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The little death on Game of Thrones
May 19th, 2013 by Dr Karma

No–no real spoilers here. I’m not going to talk about which of your favorite (or not favorite) characters are going to die on the hit HBO show.
I’m gonna talk about orgasms.
Ever since GOT premiered, the internet has been debated the sexual politics of the show, with some people thinking it’s sexist and others finding some of the strongest women on tv there. Saturday Night Live even did a fantastic sketch about why the show features so much nudity (http://www.brobible.com/entertainment/article/snl-game-of-thrones).
And there is a lot. Exposition tends to happen in whorehouses, as women of the night work on their technique. What’s interesting about most of those scenes, though, is the attention to artifice. These scenes do not feature women with their clients. Instead, the women train each other to fake pleasure, turning on and off the moaning at will.
However, what pleases me more and more about the show is the focus on actual female pleasure.
One of the most frustrating things about our pornographic society is the focus on moaning and other signs of pleasure, but the lack of female orgasms in our sex scenes. The women moan enough to let you know you’re doing a good job, but not enough to signal that they’re actually getting off.
Thus, not only is Game of Thrones breaking ground with its strong female characters, it’s actively discussing female pleasure. We don’t see the orgasms, but an amazing amount of time is given to discussing them, especially considering how many plotlines have to be crammed into each episode.
The Queen of Dragons has a happy marriage once she learns to have good sex with her husband. Margaery tries to tell Sansa that her fiance may be able to satisfy her sexually, even though he isn’t what she wants in a husband in other ways. When young Podrick spends some time in the whorehouse (his first time knowing women), he isn’t charged because the women enjoy it. Every man in King’s Landing speculates about what he’s done to make women happy–not with jealousy–but with a desire to copy his actions. Jon Snow is protected by his wildling lover because of whatever it is he can do with tongue, proving that he doesn’t need the advice a wildling general tries to give him about how to please a woman.
Game of Thrones is a guilty pleasure, but at least it’s training its viewers about what pleasure should be.

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Where will I get my gall (and my bile) now?
May 8th, 2013 by Dr Karma

I was expecting that my next blog would cover some of the cultural events I’ve experienced lately–the amazing sold out show at Mondavi of the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, Common House’s amazing production of The Foreigner, my recent trip to Wine Country, in which I got to see a little grey whale swimming along the coast, etc.
But the news of the week is my loss of a gallbladder.
Saturday, I woke up early and got a lot of work done. Shortly after I had lunch, I started feeling really ill–nausea and vomiting had me thinking it was food poisoning. Hours later, still vomiting and  shaking, I headed to the ER. Tenderness in my upper right abdomen made the doctors think it might be my gallbladder. An ultrasound confirmed that the organ was “packed” with stones.
When gallbladder stones block the duct, the useful stuff the gallbladder makes can’t get out to help digest food, causing the symptoms I was experiencing. Once the doctors were finally able to get me to stop throwing up, I was allowed to go home, with instructions to the see the doctor to talk about scheduling a surgery.
Except the next day all the symptoms came back, so it was back to the ER for me, where it was decided that I would be transferred to Sacramento for Emergency Surgery. It was an exhausting night. No sleep. Many rooms. One hallway. Not enough pain medication.
At 6 a.m., the nurse finally turned out the light and told me to get an hour of sleep before my surgery, but that was when the elderly Chinese woman in the bed next to mine woke up and started yelling at all her relatives on the phone.
I gave the nurse Vanessa’s number and was herded down for them to get me ready. There was a moment when they realized that I still had my underwear on, and they seemed surprised. They needed the underwear off, apparently, so they could catheter me after putting me to sleep. Since I hadn’t know that, I thought they should have expected I would leave my panties on–who puts on a backless gown AND thinks it would be a great idea to go commando?
My panties are now in a little “bioharzard” bag. Eventually, I will stop seeing this bag as a funny souvenir.
The surgery was quick, but the nausea and pain were hard to control, so I was in recovery for about four hours, where my nurse was really great, before I was released back to my room. Vanessa was there almost instantly, and we sat for hours, her grading, me trying to block out the Chinese-restaurant ambient music coming from behind the curtain to my right.
As soon as I got the nausea under control, I announced my decision to go home. Melissa and Vanessa were able to keep me company for the several hours it took to make that happen. We left during a freak downpour. I slept for 12 hours.
It’s day two of my recovery. It basically hurts to move. To stretch to bend down, to sit up, to stand up. My arms are sore from the incredible bruising all the needles caused. My four incision sites burn.
I’ve been grinding my teeth like crazy at night, apparently–I have the headache that comes from doing that.
But I’m going to be okay.
And I’m very thankful.
Thankful for all my co-workers who have covered classes for me.
Thankful for my son, who, the second I first started vomiting, got me a throw up bowl and gingerale and offered me a cool washcloth for my head. Who, although he’s sort of shy of strangers, kept marching out to the doctors’ desk at the ER to ask about the timeline for transport, etc.
Thankful for my Ian, who relieved the boy that first night, rubbed my back, and watched Dexter with me last night so I could focus on fictional blood and wounds.
Thankful for my Vanessa, who took me to the ER with the boy the second night, rescued me from the hospital, and is doing a Target run for me today.
Thankful for Melissa, Ken, April, Marina, Mandy Dawn, Tiffany, Tessa, Poonam, and everyone else who’s called, emailed, texted, offered and/or has given support and best wishes.
I don’t know exactly when I’ll be completely myself again, but I know it’ll be faster because of all of you.

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