Our Visit To The Doctor & Bi Stigma

After publishing the article Coming Out To Your Doctor  my husband and I felt it was time to go have ourselves tested for STD’s and HIV.

Instead of setting up appointments with our primary care physicians and possibly waiting weeks to have the testing done we decided to go with a local public health resource.

We called in, did our preregistration over the phone then headed down to the testing clinic.

There were a few things about our visit that really brought home the Bi stigma.

Over the past almost year I’ve had the pleasure of working with an organization that focuses on the health needs and rights of those in the Sex Trades/Adult Entertainment Industry.

A part of my work with this organization was to give lectures/presentations to health care providers and social service providers regarding etiquette when dealing with lines of questioning regarding sex work and sexual partner history.

In other words, the doc had no idea she would be seeing a very well educated patient on protocol and politics of her field.

The nurse and the doctor both made offensive mistakes that are common in health care settings when dealing with sexuality and health.

Our visit yesterday was an example of the exact reason why I became so involved in the organization I was working with. Regardless of sexual identity, sexual practices/tendencies or gender identity, selling sex as a business or survival,  all people deserve courteous respectful health care. All humans. Period. 


Pre-Screening 

We came to the clinic together, registered together and saw the nurse as well as doctor together. When going through the screening process we were approached with the assumption we were straight and monogamous because we are married and presenting together for testing.

The nurse did screen us both individually but at the same time in the same room.

I knew what questions were coming and I wanted to see how my husband would answer. He’s not the talkative type, doesn’t like going to the doctor much and he’s somewhat still somewhat shy about his sexuality. I knew he’d be flustered by the screening questions but instead of answering for him (which is usually his preference) I just waited to see how he’d deal with them.

After a few basic questions THE question came:

“You’re married,  you’re here with your wife… so you only have sex with women…or men and women?” The question was posed with the assumption of the answer but asked anyway.

She looked at me, he looked at me, I looked at him…and waited for his reply.

He tried to figure out the right way to say it and finally said: “Men and women.”

She looked at me, then back to him.

She asked what kind of specific sexual acts does he indulge in with men. He looked at me again. Again, I didn’t say a word. I really wanted to see how this would play out.

He answered her questions (those q’s and a’s are personal, thank you 😉 )

She asked: “What about protection? Do you use protection?”

He explained to her NEVER has he done ANYTHING sexual with a male without a condom. Ever. She looked at me, I confirmed what he said, condoms always.

The next question is one that really irks me in so many ways for so many reasons as a Health Care professional.

She asked him: “How many sexual partners have you had in the last 6 months?”

Again, he looked at me, I looked at him.

He said: “Babe, can you answer this one, I mean I can but I can’t. You’re better at this kind of stuff. You tell her.”

I said:  “No, come up with an answer on your own, this is your screening process.”

I explained to the nurse what I’d been doing over the past year and my education. I also explained to her it was very, very interesting to me to observe a patient actually experiencing the screening process. As an advocate I’m not in the room with the patient, I’m on the front lines educating and fighting these policies to be changed.

ought about our recent trysts and ultimately said “Babe, I don’t know what to say.”

I reminded him he did not have to say anything. He could elect to not answer any questions during the screening process and that is one question I personally refuse to answer.

It has no medical bearing whatsoever. It’s used as a tool for the medical provider to get an idea of your sexual life and possible risks you may be facing that you may not know about as a patient.

The question is not pertinent even if the patient is symptomatic of an STD or HIV at the time of the visit.

The answer is not a factor that can be used in urgent or immediate treatment of symptoms or disease.

It’s not relevant to the testing process in and of itself.

It’s not relevant to treatment for any health issues.

The ONLY TIME this question is pertinent is when it is necessary to provide partner notification in case of infectious disease.

Other than that it’s a useless question that can create bias and preconceived judgement in the mind of the health care provider potentially creating a hostile environment for the patient.

I choose not to indulge and have taken that stance since my first STD screening test as a teenager although I get scientifically why the question is a part of the standard screening process. If I did test positive for an infectious disease I’d disclose whatever info needed for partner notification instantly. No arguments from me there.

But in reality, who ever tells the truth on that question anyway?

Any scientific data collected from whatever clinic(s) from that question would be really questionable. The data is not verifiable and it’s not solid information to base research off of.

Anyway, I was screened by the nurse after he was.

Again the question regarding do I sleep with men only or men and women. I answered I engaged in sexual activity with both males and females.

She looked from him to me and back to him.

