The day before my egg retrieval we decided to culture ourselves by going to the Chrysler Museum of Art…it is a fabulous free art museum. We have been twice now and still haven’t been round the whole museum. My favourite part is the glass art. I studied art and sculpture at school up to A-Level so I like to think I have a reasonable appreciation for art forms. It was a mini exhibition in the glass section that intrigued me the most – entitled: In Sickness and In Health. Sounds like something from a set of wedding vows, right??! Hmmmm. Here is a peek at the artist’s main exhibit:
I was enamoured by it. Why? Because it represents the world of modern medicine very well. I didn’t take photos of the side exhibits, but they were intriguing too. It is meant to be a ‘playful yet provocative commentary on the world of modern medicine’. As I looked closer at the glass pills I began to understand what she was trying to represent…the bright colours and bold patterns of the pills are supposed to alert us to the complicated relationship between a $500 BILLION pharmaceutical industry and our yearning for good health. The exaggerated sizes of the pills aim to point towards the excess of the industry with aggressive marketing tactics to promote various medications to the sick AND healthy. I realised as I stood there with my big fat bubbling ovaries weighing me down from all the recent injections that looking into the reflection of these giant glass pills, this was part of ME.
$7700 our IVF medication cost for just one round of treatment. (I know we can buy it a whole lot cheaper…I compared it to the cost in the UK). The artist says that when you look in the reflections of certain glass pills you will see a distorted mirroring ‘evoking the complex connections between chemical substances and our own self-awareness’. I want my own biological child THIS much…I am willing to inject and consume $7700 worth of medication despite the fact that I am not actually SICK. But then again, I have a disease, it’s called infertility, I guess that makes me sick officially, I just don’t feel SICK. But the doctors don’t know what is making me SICK and so we are trying everything possible to overcome it. Do I have a distorted view of our situation?
I put a lot of trust in the doctors and the medication we are using…I mean have you seen the whole list of disclaimers on those medicines???!!! Here in the US there are lots of adverts for drugs on TV and radio, and they have to legally state what possible side effects are, and sometimes these disclaimers go on for 2 whole minutes usually ending up with – may cause every disease under the sun – oh and don’t forget death. We just don’t have this form of advertising in the UK, so it is odd and I always wonder why anyone would ever take the drugs that are being advertised if there is a chance of death. Some of the drugs I am using are known to increase the risk of various cancers, including ovarian and breast cancer. I am willing to accept those (admittedly teeny tiny) risks to have my own child. But to what extent will I keep doing this – pumping chemicals and hormones into my body? How much is too much? When do we stop? When is enough, enough?
The museum critique concludes with a poignant question about the exhibition:
Is this culture of chemistry making us healthy or is it creating an ‘Artificial Paradise’?