The Life and Times of Poopwa Foley

Archive for the ‘menopause’ Category

For a while, I wasn’t sleeping at all at night.  Total insomnia.  To the point that I started worrying a little bit after oh, say 9:00 p.m.  I built it up in my head.  I know I won’t be able to sleep.  I know it.  I’ll get into bed and lay there for hours.  I was tired, exhausted even; but the minute my head hit the pillow I laid there, wide awake. 

here’s me.  not sleeping.

Things got better for a while, thanks to my good friend Southern Comfort.  I was able to break through whatever it was keeping me awake and actually get some real rest at night.  Whatever cycle I had been experiencing was over, apparently.  
 
At least, that’s what I thought. 
 
It was a Sunday like many other Sundays.  The cars started. It rained but we didn’t get water in our basement.  The dog didn’t run away.  Dinner was good.  Nothing earth shattering.   
 
However, Sunday night around 10:30 p.m., my husband and I kissed each other good night, as we always do, cuddled for approximately 10.7 seconds until it got wayyyy too hot, and then turned over to our respective spots.  I hadn’t even given my sleeplessness a thought.  I burrowed further into the covers.   

And laid there.  A half hour went by.  I knew my husband was awake.  He knew I was awake too because he says my eyes make a sound when I blink.   

We laid there some more.  And laid there.  Another half hour went by and…  

…we’re still awake.  And I’m thinking, what the hell?  

I get up and pee to break the monotony.  I am quiet and careful, reluctant to jostle my husband or bounce the bed.  I know where the squeaky floorboards are and avoid them, drawing on years of experience with fretful babies and a father who worked midnights.  I don’t use any lights, even in the bathroom.  I climb back into bed with the stealth of a ninja. 

Having taken care of that, I snuggle back down.  I think, any time now I’ll fall fast asleep.  I close my eyes and try to count sheep but end up mentally composing a story about them instead. 

I hear my son come in at midnight.  He doesn’t wake me up because I’m not asleep.  He knows after years of sneaking in how to hold the bells on the door so they don’t make a noise when he opens it.  He too is familiar with the floorboards and is able to avoid the squeaky ones.  He pees and goes to bed.   

Now my husbandgets up to pee.  He is not silent and careful like I am.  He was a bachelor for 45 years and never had to be quiet for a sleeping wife or child.  Everyone knows he’s up because he uses every light he can on the endless ten foot trip to the bathroom.  He has owned the home longer than my children have drawn breath and yet doesn’t know the path to take on the wooden boards to avoid making excess noise. 

He stomps back to our room and swings himself back into bed like an orangutan, then proceeds to thrash around on the bed trying to get comfortable.  Good God, I think.  He moves more than a kid in a bouncy house. 

Unbelievable.  I wait until he is settled and I blink several times in a row, loudly, in retaliation. 

Shortly after he gets back to bed, my daughter is up.  She has inherited her mother’s ability to walk catlike in a sleeping household.  She also has inherited her mother’s sneakiness and I know she’s going outside to have a cigarette.  She is fooling no one.    She too knows to hold the bells on the door as she comes back in and creeps back to her room, stopping in the bathroom, also to pee. 

Ok, I think.  Now that we’ve all ensured there would be no bedwetting, we’ll all get to sleep. 

Husband whispers to me.  “Are you awake?”
 
I whisper back. “Yes, what’s the deal with this?  I’m so tired and I just can’t fall asleep!  Is there some giant geometry test I didn’t study for?  A project I didn’t turn in?  Because the only time I can’t sleep is when I’m fretting.  And for the life of me, I don’t have anything to really fret about.”
Husband whispers again. “I can’t sleep either!  And I think Annie is smoking!”
No shit, Sherlock, I think.  Only for like six months now.  Out loud, I say, “Gosh, I hope not.”  And then I think, why are we whispering, anyway?  We’re all awake.
During the course of the sleepless night from hell, husband ends up sleeping in the living room on his chair.  I must be experiencing some sort of menopausal symptoms, as I am either freezing or too hot, and eventually make my own way out to the living room as well where I lay wide eyed on the couch for two hours, with a floor fan three inches from my face.
4:41 a.m.  I haven’t slept at all.  I briefly drift off and dream I’m in a wind tunnel.
4:42 a.m.  Husband turns on a new age music channel on cable.  It reminds me of the nightmare that was his deviated septum surgical recovery and I fight the urge to throw up.
5:00 a.m.  We should probably just stay up.  However, I don’t come from a family of quitters.  I get up and stumble down the hallway to the much more comfortable bed and that’s all I remember, because I sink into the most blissful sleep anyone has ever experienced. 
For about one hour.  It’s not enough.  I’m so tired and frustrated I want to punch someone.  However, it is at this time I smell fresh coffee. 
One thing my husband manages to do quite well is the coffee.  And I firmly believe that today, it’s probably saving his life.

