, and in transition houses.

During that time, I had an epiphany.  I realized that I can unconditionally and non-judgmentally accept and express loving care towards people with addictions... unless they are my loved ones.

Listening to addicted clients talk about their children and parents, I thought about how harshly I had been treating my own father. I recognized the face of shame he carried for his "inadequacies" as a parent in the faces of the people I offered support to.

I became ashamed of my own behaviour.

I resolved to love my father unconditionally, accept his addiction, and give him the respect he deserved.

My Dad - One of the greatest
influences in my life - Made me
a better person. <3 RIP Dad
It was not an easy task. It took practice and commitment. I had to catch my natural tendency towards negative thinking and switch to love thinking.

This is a lifelong struggle. It is an exercise of catching myself and changing how I think that helps me love the addicts in my life (including myself).

The following ten beliefs make it possible to love an addict without letting it destroy you. It works for me and I hope it works for you. xo

1. An Addict's Behaviour is a Reflection of Them, Not You

It's easy to ask ourselves, “What did I do wrong?” “What did I do to deserve this?” “What's wrong with me?”

But it's not about us.

The goal was never to hurt us. The goal was to fill the empty space that must be filled.

No one can fill that space for them, either. Many of us have tried, right? “If I give enough love, there will be no reason to use. I will heal this person I love. I will save him.”

But it doesn't work that way.

2. You Can't Save Them

Many of us think if we “connect” enough, the addicts in our lives won't need to use.

Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way. Addiction doesn't disappear because love appears.

By thinking we can save them, it also becomes our responsibility when we fail to save them. That's called “codependency.” We blame ourselves when the addictive behaviour continues and then, our addicted loved ones learn to blame us too.

Addiction, like any disease, can only be healed one way. By the deliberate intention and actions of the one with the disease.

3. To Lie is Survival

Lies are what our addicted loved ones need to get themselves where they're going.

Lies, they believe, will help them escape without hurting anyone or getting hurt.

Lies are a way to cushion the blow...a way to creep back home...a way to put off facing the truth.

Lies become chronic. A person who lies all the time will lie more and more.

Practice makes perfect. Perfect liars.

Addiction is the big lie, after all. It is the promise of relief, escape, and wellness to the one who is addicted. (And yet it destroys us.)

You may ask yourself, but what if I give them no reason to lie? At least then, could I trust my addicted loved one? Only you can know the answer to that.

4. They Probably Think You're Too Good for Them

Have you ever heard this from your addicted loved ones?

“You deserve a better (partner, son, daughter, parent) than me...”

Sometimes addicts try to tear down the people they've placed above themselves. They find reasons to be angry at us or to betray us. They incite us to reject them because they feel they don't deserve our love.

But the truth is, we don't deserve their games. We don't deserve to watch them destroy themselves.

5. Addiction is a Selfish Disease

Addictive behaviour is a known symptom of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Even as I write the acronym “PTSD,” I feel like having a drink.

PTSD can basically be defined as repeated traumas (complex trauma) resulting in symptoms and behaviours that negatively affect the individual.

One common symptom of PTSD is to use substances to cope with and to escape from the fears and feelings associated with past and current traumas.

Chances are high that your addicted loved one has experienced trauma.

And chances are high that she feels sorry for herself.

Addiction perpetuates a cycle of self-pity and re-traumatization. The addict knows she is destroying her life but feels like her life is too difficult (traumatizing) to handle without the addiction.

The addiction (coping method) depletes serotonin and causes depression. Depressed people are miserable and self-centered. They are as far from unity consciousness as you can get. They are inside their own bodies feeling terrible.

Poor me.

It is not that they don't care about others. It's that they are incapable of thinking and feeling beyond “what's best for me at this moment.”

It's not personal. It's survival.

6. Coming Down is a Living Hell

I've done drugs. I know what coming down is like. I've been through withdrawal. I have perspective.

Sometimes coming down is a health emergency. You could die if you come down too fast or too suddenly. Withdrawal is a physical process wrought with vomit, diarrhea, and excruciating pain.

Sometimes coming down only depresses you. Deep, despairing depression that sits heavy in your chest and threatens to choke you. I should not say it “only” depresses you. There are always other detox effects; only they pale in comparison to the depression.

