Tag Archives: menopause

Stuff: My Head Was Getting Full

Greg Allman died. That made me cry. I’ve been a fan for most of my adult life (translation: since Mark and I have been together as adults because he’s a HUGE fan) and that’s part of why I cried. I knew how it would affect Mark. And Matthew. Matt sent Mark a note on FB saying, “This isn’t real, is it?” Of course, it was.

The Day The Music Died played in my head – when Sweet Melissa and I’m No Angel weren’t. The music didn’t really die. Just the musician. Taken down by the same insidiousness that took many others. Others with names like Joplin, Morrison, Hendrix, Cobain, Cornell, Jennings.

Waite.

What do I hate about addiction? Is it that it’s selfish? That it is a form of entitlement that doesn’t just destroy the one addicted but entire families, communities even? Yes. Of course. I hate that it disguises itself as pleasure and peace. I hate that I love that pleasure and peace.

Am I an addict?

Probably not but maybe so. I have the genetic predilection certainly, on both sides. I remember being at an Al Anon meeting once and voicing my frustration.

“Isn’t there someplace I can go where this shit doesn’t exist?”

To a person, those in the meeting with me either shook their heads or simply said no. Take away the alcohol, the drugs and what is left to be addicted to? Food, sex, work, shopping, money. Obviously it’s not the substance at fault. It’s the behavior patterns. And we all have them.

Am I an addict?

I have been, yes. I have displayed addictive behavior driven by everything from hormones to the lack of them. All the kids at home to the kids all moving away. Euphoria to depression. Not enough work to too much work. Not enough choice to everything laid out before me like a banquet. No ice-cream in the house to an actual banquet.

My latest dilemma is stress at work and sleepless nights, both of which, of course, feed on each other. In my first half-century I could count the nights I was unable to sleep on one hand. This does not include infant/child induced lack of sleep. Those were a given and had nothing to do with not being physically and psychologically able to let go of wakefulness. No, the latter is something that was saved for me until I was lulled into a false hey, this getting older thing might be okay, state of mind. Kids are grown, hot flashes are easing, I see freedom calling up ahead sort of thoughts were roaming playfully in my brain.

Then the next section in the manual opened itself up to me and revealed that those hormones I used to have do more than just all those other things I thought they did. They also helped me to sleep.

Apparently they’re gone just like said slumber.

I, literally, lay awake all night long.

It happened once. And again. Then again. And more regularly. I started taking half a Benadryl at night get to sleep but it didn’t always work, so I’d take a whole one. Sleep was deep and as long as I took it fairly early I could drink enough coffee in the morning to wake up for the day. Which became a problem in itself because I really don’t have a large coffee capacity. One or two cups are the maximum and it always took a third to shake the antihistamine blues, which, in turn made me shaky and a little dizzy. Then the antihistamine stopped working and I became pretty frantic. I cut down on coffee, upped my water intake and spent a couple of days and nights trying to get my shit together so I could sleep when I was supposed to sleep and be awake, you know, when I was driving and working and stuff. I went to my doctor who offered me Ambien or something like it. Non-habit forming, of course. Such an ironic, bullshit claim. Perhaps the drug itself is non-addictive but if you, like – everybody – are a fan of sleeping, the drug becomes your habit. There’s no way around that. Also, there are some pretty severe side effects with Ambien.  My two favorite, upon reflection are hallucinations and sleeplessness.

I’ll just let you mull that one over.

I took a pass.

My doctor was okay with the half dose of antihistamine but concerned that I took it within an hour of having a night-cap consisting of a shot (and probably a half) of tequila. I told her my liver wasn’t completely happy with me either, but the tequila helped me fall asleep and the antihistamine kept me asleep all night.

That’s important – the all night thing. Some of my worst times have been when I wake up from a sound (sober) sleep in a full on panic because – for no reason at all. Anxiety is in full swing with no warning and no solution and by the time I’ve reached a state of I’m actually not going to die horribly at this very moment I’m wide awake and pissed. And still anxious as I go over every single thing that is/could be/was yesterday/might be tomorrow – wrong in my life, Mark’s life and the lives of my children, grandchild, mother and brother. I have, at times, scooted over to cuddle with Mark but that wakes him up because he knows, even in his deepest slumber, that I do not like to be touched in my sleep. We have lines of demarcation in our bed that may not be breached once I’m in lala land. When the kids were little it was this way because one or more of them were there nightly and there was barely room to breathe. Then it was hot flashes. If I cuddle up to my poor hubby, he knows somethin’ aint right and will wake up ready to take on the world in a way only certified morning people are able to do but it’s the middle of the night so we’re both screwed.

……….Or so I told my doc.

She said, again, that perhaps the Ambien would be a better choice. I said, again, no thank-you.

