Foreign Pharmaceuticals and Feminism

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I suppose what most people expect when they hear that I now occasionally write for a Feminist Publication is some whining about being a female and how difficult that can be.

Growing up with the man responsible for accidentally turning our washer and dryer into a home made explosive with industrial grade chemicals, he also did very well to make it clear there was nothing a man could do that I couldn’t.  This included peeing while standing up and solving almost any problem with a Leatherman pocket knife.

So, as you might imagine, later on in life, I began getting a cruel dose of reality regarding what women did not have in common with men, and I was not adequately prepared for how to deal with these issues.

Don’t get me wrong. My father did a glorious job of doling out some of my most cherished and accurate life advice.  Though most situations, his classic speech about priorities rings absolutely true.

Veering off topic for a moment, I can’t help but address the father-daughter heart to heart we’ve had, not just once, but several times over the course of my life.

You see, I’ll be blatant—like my dad—and just admit here and now that I have chronic constipation problems.  These aren’t your typical bout of the “two-day blues”, but rather flashing back to just the week before last when I received the speech yet again from him, I was sitting with a heating pad on my back because I had actually thrown it out from pushing too hard while attempting to take a poo.

And so, like any good father, he sat down next to me, and stressed yet again “Chelsea, the Asshole is the boss. You have got to get your priorities in order. And you HAVE to remember to take a shit. Do what you gotta do, but make sure you carve out time for a dump. If you don’t shit regularly, nothing is going to work for you the way it’s supposed to.

Everyone always says the Brain is in charge of your body.

Bullshit.

THE ASSHOLE is the boss.  If you don’t shit, things are gonna back up, and you’re definitely not going to think straight.

What about when you finally get around to it, and your push so hard, you grow a pack of grapes on your asshole? You think the Boss is gonna be happy then? You’re a grown woman, I don’t really see an excuse for you throwing your back out while taking a shit. Get it together. Listen to the Boss. The Asshole is the Boss.”

So—getting back to the topic at hand, however, which is me attempting to write something suitable for my absolutely incorrect assumption of feminist literature and what that actually means.

Which is, as I could ascertain, the first really big “female problem,” I encountered.

I was twenty four and in Ireland. My best friend, Caitlin who had just graduated from Nursing School, and I had recently arrived after a crazy week in England at the Reading Festival, and we had rented a private hostel room in Galway on Quay street. This room happened to have two sets of bunk beds, but the reason I paid for it was for the private bathroom.

Regardless of the fact that every toilet flush and sink use produced a sound in the pipes that mimicked angry midgets beating the walls and each other with giant squeaky hammers, it was still necessary and a luxury we were happy to have.

By this time, I had discovered that I was in fact, not a public pooper. There would be no relief had in bathrooms that contained stalls and/or people I didn’t know. Or people at all, for that matter. And if was going to continue listening to The Boss, I needed a private bathroom to make that happen.

On the plane ride over to Ireland, I began noticing something wasn’t quite right down there…. It wasn’t the Boss talking to me. I didn’t really have a name for my hoo-hoo, so in suit with the titles and the United Kingdom theme, I suppose I’ll refer to it as The Queen.

I decided to ignore it. I was traveling, I was wearing new underwear. I was hung over.

Two days later, after massive partying, Caitlin was set to go out for a pub crawl with newly acquired friends.  Ian, the Irish boy from Belfast, and Stewart, the Scottish boy from Sterling.  It was absolutely decided at that time, that I undeniably had the Swine Flu. I was feverish, exhausted, wiped out, and too tired to go out. I had a bit of lamb and retired to bed, passed out hard.

The next morning, I woke early. My fever had broke, but The Queen was screaming for attention. The Empire was under siege. A quick search on Google revealed that I, in fact, had a Yeast Infection.

I got up and silently got dressed. A quick survey of the room revealed four full pints of Guinness on the window sill in the pint glasses with a note that said “Chelsea! Guinness for Strength!” I scowled at them. Thanks. I really needed to drink more of something that was made with yeast. Then I recalled the dirty, but adorable, but dirty British boy who I let finger me during the Radiohead set at Reading, and then immediately apologized to the Guinness pints.

I looked at the beds.

Ian was in the top bunk over Caitlin, asleep with his clothes on and a Burger King crown crookedly clinging to his ginger scalp.

Caitlin was passed out with her shoes on, her toothbrush in her hand, and what appeared to be vomit on her sweater.

Part of me was afraid to look in my own bunk, but I did. There was Stewart. I could see his blond hair peeking out from beneath his kilt. That’s because it was pulled up over his head, revealing the floral pair of silk panties he was wearing with the words “Scottish Arse,” Sharpied on his Tramp Stamp region.

I didn’t really have time to address what did or did not take place the night before, it was clear to me that I needed to get to a pharmacy ASAP.

I stumbled into the shop and thanked God the pharmacist was a woman. I walked up to her and said “I have a yeast infection…do you have anything for that?”

She looked at me sympathetically. “Oh…you mean Thrush?”

I looked at her confused with my American insensitivity mixed with uncultured urgency and impatience.

“I don’t know what that is, but if you’re implying that overnight my vagina became a manufacturer for cottage cheese, I think we’re on the same page.”

She laughed so hard she spit in my face. Then apologized profusely.

