Quite Simply – Menopause

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Just because the sun sets on one stage in our lives, it will always rise in another

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

There, I have said it – the very word that many women deny all involvement with or are embarrassed to even say, preferring the words ‘I am at that time of life’ or ‘a lady of a certain age’ but very few will say ‘Hey sweetie, I am in the menopause – let’s have an ovary party and celebrate the retirement of my reproductive organs’

I wonder if there is there an element of embarrassment associated with this time of a woman’s life?  Has society got some unwritten rule that it should not be discussed and to do so is like admitting that you are on the slippery slope down to old age, incontinence, big knickers and genitals like Wallace and Gromit’s mouth (letter box).

I recall once having a discussion about menopause (you know, just women’s talk) with a lady who I shall refer to as ‘Ethel’ in her mid 50s and she said to me in a guarded voice ‘Oh no, I am not there yet, nowhere near it in fact – years away’, then she nodded several times for good measure and self reassurance.

It was said with such ferocity and passion that I could imagine her as an 80 year old lady in a nursing home claiming that her ovaries still have the fertility capability of a nubile 20 year old while saying ‘Still a long way off yet, no menopause for me yet dear’.

Or perhaps when she has passed on, it will be on her grave stone ‘Ethel, died aged 100 years old but by God her ovaries went to the grave good as new’

Tales of Horror…

I am not going to lie though, the stories that I have heard about menopause have been pretty scary.  Things like light bladder weakness (LBL) and peeing yourself if you cough, laugh or don’t get to a toilet straight away are somewhat alarming.

Have you seen adverts showing pads for LBL that omit a pleasant perfumed odour if you ‘leak’, well who in the name of God invented those?  Imagine people get to recognise the perfume that is secreted on these pads and the minute they smell it, they point at you and yell ‘Oh my god, she has pissed herself!’  You may as well put a high viz vest on saying ‘LBL’.

Claims that pelvic floor exercises are next to Godliness obviously have some truth in it and up until now I have never paid much attention to it and why would I?  Clenching myself for counts of ten at bus stops have never been on my agenda, mind you I never get the bus so I suppose I could do it in Coles supermarket with the end result being a pelvic floor you could crack coconuts with.  Now that is something to aim for (cracking coconuts I mean and not urinating yourself).

Hot flushes, mood swings, weight gain – come on ladies, we know the score and have read all about the symptoms.  We have all heard about the Pandoras box of hormones that Mother Nature chucks at us when our time of life is nearing so let’s talk about it and those that don’t like it can turn around and put their fingers in their ears the way they do when Trump gives a speech or poverty adverts come on TV.

The Puzzle that is my Body

If you have read my previous blogs you will know that I have an auto immune disease and adrenal insufficiency.  My fight or flight hormones are not as they should be and sometimes I think that my hormones are having a party and I am not invited but that’s adrenals for you, they are a bit naughty like that.

Anyway, the other month I had my hormones checked for menopause because at 49 years old, surely it has to be on the way, I mean really it must.  My last test was negative and I was in the ‘Who me? I am nowhere near it, years away club’ because at that time I wasn’t anywhere near it and I wasn’t in that famous Egyptian river of ‘denial’ either – I still had the hormones of a non menopausal woman.

But this time I went to get my results from my doctor and I sat patiently waiting for her to read them to me.

She frowned at the results and said ‘You are in Peri-menopause, have you noticed any symptoms?’

Feeling a mixture of shock and ‘where the fuck has my youth gone?’ plus a good measure of happiness and ‘Yee ha, does this mean I am a grown up?’, I told her that no, I hadn’t had any symptoms and I certainly wasn’t peeing myself when I coughed/sneezed or sweating like joint of gammon in a butchers window.

‘Well you are there, your results show you are definitely in it (Peri-menopause)’. She confirmed and then as quickly as you like, she changed the subject on to something else leaving me wondering where my certificate of congratulations was.

Congratulations – I think….