I have an aversion to relying on medication. I mean, if I had to take something because I was diabetic or had epilepsy it would be different – and I have taken meds for PTSD (long story there……well, really not so long, but for another time) and depression. There was a start date and an end date in sight with both, so I wasn’t quite as concerned. I became addicted to nose spray once. Started taking it when I had a cold and didn’t get off it for two years. The thing about nose spray with a decongestant/antihistamine is that, besides making one look sexy and attractive when shoving it in one nostril then the other and taking a deep huff each time, it makes your nasal passages more open than they would ever be naturally. When you try to stop taking it cold turkey you don’t just get a stuffy nose. Your nasal passages slam shut like there’s actual gold in there to be protected and you can’t breathe through your nose, nor can you swallow because you can’t breathe through your nose. Try it. Plug your nose and try to swallow.

My father was addicted to nose spray. He became ill and was in the hospital where an idiot doctor overdosed him (that one is a long story) with a medication his body basically had a bad reaction to. He was in a state of unconsciousness for such a period of time that we truly thought he would not make it. During that time he could, of course, not take his nose spray. We watched as he struggled to breathe. His suffering was incredibly difficult to witness and inspired the aversion I spoke of earlier.  After Dad recovered I went to my doctor for help in ridding myself of the nose spray. She said, simply, to use it in one side or the other as often as I needed until the side that wasn’t getting any assistance unplugged, then stop using it on the other side. She said it could take about three weeks. I was off it in less than two and felt so free and, well, stupid for not figuring this out much, much sooner.

Now, to get back on medication and have to depend on it for something that should come as naturally as sleep? No. I couldn’t see it. Still, if I was honest with myself, it was six of one and half dozen of the other in the drugs vs. alcohol category.

Am I an addict?

Probably. But I’m an extremely particular one, if so.

I stopped taking the antihistamine a few weeks ago. The long term effects started to rear their ugly heads. Moodiness, increased day-time anxiety, depression – they came on fast and were difficult to control. I cut out sugar at night, back on coffee in the morning, cranked up my water intake and am gradually settling into a more restful pattern leading up to bed time. Basically I’m a three-year-old again. Who gets a jigger of tequila and a Coronita nightly if she wants.

I’m not giving up all my fun.

I sleep better, for the most part. Electronics are banished to drawers and other rooms. TV is off and the temperature is cool. I’m dreaming again which means I’m not taking myself to an oblivious place and when I wake up it’s just slow and cranky like it’s been from the time I was a child. Not groggy and “why did I take the stupid antihistamine again,” the way it had been for a few months.

Am I an addict? I have addictive tendencies – just like most people, I suppose. I’m on guard, though. I mean, everybody has to die from something but I won’t go because I drank/smoked/shot up/snorted my internal organs to death. That hurts like hell. That hurts everybody like hell and it’s hard to get over. Some people tend to obsess, even.

Can one be addicted to making sure they’re not addicted?

These and other insane questions will be covered on the next edition of “Shit I write down so my head won’t explode.”

<Insert eye roll here>

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Poof! Anxiety is Gone… or something… And I do not have ADHD… Yet

I have spent the last week with an old acquaintance named anxiety.

What a jerk.

He comes over uninvited, makes himself at home, doesn’t explain the reason for the visit and commences to wreak havoc. I did what I could on my own then threw up my hands and called my good buddy, tequila. We sipped a shot together and my stomach untwisted enough for me to get my shit together and show anxiety the door. The problem is, anxiety has his own key.

And we all know tequila can’t stay forever or he turns from the solution into the problem.

Like I always, eventually do, I started the backtracking inventory, researching and figuring out why my head seems to be so far up my – uh – why I’m anxious. Is it psychological, physiological, work-related, stress-related? Am I not getting to the gym? Am I not saying no enough?

For me, anxiety is almost always self-induced by the mythological I-can-do-it-all syndrome that affects women from 9 to 90. I work full time and have a lot of obligations, just like millions of my sisters around the globe. Is it menopause related? I don’t know. I can’t tell you what point of menopause I’m in because there’s no map supplied by life – thanks God – and we will be discussing this later….. I have a mental picture of me saying these things to God and God sitting at his laptop reading them, eyes going wide, clapping his (we’re going with ‘him’ as no woman would ever do to herself or another female what menopause does) hand over his mouth to smother naughty giggles…….

Yes, I personify The Almighty as a 13-year-old nerd, pranking womankind.

Sometimes.

In this case.

It’s a testament to how close to the edge I can get when desperate for answers. I mean, come on. I can’t walk around with my heart in my throat all the time. It makes me grouchy as hell. Neither do I want to be zonked on Benadryl constantly. That stuff makes me cantankerous after a while too.

<sigh>

……….I went to have my hair colored yesterday.

Not cut. Just colored.