When addicts want to die, it is probably because they are coming down. Remind them (and yourself) that the depression is temporary.

Don't devalue it. The depression is very real. But it is caused by coming down.

This is not a good time to lay a guilt trip on the one you love. This is a time to be quiet and express love.

7. Being High is Being Well

An addicted person I love once told me, “I love being high. I hate everything that comes after but the high is amazing.”

Many who love addicts say things like, “You're never going to change!”

We turn our tears on them and beg them, “Please don't do this again.”

We try to manipulate them, “You must not love me if you're doing this!”

What we forget is that being high means being well.

Depression disappears. Anxiety disappears. In fact, most physical pain disappears too.

You may think your addicted loved one doesn't have any pain. But how would you know?

The important thing about remembering this truth is to not take it personally when our loved ones use again. They are not rejecting us. They are seeking wellness.

8. To Help Them...Give Them Respect; Not Pity

Many of us put up with hurtful behaviours from addicted loved ones because we feel sorry for them. We tell ourselves that without us they will lose everything. We worry they will commit suicide.

However, pity is a dangerous feeling to impose on someone. The reaction to pity is almost always shame. Shame never empowers.

Pity leads to enabling.

How will someone find strength if they don't have to? How will they accomplish goals like paying their own bills and buying their own groceries if we do everything for them?

Their success depends on their ability to achieve their own goals. Our pity only cripples them.

Similarly, making ultimatums or expecting our loved ones to do what we tell them is not only foolish but it is abusive.

We do not own our addicted loves ones. We do not have the right to control them. Any decisions they make to improve their lives must come from them. They must control their own lives. We all must.

There is only one thing any of us can control in our lives and that is our selves.

Think of it this way. Adjusting your expectations lower for someone who struggles with addiction is disrespectful.

All people deserve the respect of being trusted to live up to reasonable expectations.

The question is how do we avoid controlling behaviour while also maintaining reasonable expectations?

And the answer is unconditional love combined with boundary setting. We want them to be happy but not at the expense of our own happiness.

Demonstrating unconditional love with boundaries is not just about protecting ourselves. It also teaches our addicted loved ones how to love themselves. They see us loving ourselves when we say “I don't accept this in my life anymore because it hurts me.”

Loving ourselves is something we should all learn as children, but most of us don't.

“I love you but I also love myself.” Words I have said to addicts I love. “I love you but I am not here to be trampled on. Letting you trample me will only make us both feel worse.”

Instead of making your addicted loved ones feel worse, do them a favour. Love them unconditionally. Set boundaries. Relinquish control. Give them space to direct their own lives.

Everyone has their own journey to face in life and it's not our place to stand in their way.

No matter where our addicted loved ones are in the world at any given time, knowing someone loves them unconditionally will comfort them. It comforts us all.

9. To Help You...See the World in Greys

A mistake that many of us make when dealing with our addicted loved ones is that we feel there are only two choices. We see the world in black and white. We expect complete sobriety or complete estrangement.

But the world is not black and white. Sure, it probably is best for us to cut off all ties from an addicted loved one so we can move on with our lives. But sometimes we need something less permanent. Sometimes we need the third option.

The third option is to love from a distance.

We are not confined to one of two choices – should I stay or should I go? We can choose the third option.

You should first ask yourself, is it feasible to stay in each other's lives and get along? Will this hurt me as much as or more than I am already hurting?

Or maybe the question is simply, can I remove myself completely from the addict I love? Often we are not ready to separate completely.

That is when you say: I will not trade my happiness for anxiety, stress, suspicion, and pain. However, I will care for you and I will love you from a distance. Our relationship may end but that my love for you will go on.

10. When In Doubt, GTFO...With Love

All of the above is well and great to know when you love an addict, but sometimes the best thing really is to separate and end all contact.

Sometimes our pain is too great. Even small interactions with our addicted loved ones are devastating. We distrust every word. We sense a disconnect that eats away at us. Whatever it is, we cannot live in peace with them in our lives.

This is the time to Get The Fuck Out (GTFO) of the relationship. There is only one person who will care for your feelings and know when to back off. That person is you.