 
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A friend of mine confided today her heartfelt wish that the Feminine Product Makers would combine the power of a Shamwow with a tampon.  It would be called a Shampon.  Mary is a genius and when she makes a zillion dollars from her invention, I can say I knew her when.
Today, I wish I had a box of Shampons.  This girl stuff?  For the effing birds.  My uterus is throwing an absolute hissy fit because there’s not a baby in it, and I am dealing with the homicidal and bloody aftermath.  At 46, I neither want nor need a baby unless it’s covered with fur and has four legs and comes when it is called.**
The cramps I have today?  Breathtaking.  Meaning I take a breath and gasp in pain with any movement, including my own heartbeat.
I was going to go work out at lunch time today.  I have my “instant witch, just add candy” t shirt, tennies and sweats and my secret lucky fob to get in.   Mother Nature nixed that idea.  Her ideal workout for me today takes place in a dark room and involves climbing up on the couch with a blankie, heating pad, a cup of hot, strong tea and a viewing of the Practical Magic movie which I have never seen.  After that movie, another cup of hot tea, chocolate, and the movie Twister which I have never seen either.***



ok, I’ve seen it once or twice.  And this picture might be in my bedroom, maybe.



For now, however, I’m swallowing ibuprofen like tic tacs, plastering a fake smile on my face, and trying to just make it through the day.  I would complain to my mother but I already know she would tell me to just “put your big girl undies on”.
I would do that except they’re soaking in peroxide.
                                                                                             
**plus, I will be a grandmother soon and will hold her so often that I will be able to trick my own hormones.
***This is a filthy lie.  I have seen Practical Magic so often that I can recite it word for word and have the soundtrack completely memorized.  Ditto for Twister.  I love me some tornados.
Who says gynecologists aren’t fun?  Me.
If you haven’t read about my recent invasive trans-vaginal ultrasound or even more invasive, painful biopsy, please do so now.  It will prepare you for the next chapter in the hopefully closed book of my female health.  I’ll just wait here.  I have some wine, anyway. 
Oh, are you back already?  Ok.
At the end of Fun Female Field Trip Part 2, I discussed the next step my doctor thoughtfully laid out for me in my pursuit of gynecological wellness, also known as “being able to get some sleep at night and quit worrying” syndrome.
I was assured, repeatedly, by two nurses and the doctor, that the test I needed to have to determine why I was surfing a never-ending crimson tide was quick and most importantly, painless.  This test would be done with water and ANOTHER trans-vaginal ultrasound.  I learned a long time ago not to Google things of a medical nature but I would have Googled the shit out of it if I could have remembered the name of it.  I didn’t remember the name of it because my mind had blocked it out.  It tends to do with traumatic experiences. 
For those of you who skipped ahead and didn’t read the other posts, obviously you failed in “listening and following directions” in grade school.  A trans-vaginal ultrasound is just fancy talk for an ultrasound wherein you can’t pee for approximately a week in preparation, and then a gigantic “wand” is used to view what’s going on from the inside.
Ladies, beware and trust me on this.  If you enter an ultrasound room and there’s both gel and a “wand” covered with a fresh condom, you can bet money that wand is taking a trip to hoo-hah land.  It’s messy.  It’s uncomfortable.  It’s embarrassing.  And in my case, it was inevitable.
The day of my test, I was sick with anticipation but just wanted to get it over with.  Surely anything I was imagining was far worse than what actually would happen.  What’s a little water, after all?  I like swimming and baths.  I got to the doctor’s office at 12:45 p.m. for a 1:00 p.m. appointment, and was immediately weighed (a story for another day) and unceremoniously tossed into a back room.  I was handed a sheet and given a look that clearly said you know what to do.
There I sat, getting more and more nervous, for 45 minutes.  45 minutes is not a very long time if you’re going out for ice cream, seeing a movie, or getting a massage.  However, if you’re naked from the waist down under a tiny sheet, and more importantly if you’re me, it’s a very long time.
The nurse finally came in and explained that Doctor (they always do that, too, don’t they?  Call them Doctor like you or I would say “Tom” or “Ray”) was delayed at the hospital but would be in shortly and sure enough, within a few minutes, she was there.  Let the festivities begin.
I knew I was in for an hour of fun when I heard the word catheter and uterus used in the same breath.  Oh, joy.  I was subsequently speculumed and although they tried strenuously to put the catheter where it belonged, it wouldn’t go.  I have to give them snaps for effort, however.  Those ladies were determined.  I have the scars to prove it. 
However, their amusement was bought to a halt when water ran everywhere except into my uterus.
They figured out pretty quickly what was wrong, adjusted things slightly and YEP, YEP, OH YEAH, THERE’S THE WAND.



