Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Menopause bites

Menopause bites, and I have the hickey to prove it.

I have medium fair skin with sun damage (hey, in the seventies we hadn’t even heard of worrying about our skin’s future after sun damage). Now in the early stages of meno, my neck and upper chest look like they’ve been gnawed on by chipmunks. I just started noticing the redness over the past few months, but I think it’s been going on for a while now and I’d just ignored it, thought it was sunburn or a slight flushing from exertion. 

Then I realized I hadn’t been out in the sun. My latest exertion doesn’t go much beyond climbing a couple of flights of stairs. It’s not sunburn or flushing, and it shows no signs of going away. 

It’s not itchy, not flaky, (thank goodness for small favors), just red, blotchy and unappealing.

Menopause has already made me humble about my appearance, and now this.

Isn’t it enough that although my weight is the same, my waist has disappeared? Can’t menopause be satisfied with the plain old age spots on my hands and cheeks? Must my sagging jaw line now compete with the neon signage of the red blotches on my chest that scream “She’s in menopause! Ha-ha-ha! Look at that tomato skin!”

Some women might say, “Oh, just put a turtleneck on and forget it!” Point well-taken, but living in the South and already being “warm” in general from roller-coaster hormones has me unwilling to turtleneck-it. What have I got to be ashamed of?

So I’m going to brash it out. The plan: wear my usual v-necks, and dare anyone to look twice at me, yes, getting my glow on. 

Go ahead, I just dare ya.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Menopause meets an earthquake.

I was in a webinar on the second floor of our library with about 15 other people when the earthquake hit coastal North Carolina and the community college campus where I work. We are in a town with several military bases.

What went through my mind when the room started to sway, buck, and roll:

1.      I’m having a “spell”

2.      My meds are going haywire

3.      We’re under attack

4.      I didn’t hear any explosion

5.      The power is still on, so it can’t be Armageddon

6.      The other people in the room are feeling it too

7.      I’m going to fall off my chair

8.      When is this going to stop

9.      This is too quiet to be an earthquake

10.   Where’s the nearest nuclear plant

11.   I’m freaking out, the room is closing in on me

12.   Are we really going to sit here like nothing happened?

By this time the woman leading the webinar realized something was up and we weren’t paying any attention to her. Our building is shaking, we told her.

Her location is Manhattan, next to Madison Square Garden.

Then she said her building was shaking, too, and we heard fire alarms going off in the background. She apologized for the noise and went on with the webinar. Knowing New York was shaking too, was frankly terrifying to me. I was thinking multiple attacks near the 10-year anniversary of 9/11.

We asked her: Don’t you need to leave your building if the fire alarms are going off? Nah, she said, and kept going with her presentation. One tough cookie. Or a person in deep denial.

I never absorbed another word from her for the next 10 minutes. Just sat there trying not to freak out any more than I already was. FINALLY, we left the building. When we got outside, a student told us there had been an earthquake in Virginia.

This might not seem like good news, but compared to what I had been thinking, it was a huge relief. Thankfully, it seems that no one was seriously hurt.

LESSON LEARNED: Don’t wait for permission to leave if the building is shaking for any reason. Evacuate the building. Get the heck out of there!

Hopefully I won’t have to put this lesson learned into effect for another 50 years. Now, let me check the weather channel to see when hurricane Irene is due to arrive!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Murder by Menopause

Top 10 people, events, and things I almost committed murder over, even if I wasn't sure whom to murder.
Brought to you by menopause.

  1. the young lady in the supermarket who blocked the whole 2-cart-wide aisle while she debated interminably over potato chips and ignored me trying to push my cart down the aisle on a day I was exceedingly exhausted and did not want to be in the supermarket in the first place
  2. the hairy guy in the huge white pickup truck who flipped me the bird. Why, you ask? I had the audacity to signal I was going to make a left turn, causing him to have to slow down slightly for 3 seconds
  3. the pimple on my 54 year-old chin
  4. the neighbors behind me who have every square inch of their yard covered with plastic toys and swings and slides that their children never play with, but I have to look at every day. I know, I know, free country, blah, blah, blah.
  5. the person who does not respond to my smile and hello but walks by me like I'm invisible. I want to stick my leg out and trip her as she goes by with her nose in the air. Yes, are you amazed by my emotional maturity?
  6. the college students on my campus—COLLEGE STUDENTS-- who cough and hack and then with full p-tuie sound effects SPIT a huge wad of mucous out on the sidewalk just a few feet away from me and my sandal-clad feet. Isn't there an ordinance from about the year 1790 that says “don't spit on the sidewalk?” Am I wrong to expect common sense from anyone at any time?
  7. the same as above who spit their chewing gum on the sidewalk where in about 1,000 years it may finally decompose
  8. the same as above who bypass the convenient outside cigarette butt collectors, jauntily flipping their butts on the ground outside the doors to campus buildings where they will remain for 25 years or until someone making minimum wage comes along to sweep the butts up. Perhaps throwing their trash on the ground for another person to pick up is their way of putting America back to work?
  9. the girl talking on the cell phone in the bathroom stall who then leaves the bathroom without washing her hands. Was she raised by wolves? Sorry, wolves. Didn't mean to insult you.
  10. using the last pill in my pack of Prempro.
    Don't worry, my husband took my bullets away.