I’ve never split my appointments up before, but because I waited until the last minute (read three inches of roots) to schedule them, my colorist and stylist couldn’t be booked on the same day for a month out. I took what I could get, which was a color appointment right before Mr. Smooshy Kissy Cheek’s Kindergarten Moo-sical. I was sure I’d have at least 45 minutes between completion of the appointment and the start of the barn show. Plenty of time.

And I don’t know what my colorist was doing with her time but I felt neglected. She put the foils in my hair, had someone else wash the color out (which is normal). She put toner in, plopped me in a chair and I never saw her again.

I sat, waiting, for long enough that I wondered what the hell was happening. There was a brief moment of fear in which I remembered the girl who does my color was a classmate of one of my daughters and said daughter told me they did not get along – in fact the words “can’t stand,” “mean as hell” and “such a b!#ch” might have been thrown around. However, as that was 10 years past and the “mean as hell” girl is nice to me, does fabulous color, and it’s my hair, #1 agreed sucking it up was in order. But – had my colorist suddenly remembered the animosity between them and decided to take it out on my hair?

I tried not to panic. It wasn’t as if I could just leave. There were mysterious chemicals on my head, of which I was (and am) completely ignorant.

I took deep breaths and watched a girl sweep the hair from three different stations, empty it into the garbage and take the garbage outside. She then came back, introduced herself as Maddy and said she’d been sent to wash and blow dry my hair.

Okay.

Everything was good. Normal.

The speed at which Maddy moved was neither. It took her five actual minutes to comb out my hair and 32 actual minutes to attempt a blow dry. I knew she was a student and learning and was fine with that – unlike the student in the teaching hospital where Kimberly was born…… I made it clear, at that time, to my doctor that I wanted no residents anywhere near me. Brandon’s birth had been a horrible ordeal, during which we both could have died and I wanted nothing but seasoned professionals around for the birth of my second child. So, when the unfamiliar doctor came in to check my progress during labor I asked if he was a resident. He said yes. I said how happy I was to meet him and that he should take the goddamned glove off because that hand was going nowhere near my cervix…….. But this was just hair.

“Just hair.”

Seriously. 32 minutes.

At minute 20 I told Maddy how much I appreciated her efforts but was in quite a time crunch.

“Oh, of course,” she said. “I understand schedules.”

At minute 30 I released a sigh that sounded more like a growl. Maddy just continued on with the little, tiny section of hair she was drying.

“May I ask a favor,” I said at minute 32. “Give me the dryer. Just hand me the dryer.”

I grabbed it, flipped my head over and had the top of my head, which was literally still wet, dry in about 30 seconds. I mean, Jesus, it’s the desert and I have fine hair. Unless I’m standing out in the 100 degree sun and am in the middle of a frigging hot flash, it takes me, at the very most, 10 minutes to dry and style my locks.

Finally all was well.

Then I saw it.

In the middle of my head there was basically a big blonde mass. A forelock so brightly colored it looked like a bald spot.

“Is everything okay,” Maddy asked nervously. She reached toward my hair.
“Don’t touch me,” I said. “I’m going to use the restroom, then pay and I have to go. I’m late.”

I walked away and reached the bathroom right before I burst into tears because damn it, now I’d have to think about my hair and that’s my one rule. I don’t want to have to think about it. I get it cut and colored three or four times a year and I don’t have to think about it otherwise. But now I would because there’s a big blonde bald-looking spot right in the middle of my face…………

………And it’s a couple of days later…….. I’ve calmed down and had my hair washed and cut and the “spot” is blended and makes sense with the style……. Sort of……..

Maybe I’m just too picky. Maybe it’s wrong of me to insist that my hair look more like my natural color from 25 years ago and less like a photo of Bonnie Raitt.

Does anyone get that reference?

If you want to feel old, make jokes around people in their twenties. One of the guys at work started complaining about his hair the other day. Because it resembled Greg Brady’s from The Brady Bunch I said, “Oh calm down Greg. You’re getting it cut this afternoon, right?” His face was completely blank.

“What? Why’d you call me Greg?”

I had to explain the joke and show him a clip from The Brady Bunch. He’d never heard of it.

And just in case anyone wonders, google photos of Bonnie Raitt.

Later I was on break and scrolling my Facebook feed. Sean Hayes had posted one of his lip sync videos and I was watching it and laughing. Another of the babies who works for me asked what was so funny and I said I was watching a Sean Hayes lip sync video.

He gave me a blank stare.

“Sean Hayes,” I repeated. “You know, Jack, from Will and Grace.”

Same stare.

From somewhere in my brain I heard the words, fire him.  Instead I threw him a nasty look and told him to go back to work.

Almost everyone with whom I work is younger than I.

And it’s okay. I don’t mind. Most of the time.

It’s just…… Well, if there’s any levity it almost has to be on their level because it’s one thing for me to stay current but if we have to go back in time, I have to give history lessons and we all know I have no patience for that crap. I mean, I know Will and Grace has been off the air for a while but….

