Fifth Estate # 98, February 4-18, 1970

Dear Dr. Schoenfeld:

photo, Dr. Eugene Schoenfeld speaking at Community Arts Auditorium, May 28, 1969
Dr. Eugene Schoenfeld speaking at Community Arts Auditorium, May 28, 1969 at a benefit for Open City. Photo: Alan Gotkin.

I’m strung out on heroin. This doesn’t seem to have any long term advantages.

There are a good many places which offer help to addicts who wish to kick. But to the best of my knowledge, all of them ask the name of the patients and take photographs, etc. The confidential file always eventually becomes available to the law enforcers.

Rather than risk exposure I’ve been drifting along day to day. Is there a way to obtain assistance anonymously?

ANSWER: I’ve never heard of a drug clinic routinely photographing its patients but they will ask for his name and address.

If I were strung out on a drug and didn’t want to be part of a computer bank, I might choose to use a different name and address for my clinic visits. Theoretically, a patient’s files may not be released without his permission but theory and reality don’t always coincide.

Heroin use is increasing among street people. Addiction usually begins by using smack once in a while, then more frequently. Before he realizes it, the user is strung out. If you’ve any doubt that heroin can control people’s lives, consider that an estimated one third of New York City thefts are committed by junkies trying to support their habits.

Dear Dr. Hip Pocrates:

Since turning 18, I have donated blood every 3 months and in the space of 5 years have given over 20 pints. I donated this blood for free because I think charging money for something people need so bad is a drag, but lately I have run into some problems.

Recently I was donating blood at a center in San Francisco and admitted I used grass. The doctor made a note of this and then said I would have to sign yet another statement to that effect, a statement which had nothing to do with the donation process. I refused to sign the statement and after much hassle was eventually allowed to donate. What gives with this?

ANSWER: A short medical history is taken from potential donors to rule out conditions making donation of blood hazardous to donor or recipient. Certain forms of heart diseases, for example, might make donation risky to the donor. A history of hepatitis would preclude donation of blood because of danger to the recipient.

Known narcotics users are excluded from donating blood because their rate of hepatitis is so high. Erroneous associations between narcotics and marijuana probably accounts for the hassle you experienced.

Many blood banks refuse donors if they admit past use of LSD or other psychedelics. Again this is based on unfounded beliefs that blood is harmed by these drugs or that traces of the drugs remain in the bloodstream.

Dear Dr. Schoenfeld:

If a girl’s hymen is intact, how does the menstrual blood get out?

ANSWER: Only rarely does the hymen completely cover the vaginal opening. One or more small openings permit flow of menstrual blood.

Cyclic pain and cramping without bleeding in a young girl may indicate an imperforate hymen. Prompt medical attention is then necessary to prevent serious consequences.

Dear Dr. Hippocrates:

I know the latest trend is to go without underwear, but even with my modest length skirts I wouldn’t dare. My vagina constantly drips a milky substance. I am pretty sure it isn’t a discharge of disease, because it is not discolored, doesn’t itch, and I have had it for years. In the last few years this drip has become more of a problem.

Since I don’t plan to go around without underwear, I am not worried about leaving a trail like Hansel & Gretel, but I don’t like my underwear to look dirty after two or three hours. Sometimes my boyfriend will take off some of my clothes, and it embarrasses me to think he might notice. I think the drip is the result of sexual arousal, but since I don’t think I’m abnormally preoccupied with sex, I wonder what to do.

This is really too embarrassing to mention to my gynecologist.

ANSWER: Chronic sexual arousal is, unfortunately, the least likely source of a chronic vaginal discharge. Common causes are trichomonas, fungal and gonorrheal infections, erosion of the cervix or a reaction to birth control pills. Your gynecologist will neither be shocked by your questions nor embarrass you with his answers.

Dear Dr. Hip Pocrates:

The guy who thought up the enema idea for disciplining his wife is a genius! I used to strap my teenage spoiled-brat of a wife’s backside until she was black and blue without noticeably improving her behavior.

But after tying her down and administering only one enema the improvement in her behavior is remarkable. She hasn’t misbehaved since.

COMMENT: You’d better not turn your back to Women’s Liberation.

DEAR DR. HIP POCRATES is a collection of letters and answers published by Grove Press. 95 cents paperbound.

Dr. Schoenfeld welcomes your letters. Write to him c/o PO Box 680, Tiburon, California 94920.