Though largely uneventful save for my initial panic, the experience with Plan B has nonetheless left me bothered. I could have certainly gone without the inconvenience of a UHS visit and I would have rather not spent the entirety of Monday fielding phone calls from various nurses. But both is typical of any medical issue. Mostly, I didn’t like the reminder that as a woman, incidents such as these make life significantly more difficult than if I were a man.
This is the second time I’ve used Plan B. The first time was in July. My then-boyfriend drove me to the nearest pharmacy, but that was the extent of his involvement in my predicament, in our predicament. But it wasn’t entirely his fault that he wasn’t more involved. I tend to take charge of matters like these, insisting then as I did a couple nights ago that everything was fine, that I would take care of things in the morning. But the truth is that I don’t at all enjoy shouldering the burden of a responsibility belonging to two people, yet whether or not I have a choice, it is a burden that unfairly rests on me.
In July, there were two of us in the convenience store, but one was scanning the aisles and the other was in line, waiting for her number to be called so that she could step up to the counter. I don’t think my discomfort then stemmed from having to face the pharmacist alone. Inexplicably, the whole thing felt like a lonely experience even though he paid and the forms had his address and afterward, he drove us back to his apartment in his car. Despite his role and his presence, I never felt like he was with me when it mattered or where it mattered. But that’s something he couldn’t help then; that’s something Aidan couldn’t help yesterday.
Plan B is taken in two parts and I had my second pill this morning at 9 a.m. without incident. Though some women experience nausea, I didn’t the first time nor did I this time. It’s strange but it feels like there is something terribly symbolic about swallowing that pill. Perhaps it is the fact that I am the one who has to consume it, that my body is the one that counts here. Though it is tiny — easily the smallest piece of medication I’ve ever taken — it is also the most significant, but it is not something I can split in half and hand over to the other person responsible.
We both made a mistake, but I paid for it. And no, it is not his fault, but I wish there were some way last time or this time or the next time for me to feel like it is not just up to me to face alone. Like my summer paramour, the most Aidan could do last night was hold me as I slept. When my alarm rang at 9 a.m., he was the one who got out of bed and turned it off, but I was the one who reached into my purse for the packet I went to such lengths to obtain.
Having just gone to sleep at 5 a.m., I was at once barely conscious and astutely aware of my actions. I was one pill away from ending the nagging feeling I couldn’t shake all weekend, the feeling I was certain he shared but could not entirely understand. Placing the pill on the tip of my tongue, I swallowed hard, twice, before it made its way down my parched throat. Just as I put away the packet, I felt Aidan’s fingertips graze my side, guiding me to bed. I pulled the covers over us and I drifted off with his arms wrapped around me.
During that warm July night I first went to bed with the burden of two on my shoulders, I fell asleep with my back to his chest and the irrational belief that the harder he held me, the less alone I must certainly feel. Last night, I thought it eerie that in a Cambridge, Massachusetts dorm room, I managed to replicate the same feeling 3 months removed and 3,000 miles away. I was with someone slightly younger, slightly better intentioned but just as unable to ease the dull ache at the back of my throat, to erase the reminder that I alone must untangle this mess, because try as he might, he was just a bystander to it all.
I really appreciated the outpouring of advice and support from other women. It’s great to know that the women on (and off) this campus are so well-informed. During my walk-in, I asked plenty of questions about UHS’s policy on morning after pills. Here’s what I found out:
- Plan B, though approved for over-the-counter distribution, is not yet available in that form. Women must see a nurse practitioner in order to obtain it.
- UHS currently distributes Plan B on the spot, without requiring an additional visit to the pharmacy.
- When Plan B is distributed over-the-counter, it will still be necessary for patients to see the pharmacist on call.
- UHS does not offer the morning after pill in advance. Plan B is distributed only when it is needed (though there is no way to regulate this policy).
- Plan B can be obtained at any time, not just during UHS working hours. There is someone who can offer it 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
I hope this information is helpful to other Harvard women. You can reach UHS After Hours Urgent Care at 617.495.5711.