Oh God. I am a dinosaur.

Seriously. I just looked up when Will and Grace was on the air and I can’t believe it’s been OFF longer than it was on.

What about Friends? BRB

12 years off the air!

<sigh>

So my humor, my newest humor, is at least ten years old because, seriously, I don’t think much of what’s on now is funny. I like The Big Bang Theory and Amy Schumer, but Vine and Snapchat? Ugh. Olivia will, every now and then, find me in a weak moment – I’ve just gotten out of bed or the shower and can’t move quickly enough to avoid what I know is coming – and force-feed me six and a half second videos that she swears will simply tear me up with laughter.

They don’t.

I’m sure some are funny. I just haven’t seen those. Yet. Because my daughter insists we keep on trying. And because it puts me in close proximity with my youngest, I agree.

But they’re not funny.

Karen Walker is funny. Lucy and Ethel are still funny. Barney Fife is still funny. That big, dorky guy who does the Chrysler Pacifica commercials – Jim Gaffigan – is hilarious. So I guess, if you count him and Amy Schumer, I like current stuff.

Over 30 stuff.

To each generation their own.

I remember when Mark showed a clip of Robin Williams Live On Broadway to his father and Pops very calmly told us exactly how unfunny Mr. Williams and his crass, profane brand of humor was. Pops hates swear words. Robin Williams used them liberally. Mark and I use them liberally – unless Pops is around. I tone it down then. Mark, not so much.

I’m a lady.

See. That, right there, is funny. If you know me.

And the kids at work are getting there.

They laugh. At me. When I dance. And trip. And am myself. And I laugh back because – because it’s just the best thing and –

Then.

Poof……….

……..Anxiety is gone.

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Random Hump-Day Thoughts……

It’s Wednesday.

Glenn Frey is still dead. It wasn’t some big, nasty, stupid joke. I’m still sad. He was the third thing I thought of this morning at 3:30 when I woke up and my brain kicked in. I’d have given him more thought but it was 3:30 and I knew that if I didn’t shut things down I would be up for the day. So I drifted back to sleep with the tune of Tequila Sunrise playing in my head.

Someone posted a picture of the Kardashians on Facebook the day after Glenn died with a caption that said something like, Dear Universe: Stop taking the musicians from my youth. Take these instead. Not funny, but I get it. You always wonder why the good ones are taken and the – well – you know….. are left. But really, if you don’t like them, just change the channel, don’t wish them dead. Even the Kardashians serve a purpose.

I don’t know what it is, so don’t ask me……

Who else thinks wearing colored contacts is like wearing butt enhancing jeans or guys wearing heels? The truth is gonna come out – or off – eventually. It changes who you are – which is a person’s prerogative but it’s your eyes. Am I overreacting?

I’m a week and three days into a six week training period for a half marathon I’ve (sort of) committed to running with Kimmy and Matti (Bodington). The first week everything hurt in a way I didn’t know existed. I truly thought my joints would just crumble into dust. I took the first three days off into the second week because my body said so.

I started whining at one point.

Mark said, “Maybe try some glucosamine and condroitin.” I said, “How about I try tequila and beer.” Mark said, “No. You decided to lay off the liquor to do this. You can have your five ounces of Cabernet with dinner, though.” I said, “Well, isn’t that just fine for you to say, missy boy, lucky duck, with your hurt back and dumb injured heel.” Mark said, “That and my lack of stupid.” I said, “What’s that supposed to mean?” Mark said, “It means I’d have told Kimmy no a year ago when, at the end of the last race she asked you if you wanted to do the race with them this year.” I said, “I totally thought she’d forget.” Mark, looking at me with pity, said, “Honey. This is one of our offspring. How many times do they forget anything we want them to forget?” “Never,” I whispered. Mark patted my shoulder softly, so as not to hurt me further because I tend to forget he’s my friend when the pain is too much. “Come on,” he said. “I’ll run you a hot tubby.” “That’s right you will,” I told him. “And next time shut me up.” He rolled his eyes and muttered something that sounded like, “cause that’ll ever happen.”

Hot flash update. Still having them. Hate everyone from God on down during certain ones. I have a sugar low during some and still others bring on a brief panic attack that literally stops any forward movement. I was freezing all day long last Friday. Decided about four o’clock to take a nice warm bath with lavender oil. Put my icy toe in the water and the rest of me went up in flames so hot I had to lay face down, naked as the day I was born, on the bathroom tile and pant till the steam went away.

Mark put the winter, flannel sheets on the bed because he thought they’d “be a better option” for the woman who sweats then freezes then sweats then freezes.

“You can just sleep naked on these, hon,” he said. “You’ll be cooler that way.”

It’s not that he doesn’t understand that this is a from the inside out heating issue. He’s been trying to get me to sleep naked for 30 years, saw an opportunity and took a chance. I walked out of the room at that point in our discussion because I felt my vagina start to heat up and not in a good way. In case it was one of the “hate everything that lives” flashes I didn’t want to be in arms reach of anyone I actually care about. After it was over I stomped back.