We explained we’re both bisexual and we do a lot of speaking, educating, etc on bisexuality in marriages and long term relationships. She was visibly shocked.

She then went on to ask the rest of the same questions of me she asked him. I answered what was pertinent to care only. She knew from his screening process don’t ask me clinically useless questions and she didn’t, she skipped right over them. 🙂

My husband and I both elected to take the OraQuick Rapid HIV test.

We were given an applicator with a swab on the end, instructed to swab our gums on each side top and bottom. Then all we had to do was wait 20 minutes for the results…


His Doctor…

She was friendly enough, really kind face, soothing voice, relaxed appearance despite her traditional businesslike black slacks and white shirt. She would be doing my husband’s screening, exam and testing I would be seeing another provider for the same. She didn’t mind my sitting in.

The doc wanted to go over the screening questions again.

We explained we’re a both bisexual couple who has sex with other men and women, together using protection always. We’ve never done anything without a condom ever just to bring her up to speed and avoid the same questions again.

She asked a few specific screening questions one more time to get more of an idea of our sex life. We reiterated we use protection always with other men when asked yet another time in a differently phrased question.

After she’d finished her inquiry the doctor then began to tell us both the dangers of men who sleep with men.

She went on and on about how men who kiss other men can get diseases they wouldn’t get if they weren’t kissing other men, she explained how men who get or give men oral without condoms can get diseases other people don’t get and of course all the many dangers of anything anal between two men.

Then the doctor told me and my husband that there is a disease called Nisseria Meningitis that is spreading in  our town of Brooklyn among men who come in ” very close proximity with, but not necessarily intimacy or physical touching with other men and it’s “VERY deadly, fast acting and easily spread”.

(click the above link to read ALL about the “outbreak”, I encourage you to do so for your own understanding.)

She felt we should be vaccinated against this disease because we were at risk since my husband is bisexual and we live in Brooklyn.

Needless to say I pulled out my phone and researched right away while declining the vaccination until I knew more.

I’d interrupted her a few times during her explanation of the risks of my husband’s sexuality to explain to her I wasn’t a laymen but a colleague, another experienced HIV/AIDS Educator, a current student of Health Care Management and I’ve been working on and around legislative advocacy surrounding Health Care rights in NYC for about a year now!

She explained she was an HIV specialist and she knew what she was talking about despite my background.

How could she know I just spoke at the End AIDS Conference in Philly only a couple months ago on several panels? One of my passions in life is HIV transmission prevention and education and I’ve been volunteering for speaking engagements and teaching opportunities since my early teens. I lost almost all my teenage friends to the disease in the 90’s. I volunteer my education, time and experience on the topic wherever possible.

I was beyond upset.

I was really pissed and ready to call the Director of the facility to offer training to his staff, at no cost! They needed it dearly!

In my mind all I could think was what she’s describing is a public health concern not a bisexual male or Men who Sleep with Men (MSM) health concern.

If this disease is transmitted by close proximity only  then someone should alert the Department of Health and notify the public of this new soon to be epidemic was my thinking.

I’m sure bisexual men take public transportation, go to work daily, eat out, attend recreational activities in public. If MSM have this special disease that’s airborne and spreads easily THIS WHOLE CITY would be infected by now! 

What about family members of MSM who are near each other often?

How about the people MSM’s live with, can they get it too?

Can they spread it too?

It’s this kind of medical misinformation that could have a less informed patient shaking in his boots after a visit with the doctor. (The link to the medical research on the meningitis outbreak in Bklyn is highlighted above. No need to panic NY’kers, it’s nowhere near as serious as she implied. We won’t be taking the vaccine.)

The doc then examined my husband’s penis for any lesions, discharge, etc. During the exam despite him informing her he’d used protection always she insisted on swabbing the back of his throat to test for diseases because “Men who have sex with other men can get infections in their throats much easier, even if you have used a condom and there has been no exposure.”

Huh? What? Can we say Bi stigma again?

Remind you of something?

HIV in the 80’s much?

I was sent steaming into the next exam room to wait for the other physician who had my chart to examine me.

When my doctor came I explained my husband and I were in for testing together. He didn’t go over my screening and I’d given urine already.

We’d been there about 4 hours. We had a meeting at 5:30pm and it took about an hour commute to get to our location- it was 4:30pm.

By the time “my” doctor was available I had no more time or patience for the process any longer and I wasn’t willing to be late to my 5:30 meeting.

We had to leave, I wouldn’t be able to stay for a full exam.

It was explained to me by “my” doctor if our test results came back abnormal we’d be contacted via email or phone.

