Monday, April 26, 2010

in the next couple of weeks

ok in the next couple of weeks i plan to:

1. get a couple of posts up about acupressure and menstrual cycle. basically walking through the acu points in 'woman heal thyself' in an accessible way. w/ good pictures.

2. review a book i just finished reading on women's energy medicine. it does not deal specifically with pregnancy prevention/abortion, but does provide simple techniques that i think would be helpful.

3. figure out a way to get the cannula working on the del-em.

in search of the karman cannula

1. so we re-worked the del-em this month. fixed a lot of the problems from last month. got a glass container for it with a rubber stopper (very cute, made to order) so that no adhesives were needed to keep the parts together. and were all ready to go.

except for one thing: the cannula/catheter.

see, the cannula that we used last time was metal, but too short. it doesnt reach all the way to the back of the uterus.
the plastic catheters that we bought were long enough, but too flimsy. too flacid. to go through the os (the opening of the cervix)
kinda like goldilocks and the three bears. yeah?

what we need is a karman cannula. so we went online to see if we could find one. not much luck. and that is when i realized that a karman cannula was actually made for abortions. it is like catheter in that it is transparent plastic, but it is like a cannula in that it is stiff.

yeah, the karman cannula was named after this wacky doctor-harvey karman.

there may be one place in cairo that we can get the karman cannula, but they may only sell it wholesale. 200 at a time. huh.

2. but in my research for the karman cannula i found this fascinating article from salon. on the doctor harvey karman. ok. some excerpts.

A man of the nascent counterculture, Karman dabbled in experimental films and worked with juvenile delinquents and at Head Start, but abortion remained his consuming passion. A sympathetic doctor told him that if he could induce just a small bit of bleeding in a pregnant girl, she could be admitted to the hospital and her abortion could be completed legally, a technique he adopted. In fact, all around the world, in countries where abortion is restricted, that's often how it's done. According to Malcolm Potts, an Oxford-educated doctor who is one of the world's leading authorities on abortion, the "extralegal person is usually trying to produce uterine bleeding that will take the woman to the public hospital where she will be cleaned up."

However standard, this system struck Karman as crazy, and he started trying to devise something better. Karman "was a very dexterous person," said Potts, who later became his friend. "He used to make model airplanes when he was young. I once locked myself out of my car, and I'd never seen anybody break into a car as quickly as Harvey did. And he's pretty good at breaking into the uterus." As Potts recalled, Karman read the medical literature about abortion in Eastern Europe, where it had been legal since the 1950s. He wanted a method that was as painless as possible, allowing a woman to get up and walk away as soon as it was over. So he started experimenting in his kitchen. Karman cut the end off a large, plastic, handheld syringe, attached some polyethylene tubing to it, and soon came up with the prototype for the manual vacuum aspiration (MVA) syringe, a simple, hand-operated device that today is used all over the developing world. "It's probably done many millions of abortions since then," Potts said.

Starting in the 1960s, Karman used his invention to perform illegal abortions out of a rented room next to a dentist's office in Los Angeles. Charismatic and swaggering, he was remembered by some in the nascent abortion rights movement as a hero, by some as a huckster. He added a Ph.D. to his name, though his degree came from a dubious Swiss diploma mill. Without a doubt, there were abundant reasons to be suspicious of him, but he was no mercenary backroom butcher, and many recall him as more interested in spreading word of his discovery than in profiting from it, giving free demonstrations to interested doctors and health care workers. "I was most impressed ... because of the safety for the women and because [the technique] made it possible to bring the price way down. And Harvey never charged a cent for his visits," one San Diego Planned Parenthood official told Ms


okay and then the article gets more trippy. basically karman gets hired by usaid to over see the production of thousands of these 'menstrual regulation kits' to be sent to doctors overseas as part of birth control aid 1970s. karman's invention was crucial because it was an abortion technique that worked without the need of electricity.

but frankly the trippiest line in the article is this: As George H. W. Bush wrote in 1973, "Success in the population field, under United Nations leadership, may, in turn, determine whether we can resolve successfully the other great questions of peace, prosperity, and individual rights that face the world." (As a congressman, Bush earned the nickname "Rubbers" for his enthusiastic interest in family planning.)

i just cant think of george the first from now on, w/o thinking: code name, rubbers

3. so we are now exploring to see if we can get karman cannulas from overseas. or if we can convince the wholesaler to let us buy a fraction of the 200. let me know if you have any other ideas.

will keep you updated...