For the last three years or so, ever since I stopped breastfeeding Una, my periods have been erratic and unpredictable. My cycles stretch out longer and longer (or, as happened when we were camping, suddenly spring back to three weeks). My premenstrual symptoms are drawn out for weeks (I'm moody, my hair keeps falling out, I can't stand to be touched, my boobs hurt, I'm vague and breathless), and sometimes pretend to be pregnancy symptoms, and so I have wasted a lot of money on pregnancy tests, and spent a few tears on them as well. Not that we're trying, but... you know. Some months my period just arrives without fanfare. Some months it's weeks of feeling crappy, waiting, waiting. A couple of years ago I saw two different doctors and they were so underwhelming in their support or concern that I never really pursued anything (Oh, you're stressed, they said. You're a mum with young kids, that's all.) I have an appointment tomorrow, since I'm due for a pap smear anyway. I'm going to ask them to check my thyroid, and inquire about the possibility of PCOS. Yes, I've been googling. The doctor will hate me.
Today I caught a train into the city. A woman was crying into her mobile phone. She was upset because she had taken her daughter to school, and her daughter's friend had met her at the school gate and said 'I'm not going to play with you today...I'm going to play with my other friend.' Oh, I know, if it was Fred I'd be blogging about it here, squeezing my heart out soggily, but on the train I felt cruel. Man up, I thought (that's my extra testosterone that's making my hair fall out, making me cruel hearted). Get over it. 'I told her,' the woman said seriously to the person on the other end of the phone 'that they could all play together.' But that's not actually the problem, is it? The problem is resilience, and lady, you don't got it.
A few stations later, the train filled up, and the woman receded into the din. A man sat next to me. It was 9am. He was drunk, and blurred, and broken looking. He was drinking Strongbow cider, which, as he pointed out, is three standard drinks, whereas a longneck of VB is only 2.4, which he told me, would go down very well if you were having a dinner party of three people because it would divide up evenly. But he wasn't an alchoholic he assured me, and the man on his other side. He was just drinking because of the pain. He held up his right hand. It was a big meat paw, swollen and red, clearly infected, not broken, he said, but smashed. The police had done it, with a baton, held him down, when he wasn't doing nothing. For no reason. Criminals with badges, he called them. Usually he only drank for an occasion, he slurred. But he didn't believe in that other sort of drinking, the one you do on Friday night. What do you call it? Binge drinking? At one point as he talked to me he entered an oddly nostalgic dreamstate, telling me about the wonders of mixing dry ginger ale and apple juice. He gave me the recipe. Half and half. I could probably change the quantities but I should mix half and half first, and then go from there. But just mix it in the glass, not in the bottle. His parents had made it for him, he told me. And I tried to imagine him as a boy, drinking dry ginger ale and apple juice out of a straw. Where are his parents now?
I parked at the station. I parked outside the tennis court in a five hour zone. But at the library I got caught up with research and it was three when I headed back. I had a ticket. $58 worth of stupid. Man up, I told myself, and I didn't even cry.
*Blog titles. Sometimes they are hard to think up
Ah, Melbourne public transport. I'd miss it, but I see enough freaks in my own 'hood that I don't get a chance.ReplyDelete
The daughter probably has more resilience than the mother, sadly.ReplyDelete
Pen, no doctor worth seeing again is going to hate you for having some sensible questions. Best of luck. Just got the phone number of an excellent specialist by asking questions! IT WORKS.ReplyDelete
Oh you hard woman. ;) I wouldn't like to hear that either at the school gate.ReplyDelete
Good luck at the doc. I loved reading this.
I definitely thing 'Manning up' would be a better title for this blog entry. Underwhelmedness of doctors? *thumbs down* Weeping woman and drunken man? Excellent stories, both of them.ReplyDelete
I had the lady doing my eyebrow wax today badger on about the pigmentation in my skin. No, I don't take the pill - I am lesbian, I don't need to, we've had theis conversation over and over and over. I have skin that is ageing, my mothers did the same, I think I am entering menopause at 36 because clearly my body has worked out I'm not having children, but it's because I have teen and young adult children around - and a woman's body responds in some maternal way to their hormones - so I think that's what it is, and yes, my hair is falling out, and greying oh so quickly and I am all over the place re my periods as well. This time the only warning was that I felt like Esso could mine oil from my pores. And it was early. For months it's been super late. Argggh. Anyhoot. Manning up. Can you say "manning up"? Well I am.ReplyDelete
Play the ball, not the man. Man up.ReplyDelete
Play the doctor, not the bill.
I'll stop now.
such a post! (you been to see a chinese doctor??)ReplyDelete
Like the others here I loved this post too. Beautifully written.ReplyDelete
Oh primary school is so harsh. I remember my 'best friend' refusing to speak to me for days for no apparent reason. It always made me sad. I never did toughen up. It took moving countries as a teenager for me to get some perspective on how petty (and ultimately irrelevant) a small social circle can be.ReplyDelete
I hope that you get your erratic period issue sorted. I had a similar issue and the doctor said it was because I didn't weigh enough, but I think that was just the easy option... They did send me off for a raft of blood tests straight away though - iron, B12, thyroid, etc.
I had some awful experiences in primary school (and I'm sure I could be just as awful in return). But the thing about those horrible friendship experiences is that I am so glad as an adult I can recognise a good friend at 20 paces, and also know when not to get too involved with someone (it always amazes me how many gameplayers there still are at the grown up's table). And as a grown up I try not to get *too* emotionally involved in Fred's world because it's all so whimsical, I can see how parents could go on smarting long after the kids have moved on with their lives.ReplyDelete
i went through crap at school(s) too, but i think i still need Penni to teach me how to spot a quality friend - even at ONE pace!ReplyDelete
loved your description of the 'non-alcoholic' on the train. absolutely loved reading it; felt like i was there. yet. in a good way.
you won't believe my word verif: manist. one who mans up?