If we didn’t hear back in 3-5 days everything is normal but we could inquire about our results if we’d like confirmation. I had no symptoms or complaints so a full exam wasn’t necessary.

I intend to schedule an annual GYN with my regular health care provider for a full exam this coming week.

(originally written 9/7/2015)

-Jay Dee, Founder

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Do You Know Where Your Wood Pallet Has Been?

Do You Know Where Your Wood Pallet Has Been?

Wow. I love wood pallets. Like, i really do but I do get sick very easily.

I always have to research EVERYTHING. I seem to have a reaction to so much.  The wrong fabric/soap/perfume I itch horribly, the wrong paint I can’t breathe like I have asthma, the wrong stuffing in a pillow or comforter I can itch horribly, cough and sneeze until it’s gone.

After reading this article I think we’ll go with hubby’s suggestion of buying fresh building wood, making our own pallets and creating a reclaimed look using stains ourselves vs. sourcing and reclaiming old pallets (which are in abundance here in NYC).

-Jay Dee, Founder

 

Passion4Profession Workout Guide! Totally AWESOME

Muscle exercises, the largest library of physical exercises | P4P.

I stumbled upon one of their videos on youtube while searching for tomorrow’s workout.

I viewed simple video after simple video and loved it!

Anyone can keep up, the graphics help show the viewer EXACTLY how each exercise works and HOW to do each exercise properly.

The pace is slow enough to follow, not slow enough to get bored.

Love the site, love the simplicity, love the youtube channel.

Will be using in the a.m after yoga! 🙂

-Jay Dee, Founder

30 Days of Yoga with Adrienne – YouTube

30 Days of Yoga – Start Here – YouTube.

I like the idea of a committed series of progressive work. Something to stick to in my seemingly solitary quest for physical fitness in the midst of brokeness and physical limitations, lol.

I watched one of Adrienne’s videos and I love her gentle way of flowing through the movements.

In my opinion her style isn’t too dreamy and sleepy or too advanced & athletic, but rather focused on the physical and mental agreement to move in healthy unison when practicing yoga.

That’s what yoga is all about. Mind, body and soul balance. Homeostasis on all 3 levels.

Hubby’s limited in what he can do.

Kids are lazy.

I’m in this alone.

I haven’t stuck with a workout regimen for the long term in  years.

This time I’m on a mission and I’ve got to stick to it. 

I’ve got to achieve this final frontier in my fitness goals!

Starting my 30 days of yoga in the morning.

Who’s down to join me? 🙂

-Jay Dee, Founder

 

 

Namaste Yoga: Free Full Length Episode (Season 1) – YouTube

Namaste Yoga: Free Full Length Episode (Season 1) – YouTube.

Click the link for a great start to any day!

Don’t forget to have a healthy breakfast for energy, clarity and focus through the day!

A great winter breakfast suggestion is a bowl of oatmeal with antioxidant fruit, low sodium butter, milk of your choice and spices like nutmeg and or cinnamon, use honey to sweeten.

Jay Dee's Oatmeal
Jay Dee’s Oatmeal

Green or other herbal tea or a protein shake work great along with. 🙂

-Jay Dee, Founder

Emotional Eating

Oh yea, I went there.

Yes I did.

I’m an admitted emotional eater.

I was unfortunate enough to be born a sensitive soul despite my so called ‘tough’ exterior. I don’t see how it’s tough if I’m clearly expressing my vulnerabilities and emotions…just sayin.

In any case, when my sometimes insensitive of a male species husband does something he ‘doesn’t realize’ is hurtful and I feel like breaking down into tears like a wounded little girl I instead I suck it up…and whatever I can find in the kitchen along with it.

Yea, I do that.

Right now I”m eating two slices of super soft and thick Fiber One 100% whole wheat bread with low sodium/low cholesterol butter. Yummy. Have a salad coming together in the back of my mind as I chew 🙂

Top that off with some diluted pineapple juice and life is good 🙂

Healthy, and good.

Nourishing and good. 

My natural taste was always toward greens, fruits, nuts, etc. I had a thing for carribean food and japanese food but that was about it. Oh, and pizza! Pizza and bagels were like the most fattening things in my diet through life. (Hey, don’t judge me, I’m a NY’ker).

My ‘fat girl’ pictures are proof my my weight gain journey gone wrong. For two years I ate all the unhealthy stuff I’d never look twice at normally. I ate in excess, all the time to gain that weight.

I was tired of being the skinny girl.