We are the sole protectors of our own hearts.

It would be easy to GTFO in anger. The anger is there. It seethes beneath the surface, with the tears, and the regrets.

We could say, “I hate you! I wish I'd never met you! This hurts so much! Why did I ever trust you?”

But is that what you really want to do?

Or would you like to leave painful relationships while you still have love and respect for them?

I have done it the other way – waiting till I hate them before I end it. It's a lot easier, in all honesty, but it adds up to many wasted months or years. It's not worth it. And we are not friends now.

I like to remember how awesome it was while it lasted. We had something beautiful before it changed and became more painful than nourishing. Let's respect that.

Let's acknowledge the person underneath the horrible things we have said or done to each other.

I like to let go with love.

Living in Love

This theme of love intertwines throughout this article as it does throughout our lives. It is a very powerful way to live, in love all the time.

It allows awe and pleasure in every day things. It allows us to walk away from a painful relationship with forgiveness and kindness.

Even coping with betrayal, we can say to our addicted loved ones... “I forgive you but I cannot live like this anymore. I love you but I cannot trust you anymore. I wish you the best and I will always cherish the memories...

“...because I wasn't a fool for loving you. It was a highlight of my life. And if I get many more highlights in my life like that, I will consider myself very fortunate. I choose to live in love and sometimes that means I must let go with love too.”

In the end...

...what really matters is that we fully experience life. The most beautiful part of life is love.

If we give in to jadedness and close ourselves off to love because of past or present pain, we are denying ourselves true passion. Numbing one emotion numbs them all.

We can give ourselves permission to love the addicts in our lives without trying to control them or save them. We can love them and we can also love ourselves, setting boundaries on what we accept in our lives.

We can begin to view the addicts in our lives differently, with respect and dignity. Allow them to make their own choices and have their own journey. Let them learn what they need to learn.

Hopefully we will not lose them to addiction. Hopefully they will overcome their disease. But that is their decision to make.

Decide for you what you want in your own life. Then live your life with love.

I used to think that I fell in love with addicts because of my father. That it was some kind of cycle that children of addicts go through.

Is there a subset of us who chronically fall in love with addicts? I don't know. Addiction is so rampant, it seems like you can find it anywhere.

Even if there are warning signs at the beginning, and often warning signs are not obvious, I don't think it means some of us “pick” people with addictions.

I do think some of us “stay” with people who disrespect or abuse us. And this is where our mistake lies.

We don't deserve to be disrespected or abused. It is our responsibility to ourselves to set boundaries on how we allow others to treat us. Staying is consenting.

When I started applying my professional philosophies to my personal relationship with my father, an incredible seed was planted.

My dad and I grew very close as adults. I truly came to accept him (with boundaries) the way he was. Liberation!

Dad continued to drink until he became too sick at the end. He died of lung cancer on June 17, 2014.

He never admitted he had a drinking problem, but before he passed, he told me how sorry he was for not being the father I deserved.

"No, Dad. You loved me unconditionally. You taught me some of the most valuable lessons of my life. I wouldn't change a thing," I told him. I meant every word.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

10 Questions to Ask When Hospitalized

It happens a lot.
If you or someone you love is suddenly hospitalized for unknown causes, there are things you should know to get the care you deserve.

The first thing you should know before all others is that you will be treated more kindly if you have someone accompanying you.

I wish it wasn't true, but when we are at our most vulnerable and weak, alone in a hospital room of any sort; that is when hospital staff is most likely to ignore you, forget about you, dismiss you, treat your condition as insignificant, and otherwise outright bully you.

And I'm not saying all nurses and doctors behave this way. I'm saying it happens a lot more than you might imagine.

However, when there is someone strong standing beside us, asking questions and politely demanding answers; our treatment improves dramatically.

Every patient deserves to have an advocate. But sometimes we are alone and it is not possible. When that happens, we need to advocate for ourselves. 

Chin up, Lone Warriors. Many of us have stared into the abyss that is an Emergency waiting room, with symptoms ranging from debilitating to deadly...and we somehow survived.

