New Uses for the Lady Garden

What do gallbladders, your loved one’s cremains and jewelry have to do with the uniquely female part of the anatomy? Well, affirming that truth is, indeed, stranger than fiction, here are three items I recently read about that provide an answer. Ready?

First, there’s a surgical procedure called transvaginal cholecystectomy that’s been available since 2007. In laywomen’s terms, this means a doctor removes your gallbladder through your vagina.

Now I make my living as a medical writer, and I’d never heard of this procedure before. My response when I read about it? Eew (not a medical term). Frankly, I’ve got a pretty short list of things I want going into or coming out of my vagina – and a gallbladder isn’t one of them. Some surgeons, however, apparently think the procedure is greatest thing since sliced bread.

The technique is referred to as NOTES – natural orifice translumenal endoscopic surgery. In NOTES cases, the surgeon uses a patient’s vagina or – I kid you not – mouth to remove organs such as the gallbladder, kidney and appendix.

So why would you have one of these offending organs removed through your “natural orifice” versus a tiny incision in your abdomen (where said organ resides)?

Well, proponents say the technique reduces the number of abdominal incisions compared to traditional laparoscopic surgery. With NOTES, a small camera must still be inserted through an incision in the belly button to help guide the surgeon, but the organ is cut out and removed through the vagina (or mouth, especially if you don’t have a vagina). They say this approach may also reduce pain and shorten recovery time.

Okay, maybe it does. But laparoscopic surgery is minimally invasive to begin with. I had my gallbladder removed that way in 2005 and it was pretty easy-peasy. Plus, what about a straight line being the shortest distance between two points? Going through my vajayjay or word-hole to reach an organ in my abdomen seems like taking the long way around the barn.

So I’ve decided that, should I ever need to have my appendix or kidney removed, I’m keeping my mouth shut and my legs crossed. Which brings me to item #2:

A Dutch guy has created a “memory box” that enables widows to not simply remember but also relive intimate moments with their deceased partner. Named 21 Grams, it’s a kit that includes a hand-blown glass dildo containing a small gold-plated urn that can hold up to 21 grams of the dearly departed’s cremains.

Once again, I kid you not. Kinda gives an entirely new meaning to the phrase “getting your ashes hauled,” doesn’t it?

The 21 Grams moniker, BTW, refers to early 20th century experiments (now discredited) that suggested the body loses 21 grams of weight at the moment of death; this was presumed to be the weight of the human soul.

In addition to the dildo, the made-to-order kit contains a scent atomizer (for spritzing your beloved’s favorite fragrance), a small drawer to hold a handkerchief or other personal item, and an amplifying slot for your iPhone so you can listen to “our song” while you, um, put your see-through joy stick where it’s meant to go.

Don’t get me wrong. I certainly understand that physical intimacy can be one of the greatest losses we experience when a partner dies. But recreating it with a glass dildo filled with your dead partner’s ashes? Come again?

Then again, who am I to judge? Just because I find it totally cringe-worthy doesn’t mean there aren’t folks out there who are, shall we say, up for it. And just think of the taglines you could come up with to market it. I kinda like “Forever (Up) Yours.”

Finally, for those among us who choose to wear genitalia as jewelry, there’s now wearable handmade art from an artist who’s calling her company Vulvé. She offers intricately beaded earrings and necklaces that are meant to look like – you guessed it! – a woman’s vulva.

If you like having fashion accessories that resemble your lady parts dangle from your ears or hang around your neck, you can check them out on Instagram (@vulveaccessories).

So, I’m not sure how all these items relate to being a baby boomer, except that at our age you begin to realize that just about anything is possible – including new uses for the lady garden – inspiring this haiku:

Apparently, it’s
not just our minds we should keep
open as we age.

What do you think? What are some things – events, products, human behavior, whatever – that have you shaking your head in disbelief and/or laughing out loud?



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