Silhouette Sorceress by Sattva/freedigitalphotos.net
um, not that kind.
She meandered around down there for a few seconds, but couldn’t visualize whatever it was she was supposed to see.  Because I had been put in this room and abandoned for a very long time, my bladder was too full.  Oh, sorry, totally my fault.    
Great.  Tools that recently were inserted were now un-inserted and I was told that the hallway was “pretty deserted” which was a good thing, considering the sheet I had to hold around me was the size of a tissue.
I took care of business, hopped back up onto the table, and the speculum process began all over again.  Once she was able to visualize the actual area she wanted to see, Doctor was very complimentary about my bladder emptying.  (I have been waiting for years for someone to compliment me about that very thing.  Good things come to those who wait, people.  Good things come to those who wait.)
Doctor fusses.  She harrumphs.  She seems very annoyed and finally says to her cohort in torture, “Go get (name withheld).  She can work the wand while I push the water.  I need to be able to visualize the complete uterus and blahbitty blah, blah, blah blah” which I didn’t hear because my brain was stuck on work the wand.
I have nothing against Germans.  I myself am part German.  However, the woman (and I use the term loosely) they pulled in to assist with my procedure was half German and half agony aficionado.  She took “work the wand” to new levels. 
I exhausted all my deep breathing techniques and Zen thinking and concentrated only on crab climbing backward up the table to get away from my persecutors.   At this point, I’m not sure what was so attractive about having this done in the doctor’s office as opposed to in the hospital under my good friend anesthesia.
I hear the German say, “I see zee problem, Doctair.  She haz zee floppy oss.”
I finally find my voice.  “Hey, that’s a little personal, lady!  I’m right here!  It’s only floppy because I just haven’t been able to work out much lately!!”
I’m ignored.  No surprise there, because apparently (TMI, turn away now if you haven’t already) she was saying “floppy os” which is Latin for “mother of three.”
Finally, FINALLY, they see what they need to see.  And then some.  And it’s all normal.  Which is great news but I still have three women all standing between my legs, while more sensitive regions are covered by this tissue sized sheet.  Oh, wait, no, they’re not covered because the sheet has been pushed up for maximum humiliation and embarrassment.  (Or for them to be able to see, but I’m totally going with the humiliation thing.  I’m still bitter.)  Um, we’re done here.  You can go now.
The two nurses finally, finally leave the room.  Doctor pats my leg comfortingly (she thinks) and says, a glint in her eye, that I’m probably just going through early menopause.  “Don’t worry.  You won’t ever have to see me again.” (#youbetyourfloppyosIwon’t) A chirpy laugh burbles out of her and I think, of all the people on my shit list, you’re at the very tippy top right now.  I will do everything in my power to stay away from this office.
I am holding back tears, mostly angry tears because I’m pissed that my roundhouse kick to the German’s butt missed. 
I settle for letting the air out of her tires on my way to get ice cream and a 45 minute massage, floppy os be damned.
For those of you who are squeamish, please, for the love of God, look away now.  Don’t read any more.
For those of you who yearn to live vicariously through me…please, pull up a chair.  Let me tell you about my day.
At 45-almost-46, my baby factory has been shut down for quite some time, due to the fact that I had my tubes tied after I had my youngest daughter almost 20 years ago. 
I am now 240 months postpartum; I guess I should work on getting the baby weight off.  (#tryharder)
About 2 months ago, despite having my tubes tied, I exhibited every single symptom of pregnancy.  Sore boobs, lack of period, bloating, mood swings, nausea.  In short, I was really, really fun to be around.   When I say really, really fun to be around, I am lying through my teeth.
Just when the symptoms made me think I should go buy a pregnancy test, (despite the slim odds) or a priest for my exorcism, what should happen? 
Aunt Flo came to town.
And the flipping bitch didn’t want to leave.
I asked her nicely to leave.  When that didn’t work, I pouted.  I threw fits.  I threatened.  I drank.  I bribed. 
My family wisely hid the knives behind the furniture. 
I finally said Uncle.  I went to the doctor, explained everything, was examined, had blood drawn, levels tested, and a negative pregnancy test.  All tests normal.  (Praise God.)  So far, so good.  She then started me on something to help staunch the…well…you know.  Besides the referral to an actual gynecologist, I thought that was the end of that.
Except that I had to get an ultrasound today.  And not just any ultrasound, mind you. 
(*here’s where I would normally insert a picture.  However, I don’t have any pictures from the events of today that would be appropriate here.  After all, I don’t know you that well.)
The medical test from hell started when I had to drink 48 oz of water from 12:30 until 1:00 pm.  I’m quite the water drinker.  I drink water all day long.  However, drinking this much water in ½ hour was enough to make even me gag.
I parked the car at the hospital and despite having my legs crossed tightly the entire time was able to get to the ultrasound department.  It was approximately 7.5 miles from where I parked.  I was afraid I was going to be late.  The panicked staccato taps of my high heels on the tile floor took my mind off how badly I had to go to the bathroom.

