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1 post categorized "Menstrual Madness"

May 28, 2008

Out of the Blue

My monthly period beat me to the punch today. I expected it to arrive in two days time, but it – along with the PMT – upstaged me. I didn't realize it until my cat rudely interrupted my brief (fifteen minutes) afternoon nap, tapping my forehead with his paws, and made my way to the bathroom for a quick tinkle. The ensuing wipe confirmed that the arrival of the Red Menace, that is a lot like an unexpected (and unwelcome) houseguest that challenges patience by throwing curve balls.

There were no cramping symptoms, but the events of the morning ought to have hauled me in, to prepare for the crimson afternoon 'delight' to follow.

Comfortable with the knowledge that I arrived at the medical center on time, with my son in tow, I assumed I'd be seen within thirty minutes. My son has been experiencing a few nose bleeds, and I had to dash to his school yesterday to pick him up early, and although I couldn't make an appointment for the GP yesterday, I felt okay about the next day for the day to arrive, and for us to notice that the half-hour was gone, and we were edging into an hour wait time. My son's mood darkened. Being the parent of a new teenager is a challenge.

"I want to go. I've had enough. Who do they think they are?" my son asked, like a nubile A-list celebrity, "Don't they know about our appointment?" Talk about a killer line. The only thing missing was the, "and know who I am?" Not that we are anything special: a parent and child eagerly waiting to see the doctor. His father was busting my balls about his nosebleeds with, 'I want a full checkup, blood test…everything. This isn't normal!" whereas I, in my blasé parent mode viewed the nose bleed of the morning as a, 'he probably tried to pick a winner from his nose.' Men are totally weird with parenting, and I should probably use the term 'primary caregiver,' but who the hell am I kidding when the majority of primary parental caregivers are women?

When you've experienced the more daunting parental moments that consist of two years of seemingly endless nappies, followed by teething, tears, tantrums and the realm of kiddie cuts and scrapes, a nose bleed isn't a Code Red. It's a bleeding nose for chrissake.

After noticing the array of patients entering the doctor's office and feeling somewhat ignored, I turned to my son.

"One more person, and I'm going to ask the reception what the fuck."

"Mum!" He rolled his eyes, told me that it was embarrassing for me to use the F-word, but I felt like a juggernaut on the path to oblivion. It felt odd. The passive aggressive ripple knotted my intestines.

Patience flurried out the door. Another person was called, and that person's surname wasn't ours and I was pissed. Pissed. At this point, we'd gone past the hour mark. I did what I used to do best, or what I did before this current Zoloft period. Back then, I'd literally feel the air molecules swirl during my wrath, whereas now? It was as though my rage completed the Zone Diet. Zoloft/Zone: what is the difference?

I stood and eyed the receptionist, "I've been waiting here and I made an appointment," in a dull monotone voice. I wondered if I didn't want to create a scene or whether I couldn't make a decent connection with my rage center.

No, there was no 'excuse me, please,' or any of that shit, but I wasn't happy. She checked the appointment database and said that my appointment wasn't listed. Well! That couldn't be because I physically entered the medical center the day before and saw the other receptionist type my son's name.

"It's not my fault that the other receptionist can't save information," I said.

"I'm sorry, but that was why I placed you in the walk-ins pile, for you to progress in the queue."

A walk-in?

I didn't want to continue the conversation. When you're on something like Zoloft you don't know where something is going to go, if you're going to blow or if you'll have a mental fugue within moments.

My son was embarrassed. He told me five times and I told him that I didn't want to talk.

"In your mood again?" he asked.

"Don't ask me how long it will be because I don't know."

So he did what most kids do well, or what most male teenagers excel in – he pouted. A few minutes into his pout, and another patient was called in, and I went into Zoloft-laced meltdown, standing up to tell the receptionist to make a note about the other receptionist because, 'this is a joke when I made an appointment. I'm leaving!'

Who the fuck did I think I was? But at that point I wanted to go home. My son had on an ear to ear smile, eager to finish another level on Zelda, and I wanted (in specific order): a coffee (my first coffee of the day), a smoke, two toasted slices of bread slathered with butter and Vegemite, followed by a second cigarette and a revolutionary life change. It was a big expectation to have in the middle of an average semi urban bedroom while sitting on my queen sized sofa bed (it's great for DVD marathons). But before this, we visited the supermarket a few doors down, for me to experience irony in the form of a promotion gal offering sample cups of Lavazza coffee. I normally don't sample anything in supermarkets. I didn't have a coffee machine at home, and by machine, I don't mean that filtered drip-crap coffee, I mean ground beans. The promo girl seemed to be a student. She had a pile of written notes she was reading between promoting, and I accepted her offer of a micro caffeine hit.

"This is nice! That coffee machine is nice," I said.

"It's a Delonghi."

"It's in my fantasy top five,'' I said, slightly excited by the magical stainless steel contraption. And it may be sad to describe the machine as a fantasy, but I think it appropriate considering the three thousand dollar price tag.

I thanked her, grabbed the name of the coffee blend, and continued shopping. I didn't notice the coffee irony, but my son did.

"See, you got the coffee you were whining about."

And I did. Starting my day without coffee is the pissiest way to start the day. The day felt like a stranger. I navigated the day like a fretting, scurvy drained colonialist on a tall ship. I began with ambitious ideas, to find myself almost crumbling with the kind of the awry: Murphy's Law.

It was after my nap, after all of the above, after I saw the flash of crimson on the toilet paper that I sighed and thought of the power of the period, and how the monthly hormonal plan had its way with the mind. It was like a marauding emotional pirate that grasped each nerve firmly before giving one firm tug. It arrives in various guises. Some months it is a noisy tot, needling my head and offering me everything from nausea to headaches, and other months – like this month – it unraveled like a silent fart – completely out of the blue. Just when I began marking my cycle in my organizer, it decided to upstage me.

The only thing that went 'right' was finding a decent supply of tampons in the bathroom vanity unit. Half an hour into the flow, and I felt the first cramp. Then my lower back decided to come to the party. It was time for paracetamol, tea, a feed for the cat (so I could return to the sofa without being interrupted by his crankiness or paws) and another cigarette to usher in a micro-reflection: if the period was a fantastic omen of fertility, the positive element of the living world, then why did it feel like crap every month?

Mother Nature is a bitch.

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