“I will never sleep naked so stop asking,” I said. “It’s a texture thing for me and you know it! I dress in layers for everything!”
“Yes I do know,” Mark said. “Now, so do the neighbors.”
Whatever. And wipe that smirk off your face. You are not the sane one in this relationship. I am calm. I am pragmatic. I am no nonsense. I am down to earth.”
“Yes, all of you are.”
Do not make fun of me.
“I swear I’m not,” he said. “It’s just the hormones – ”
“Or fucking lack thereof! Whose idea was this? What kind of sick joke is it that women go through this? And do you know what else? I bought a frigging Vogue the other day expressly to read an article about a so called “female viagra.” Wow, I thought. It’s about time. I waded through all the 12-year-olds wearing incredibly ugly clothes, found the article on page 1080, got two sentences in and you know what? It’s for pre-menopausal women. Seriously? What the hell do they need it for? Till I hit the big M, sex was always on my mind. I still think about it if someone reminds me! I mean, you – when you remind me, I think of sex but I got all excited thinking there was something that would restore that all the damn time thing! Not that I don’t love it. I still do. I love sex. You know that. We have sex all the time and I like it. Super a lot! I just, you know, think – female viagra – a good thing……..” <sigh>

God is not a woman.

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Really. It shouldn’t have to hurt.

I want to talk about Male Privilege.   I capitalize, because it’s an actual thing.  Many men are unaware of it because, well, they’re men and they have it.  I spoke to my husband about Male Privilege and, while he didn’t scoff, he did get that, “I really wanna roll my eyes because here we go again, but I’d better not roll my eyes on the off chance that she’s serious about this and rolling my eyes will simply piss her off and the diatribe will go on that much longer”, look on his face, but managed, albeit with extreme difficulty, from allowing the eyes to roll.  
 
Male Privilege is rampant in our society and exists on every level from who is elected president to who gets the Viagra.  I’m not here to go into the whole, “glass ceiling,” thing or who gets paid 20% less simply because she was born with different genitalia.  I’ve covered that and will again, without a doubt, until it is no longer an issue.  
 
Today, I want to talk medication.  
 
I was watching television the other night, practically asleep, when a commercial came on that blew my mind.  It’s for a new medication that works to repair vaginal tissue in women post-menopause.  My first thought was, WHAT THE HELL HAPPENS TO VAGINAL TISSUE AFTER MENOPAUSE THAT IT NEEDS REPAIRING?!  They never answered that particular question, but it doesn’t sound like it’s anything good.  I watched the perfectly coiffed women, dressed all in white or off white and reclining on white or off white furniture with white or off white drapes blowing in the sea breezed background, as they smiled and gave me the low down on the 753 side effects this medicine could possibly have.  I waited, holding my breath, to hear what it could do.  I was never fully informed, but did get this.
 
“Sex after menopause,” the 30-year-old actress said, “It shouldn’t have to hurt.”
 
What.
 
I – what?
 
That’s all we get?  Not only did they not tell me what happens down there that a good dose of KY couldn’t take care of, they gave me a tag line that reads like the warning on a tube of hemorrhoid cream.
 
“It shouldn’t have to hurt?”
 
Men get, “Be a man,” and, “You can have pleasure any time you want.”  They get three dozen ways to take their youthful erection into their frigging 90’s and women get, “It shouldn’t have to hurt.”
 
That’s Male Privilege. 
 
Last week I watched The View, and the ladies reported on a medication that is touted as THE solution to a woman’s waning mid-life libido.  Okay, I thought, maybe we’re getting there.  This sounds like a promising start.  This doctor has done scientific studies that say this will increase everything from desire to orgasm in women who have issues in any or all of these areas. 
 
Problem?  Of course, you knew there was one.
 
It’s a shot, ladies.  In the vagina.  Oh, wait, I almost forgot.  It’s a $1500.00 shot.  IN THE VAGINA.  And – wait for it – it’s not covered by ANY insurance plan at this time.
 
I can’t even tell you what the stuff is supposed to do exactly because I couldn’t get past the facts in the above paragraph, some of which I find myself unable to read again, much less write.  I do, however, want to know how many men would allow someone to shove a sharp pointy thing into their most tender nether regions with only a vague, “it works for many,” as a guarantee for success.
 
That’s what I thought.
 
Look, I don’t, by any stretch of the imagination, hate men.  I don’t even really resent the edge they have in this world.  I don’t even need them to feel my pain!  I’m more of a humanist than a feminist, and I just would like to see us sort of even things up a bit, for crying out loud.  Pretty sure this won’t accomplish that.
 