Have hope, my friends. It's amazing what the human body can endure. xo

I learned to ask these questions over several years between 2012 and 2015 when I was frequently admitted to hospital for surgeries and surgery complications. It was like a revolving door for me; a traumatic time in my life that I am only now starting to be able to write about.

I spent 99.9% of my time hospitalized alone. I got dropped off at the waiting room by a taxicab, or ambulance, or a friend or family member - mostly my husband, who went home to care for our children.

Then I faced the spinning room by myself.

At first I was a timid patient who did as she was told.

But after awhile, I started asking questions. I started saying no to tests and treatments they recommended. And I took back my health.

10 Questions to ask when you or your loved one is hospitalized:

  1. What tests have you run so far and what do they indicate?

    Hospitals always run a standard Complete Blood Count (CBC) to check for white and red blood cells, the shape, size, and frequency of your blood cells, anemia, among other things.

    Don't let the name fool you. This test is far from complete. And it fails to take into consideration that you have to have been very ill for a very long time for these tests to be abnormal.

    If your symptoms are relatively recent, these blood tests will most likely be NORMAL.

    You could be anemic and a CBC will not show anemia. You could have deadly sepsis making you iller than f*ck and a CBC will not show anything abnormal. 

    So, don't believe the hype when they tell you all your tests have come back "normal."

    It does not mean your symptoms are all in your head. It means the doctors do not know how to find out what's wrong with you yet.

  2. I've learned that a doctor is the
    last person to trust.
    Is it possible that the test or treatment you're recommending could make my condition worse?

    In an ideal world this wouldn't happen. Testing wouldn't make us sicker. Treatment wouldn't kill us.

    But this is not an ideal world and yes, it's possible that whatever the doctor is doing "for" you right now is making you more ill.

    For instance, when I went to the hospital with severe abdominal pain, diarrhea, and dehydration; standard x-rays didn't show what the problem was.

    Without considering the dangers, doctors prescribed laxatives which promptly made me far more sick than I already was.

    Later, when I refused to take laxatives again, doctors and nurses began treating me with contempt and disrespect, ignoring my cries speaking to me with venom tongues.
    They didn't realize I was dying. I had a hole in my intestine and giving me laxatives only brought me closer that much faster to death.

    In desperation, I gave in to their pressure and took more laxatives. A few hours later I was rushed in for emergency surgery.

    Due to their recklessness and ignorance, my CBC panel finally showed some really bad news.

    But by then, it was too late.

    I'll never know for sure if the laxatives are the reason I ended up having to get 75% of my large intestine removed. They are known to cause dehydration and ischemia after all.

    So, whether a doctor admits it or not, some tests and treatments can make your condition worse and can even kill you. But don't worry. Who needs a large intestine?

  3. What is the current treatment plan?

    The current treatment plan is usually to monitor and treat symptoms, then send you home once you stabilize.

    The problem with this treatment plan is that it does not identify the cause of your illness in the first place and it masks the effects of the illness.

    Sometimes, doctors do know what's wrong. Or they think they know what's wrong.

    So, they come up with a treatment plan which may include medications, exercise, and even diet adaptations (which are laughable once you look at the hospital menu).

    Truthfully, most doctors won't medically treat you correctly.

    If you want to identify the cause of your illness and treat it with the intention to cure it, you won't find your answers in a pill bottle.

    Health is wealth. Spend your last dollar on it, if need be. Go to a naturopath.

    If you absolutely can't afford a naturopath, become a health detective and do your own research.

    Hell, even if you go to a naturopathic doctor, you should still be a health detective and do your own research. Come up with your own treatment plan based on what you learn through your own research.

    My favourite search words are: “symptom” natural treatment.

    The treatment plan most doctors have for you is:  

    Ain't that the truth.
    Lifelong pharmaceuticals to mask your symptoms.
    B) Write you a prescription when you come in and forget about you when you walk out. 
    C) Kick you out of their practice altogether (like many pediatricians are doing with parents who ask about vaccines now).

  4. What medications are being prescribed and why; and how long will these medications need to be taken?

    Most doctors are happy to give you pain medication, sleeping pills, and every other pill you could imagine while you are in the hospital. 

    But what will happen when you leave? How will these medicines affect you?

