My [censored "V-word"] Saves My Life

vagina squirrelsAbout a month after my brush with death, I had come to a clear understanding of how my body cleverly prevented me from dying during the anaphylactic episode. This realization caused me to write the following letter to the personable ER doctor who treated me:

Maine Coast Memorial Hospital

Ellsworth, Maine

Dear Family Practice physician from Gouldsboro,

I don’t know if you remember me or not—I was the midwife you saw last month in the ER of MCMH who was in the throes of severe anaphylactic shock from a yellow jacket sting. I know the following question may sound like a joke, but I’m actually quite serious:

Do you think it’s possible that my vagina saved my life? When I was stung, the first thing that happened was that my vagina was burning and ON FIRE! I was stung in the ankle and within about 10 minutes, my vagina was screaming. Now, I’m thinking that the yellow jacket toxin was mainlined into my lymphatic system, which caused my vagina to immediately swell and constrict. In retrospect, had the sting been in my upper torso—it could have done the same thing to my THROAT. I never would have made it the 10 minutes to the hospital—or if I did, I certainly could’ve been brain damaged. (I did have mild throat involvement, in that my voice was very hoarse for the next couple of days, but I certainly didn’t have airway obstruction like I might have, given the severity.)

Do you think my vagina took the hit for the team, so to speak?

Sincerely, Carol Leonard

To which I promptly got the following thoughtful and very professional response from the Family Practice doctor:

Hello Ms. Leonard,

I received your letter regarding your yellow jacket sting. I still think about your case as to how severe it was. I have no idea if your vagina saved you but it certainly reacted as did the rest of your body. I do think having a sting on your leg bought you more time to reach the ER.

Hope all is well with you.

_____________, M.D.

Which, in turn, generated the following crème de la crème parody of his letter from an insanely funny midwife-friend of mine. She says:

I would have expected a reply like this:

Hello Ms. Leonard,

I received your letter regarding your bad beaver. I still think about your vagina and how swollen it was. Your vagina certainly saved you. It proves that even after menopause, your crotch can still give life. It was clearly well trained. I gotta get me one of those… I feel so vulnerable knowing I lack this cutting edge, life saving emergency equipment.

Hope all is well with you.

Fulla Baloney, M.D

~ ~ ~

(So sorry…couldn’t resist.)

Carol Leonard

About Carol Leonard

Carol Leonard is a midwife, a writer and a licensed beaver trapper. She was the first midwife licensed to practice legally in New Hampshire and has attended close to 1,200 babies born safely in their own homes. She was a co-founder of the Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA) representing all midwives in the US, Canada and Mexico. She was elected as the second president of MANA. Carol is the author of the best-selling memoir, Lady’s Hands, Lion’s Heart, A Midwife’s Saga, Bad Beaver Publishing, 2010. Carol is currently building a 400-acre farm in Ellsworth, Maine with her husband, Tom Lajoie. Her blog BAD BEAVER TALES: Love and Life in Downeast Maine, chronicles their informative and funny journey building their dream homestead on 400 acres of wilderness in Downeast Maine. Carol and Tom are also raising about a hundred beavers there that they argue about on a daily basis. These blog posts will be a collection of tales not just about Bad Beaver the place, but stories that meander around in her life, past and present—at the same time, Bad Beaver is where it all leads. As a writer friend says, “These stories from Bad Beaver are, at turns, brave, beautiful and just plain badass.”