Can you imagine?  There’s a beautiful sunset, a gorgeous beach, you and your sweetheart are half a bottle of wine in and you decide the moment is right.  He’s cool because he took his little blue pill half an hour ago.  You’re feeling like it’ll be okay because you’ve been taking the medicine to fix whatever is wrong vagina-wise (and you have that side-effect tic under control by sheer force of will and a xanax), but you have to put him off for a few minutes while you go insert a needle into a place where needles don’t belong?  How anxious are you to see this thing through?
 
To be fair, my retention of exactly what the procedure entails, what it does and how often, and where it needs to be performed are fuzzy because, as I’ve stated, the idea of how it’s – uh – distributed caused me to throw up a little in my mouth and fight the urge to faint.
 
But that’s just me.  
 
And it’s a brave new world.
 
Perhaps this will work for you.  Please keep me informed.
 
I wonder if Gloria Steinham has tried it.

 

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“A woman walks into a gynecologist’s office…….”

So, I went to the gynecologist last week.  Good time.  Relatively.  Everything looks good.  I got my order for the yearly boob smashing session and for the pelvic probe where they use equipment that looks like it would be fun, but isn’t.  I’m not sure the doctor was prepared for the amount of time I took up asking questions.  Seriously, though, it was necessary.  A lot has changed since my last check-up.

            Dr. T introduced herself and invited me to call her by her first name, Janet.  Janet then read my name and made fun of how it’s spelled.  She said it’s a, “weird” way to spell Lorie. 

Sigh….

I tried to restrain myself from explaining the many, varied and inferior ways Lorie is spelled.  It’s a conversation I can have easily – but usually only with other people named Lori, Laurie, Lory, Laury, Lari, Lorrie, Lorry, Lorrey– the latter easily the worst way to spell it.

Sorry.  I know, harsh, but it is what it is. 

I actually had the Lorie conversation with the daughter of a Lori the other day.  The reason the name so interested her was because both her mother and step-mother are named Lori/Laurie.  We nodded in complete agreement that her mother got the benefit of better spelling. 

            “See,” I said to the doctor.  “It’s like this, Laurie is a somewhat cumbersome spelling and the pronunciation is a bit muddled, as is Laury.  Is it Low-ree or Law-ree?  The break in the two syllables is between the u and the r.  In any of the Lor versions, the break is after the r, making the name much simpler to pronounce and more melodic to the ear.  ‘Lari,’ is really just unfortunate and usually pronounced, ‘Larry.’  It’s kind of a, what were you thinking, Mom, spelling.

            “Lorrie, Lorry, Lorrey and Lory are, in order of spelling, visually unappealing, a street-car, a street-car spelled incorrectly and somebody trying to be a little too different. 

            “When it comes down to it, Lori and Lorie are the way to go.

            “But don’t.

            “Let’s face it, the name, pretty as it is, is out of style.  When you hear the name Lorie or any derivative thereof, you have a very good chance of guessing a woman’s age, within five or so years and depending on the spelling, without ever setting eyes on her.  It’s the same with Rhonda, Judy, Julie (not Julia), Debbie, Sue, Terri, Karen and Cindy.

            “Lori(e), as an entire name, has had its day.  Lauren or, as it’s spelled in my daughter’s case, Loran, is a little more timeless.  Which brings up the only real problem I ever had with my name.  It’s not a name.  It’s a nick name

            “Kind of like Lori, but with an e, which, according to my mother, is a very important letter.  She’ll tell you, if asked, that adding the e took Lori out of the annals of nick names and enabled it to stand alone

            “Which sounds kind of romantic and dignified. 

            “The truth is, Lorie is short for Lorie Ann – which, in a family of Bonnie Jean, Julie Ann, Kathy Jo, Tami Claire, Cheryl Ann, Tawny Sue and Mary Lou, sounded just a little bit too red neck for me, so nobody but my mom and dad were ever allowed to call me by both my names.”

Over time I have, as I explained to the doctor, grown to appreciate the spelling of my name, that didn’t seem like an actual name, and was a bit put off that Janet (you thought I forgot where I was going in the first place, didn’t you?) pointed out the spelling in a negative manner.

I showed her who was weird.

Still me.

Or, I suppose weird isn’t really the correct term.  I’m not weird – well, I am, but that’s not the point.  What I am, is pre-menopausal, which, of course, I didn’t need her to tell me.  I remember puberty and this is pretty much puberty backwards, in that, what was started then is stopping now. 

Can I live without my period?  Duh.

Can I live without the hormones that come along with my period?  Sort of.  I mean, I can live without them, but the body temperature regulation and skin elastin properties they supply are harder to let go of.  I mean, one can start to sag in places that make you go, what the hell?

Enough said about that.

Except to Janet.

A lot.