What I began to learn was I didn’t gain weight because my idea of a snack was a spinach pie most of my life, lol!  I wanted to be thick! I wanted to be the epitome of black woman, coca cola bottle body you know? I’d eat through the days and into the nights over those 2 years and the pounds slowly came upon me.

Oh, I got thick alright.

Thick around the middle along with everywhere else!

My body was so perfect to me at that time. I loved every pound…except that horrid stomach! Oh, it tortured me so much. I tried to find any way to get it off and still keep my weight every where else. The only option was surgery, which wasn’t an option at that time.

I had to go on a diet and loose it all because there was no way to ‘spot loose’ weight.

I didn’t know how blessed I was to naturally have a taste for healthy foods. I didn’t learn about nutrition until my late 20’s.

After I’d gotten fat by accident. -_-

At the beginning of my health care curriculum I began to learn about anatomy and physiology. Then we came to the part about diet and how the body processed as well as utilized food and liquid. How each food/liquid carried vitamins, minerals or nutrients the body needed and put them where they belonged.

It was so enlightening. I went back to my normal eating minus all the extra commercialized madness out there I’d been indulging in and the weight came off pretty easily over the years without working out.

I got stuck at a size 8 for a couple years and had to work hard for that size 4.

Now I’m balanced at a size 4/5 over the past year. I’ve always been an emotional eater. I just learned how to eat differently.

I still emo eat, I just emo eat ONLY healthy stuff. True I eat A LOT more than I would if it were all unhealthy stuff but it’s healthy stuff!

healthy me20140225_223948

I’m working hard to gain weight properly and being an emotional eater could ruin my whole plan.

The moral of the story is if you’re going to be an emotional eater, feed thyself with healthy nutritious food which will only empower, strengthen and heal that emotional body of yours. 

It works to your benefit. Snack out on salads, health bars, fruits, nuts, raw veggies, whole wheat pasta or bread if you’re really feeling it and need something heavy. Try no sugar added frozen yogurt or sorbet vs. ice cream.

There’s lots of comfy, healthy alternatives to the comfort foods we’ve grown to love, that don’t love us or our bodies. 

With love for your body,

-Jay Dee, Founder 🙂

Toning & Training…Time for Spring!

With Spring on the way it’s time to get toned up and fit again for all those outdoor activities!

I was on a weight loss journey  for 4 years to loose my stomach naturally without exercise through diet.

I achieved that goal summer 2014 finally.

I’m in the last year of my full body makeover which is going back to my original weight, minus the tummy.

I loved my shape, hated my stomach.

Here’s a before pic of me in 2009. Note: It was like 90 degrees that day but I  had to wear a long shirt and belt to cover my tummy. I was hot as hell that day!

me fat lookin like really

Now I’m working on my weight gain and it’s the most crucial time.

Natural body sculpting.

Time to tone those exposed abs and whip this body back into that thick tight shape my husband fell in love with. Being bottom heavy I prided myself in a tight dancer’s form everywhere. I still have remnants of my cuts and that’s the foundation I’ll be building on.

Sculpted legs (The 7 Best Leg Exercises | Women’s Health Magazine.), thighs, back, waist, abs and arms are the goal. Yes, sculpted everything!

flat tummy wish

I’m taking maca root for weight gain, adding protein shakes next month. Working out will be a big part of my life from here on through the summer or my whole plan can fall apart!

I’ll be doing the majority of my working out without a gym membership.

While working on creative ways to get toned before the summer months in my cramped NYC (super tiny) apartment I’ll share some of the things I find along the way. I’ve got lots to work on so there may be a lot of fitness content in the near future, lol.

I’m a body buff and I pride myself on being a super sexy fit thick chick that birthed 5 children without a telltale sign.

Trust me you’d never, ever know it just looking at me and for that all the pain of working out is worth it. Love the burn baby! 😀

Here’s an ‘after’ pic from my 35th birthday this past summer 2014 at my target goal of size 5 for that summer.

what35lookslike1 what35lookslike

.

Now I’m working on being a size 10 again by this summer. With the size 4 tummy!

Here’s a portfolio shot I took summer 2009 the first year of my weight loss journey.

Oh how awesome I’d look without the tummy at that size!
6206809022_wht window 5

Countdown to Spring 2015 and the brand new me I’ve been working on for what will be 5 years this August 🙂

Hopefully by my birthday in August I’ll look exactly the way I’ve envisioned.

So far so very good!

If not this summer there’s always next summer to be my target size. No foul in my own head.

