I sat down to watch television with my husband and for some reason, out of the blue, I was just so pissed at him. I didn’t even know why, really. It could have been the way he was sitting there. It could have been the way he picked up the remote. I don’t know. But suddenly I was irritated. Then, about fifteen minutes later, I was over it. But I didn’t even know what I was supposedly over.
The next day, we were driving in the car to his mother’s house and suddenly, it was about 150 degrees in the car. Now, granted, I was wearing a long sleeve shirt with a heavy wool sleeveless pullover, but my body felt so flush that if I were a computer I would have needed a surge protector to keep from combusting. Then after a minute or two, I started to cool off. Weird, I thought.
Both of these incidents were happening more and more frequently and I couldn’t understand it. I was in my late thirties, and recently everything seemed to be falling apart on me. I’d pull a muscle at yoga or injure myself from my klutziness. I thought to myself, You’re not supposed to fall apart until your forties. What in the hell is happening to me?
Then I had the scare of my life. A couple of years ago my husband and I decided to not have children, for a variety of reasons, the obvious one being we didn’t want to chase a little rug rat around in our forties and attend college graduation in our sixties. But when Aunt Flo didn’t come for her monthly visit I started to panic. Instantly I went through the catalogue in my brain and asked myself the standard ridiculous questions. Did I take any antibiotics? Did I miss any days taking my daily birth control regimen? Did Aunt Flo actually visit the month before? Hmm, it was that last one that stumped me. I remember it being light and only for a half-day or so, if that. Omigod! Could I be preggers?
I immediately ran straight to the drug store to get a pregnancy test. Man, those things are not cheap! I came home, peed on the stick and a few minutes later a sense of relief washed over me. Not pregnant! Woohoo! But what the hell then? Something didn’t seem right, so I called the doctor. Another doctor from the practice calls me back and leaves me an aloof message in a flighty voice saying, “It’s perfectly normal not to get your period when on the pill. In fact, that’s one of the benefits. Sometimes you get it and sometimes you don’t. Yay for you.”
Yay for me? According to her I should be celebrating, but I still wasn’t convinced that this was the case. Besides, the whole point of being on the pill is to know when you’re going to get “it” and to confirm that you’re going to get “it”. Otherwise, how in the hell would you ever know if you were preggers or not? As I said, those little pee sticks are not cheap.
I called my father. Ugh. This was a conversation that made me as uncomfortable as watching a tampon commercial while watching TV with my parents did when I was younger. Thank goodness for the invention of DVRs. If only DVRs were around a decade or two sooner to avoid that embarrassment. I called him because I wanted to know exactly how old my mother was when she went through menopause, because I’ve read that women typically go through it around the same time as their mothers did. However, if you are on birth control, especially for an extended period of time, you can enter into it sooner. I knew this from reading the warning label on the package.
My father confirmed my memory which was that my mother was in her mid-forties and she was never on birth control. I have been on birth control for over twenty years for medical reasons, and I can only imagine what all of those hormones have done to my system. Good grief, I can’t possibly fathom the idea of going through menopause at thirty-nine.
Alas, I consulted the Internet and it confirmed that I am not in menopause. That’s right, because to be technically considered menopausal, Aunt Flo needs to not visit you for a whole year straight. What I’m going through, the mood swings, heat surges, etcetera, is perimenopause. The precursor to “hell-o-pause” that will last up to ten years (or longer, I’ve heard). Lucky me! I was always ready to accept turning forty up until this point. Now this makes me want to turn the clock back and run like hell. Not to mention that I still need to buy those damn pee sticks just to make sure! Grrrr.