I’m pretty sure her staff only carved out the standard 20 minutes for exam time, get to know each other time and question and answer time.  Which was, in my mind, her tough luck.  When I made the appointment I told them I needed my yearly exam and would need time to discuss some peri-menopausal treatment options before my moods and temper got the better of me and I started taking out old boyfriends (I know how to hold a grudge) and people texting while driving on the freeway.

Besides, there wasn’t anybody behind me in the waiting room except for the extremely pregnant woman in what had to be termed very mild labor.  She wasn’t going anywhere in that extra 20 minutes I needed.

Not that the 20 minutes got me what I wanted.  I didn’t even get a very good answer to the pointed questions I asked.

Can you help the hot flashes and can you stop that ugly crepey look my skin seems to want to sport in spite of baby oil treatments and the ridiculously priced body cream I keep investing in.

All Janet had to offer was a spiel about the difference between natural and synthetic hormones (Horse pee?  Really?), and a choice between a prescription for a beginner’s dose of the former, or birth control pills – both aimed at bringing back my period.

“Will bringing back my period eliminate the hot flashes?”

“No.”

“Will it help me produce or replace the estrogen that aids in the elasticity of my skin, the ability to sleep through night and the reproduction of whatever brain cells assist in remembering – well – just about anything?  Because, lately, I forget at least a little bit of just about everything, up to and including where I’m going when I’m walking to there.”

“Walking to where?”

“That’s right!”

“Where are you going?”
“That’s the point!”

“What is?  Where you’re going?”

“I don’t know where I’m going.”

“Why?”
“How in the hell should I know?  That’s why I’m here!”

Honest.  To.  God.

I’m telling you, Janet is, at least my age if not five or so years my senior.  I know damn well she knows from pre-menopause and was starting to believe she was holding out on me for the fun of it.

I took a deep breath.

“I need help, doctor.  My hot flashes start from the inside out, if you know what I mean.  I don’t sleep through a night without at least an antihistamine and a margarita and I have the attention span of a gnat.  My OCD is in top notch form and God help the person who doesn’t do exactly what I say, how I say and when I say it.  Not that what I say makes much sense, even to me.  My husband said the other day, somewhat sarcastically, in my opinion, he’s enjoying making friends with all the new people in my head.  Personally, I think it’s just fucking crowded in there and I’d appreciate some help thinning the crowd.

There was a protracted silence while the good doc wrote out several prescriptions, numbered them and handed them to me.

“Try these,” she said.  “In order and per instructions.  We’ll talk again in a couple of months.”

I have not, as yet, filled the prescriptions because I have another doctor to see.  She’s a naturopathic physician and practices a holistic type of medicine.  I’m not completely sure exactly what that entails but recognize the word, “whole,” and figure it involves looking at all of my physiological and psychological opportunities, and treating me as an entire person, rather than just one end or the other.

I bet she’ll get the, “Lorie,” thing.

 

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They call me The Flash………..

I started a new job about a week and half ago.  It’s full time.  While I’m profoundly grateful and enjoy my new gig, I have to say, working is so cutting into my blog time………..

In other news, I’m having hot flashes.

I count myself fairly lucky because having heard a lot of things about them, I expected worse.  Maybe worse is yet to come, but at the moment, they’re only inconvenient – on different levels, depending on the kind of hot flash it is.

I made a list.

Mark has it memorized, keeps himself armed with Doritos, chocolate, ice packs and alcohol and is actively lobbying congress for more money dedicated to finding a safe and effective way for women to bypass this horrible idea someone, who shall remain nameless, must have had at the beginning of time.

Here is the list.  In order.  From not too bad, to, does it honestly get worse than this?

There’s the, is it stuffy in here, variety.

There’s the heat creeping up your spine like a snake trailing Icy Hot, kind.

There’s the throwing off the covers because it’s so hot it yanks you out of a deep sleep and a damn good dream, only to pull the same blankets back on two minutes later because you’re freezing your ass, type.

There’s the sweaty, if you don’t get your hairy, 16 pound arm off me this instant you will become a flying projectile, sort.

There is, and this would be my personal favorite, if I had one, which I, of course don’t because why? Right.  Hot flashes are a baaaaad badbadbadbad idea.

This one is the, instant sweat from every conceivable pore, so hot I can barely breathe and my effing ears are burning like I’m an embarrassed red head, strain.  It is the granddaddy mother – grandmother f#(%*^ of hot flashes and it makes me want to plunge myself into Lake Erie in the middle of a Buffalo, NY blizzard, hot.

Instead, depending on where I am – say at work in front of other humans who expect a certain amount of normal behavior of a person in a public setting, even in this day and age – I refrain from ripping my shirt off, take deep breaths, slowly in and out, lift the suddenly sopping hair off my neck, grab the nearest object that will work as a fan, and try to bring relief to my body and calm back into my brain before the swear words clanging around in there have a chance to spew out of my mouth.

And the hot flashes are not, “bad,” yet……..

They make me want to punch small kittens.

I can feel them in the pool and under an ice cold shower.