Chris has a bad day

The first part of the test was uneventful.  I greatly enjoyed the warmth of the ultrasound gel on my lower belly.  It was very soothing.  The room was quiet and the light was dim and I would have fallen asleep except for the excruciating pressure on my straining bladder.
When the test was over, I was led to the bathroom and told to take my time.  I peed as if I hadn’t seen a toilet in a month.  The relief was immediate and immense.
The ultrasound tech was hiding in the hallway and sprang out at me when I exited in the bathroom. 
Her:  “Are you ready for the second part of your test?”
Me:  “Do you mean the part where I walk down the hall and find the exit?”
Her:  (chuckling expansively) “Silly you.  The second part, the internal exam.”
Me:  (smile fades, face pales.)  “No.  No, I’m not ready for that.”
Despite the elfin size, her iron grip lead me directly back into the room, where I am forced to “take off everything below the waist, but if you want to leave your shoes on you can.”
Leave my shoes on?  Really?  And take everything else off?  I have on black high heels, no pantyhose.  The thought of being nekked below the waist except for black high heels was a bit…pornographic to me.  The shoes came off with all the other below the waist things, and I was grateful that I had a cute pedicure.
Funny what you think of, grooming wise, when you’re having an internal ultrasound.  My feet were not the only thing I had groomed, and I was glad.
“You’ll feel a slight pressure.”  It was the only warning I got before the “wand” was “inserted” by Vlad the Impaler.
She apologized for the “pressure” over and over while applying said pressure and also for the fact that a couple of times I choked on it as it was coming up my throat.   
Finally she finished up and withdrew the entire 3 feet of wand.  I am thrown several dry washcloths to absorb all of the gel.  I feel like the guy in the shower in “The Crying Game.”
She escorted me down the hall.  I noticed that she kept looking to the right and left.  
Me:   “Did you lose something?”
Her:  “No.  I’m just looking for the right sized broomstick.  You’re not my only ultrasound today.”
***
Stay tuned.
*I went home and told my friend Lambrusco all about it. 


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  • Mary Fran Says: Thank you for contributing to Sweeps Week! We make a great team. Maybe we'll collaborate in our next lives? SISTERS! lol :)
  • Mary Fran Says: What's better than a Baby Shower aka Early Baby Birthday Party? Baby's FIRST Birthday Party! (Although it's hard to call them "baby" by one! They grow
  • Ann Jones: I'll have to check it out, thanks for the heads up!

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