Saturday, October 11, 2003

She Can't Help Herself

You know, I may come of as this uncaring tough guy, but deep down inside I’m really a softie. I want to get along with people. I want consensus. I can compromise… really I can.

Considering that, imagine my surprise today when I was reading Rekha’s latest article and found myself (gasp!!!) agreeing with her. And, I know you’re not going to believe this… pleased that I could not immediately slam what I was reading. She was addressing a specific issue, from a topical point of view. She stayed on point, not invoking some greater social purpose or hinting at some darker right wing agenda.

Her article today is about midwifery and the obstacles that Des Moines midwifes have had establishing practices in the metro area.

Even her writing style seemed better; more concise… crisp. Sure, it was dour in tone, flat and utterly without humor. But hey, it’s Rekha Basu. We can’t expect miracles. My morning coffee was beginning to take hold and I felt filled with a warm glow and a feeling that maybe everything was going to be okay. I thought, maybe, just maybe my phase as an angry white male… well angry Puerto Rican-French-Spanish-Corsican-English-Scots male were on the wane.

Now, I know a little about the subject matter as my wife was a Labor and Delivery nurse for over 10 years and spent a few years on a midwife unit in Minneapolis. I worked in as an rehab aide for 6 years when I was supporting my acting habit. This has made me intimately familiar with the class system in medicine and the resistance of many Docs to accept nurse practitioners in general and midwifes in particular.

I was her perfect audience. This was a particular injustice I had seen… well… if not first hand, at least through the eyes of my spouse. Shit… I was agreeing with Rekha Basu.

I was just about to shout “You go girl!!!” And then… and then…


About two thirds through the piece came this:

Midwifery's comprehensive, nurturing approach to prenatal care can be especially effective for combating high infant mortality and low birth weight in some poor areas. Midwives are a natural choice for inexperienced or marginalized mothers-to-be because they offer a nurturing support system, and they emphasize nutrition and other self-care seen by others as peripheral to labor and delivery.

Come on Rekha.... You can do it… Stay on target… Don’t go off on the same old rant.

The medical establishment may not welcome the competition from midwives. But many patients who Hatch says are served by midwives in his district belong to groups no one is usually fighting over, except maybe exploitative employers and slumlords. Those patients are undocumented immigrants, low-income minorities, people with no particular clout or resources, and they fall most easily through the cracks.

There she went; back to the same old plainsong… la, la, la.

La, la, la…Poor and oppressed.

La, la, la… exploitative employers and slumlords.

La, la, la…undocumented immigrant, low-income minorities.

La, la, la… falling through the cracks.

Oh well, maybe this is a start. I got through the first two thirds without getting riled. Maybe this could be a sea change. Maybe Rekha has found a new voice. Maybe she'll start writing incisive commentary that addresses the complexities of 21st Century life and the changing nature of day-to-day existence in Des Moines. Maybe she won’t write the same old Tranzie, neo-Marxist, postmodern dreck week after week… month after month… year after year…

Well… maybe…



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