About 250 days ago, I turned 50. It’s not so bad, getting older, but there are certainly adjustments that need to be made and realities that need to be accepted. I try to be accepting, but some days I prefer to grab onto denial and refuse to adjust to some new and uncomfortable reality.
For me, 50 meant menapause. I find it reasonably easy to accept that woman have to go through this phase. It is a phase that every woman will eventaully hit, if they are lucky enough to survive into thier 50’s. And if every other woman can handle it, I’ll be damned if I will complain.
Well – okay….. I’ll be damned if I will complain constantly.
Well – okay…. I will complain and I will complain often. Sue me.
Many woman have already lived for years with the effects of menapuase. My personal favorite part of the whole ordeal, is my body telling me to throw in the towel and give up. I have been active and fit for nearly all of my adult life. I have never really carried any excess weight around my mid-section. But today I consider myself a fat fit person. For me, with age, came 20 pounds that seems to be committed to a long term relationship. I may have to accept that the days of having a flat tummy are behind me. Perhaps I can live with this horrifying reality, but I will not go gracefully into acceptance. I will work out harder and eat better and sleep better………
Two out of three aint bad. I can eat better and work out harder, but the days of having a good night’s sleep seem to be history for me. It is that cursed hot flash that just might signify the end of joy.
It was not immediately apparent to me how these short durations of hell on earth would affect me in the long run. At first, the hot flash was a temporary inconvenience that never seemed to last more than two or three minutes. But just like the torture treatment of having a tap drip on your forehead for weeks and months on end, the first weeks of hot flashes were merely short term moments in an otherwise sane day. However, after a year of the torture treatments, they are now much more than that. The hot flash has led me to deduct that I will never again be comfortable. The hot flash would be a welcome addition to a night at the arena. But it seems the hot flash is never brought on when shivering in an arena, but guaranteed to hit in the middle of a extreme kick-boxing workout. And the worst of all…. the hot flash seems inevitable with even the slightest movement while sleeping
Which means that every time the dog sniffs, or Marc rolls over, or I venture just one milli-sec0nd from my deep sleep – WHAM – HOT FLASH. And the lenght and intensity of the hot flash is increased with even the slightest movement. So, if I adjust my pillow, it gets worse. Reach for the fan – worse. Roll over – worse. And if for any reason I actually get out of bed – well – sleep will be a non-issue for about 2 hours. So, you can see how these little moments of overheated inconveniences soon have a major impact on my ability to cope and function through this increasingly horrible phase in my life. One month in I was grumpy; three months in I was testy to the point of being dangerous; six months in you took your life in your hands if you got on my bad side, and now, over a year into this glowing phase, I believe myself to be justified with any reaction I can throw at those who piss me off. Just the other day Marc pissed me off by breathinig on me. The doctor says he should have a complete recovery in eight months, so it looks like he will be well long before I am.
Well, last night at exactly 2:18, I awoke with an obvious need to pee. Under any normal circumstances, I would just get up and shuffle to the little girls room. But last night’s bloated feeling led to a whole internal dialogue.
“Oh crap, I gotta pee.”
“If you get up, you little bitch, you can kiss sleep goodbye for at least two hours”
“Yeah, but I really gotta pee.:
“Oh don’t be such a wuss. Shut your eyes and go back to sleep – without rolling over lady.”
“I’m telling you, if I don’t go pee – there will be no sleep – and I just might wet the bed.”
“Don’t give me that shit. You survived through two pregnancies, bilharzia and malaria. Just hold it in and let us get back to sleep. ”
“I’m getting up…”
“I don’t think so bi-otch….”
And so the internal debate continues with my smallest grasp on sanity knowing that I was fighting a losing battle and needed to make the journey to the bathroom – while my stubborn and sleep deprived side refused to lose any more sleep on account of the menapausal nightmare. It really was a low point in my life when I realized that my body was not giving me any real choices. Of course I would have to get out of bed and accept the repercussions of the mena – freakin – pause. And so, I shuffled off to the washroom, did my business, splashed cold water on my glowing face, fluffed my nightshirt to create a semblance of a breeze, and then shuffled back to bed, knowing I would toss and turn for 2 hours. Every toss brought on yet another hot flash, ensuring my anger would not subside until I once agian fell into an exhausted sleep. Sleep time would be counted in mere minutes until the hot flash monster returns.
The morning found me looking for any excuse to stay in bed. But life goes on for me and for all my compatriots in arms fighting this horrible enemy. Looking for a little solace, I googled grumpy women and was inudated by reaearch articles stating that women need more sleep than men – becasue of our hormones. Then why the “F” do our bodies rob us of this very nurturing element when we need it the most. One article stated that: “We found that for women, poor sleep is strongly associated with high levels of psychological distress, and greater feelings of hostility, depression and anger.” No shit genius.
It seems that those around me are going to have to adjust to this grumpy, menapusal, borderline insane form of the new me. This phase will pass one day – and one day perhaps I will look back and find the humour at these horrific days. One day I may again sleep through the night and forget exactly how much damage these hot flashes are doing. Until then – I can only warn you to stay clear – approach me with extreme caution and never offer me a beer after 8pm.