After my consultation, I decided that after that news I should celebrate with a bacon roll and a lovely healthy can of coke plus a bag of chocolate covered peanuts (yes I know, crap food and all that stuff – not one gram of toss was given that day about that).

Nothing can prepare you for how you might feel for being told you are starting menopause.  It’s a normal healthy part of being a woman – even if the symptoms can be awful.  Suddenly you have left the ‘No not me, I’ve got years ahead of me yet’ club, and you have entered the ‘Shit, it’s actually happening’ club.

Whilst munching on my bacon roll, I digested the news and wondered how in the name of fluffy kittens did I not know such a significant process was taking place in my body? I mean really, how. did. I. not. know?

I had plans in my mind that when it happened, I would be greeted with some hot flushes and night sweats that would take the top off my head and blow steam out of my ears and nose while my face went bright red and hot enough to fry an egg on.

I had plans that I would be on the phone to my sister discussing my hot flushes and minge problems in true girly fashion and had I been living in the UK, we could have done that over a glass of wine or three and chocolate coated peanuts.  There are baby showers, hens parties so why not menopause parties, we could have a cake in the shape of a lady-garden and everyone could bless it or something.

And really, why should it not be celebrated when we have gone through so much to get that title of ‘Peri-menopausal’?

Because I actually believe that it should come with a ‘certificate of achievement’ and a trophy to make up for the years of periods, period pain, PMS, plus the vast amount of money spent on sanitary protection and painkillers, not to mention the hassles of birth control and a week of hating anything with penis.

I had plans that I would have sensible and respectable chats with other women at the same stage of life as myself, we could discuss and compare symptoms over a Chai Latte and a custard cream biscuit.  But most of all I had plans that I would know that it was happening, like a gentle tap on the shoulder and the ‘Menopause Fairy’ saying ‘Samantha, it is time – welcome to Peri-Menopause, take my hand and I shall show you the way’.

But no, not even a ‘Catch ya later flappy vag, Estrogen is now leaving the building! Hope you enjoyed the ovarian cyst we gave you last year bitch, enjoy the hot flushes when they arrive and god bless your lady garden because it’s sure gonna need it!’  Nothing, not a thing, no warning – I mean how disrespectful!

It was like some secret hormonal party was taking place in my body and until the doctor told me, I had not been privy to any part of it.  Any hopes that I had of that magical moment of realising something different was happening to me, had been cruelly dashed because I genuinely did not have a clue.

In fact I reckon my ovaries have blindfolded me in the night, kidnapped me and let me out in planet menopause wondering where the hell I am and how did I get there – like Back to the Future with Marty McFly but no chance of turning the clock back.

It was with some elation that I drove back to work that morning, once it had sunk in that is.  Because my body cannot do anything normally, I can’t get coughs or colds because of my overactive immune system.  Even my periods have never really been normal and only lasted 3 or 4 days if that and sometimes they never rocked up at all but then again, adrenal insufficiency can play a nice game of ‘hide and seek’ with your menstrual cycle so I have discovered.

So this news was actually very good to hear because for the first time in a long time, I was normal and that actually feels quite good.

On the way back to the office I sat waiting at the traffic lights in my car, blasting out ‘Rebel Yell’ and feeling very ‘rock chick’. I scoffed the rest of those damned chocolate peanuts like a starving person and rebelliously took swigs of coke from the bottle while waiting for the green light.  It was at that moment that I decided that I was more than entitled to my very own mid life crisis, but what form that will take remains to be seen as I am still planning that one.

At home

‘How did your appointment go?’ My husband asked me when I got home from work.

‘Great, I have started menopause!’ I beamed at him and then quite suddenly felt like a grown up for saying it out loud – did this mean I had to start acting like one?

‘Since when?’ husband asked looking surprised.

‘Doctor said judging by my hormone results it must have been a while, so I don’t know’ I shrugged my shoulders and poured myself a glass of wine.

