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Friday, September 19, 2014

Column: The Plan B scare

Emergency contraception happens.

Aug. 26, 2014

The opinions expressed by The Maneater columnists do not represent the opinions of The Maneater editorial board.

Ladies, if you happen to be a sexual being who just so happens to not have a perfect handle on controlling the universe, there is a high possibility that at one point in your life, you will have a Plan B scare. Fear not.

Though it might feel like you’re completely alone up there at the Wal-Mart pharmacy counter, standing in your linty tank top and pajama shorts, avoiding eye contact with the cashier and believing yourself to be the dumbest person alive, you’re not. I promise.

My scare was relatively uneventful, and yet it was still one of the most awful experiences I’ve ever had. It was the morning after: after we woke up, after he left, after my girl friends had texted me high-five emojis. Then I found the broken condom.

I immediately called my best friend, who ran every red light to pull up at my house in her father’s pickup truck within minutes. We silently drove to the nearest Wal-Mart. Inside, I shuffled up to the counter and asked for every woman’s biggest frenemy: Plan B. My friend and I then went to IHOP, where I swallowed that $50 pill with a glass of grapefruit juice and a mouthful of omelets. We laughed nervously in between bites of our food, talking about class and boys and TV shows, trying to pretend like we weren’t surrounded by a suspiciously large amount of young mothers and babies eating pancakes.

The worst was still to come, though. I remember going through the rest of the afternoon normally, washing dishes and getting groceries. But then the nausea hit, and it was crippling. I threw up everything my body and soul had to offer and laid in bed for the rest of the night, sobbing and wishing I could call my mom. I felt fine the next morning. And thankfully, a few weeks later, I knew for sure everything was fine.

Things I didn’t know about Plan B that you definitely should:

  1. Plan B, like pretty much every other emergency contraceptive pill, does not work if you are already pregnant. Plan B is basically a giant birth control pill of levonorgestrel, which works primarily by preventing your ovaries from releasing eggs. (Technically, it could also prevent fertilization and implantation of a fertilized egg to your womb, but the Plan B website only lists this as a possibility).

  2. If you vomit within 2 hours of taking Plan B, call your doctor (or the Student Health Center for their on-call nurse, who’s available 24/7 at (573) 882-7481). There’s a chance you might have thrown up the pill.

  3. If you’re taking birth control pills regularly, it isn’t recommended that you use Plan B. I talked to a nurse and my doctor at the Student Health Center about this, and they both agreed that since I was on the pill at the time, which is supposed to be more effective than Plan B is, I shouldn’t have bothered with the Wal-Mart run at all. Yep. Insert hysterical laugh here.

To the sperm-carriers of the world: if you want to be a stand-up sexual partner in a Plan B situation, offer to drive and to help pay for the pill (Plan B One-Step is $50; the generic alternative, Next Choice, is only $10 cheaper). Please understand that we might not necessarily want you to do so either, but your acknowledgement of responsibility/rogue sperm is much appreciated.

Ladies, if you ever find yourselves in this situation, know that the truly important people in your lives will not judge you in the least. I hope you’ve gotten a little idea of what to expect and the basics of Plan B. But, if nothing else, this is the important thing I want you to know: you are not alone. Plan B happens to the best of us, and no one should make you feel lesser for it. If they do, call me. We’ll get omelets.

Love, Edna

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