Tuesday, June 12, 2007

My Menopausal Manifest

Menopause Manifest Part II
My menopause symptoms are much more than an "inconvenience," as assumed by some people (see comments after Part I).  I consider them an AFFLICTION.  If your house burnt down to the ground would you call it "a bit of bad luck?"  Would it be "disappointing" to be diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease?  Would being found guilty of a crime you didn't commit, and sent to prison for 25 years, be a "temporary setback?"  I think not.

These 'hot flashes' occur 24 hours a day.  At night it's impossible to sleep through my frenzied attempts to yank the blankets off as quickly as possible and turn the ceiling fan back on high.  I'm forever seeking out new cold spots on the sheets to avoid soaking the bed with sweat, otherwise I'll have to get up and change the linen.  Five minutes later, after the hot flash is gone, I turn off the fan and hoist the blankets back on.  Pulling myself into a fetal position to avoid touching any wet or cold spots, I lay shivering, awaiting the next assault which seems to come right after I finally fall back to sleep. 
During the day, my clothes stick to me, I sweat off my make-up and my hair is always damp and limp.  I'm in a constant state of dressing, undressing and re-dressing. There's not a moment of the day when I feel anywhere NEAR 'comfortable.'  

In between the hot flashes, there are short lulls spent in absolute DREAD, waiting for the next cycle to begin. The syndrome takes over every aspect of my life.  Besides the hot flashes there's the mood swings and the altered state of consciousness to deal with as well.  Somedays I can hardly keep a thought in my head.  I have NO concentration and the attention span of a plastic plant.  Few of my tasks are ever completed.  I'm tired and frustrated.  Worst of all, I have NO patience.  I could KILL anyone under the age of 40 who rolls their eyes up at me when I can't think of the word I wanted to use.  The only thing I have firmly committed to memory is the location of every fan in the building where I work.  Worse yet, is that other women have told me that they have been suffering with these symptoms for 15 years!  I'll never make it!  I'm surprised we can't go out on disability with this. 
I do try to count my blessings.  I knew another woman who used to turn bright red, and her hair would flop before our eyes, and she'd be literally dripping with sweat.  I only "glow" a little when I'm flashing.  I'm thankful that I live and work in an environment that is air conditioned.  That I don't reside in Florida or Arizona.  That I don't work in a dry cleaners.  That I'm single and don't have a man wanting to have sex with me everytime I throw off the covers in the middle of the night. That my job description doesn't necessitate carrying a gun.
Now that the Baby Boomers have arrived at middle age, there must be millions of women all of the US having hot flashes, 24 hours a day.  Maybe the scientists should look into THAT as a cause of Global Warming.  I know I could melt a few icebergs all by myself.  Forget about a cure for the common cold.  Who cares how bad it is when you only suffer for TWO WEEKS?  Eradicate menopause and save the god damned world!


hewasolddog299 said...

My wife, also a nurse, has been in surgically induced menopause for over 12 years now. She is on HRT. Her only attempt at getting off resulted in such an increase in the need for psychotropic drugs that divorce was imminent (I love her dearly, but we have a lot of guns, knives and chainsaws around here).  She weighed all the risks involved with continued HRT and decided it was worth it to continue, despite the increased health risks. Our PCP hates it, but continues because she knows we'd simply shop around until we found someone of a like mind on the matter and therefore, nothing would be gained.
Frankly, I'm glad the PCP hung in there and I am glad my wife chose to continue HRT. I she were to choose to discontinue the HRT tomorrow, I'd support her decision, but I doubt I'd be able to continue living with her. I'm just not that much of a masochist.

kymllr said...

Boy do I agree :)-Before my hubby died I had the awful terrible sweats-Its now been 8 years and about 4 months a go the hot flashes started-my hair is always soaked at the back neck-I can't take harmones as mom died of breast cancer and the ones they wanted me to take cost 79.00 a month-ya right-I too had hysterectomy at 23 no periods ect since but the change deosn't miss you-I thought I must be nuts for starting to sweat again and I keep telling everyone I think I am getting ALzheimers-now I know it could be the hormones I don't have. hmmmmm sooo glad you wrote again I just love your way with words