‘How come you didn’t know? I thought all women knew this stuff?’ he asked.

‘I don’t know but I plan to call my sisters and discuss my hot flushes with them and talk about menopause symptoms’ I told him and then gulped my wine down rather too quickly because I was still thirsty from the bacon roll and the chocolate peanuts.

‘But you haven’t had any hot flushes or symptoms’ my husband started to say.

‘They are coming, I don’t know when but I have heard most women get them and I should think mine are on their way and then I will blow steam out of my ears and nose’ I said knowingly.  Like I would know, my hormones never tell me anything the bastards – but that is how I imagine it to be like and I am sure it will be.

Later that night

I stared at my reflection in the mirror from different angles wondering if I had changed, surely something like this happening means that you notice changes.  Shouldn’t the lady-garden suddenly look like a wizened prune or something, or grow a grey goatee beard just like Billy Connolly’s?

Or would it wear a pair of horn-rimmed old ladies spectacles and look at me with a newly acquired look of disapproval if I didn’t act my age.  But no, I still looked the same and there was no grey goatee panty beard, no horn rimmed glasses and no disapproving looks -nothing at all.

Conclusion

Well now I am officially in the Peri-menopause club, I shall at some point be discussing the hot flushes (when they start) with my sisters over the phone with a glass of wine and lets not forget those chocolate peanuts because I can wholly recommend stuffing a bag of those babies down in celebration when you get this kind of news.

How do I feel? I feel kind of mature, a bit like a grown up that has risen above any childish antics.  I have a kind of peaceful serenity about me to the point I may go and start listening to Cliff Richard and bake muffins (and if you believe that, you believe anything!)

Now if you will excuse me, I have to go and work on the book that I am writing about dogs that talk, do childish things and have social lives.

Peri-menopause – now wearing that badge and totally owning it.

Samantha Rose (C) Copyright October 2016

Useful Links

Menopause Support

Red Hot Mamas

Cliff Richard songs – in a crisis only Cliff will do

Chocolate covered peanuts – your life saver

God love Billy Connolly

 

 

Office Politics and Office Bitches and Bastards

Warning – this blog is politically incorrect and makes insulting and piss taking reference to the following:

1. Large people that eat their bodyweight in pasta 

2. Toilet humour

3. Good looking smarmy bastards

4. Overtly sexual females

5. No nonsense office bullies

6. IT Geeks

7. Menopause

It also contains some bad language and sexual innuendo so please read at your own risk. 

I have worked in many places during my working life and I have had a rich variety of should I say, ‘experiences’ – some good and some not so good and one thing that has remained constant and that is the characters that fill ‘the people boxes’ in the office environment.

Here are some of the characters that you may find in any office, you may be one of them or by reading my blog, may recognize some of them in one of your colleagues in which case, I would ask you not to snort with laughter if you see Andrew/Sharon from accounts doing exactly what I have written in my blog, you must restrain yourself for I am going to open up the doors to your imagination and hopefully ‘free’ you of those office bitches and bastards that may frequent your workplace.

The Dieting Office Bitch

Usually a rather large/fat woman that tells everyone that she is dieting, yet brings in a tub of pasta that could feed several families in several different countries.  This is normally devoured in a short space of time say 1 minute and then followed by a large slice of cake that she has made herself and will proudly announce that it is the ‘Weight Watchers’ recipe.

Don’t get in the lift with her because you may have noticed that she will always get in your lift when it is full to busting with people and there is barely enough room for a stick.  You will notice the horror on your colleagues faces as she comes bouncing towards the lift saying ‘Room for a little one!’ – except that she isn’t little and if she squishes herself into that lift, people could die – including the lift itself because it will fall down the lift shaft and you will end up in hell with fire, flames and people that wear horns.

She will also detract away from her own eating issues by bringing in boxes of Krispy Kreme doughnuts or cakes and make a point of handing them around so everyone can see that she has bought them.  This is where you will hear cries of ‘Thank you, did you bring them in? Oh how kind’  She may even be known as ‘Cake Woman’.

