Gayle Madwin (queerbychoice) wrote,
Gayle Madwin

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In Which I Get Attacked with a Knife and Then Decide to Attack a Hapless Bystander with a Chainsaw

I had an annual physical yesterday from my primary care doctor For the 24 hours since then, I've been suffering from a constant, unrelenting pain in my cervix. It's a fairly mild pain, but I would very much like it to go away. Pap smears do involve scraping a tiny bit of flesh off the cervix, so I guess technically they involve getting attacked in the cervix with a knife, but they're not supposed to leave me feeling so clearly that I've been attacked in the cervix with a knife. I think my doctor was rather overly aggressive this time.

After attacking me with a knife, she asked whether I've found any friends. I was genuinely confused for a moment about why my doctor was asking me this. Then I caught on that she meant sexual partners. I'm pretty sure straight women don't get asked about having "friends." Maybe lesbians don't either; maybe they get asked about "girlfriends" instead. But for bisexuals, apparently the word of choice is "friends." This meant that I had to answer that I have no friends. Um . . . no medically relevant friends, anyway.

Aside from the gender-neutral word "friends," though, she seems to have reverted to her initial impression (based on nothing other than the fact that I had a female partner when I first started seeing her) that I am exclusively lesbian. This is despite the fact that I have clearly stated otherwise in the past. However, I opted not to try to disabuse her of this notion, because doing so would just provoke her to subject me to another one of her lectures about how I need to immediately become exclusively lesbian, because men are disease-ridden liars and cheaters and I'd be so much better off with a woman (that worked out well last time, didn't it?), and also could I please teach my doctor how to become attracted to women so she can stop dealing with dating men anymore herself?

I am of course entirely in favor of converting my doctor to lesbianism. Just not so much in favor of converting myself. Anyway, I went along (this time) with her apparent perception of me as an exclusive lesbian and thereby managed to avoid a lecture about why I ought to convert to lesbianism. Yay for successful negotiation of weird doctor-patient relationships! Well, except for the part about getting attacked in the cervix with a knife.

She also at one point yesterday instructed her nurse not to bother checking something or other because "she's not thirty yet, and we don't check that for women under thirty." I was a bit taken aback. Apparently I can pass for being in my twenties? Perhaps that went a little way toward making up for the knife attack.

In other news, it appears that I've accidentally killed the conifer tree in my front yard. I knew there was some risk of this when I dug out the lawn all around it a month ago, because I inevitably damaged a considerable amount of its root system. But I was really hoping the tree would survive. It isn't technically dead yet, but it's looking sufficiently terrible that I think it's time to give up hope of it recovering. I need to buy a chainsaw and cut it down. (Past experience indicates that a regular handsaw is going to be inadequate for a job of this size. I could remove all the limbs that way, but the stump is going to require a chainsaw.)

It's annoying because there were very, very few plants I inherited from the original homeowners that I wasn't at least vaguely planning on eventually killing off, but this was one of the select few that I really wanted to keep. This one, the orange tree, and the two huge trees in the back yard - the southern magnolia and the pecan tree.

But I think the conifer is a goner. I need to figure out what to plant in its place. If I planted a new dwarf conifer resembling the old one, it would take decades to grow to comparable size. So probably I'll plant something more locally native. I have rather specific requirements for this space, though: I need something that can handle periodic flooding from the downspout and something that will grow pretty close to but absolutely not any more than six or seven feet tall and five to seven feet wide. And I'd very, very much prefer it to be evergreen, though I fear that may be asking for the impossible.

Oregon Grape (Berberis aquifolium) might do the trick. Or possibly a coffeeberry (Frangula californica, widely available and highly adaptable but often a frustratingly slow grower), a fern bush (Chamaebatiaria millefolium, hard to find for sale but I have one already and can probably get another), a silk tassel (Garrya fremontii is the locally native one, but it's extremely difficult to find for sale), a white sage (Salvia apiana), or possibly a manzanita (Arctostaphylos densiflora, but I'm not sure how well it would withstand the periodic flooding). Or if I resort to deciduous plants, a golden currant (Ribes aureum, grows fast and produces edible fruit) or snowdrop (Styrax redivivus, grows slowly but is already doing well elsewhere in my yard). I guess that's a decent number of choices. I think I'm most inclined toward the Oregon grape, though if I happen to miraculously find a Fremont's silk tassel for sale I might switch to that.

Oregon grape is a shrub with yellow flowers, blue berries, and reddish leaves. It's pretty spectacular at any time of year.

The first of the annual fall native plant sales starts tomorrow in Sacramento. It would be nice if I'd already cut down my tree beforehand, but at least I know what spaces I need to fill.
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