I can feel them walking across the black top parking lot at the mall when it’s 110 degrees, which confuses the crap out of me.  How could I feel hotter than 110 degrees?

In an effort to ease the stress of these sporadic little previews of what the priests always told me was waiting in my future if I didn’t get right with the Big Guy, I looked up what causes hot flashes online.

Turns out it’s pre-menopause/menopause that causes them.

No shit kidding?

WebMd did give pointers to ease the flashes.  They said to avoid stress, caffeine and alcohol.  I can do all none of these.  I mean, seriously, I can only keep the former in line with the latter, and the middle one?  I’m expected to be awake at work and while driving.  Well, and in parent/teacher meetings and the grocery store and a whole bunch of other places I have to go.

I cling to the hope that I’m one of those women for whom hot flashes ease as time goes on.  So, desperately, does my husband, though what he’s got to complain about I can’t say.  He, like the other males of the species, is not affected personally by hot flashes, which I remind him of each evening when as he makes his bed on the floor so as not to bother me with his body heat while I try to sleep.

God he has it easy.

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If I Remember Right……..

They say you forget stuff as you age and I can see that.  I figure I systematically drop un-needed and outdated information on almost a daily basis.  Why this past year alone, while Mark has been an at-home-husband, I’ve very nearly forgotten how to cook and grocery shop.  Mr. Type AA personality – that’s Type A on steroids – had time on his hands and so improved his cooking skills triple-fold, started a blog about it and shot to number one on the grilling website he joined.  He took over the grocery shopping, started watching extreme couponing on TV and now has a jones to become one of the crazies.  The only problem I see is that, on Monday he goes back to work full time.  As I only work 20 – 30 hours per week, who do you think is going to have to take over the cooking and couponing?

That’s right, the person who has forgotten how.

Memory loss hasn’t affected me too much.  There are the occasional hormonal swings that cause me to lose a word here and there for a moment.  Scared the crap out of me the first time it happened.  I was, having a normal conversation about something inconsequential and I blanked on a word that was, literally, in my mind’s eye milliseconds before.

Yes, thank you, I did panic.

“Oh my God, I have a brain tumor,” I told my harder-to-drive-to-terror-than-he-used-be husband.

“You don’t have a brain tumor,” he said, not even looking up from an issue of Bar-b-Q Monthly.

“Then what is it?”

He reached over and punched up an article on his lap top.

“A Guide For The Men In Her Menopause.”

Okay, it didn’t say that.  I don’t remember the name of the article, but it amounted to an instruction booklet on the subject.  And it talked about the subject of mini-memory losses such as the one I’d experienced and that they were a temporary hormonal thing.

As usual, I was torn between gratitude that I had a solution to my anxiety-induced momentary freak out, and the fact that my husband apparently thought I was being a big enough beeotch that he had to do research on it.

“I was just being proactive,” said Mr. Mind-reader.

“Am I that bad?”

“Nah.  But you’ve been talking about how difficult it can get, so I decided to check things out.  You know – just in case.”

Whatever.

I considered staying mad, but decided…….hmmmmm……I forget…….

So, anyway, I was at work last night, assisting a dad and his nine or ten-year-old daughter with the purchase of school uniforms.  I thought how cute it was that the dad was doing the shopping with his daughter.  They reminded me of Mark and Olivia when she was that age.

I was a bit distracted, even as I tried to help with choices because I had a ton of back-stock and some new items to get out onto the sales floor, so, it was probably understandable that I missed any signals the Dad was sending out.

He just kept looking at me.

I smiled automatically each time, like a good (sales) girl, wondering what the hell time it was and if I’d brought enough food for supper.  I get inordinately hungry at work and hate it when I don’t pack a meal fit for a longshoreman.

About the 15th time the dad/guy looked at me, it dawned.

Oh my God, he’s flirting with me.

Another thing I’d forgotten about.

Of course it made me nervous.

I cannot remember the last time someone flirted with me.  Cousin-in-law Pete’s overly enthusiastic hugs at family events do not count.  Actual flirting suggests the aptitude for witty repartee or at least something other than a blank stare and a laugh that sounds like, “uh-huh-huh-huh.”  All of which said skills, I left in the dust bunnies, the puke and the pee somewhere in my 30 years of raising five ankle-biters.

Lucky Mark…….

Even had I been able to recall a smidge of my former charming self with which to dazzle this gentleman, it would have been wrong, right?  I’m married.

As it was, there was absolutely no danger.

The dad paid for his daughter’s clothes, gave me a long look and slow smile.

“Don’t work too hard,” he said.

“Don’t you worry ‘bout that,” said Elly Mae Clampett.  “Y’all come back now.”

And the flame in his eyes went dim.

Ironically, as the years keep rolling on, and I forget one thing after another, I will remember that encounter as the moment my sex appeal died.

I think.

What was I saying?

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