However, if she doesn’t like you, you will find that the offer of a doughnut does not come your way and you will be left with a few broken bits or pieces of doughnut with fat fingers poked through them.

Please don’t believe that the doughnuts ran out, they didn’t – she ate them or smashed them purposely to stop you having them.  Why? I hear you ask, the reason being is you are younger, slimmer and your arse looks better in jeans than hers ever would – quite simply she is jealous and if by some miracle she did save you a doughnut, then please for the love of Mike, put it in the bin because you can bet your bottom dollar that it will contain laxatives.

Now Dieting Office Bitch has some other traits that are not very pleasant, she will use the toilet at precisely the same time every single day and have her own favored cubicle that she uses and if you dare to be in that cubicle at the time she uses it then prepare to die.  It is an unwritten ruling that everyone has their own preferred cubicle at the times they like to use the toilet and in her case, it is normally two hours after eating the pasta mountain that she has devoured that morning.

You will soon know which is her preferred toilet by the smell that she leaves behind which trust me, is unique to her and normally smells of ‘bad stomach’ and pasta and as for the skid marks down the pan of the toilet – well think ‘tractor’ and you will just about cover a suitable description of such horrors.

But whatever happens, never ever steal her ‘toilet time’ – it is her time to ponder and reflect on how nasty she is, what she is going to eat the next day and more importantly, who will be on her hate list for cake denial.

How to deal with her:

1. When you know she is going to bring in cake, bring in your own and make it better, offer it one hour before she does so that people are full.

2. If you are brave enough, when she goes for ‘toilet time’, steal her cubicle and make nasty smells yourself, only wait until she is in the toilet because trust me, she won’t want to use another cubicle, she wants HER cubicle.  So write in the cubicle your name like ‘Judy’s toilet’ and then announce it to the office that is your favourite toilet.  If you have to, cock your leg like a dog outside to make your point and do it with a smile on your face and if you can, do cartwheels so it spreads further.

The Good Looking Smarmy Office Bastard

He is what he is – very handsome either in an obvious way or perhaps the more you look at him you think ‘Yes he is nice and I would’ but that could also be a case of ‘any port in a storm’ and if hot guys are thin on the ground, this guy could be ‘your port’ in the ‘office storm’ so to speak.

He is quite meticulous with his clothes, they are always clean and freshly pressed and he wears nice aftershave.  He lunches out every single day in an exclusive cafe and would absolutely hate it if he saw you there which ought to tempt you into going, purely to see his mouth disappear in disapproval when he spots you ordering your ham sandwich and latte at the counter, especially if you wave to him and yell in a high pitched voice ‘Hi there! fancy seeing you here!’ and then eat noisily and speak in a common accent to embarrass him further.

The Good Looking Smarmy Bastard is just that, he will be sugary vomit-inducing nice to any female that he finds attractive and to anyone that isn’t, he will speak loudly, he will shout and say things like ‘Just do it will you’ or ‘Let’s crack this thing to the bone’.  He will also reek of chewing gum and gaze at his perfectly manicured hands at frequent intervals – normally when he is plotting to either get the office (female) ‘hottie’ out on a date or who he would like to fire.

His ability to ooze sleaze is quite remarkable and his ability to crack the whip and work people into a stress induced influenza even more so.  He takes immense delight in telling people they have been made redundant and relishes in the fact that the average family man needs their job to pay their bills and feed their family.  This is a weakness that he hones in on and exploits to the point he becomes evil personified.

We must not forget that he is good looking, is well paid and could probably charm the undies off a nun so if you are going to allow this man take you for a drink after work to ‘discuss the new system’, please wear three pairs of panties and stick a trout down there as a deterrent because jumping into bed with him is akin to selling ones genitals to the devil in return for a paid lunch break.