    Does your doctor suggest taking expensive, immune-suppressant drugs for the rest of your life? 

    Exactly what are these doctors proposing?

    You might be appalled at the life they are envisioning for you. It was a life I certainly didn't envision for myself.

  5. Do any of these medications cause withdrawal when the dose is decreased or the prescription runs out?

    If they tell you NO; do your own research.

    Certain drugs do cause withdrawal but nurses and doctors either don't know the truth or want to minimize the dangers of the drug by lying to you.

    Also remember that most doctors and nurses do not understand withdrawal or how to wean someone safely off of addictive pharmaceuticals, even if they pretend they do.

    Even pharmacists tend to give bad advice when it comes to weaning off of medications.

    When I was released from the hospital after life-saving abdominal surgery and over three weeks on high doses of intravenous hydromorphone, I was sent home with a small prescription for a much lower dose of hydromorphone.

    I spent the next several weeks in and out of hospital in such great abdominal pain, I thought I was dying again.

    Each time I returned to Emergency, I begged for more pain medication, assuming this awful, intolerable pain was from my surgery. And each time, doctors and nurses treated me like I was an addict "drug seeking." 

    Doctors "upgrade their training" by listening to
    pharmaceutical reps (with incentives).
    Not once did any doctor or nurse suggest that my pain could be a symptom of hydromorphone withdrawal.

    I had no idea!

    There was never any effort made to wean me off it slowly. 

    I honestly thought my pain was caused by having three open abdominal surgeries in the past month.

    In the sleepless hours that I lay in my bed writhing in pain and wishing to die, I did my research online and learned that hydromorphone withdrawal caused all the symptoms I was experiencing.

    I went to my family doctor and asked for a prescription of hydromorphone in 1mg and 2 mg tablets so I could wean myself down off it.

    Over three years, due to many surgeries, I was forced to wean myself off hydromorphone five times. Not once did any doctor or nurse warn me of the withdrawal symptoms. 

    On several occasions, nurses began to wean me off the drug themselves without telling me. 

    They reduced my injections by half or more and I went into painful, horrible withdrawal, each time believing I was dying and that something was going horribly wrong inside my intestines.

    You would think medical professionals on the surgery unit would have some understanding of drug withdrawal and how to safely wean someone. But they didn't and they don't.

    How to Safely Wean Off Pharmaceuticals

    Since I'm on the topic, I thought I should tell you what's up.

    I learned the hard way what was the best way to wean off pharmaceuticals.I weaned myself off hydromorphone, effexor, and many other prescription drugs over those years.

    This is how you do it...

    • You want to decrease the amount little by little, even if you have to open a capsule and split up the contents. 
    • Decrease doses in very small increments, dosing at the same times as you usually do.
    • Do not skip doses until you are on such a minimal dose that skipping doses is your only option to continue your wean.
  1. If so, what are the symptoms of withdrawal?

    Every drug has different withdrawal symptoms. In my case, the withdrawal symptoms from hydromorphone were the exact same symptoms I had when my bowel was perforated. 

    So, each time I went through withdrawal without knowing it, I thought I was dying again. It was very traumatic. 

    Be sure to research the symptoms of withdrawal from the medications you are on so that you understand what is happening to you when you reduce or stop a medication.

    Spare yourself the grief I went through not knowing. xo

  2. Could this health issue be caused by..... (a recent exposure to a toxin). Examples: vaccines, heavy metals, toxic fumes, pesticide spray, new medication, mosquito bite, amalgam filling, etc.

    This question is a wishful thinking question. Doctors don't know that the basis for all health is nutrition and detoxification. (Weird, isn't it? I feel like that's something they should be aware of.)

    So, they feed us microwaved, nutrient-devoid, pesticide-ridden, chemical-laden, harmful foods while we are in the hospital. 

    Doctors only know what they've
    been told = no thinking required
    And they pump us full of toxic drugs (which may honestly be heaven-sent at the time). 

    And then they do nothing to help us detox or get well nutritionally.

    They are idiots. Obviously. Merciful idiots with their toxic, pain reducing meds.

    But I digress...

    When I first got sick, long before my neurological symptoms and gastrointestinal distress reached a point of emergency, no one asked me about toxins.

