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Why The Mom is so fascinated with my lady bits, I will never know.

When I was younger, and first got my period (on an airplane, no less, and by myself, imagine the horror, I thought I was dying at 30,000 ft and the guy sitting next to me was cool and reading music magazines and did not look as though he would take kindly to being asked the kind of questions I wanted to ask). Anyhow, when I got my period, The Mom was weirdly excited.

“You’re a woman now!” she cried.

She will tell you she did not do this, and when you press her, she will then blush and apologise. I don’t have kids, and so I don’t quite understand what a heartwarming moment this is. Though, if I did have a girl, when she got her period for the first time, my reaction would be to take her to the nearest bar and order her a stiff drink. Never mind that she’d be twelve. To me, that’s the only reasonable reaction to such things.

Anyhow, of late what happens is the week before it’s period season, my Crohn’s gets its nose out of joint and starts to flare up – so badly that my pallor was so extreme I literally got sent home from work one day. Apparently, I looked as though I’d caught death.

Unusually for me, I went to see the doctor. With the Crohn’s, they can’t cure it, just treat it, and the treatments on offer aren’t appealing. There’s surgery, which just removes the problem, but doesn’t stop it from coming back, or steroids, which calm things down (sometimes) but make me insane. Friends have described me as appearing as though I’ve just snorted ten lines of coke. Seriously. Amped. Up. Not a good look for me.

But there are times when even I admit that it’s time to see someone, if only to check on how close to death I may be. If it’s really close, I’ll do something about it, otherwise, it’s like, well it’s a chronic disease, so best just lie down and wait for it to pass.

I mentioned the period and the Crohn’s now working in cahoots with one another to the doc and she immediately suggested endometriosis. Now, aside from the fact that this is new and so probably not that, my dance card for chronic ailments that cannot be treated is full.

I’m going to see a specialist GI doc here, which has delighted The Mom to no end. She is also pleased that my boss at work seems more concerned with my health than I am.

I was telling my best girlfriends about the situation, and one of them piped up that she’d had this D&C thing. I didn’t want to ask much about the procedure as there was mention of scraping, and I get squeamish about lady things.

But the second I mentioned all this to The Mom, she busted out her well-worn line about peri-menopause.

“Peri-menopause!” she schemed down the Skype line. As though it was Bingo and she’d just won the jackpot.

“Okay, let me understand this. You weren’t there the moment I first got my period, are you making up for something here? Don’t feel you must, on my account.”

“I’m just saying, you’re 40 now.”

“Yes, it’s true. However, I shouldn’t think I’m a prime candidate for menopause.”

“Peri-menopause! It’s not the same.”

“Well, whatever it is, I don’t think I have it.”

“It can last for years.”

“Can they do anything about it?”


Which is her next favourite thing to say these days, after peri-menopause.

“What in the name of all that’s holy makes you think I’m about to start choking down hormones? Especially since I flat out refuse to take birth control pills because the hormones in them make me crazy?”

“They didn’t make me crazy,” The Mom replied.

“You were already nuts. They felt their work was done.”


“Look, I appreciate the interest you take in my insides now that they’re failing. Truly. It’s touching. But how about this: you take the hormones. You can have my prescription if you like. But I’m not going anywhere near them. I’m taking Auntie’s method of dealing with medical issues: ignoring them, as best I can.”

“She dropped dead in her boots at the mailbox!” The Mom said.

“I should be so lucky,” I replied.