Slow and steady wins the race. 🙂

-Jay Dee, Founder

Healthy Hearty Home Made Soup Recipe (with pictures!)

As you guys know I love to cook. Especially in the winter months when meals tend to be bigger & heartier.

With harvest season coming to a close and the winter months setting in now it’s time to utilize our bounty wisely. 🙂

When cooking I always consider the nutritional value of EVERY single ingredient and how all ingredients work together within our bodies. Optimal nutrition is what I try to ascertain in every single meal.

Although for me it’s just a short trip to the grocery store, someone worked hard all year to produce the awesome foods I’m able to purchase and I do celebrate the harvest months of Sept and Oct.

( BiWifeLife loves Farmers!!! )

I decided to throw together a grand slam of healthy heartiness all in one huge pot of “Yo mama’s” chicken soup 🙂

What I used:

1 pack of chopped chicken thighs for stew

Selected Seasonings- Be creative, add your favorites (I know y’all didn’t think I would give that up now would you? lol.) Only the kids have that info 🙂

3 Celery sticks

1 small onion

1 tbsp diced garlic

4-5 whole radishes

1/2 pumpkin

2 stalks of scallion

2 heads of broccoli with stems

2 Large carrots

4-5 small Idaho potatoes

1 pack of light egg noodles

How I made it:

  1. Clean the excess fat from the chicken. Usually I’m a bit OCD with getting ALL the fat off anything I eat but with chicken soup it’s okay to leave a little fat on the meat to add to the flavor of the natural broth.20141102_202623
  2. Begin boiling water in the largest pot you have while you’re cleaning the chicken.
  3. Season the chicken on both sides once all pieces have been cleaned.
  4. Add chicken, selected seasonings (be creative), minced garlic and 1/2 of the small onion diced to the boiling water.
  5. Some people like to add chicken broth at this stage. I do not. I allow my chicken to boil in spices and seasonings until the meat is literally falling off the bone to create my own awesome broth. Your choice.20141102_220722
  6. Allow to cook until falling off the bone which is about 1 hour for stew chicken thighs.
  7. While the chicken is boiling it’s time to prepare the veggies. 🙂
  8. Rinse all veggies/fruits well.
  9. Chop everything into bite size pieces.20141102_221229
  10. I DO NOT peel anything. The vitamins are in the skin! Even the pumpkin.
  11. The pumpkin will need to be gutted with a spoon.20141102_202238
  12. Set aside pumpkin guts including seeds for frying or adding to a pie/cake/another meal another day.20141102_202604
  13. When the chicken meat begins to fall off the bone when picked up with thongs or a fork, it’s time to help the process along a bit. WARNING: Risk of burns, burning hands! Use thongs to remove chicken from the boiling water! Use a long fork to scrape the chicken meat off the bones while holding the chicken with thongs.20141103_010423
  14. Return meat to the pot of now boiling broth, set aside bones. 20141102_220731
  15. Now it’s time to add the chopped veggies!20141102_221238
  16. Add water if needed.
  17. If you need to add water, taste test and add more seasoning if necessary!
  18. Allow to cook for about 20-30 minutes.
  19. Add egg noodles when veggies have become somewhat soft.
  20. Allow to cook until egg noodles are soft.

20141103_010413

*Serve 8-10. Serve hot with biscuits drizzled with honey & no cholesterol/no sodium butter. Add spicier seasonings on especially cold days such as Cayenne, black pepper or Paprika atop each serving to clear potential cold/flu onset.

*If you have a Doggie: Remove small bones, serve when cooled 🙂 Can be roasted in outdoor smoker for flavor first.

Hope you guys enjoy!

SUBMIT YOUR WINTER RECIPE for publishing! biwifelife@gmail.com

-Jay Dee, Founder

A fine example of why we should protect ourselves…

HPV- Human Papilloma Virus

The only reason why I chose to post on this topic is because of my post yesterday.

The post discussed my active awareness of protecting myself with someone I don’t know or abstaining until test results are exchanged.

The disease HPV is caused by skin to skin contact with an infected person.

Click here  and Here to read more about how this disease is transmitted and how it can affect men and women.

The guy in the link below is a rare but very real case of HPV virus gone haywire.

Indonesian “Tree Man” Continues Treatment For Human Papilloma Virus – Pictures – Zimbio.

God forbid!

Any time you have more than one partner it’s always wise to err on the side of caution in my very strong opinion.

Good balance of knowledge and action can prevent so much.

One doesn’t have to be obsessive about it, just knowledgeable and know how to apply techniques with grace. 😉

-Jay Dee, Founder