How to deal with him:

There is no help with this one, he has the power to make your life hell but you could tell him that his breath smells and each time he talks to you, cover your nose and pretend to gag. Or perhaps when he enters the room, do a little finger wriggling sign which is indicative of a small penis.  He will have slept with many women in the office so implying he was not blessed with a good ‘pant python’ would be a way of putting him in his place.

The Overtly Sexual Good Looking Female Bitch

She is what she says on the tin – good looking, overtly sexual and oh boy is she a bitch.  She will appear sugar and spice to you when there are men within earshot but trust me, she is not interested in your 100 year old Great Aunt Mavis Davis being in a nursing home, she doesn’t much care if you have recently had twins or if your arm fell off in a boating accident – the only person that she is interested in is herself and the only people that she likes are the ones that in some way, can benefit herself.

It is easy to spot this person in the office, she wears clothes that show her entire self off, think super short skirts that could almost expose the ‘Lady Garden’ if she bent down low enough, her heels are skyscrapers, her tops are tight and low cut but her clothes are of exceptionally good quality, she does not buy crap clothes – they are well made but their sole purpose is to show off her body.

She will be loud, giggly and flirtatious in male company, she cannot help herself and can turn very quickly into a nasty and cutting female that can make one feel as though one needs to be placed in a body bag.

She is busy doing everything and nothing, and she will look rushed off her feet and claim to be ‘snowed under’ but will get very little work done but at the same time, will make the work that you do look inefficient and worse still, the management will fall for her charms and refer to her as a ‘little diamond’.  Do not trust her, she may be a ‘little diamond’ but she is a roughly cut one in a skirt and with a camel toe.

No matter how important the work that you are doing is, no matter how important your role is, she will take delight in trying to place herself on a higher level by standing over you while you are doing something super important and saying ‘Come with me, I have a LITTLE job for you’ and despite your attempts to explain that what you are doing is quite critical in terms of priority, she will insist that archiving her accounts stuff is more important.

She will finalise her moment of power by finding someone else to do the job that only you are trained to do, only she has taken the young girl from reception who has no clue about your skills and job description, to do your work and duly fuck it up.

Don’t fall for it, it is a power trip of the highest order – tell her that she can find someone else and really she should cover up her genitals and stop behaving like a female dog in season.

How to deal with her:

1. Dress yourself up better than her

2. Be better than her – make yourself indispensable

3. When she tries to take you away from your job to do something menial for her, tell her that you will be happy to help but you are just doing this one thing for your boss and will be there in a second.  (Pre empt her response by telling your boss what you are going to do before you do it so you are prepared)

Then adopt the ‘I am busy’ expression which involves walking past people and looking ‘through’ them as though they are fresh air because you are far too rushed off your feet and busy with important stuff – the secret is, you ARE busy with important stuff, you just have to ooze the confidence that says as much.

The IT Geek (and potential bastard)

The IT Geek and potential bastard is usually a plainly dressed plain man with jet black hair that tucks his shirt into his pants and smells of Sunday dinner farts and cheap aftershave and because he forgets to drink water at frequent intervals, he has bad breath as well.

He will keep himself to himself and always has his coffee at the same time every morning, brings a cheese and onion roll for lunch with an Activia yoghurt and an apple for afterwards and reeks of onion breath for days afterwards, in fact he always has onion breath which begs the question – does he brush and floss his teeth?

The IT Geek and potential bastard is comparable to God as he knows EVERYTHING that you do on the computer, he sees everything and stores it in his geeky head – not that God is a geek but you know what I mean.  So if you have your party photos stored on the company network, he will have seen them and will have a selection of them to add to his own hottie collection that he likes to look at from home and rate out of 10.

Try and get on his good side because if your internet is metered then you never know, he may just have the power to turn the blind eye to your internet usage so that you can have unlimited Facebook or something.

But be warned, if he gives you a knowing look and eyes you up and down, that means he has seen your entire collection of photos from your holiday in Turkey and those photos of you and the girls dancing naked to the ‘Macarena’ you were trying to keep secret – well he has them all in triplicate and has even made tablet mats out of them so that he can claim to have eaten his lunch off your breasts.

