First morning I woke up dreaming I’m a caterpillar in a pupa becoming a butterfly. This morning I woke up I was dreaming I’m a lady iguana about to make a mad dash through the valley of snakes to my bae.
It’s the powerful drugs they have me on. They’re treating me for malaria, thyroid and food poisoning. The drugs are so powerful every time I close my eyes I feel I’m in some sort of vortex doing back flips with dolphins, swimming with mermaids, or dancing on the water in the moonlight with Ganeesh
It all started on Friday. I had a really bad tummy ache Thursday night. I knew it was the dinner I ate but optimistically wished it was just indigestion and did some yoga breathing exercises. I was exhausted from the battle in the morning. By noon I was in agony.
“Eddy. You got to take me to the hospital now. This is it. I’m dying” I moaned to my bewildered and now alarmed son.
He is my angel. Somehow he has been with me during my last two medical emergencies and the look in his eyes makes me fight to stick around, if you know what I mean. Yeah. I know, I’m a drama queen. And pain brings out the drama.
In my head I’m thinking – ‘I’m dying! My bad habits have caught with me there is a god and he is punishing me with a slow painful death” (because hey that’s what they taught us in Sunday School. Nasty shit)
Anyway we get to the hospital and they give me those kinda pain killers that make you feel goofy while they start diagnostics. I’m super relaxed by now so I let them prod and poke me without too much drama wondering what they will find. Cancer? HIV? Multiple sclerosis? Death?
During the abdominal scan they check my liver
“Liver is fine.”
“Right kidney is fine, no stones.” (Most of my abdominal pain were coming from that side and the provisional diagnosis was possible kidney stones.)
“Gall bladder is distended,” says the sonographer.
Alarm and panic.
“Have you eaten?” he asks.
“Ok, thats it then. Gall bladder is in a state of fasting.”
“Spleen is normal. Do you have ulcers?”
“Why? Do you see any?” I’m alarmed again.
“No,” he responds. Alarm subsides.
“Left kidney looks fine. Wait a minute. It looks bigger than the right kidney.” Alarm as he and his assistant measure and compare both kidneys then decide the variation isn’t abnormal.
“Ok, now lets look at your womb.”
Why? I wonder but what the hell take a look.
“Womb is ok, proper placement and size but no endometrial tissue growing.”
“The tissue that grows and sheds during your period.”
“You mean I’m not going to have a period?”
“Good. I’m fifty.”
He does a double take.
“You’re the second woman I heard say that.”
“That she’s happy her period has stopped.”
“What do they usually say?” I didn’t ask. I’m sick. I’m high on pain killers. Who cares right now.
“We can’t find anything else wrong with you.”
“I don’t want you to find anything.”
“Sounds like you had food poisoning,” he concludes and sends me back to my drug filled drip in the ward while they run blood and urine tests.
Food poisoning, my addled mind observes and wonders if I can produce a poop sample but no one asks me for one.
I doze off.
So that’s how I found out that I am officially menopausal.
Now that I’m feeling better I want to celebrate.
Its been more than two weeks and I’m back to wondering. Are there women my age out there that don’t feel happy that there period has finally stopped? I’ve been buying Tampax and bleeding every month for the past 36 years. I’m a mother and a grand mother. Hell yeah, I am glad its finally over.
No, I do not feel my usefulness as a woman is over. Because I never saw my utility as a function of my reproductive capacity anyway. And no I’m not scared by the rumoured side effects. I’ve had none so far or they have been too mild for me to notice. Then again that could just be because when I had thyrotoxicosis those symptoms were so bad they make everything else seem mild since then. Or maybe it’s the ayurveda lifestyle I use to manage my auto-immune thyroid.
So I can now consider, what does menopause mean to me and how does it change my life? Trust me, its going to positive and fun. First of all I will fear no pregnancy. Hopefully my anaemia will abate. I guess I’ll have to watch my weight even more religiously but I’ve been doing that since I was 40 anyway which is when I noticed that I couldn’t eat like a young adult anymore ( and that basically means you can’t eat what you want without consequences.)
In many cultures menopause is a significant and positive change of life, like puberty and marriage and childbirth and parenting. In India women that have entered menopause can finally come down from the women’s quarters and talk with men for instance. And there is a significant body of research that suggests the severity of symptoms is directly linked you cultural expectations and values.
Since I create my own expectation anyway I think I’ll be fine.
Bring on the KY Jelly! We are not afraid.