WARNING: If you’re a male reader who’s squeamish about discussing, as Gill says, ‘Lady Bits’ or ‘Lady Problems’ STOP READING NOW!!
As a mother, I like to think my advice is good. In fact, I demand that I be right — and acknowledged so in a public manner. Not unlike control freak Claire on “Modern Family”.
Take medical issues, for instance. Gill was recently having problems, more problems than usual, involving her Crohn’s and her period. I won’t get too graphic, but her pain was really extreme as were the substances exiting her body. It was as though her body was rejecting its innards, screaming:”I want out of here! NOW!”
Now I’ve pretty much given up on the Crohn’s –her new specialist can take that one for the team. But the period? I felt more than competent to address that.
At a certain age, I too went through the ‘periods from hell’ phase. In fact, I recall being rushed to the hospital for a D&C to relieve my symptoms, only to return home the next day to host a dinner for my ex’s colleague. Despite the fact that I got special dispensation to wear my robe to dinner, I felt I should have awarded the Mother’s Medal of Honour for showing up at all. Yes, I have something of a finely honed (albeit well-deserved) martyr complex.
The operation had limited success and I was soon back to periods that were well past the capacity of Super Duper tampons to cope. The doctor put me back on birth control shots. They worked a treat …apart from the sore spot on my ass from the puncture wounds. All in, I spent several unnerving years trying to ‘stem the flood’. I finally, in desperation, went online to discover a process that sounded like my salvation. It was an endometrial ablation wherein the lining of the uterus is burned away. It sounded ghastly (even summoning over-the-top nightmares of lighter fluid and a match) but I was desperate. Upon finding out that the procedure wasn’t yet available in Canada, I searched around, checked well-known U.S.hospital sites and procured myself an appointment in the U.S. I think it was at that point, when I had my passport in hand and showed up at my local doc’s office to get my records with many $100 bills taped to my body (since I had no U.S. insurance) that he realized how desperate I was to solve my problem. He sent me to a Canadian specialist and another magic pill was found that got me through menopause.
Pills, birth control shots, you name it…if it was a pharmaceutical (legal, of course) I took it. So now, when Gill told me her symptoms, I chirped right up (proud to be able to offer something by way of assistance): “Oh, you’re probably peri-menopausal!” Not the words a just-turned-forty woman wants to hear.
“But it’s to early for that, Ma!” Gill insisted.
“Ha! That’s what you think,” I corrected her. “My extensive research shows it can start even in your thirties. Sorry about that. Or it could be endometriosis.”
“Ma! Quit trying to diagnose everyone you know of my age with those things. You’re not a medical doctor!”
“No, but I AM a mother — a mother who’s seen things and gone through the same kind of hell. You’ve already told me you have some of the symptoms of early menopause…can’t sleep, get nervous and twitchy, forget things, mood swings…oh, or am I confusing that with your normal self? I forget.”
“Whatever, Ma. I have an appointment with a bona fide doctor so I’ll see what she has to say.”
A few days later, Gill announced that her doctor had suggested she go see a gyn doctor — in case she was experiencing peri-menopause or endometriosis. Just as a precaution.
“See? ” I crowed. “Mom knows best.”
“You’ll also be ecstatic to know that one of my best friends also diagnosed the same thing. Enjoy your moment in the sun, Ma.”
“Oh, and by the way, since you’re on a roll, I’ve been having a bit of Vertigo again. Should I start taking my ear infection drops again?”
“Vertigo, you say? Perhaps all the blood you’ve been losing during your period is making you light-headed and that accounts for the vertigo.”
“For fuck’s sake, Ma! You can’t blame everything on my period…”
“You don’t think so? Just watch me…”