Why is he a bastard?  Because you need him for IT type favours, he knows it and you know it, he knows the underwear sites that you visit, he knows where you get your bras and your online shopping right down to the bra and panty size, in fact everything that you have put into the search engines including the time you googled ‘I have spots on my genitals’ or ‘How to wax an arrow on your minge’ and for that reason alone, you will end up being a slave to him forever – because my dears, he knows everything.

How to deal with the Office IT Geek

1. Tell him that you love Apple products, if he blanches and vomits and tells you that his heart belongs to Microsoft, tell him that you love Microsoft more but was bought an Apple product as a gift/experiment and could you please pick his brains and expertise about some new software that you have recently purchased.

2. Never, ever ever in your long legged life, store your photos on the network drive.  If you have then delete them – your holiday photos are not for his eyes and you never know if he has ordered place mats with your breasts on them so play it safe and never store them.  If you are unlucky and he already has photos of you, tell him that they are off your twin sister Mabel and could he delete them as a mark of respect.

3. Ask him if you can see his Facebook and then admire his photo collection whilst at the same time, making a mental note of his photographs and out of work dress sense.  You may be able to gleam from this information if he is a panty sniffer or not, or perhaps he wears a leather gimp mask at the weekend and calls himself ‘Genelle’.

The ‘no nonsense’ older nasty office bitch (usually a supervisor     and menopausal)

Now this is a tough one to crack.  She is good at her job, has made herself indispensable, has been there so long that she is part of the furniture and her reputation for being a bitch is well justified as even management are scared of her because she shouts at them and loudly – at least twice a week.

When you are given a task by her she will be positively acidic if you don’t get it right yesterday and first time and she will think nothing of shouting and berating you to prove her superiority and totally in front of an audience.

You will get to the stage where you feel nauseous just by the sound of her voice, which is so sharp you could cut glass with it.

She eats healthily but will ‘eat on the go’ as she doesn’t feel that she has time for a lunch break and will stare at you to make a point if you dare to take a lunch yourself and will often pass derogatory comments at whatever food you bring in, glaring at it over the top of her glasses complaining ‘that smells awful, what is it?’  Which a good reply would be ‘dog turd pie’ to shut her up.

She is going through the menopause and boy does everyone know it.  Now the menopause is a perfectly natural and normal part of a womans life and whilst the symptoms may be unpleasant, it does not give you the right to be evil and this woman is evil in its purest form.

Jealous of anything younger, fitter, prettier than herself, she will take each and every hot flush out on any female that appears to have more moisture.

When she loses her temper which is frequently, she will go red, hot and sweaty and steam will come from the top of her head, a bit like Fred in that ‘Drop Dead Fred’ film or even like a steam train.

If she coughs, she wets herself and you will see this because after each cough, she will scuttle away to the toilets to check the damage and then come back smelling like an old lady in the post office on pension day.

If you so much as leave a pencil out of place on your desk, she will  scream like a beagle with shampoo in its eyes and if you turn up looking attractive, then that is it – she will set fire to your minge and perform a menopausal war dance around your feet.

Watch her and watch her well because the moment you stand up to her, your cards are marked and she will try and get you out of the company because as good at her job though she is, she is also good at being nasty and does not want you to challenge that.

How to deal with her:

This one is severe and requires serious handling so I suggest the following:

1. Look the part

2. Be the part

3. And do not let the bitch grind you down

Failing that, wear a T shirt on ‘casual Fridays’ saying ‘Young, Moist and Full of the right Hormones’

So my friends, that is it for my rundown on office bitches and bastards and the run down to office dynamics.

Know your place and make sure it is way above these characters, be one step ahead of your game and never ever let anyone make you dread going in to your job for which you have every right to be there.

Basically, draw your line and let no-one cross it.

 Samantha Rose (c) copyright 2012