    If someone had asked me “Have you recently had a vaccine or other toxic exposure?” I would have said YES! 

    And then I would have known what was making me sick and I would have been able to do the research I needed to heal.

    Instead, I was told vaccines don't cause gastrointestinal and neurological symptoms and then for 1.5 years I had doctors telling me my condition was all in my head.

    Talk about traumatizing! 

    One hundred percent of vaccine inserts list gastrointestinal and neurological symptoms as adverse reactions, but only about 5% or less of doctors seem to know this.

    Are most doctors stupid, blind, ignorant, brainwashed, or corrupt? You tell me.

  3. Why are you running more tests? (blood-tests, x-rays, urine or stool samples, etc)

    It's an aggravating tendency of most doctors and nurses to do their job without telling the patient what the hell they are doing or why they are doing it. 

    So, yes, you have to ask. 

    Why are you running more tests? What are these tests testing for? What do you suspect might be the problem?

    If you don't ask, they don't tell. 

    If you are catching the drift of this article, then you know that this is the moment when you start researching the potential prognosis.

  4. Why aren't you running more tests?

    Usually hospital doctors stop running tests when they don't know what is wrong with you and they've run out of ideas. 

    This is also the moment when they start treating you like it's all in your head.

    Truthfully, most hospitals don't run the right tests. 

    Typical hospital food
    They don't know what they're looking for because they don't seem to realize that severe nutrient deficiencies can be hidden by bodies that are designed to balance themselves.

    Most doctors and nurses don't know that disease is caused by toxicity and deficiency. 

    Then they feed you shit food, which itself is toxic and worsens deficiencies.

    Which further proves they don't have a f*cking clue what they're doing.

    What doctors and nurses should be doing is assessing you for recent toxic exposure.

    What doctors and nurses should be doing is testing for deficiencies. 

    They should be giving nutrient IV's with Vitamin C and all the B's, Folate, Magnesium, and whatever other nutrients are potentially low.

    Vitamins will never kill you but they can heal you. 

    Why don't doctors in hospitals do this obvious, helpful treatment? Good question. 

    The answer is that they are trained in schools that are funded by pharmaceutical companies where they learn how to prescribe medications and keep their patients sick and coming back.

    The medical establishment is a money making machine, after all.

  5. Health starts with your food.
    How can I get copies of my medical files?
    Again, this is a question your doctors or nurses may not know.

    If they don't, ask them to send for a social worker or hospital advocate who can help you with this and any other issues you may be experiencing.

    Believe me, you want to have your own copy of your medical files.

    You will learn a lot from those files. You can search the tests and results and learn what has been done on your behalf.

    You can see what hasn't been done. You can see the notes that doctors write in the margins. You can bring these files when you switch doctors or go to see a naturopath.

    I warn you, doctors and nurses get offended when you ask for your medical records. In fact, they will get offended and even rude if you ask most of the questions above.

    For some reason, most medical professionals don't think you are able to manage your own health. Your experience living inside your own body means nothing to them.

    I have one message for those f*ckers. “Go Vaccinate Yourself.”

 Answers to the above questions will be different depending on who you ask and at which point in your stay that you ask.

So ask them often, and ask them of every health professional you come in contact with. 

You will be amazed at how knowledgeable some medical professionals are and also how completely stupid many of them are, as well. 

You will be amazed how many of them don't know what each other are doing. And you'll be amazed how offended they get when you challenge their authority.

Which reminds me that there is one last question you should always ask...

BONUS QUESTION:  Is there a hospital advocate that I can speak with, please?

Especially if you are alone, you will benefit from talking to an advocate. Depending on the hospital, this may turn out to be a social worker.

Assuming the social worker is truly working in your best interests (and recognizing there are jerkass advocates out there too), you will (hopefully) have someone to speak on your behalf.

When hospital staff know they are being monitored, they smarten up. 

You must be strong. You must stand up to them. You must get the answers you want and need. And when they are all out of answers, you must heal yourself. xo

You can do it.

Have you been through hell with the medical establishment? Are there any questions I'm missing in this list? Please share your comments below.

I wish you healing and send you love. xoxo

Love Annie