Friday, November 8, 2013

It's a Rant

I would like to preface this rant by saying that not only am I incredibly lucky to have my job, but I am also lucky in that I have my dream job.  I love what I do; I genuinely like my co-workers; my boss is awesome and though there will always be little annoyances, my situation is really good and I could see myself staying here for many years.

There is one big issue, however, that makes me want to scream.

I now work for a Catholic institution.  Since religion is not a part of my life, and I grew up in a part of the country with very few Catholics, that makes work a little strange at times.  You go to a meeting and there's a dying Jesus decoration on the wall which disturbs me, but no one else seems to notice.  At new faculty orientation, there was a prayer before we tucked into our lunch of wraps and chips and students keep asking me for different versions of the bible, which is really hard to look up in the library catalog.  These are all quirks and interesting things to observe--it's like visiting Canada, where things are slightly different, but you still speak the language.

The big issue is that since I now work for Catholics, insurance will not cover my birth control.  They would cover it if I had a medical condition like a bleeding disorder, but for 'its intended purpose' no dice.  This seemingly small thing has so far caused me to spend at least an hour on the phone with the pharmacist and my doctor's office, and now I have to come in for an emergency appointment to discuss how we're going to deal with this situation.

See, I'm in the unique predicament where the only birth control that works for me has no generic.  Every other type that I've tried has had horrible side effects, and I'm not willing to take three months of horrible mood swings or physical discomfort to road test any different types. That means that to pay out of pocket for the one I use each month is $103.  A good friend of mine pays $6 a month, to give you a little perspective.  I could get a slight discount, perhaps, if I went to Planned Parenthood, but then I would have to have another exam, and pay for that, plus I'm only supposed to have an exam every five years.  Oh, and I don't want to have another one, cause I just had one.  Every time I need to refill my birth control prescription, it seems like I have to show my vagina to at least three people and waste hours of my time.

It's infuriating and humiliating.

Birth control is not hard drugs.  It would be impossible for me to abuse Nuvaring and get any kind of euphoria or extra non-fertility.  I've been in a monogamous relationship for five years and I don't want to have a baby--that's it. My partner ALSO doesn't want me to have a baby.  Being on birth control also has a lot of other perks that help me be better at my job like lighter periods, skipping periods which makes me take fewer sick days. Because of the ability to skip periods my moods are better, I have more energy, I'm not distracted by how much pain I'm in or by trying not to pass out.  It's really a win/win for everyone.

But it's not seen that way.

So I assumed that since this institution is anti birth control that means that they are pro-baby.  Not so, apparently.  The maternity leave policy is just as horrible as the not paying for birth control policy.  Sure, they'll hold you job for you, but unless you use vacation and sick time, you're not getting paid.  And if you have a difficult pregnancy and need extra time off, you better have savings.

I just don't get it.  Are people just not supposed to be having sex at all?  It does the college no good if all the female employees are out on medical leave all the time. It doesn't help families if people live in constant fear of pregnancy and don't want to have sex because of it.   I just don't understand who is in favor of this.  One of the doctors who is credited with inventing the birth control pill, Dr. John Rock, was a devout Roman Catholic who believed that the ability for married couples to control unwanted pregnancy and keep women healthy was god's will--so they could take care of the children they wanted.

I thought that this would be a small issue when I started my job, but it seems to be taking over my life, my budget and my free time.  I estimate that over the last five years, I have spent at least 40 hours of my life and way too much money sorting out birth control issues.  Going to Planned Parenthood or the doctor's office, taking unpaid time off work, waiting around, having far too many unnecessary exams and then getting lectured by medical professionals who seem to think that I want to have all these exams.  I just need the prescription, people!  You won't give me a prescription unless I take my pants off!  But this is how it works when you either don't have insurance, or have insurance which arbitrarily decides not to cover something that you need to live the life you want.

It's completely backwards and it pisses me off.


  1. This was very well said. If you are not religious, why should a religious entity be allowed to have any say over your reproductive health and well being? Sigh.

  2. Gah! So frustrating. Though my bc is covered (it wasn't at my old gig because I was on Yaz, which doesn't have a generic), I've had trouble finding one that works without side effects. Either my mood swings are out of control, I'm gaining weight or my skin is terrible. I currently use Mirena, though am debating having it taken out, as I have more acne now than I've had in my entire life. And, get this… one of the doctors told me I should see a derm instead of changing. So frustrating that they suggest more medication to counteract the side effects of another medication!

    1. I was on Mirena for a couple years a while back. While there were a lot of things I liked about it, I ultimately had it taken out early due to there being too many side effects. My skin was pretty broken out with that one and even though I wasn't getting my period, I was still getting horrible cramps every month.

      Being a woman is so shitty sometimes.

  3. I also work for a religious institution (not Catholic though) and my BC is covered 100%. I was actually kind of shocked, but if you use a certain pharmacy and don't mind switching to the generic of the generic (which apparently is a thing...), it's free. It blows my mind and makes me so grateful I want to cry when I hear tales like yours.

    When I was younger, my BC was written for "medical reasons". On the prescription it said: "take continuously; medically necessary". If you have terrible cramps/other problems, maybe you could talk to your doc about doing something like that? I don't know under what circumstances your institution will cover BC, but if the medicine really does improve your life and you're not taking it JUST to prevent pregnancy, you might be able to get away with it.

    And a note on the exams: you do need an exam every year. It's a pap smear that's not necessary yearly, although it's strongly recommended. They check you out because BC can wreck your body and cause changes you don't even know about. It's annoying and super uncomfortable, but the guidelines on that kind of stuff are pretty strict. They can't just go around writing prescriptions without doing an exam.

    I know this must be incredibly frustrating. I hope you figure something out!