“Do you want to treat it orally or externally?” she asked, clearing her throat and trying to compose herself..

“YES.” I said.

She handed me a box.

“Ok,” she said “This is both. It should start feeling better in a couple hours.”  I thanked her profusely and ran back to the hostel in the early Irish morning.  If I weren’t trying so hard not to violently scratch my crotch in public, I might have enjoyed that morning fog and quiet quaint street.

Once again, I put my ballet toes to use and silently snuck into the hostel room and crept to the bathroom. They were all still passed out, nothing from the scene had been disturbed from the time I’d left.

I closed the bathroom door behind me and tore my pants off, scratching myself like a detoxing Morphine addict.

I opened the box and dumped the stuff out. Orally and externally, it all seemed pretty self explanatory. Google provided good references earlier that morning for how to deal with this. I saw the cream and generously used it. I set the applicator aside, I’d be using it later, and I got to the oral part. The pill.

I realized I had nothing to wash the pill down with. There was no glass in the bathroom.

The realization sunk in that I needed to get a glass from outside the room, I was terrible at taking pills and needed a good amount of liquid to get them down.

I moved to put my pants back on. First I realized the smell, but as I picked my jeans up, I saw where the other half of the vomit from Caitlin’s sweater had ended up. My underwear was in a sad state as well from the current Queen predicament… I had no choice. I needed to chance it.

Luckily, no one saw me creep out of the bathroom absolutely pantsless, wearing a Reading Festival sweatshirt that smelled like last night’s sweat and last week’s regret. I grabbed a pint of Guinness off the window sill and headed back for the bathroom. I hesitated, realizing I’d need to come out again eventually. Either one of the boys could wake up at any second, so I panicked and grabbed the first garment I could see. It was a pair of green sweatpants. I snatched them and dashed back into the bathroom.

I twisted the handle to turn on the water. The angry midgets began to stir and bang the walls, so I turned it off immediately. This was going to wake everyone up for sure.

My options were limited. And my choice was clear.

I took the pill and put it in my mouth. I hated pills anyway. But this one, it was enormous. I cursed it. “Fucking foreign pharmaceuticals and their horse pills,” I thought to myself as I tried to down it with last night’s stale Guinness. I choked it back up.

I composed myself and out of sheer desperation, I shoved it down my throat and took another swig. It subsided. I was triumphant. I may or may not have fist-pumped in that moment.

Dumping the rest of Guinness out in the sink, I sat back down on the toilet and prepared for the final phase of my treatment. I took the applicator and the box it all came in and set to finish this cheese factory off.

But there was no cream for the applicator. There was the external cream. I’d used that. There was the pill, I used that….

As my mind reeled as to where the final piece could be, it hit me.

I panicked and grabbed the instructions, hoping what I suspected was not true.

As I fumbled the paper, it happened.

The beer was reacting, and I began violently foaming at the mouth.

It was excessive, and brutal. It was getting everywhere and I couldn’t stop it.  It was as if someone dumped gallons of sudsing solution into a load of wash, and my mouth resembled a cartoon house bursting with bubbles.

I closed my mouth, and it started coming out my nose.

There was no more hiding this. I was in over my head.

I needed help or I was going to die.

God Save the Queen.

I reached for the sweatpants, only to find that as I unfolded them, it turned out to be a green tourist sweatshirt that said “I heart Irish Boys.”

I wrapped it around my waist anyway, covering the Queen, leaving my ass exposed, and headed out.

I tip-toed over to Caitlin’s bunk, still excessively mouth foaming like a rabid raccoon, and shook her awake, trying to whisper between chokes “I NEED TO TALK TO YOU OUTSIDE… NOW…”

She was bleary eyed and just waking up. I turned my exposed ass to her and snuck out the hostel door, boys having yet woke up.

She stumbled out the door, still holding her toothbrush, eyes still closed. She leaned against the door, eyes still closed and asked groggily, but with as much concern as she could muster “Did we get robbed? Are our passports missing?”

“No!” I said. “I have a yeast infection and I think I took the stuff wrong!”

She opened her eyes and focused on the situation. I was holding the guinness glass under my mouth to catch the foam that was flowing out of what felt like every opening on my face..

Once she put the pieces together, the laughter that followed was unforgettable.

“YOU SWALLOWED THE SUPPOSITORY?!” she laughed out, her breath smelling like beer and vomit.

I glared at her. Or, tried to.

Then I looked scared. “Am I gonna DIE?!” I asked, still panicked.

“No,” She said, still laughing maniacally.

“Your stomach acid will kill that stuff. It should stop in a couple minutes.”

As she pulled herself together after a tantrum of more laughter, she put her hand on my shoulder and said “Do you want me to go back to the pharmacy and get you another one so you don’t have to explain what happened?”

“Yes, that would be helpful. Thank you.”

“That’s what friends are for,” she said.

So much for representing my country. I’m sure at least one Irish Pharmacist was wondering why American girls are so prone to Thrush.

So feminists, I do empathize with you.  I think that day was a pretty clear example of how difficult being a woman can really be. I also learned the importance of female friendships. And while the Asshole is the boss, if we don’t respect the monarchy, we will overflow with horrible white substances of all kinds.

Long Live the Queen.

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