All those of a squeamish disposition, please go and look at kittens now.

I seem to have flushed my blogging mojo down the lavatory, along with roughly a pint of blood and quite a few wads of compressed cotton wool. Hey, let’s talk about that, then! It’s therapeutic!

You see, there was also a nasty 24 hours in which I mis-juggled my various pain-medications. If you take mefenamic acid and tramadol alternately, with a good two hour gap between each type of medicine and at least four hours between tramadol capsules and at least six hours between mefenamic acid powdery collapsing horse-pills, also, take the mefenamic acid on a full stomach, yes, you will feel sicky and bleagh and go off your food, but you will be in less pain.

If, however, you just knock back one of each on top of a medicinal spoonful of peanut-butter and half a glass of milk, your entire gut, from oesophagus to rectal sphincter, will freeze in panic, and the more you try to quell the increasing nausea with peppermint tea, the more liquid, er, volume you are pouring into this now, suddenly, closed and finite system. It will have to go somewhere, and you will vomit, and you will have been in quite massive pain all afternoon, and when you have vomited, genteelly (ha! HA! Ha ha HAH!), into a plastic washing-up bowl, while kneeling on the bed half-naked and sweating profusely, you will see the tramadol capsule *ahem* reappear utterly untouched. So you won’t be that surprised it failed to, well, kill any pain.

But now you won’t have had either medication in your bloodstream for a while and the whole thing will be out of control for the rest of the night and most of the next day despite sticking rigidly to your swallowing schedule. And, my God, it will hurt.

And I thought it hurt a lot when I had been swallowing and, importantly, digesting the damn pills.

It is commonly suggested that a big glass of wine and a slab of chocolate are good comforting items to have about during a nasty outbreak of menstruation. Alas, but even on a good month, when I’m not tremulously ferrying bowls of my own puke to the lavatory as a prelude to kneeling down in rather a hurry and worshipping the porcelain god face-to-face (which always feels peculiarly dumbass if you’ve still got the full bowl right beside you. How many bowls should one woman need, anyway? Answer: ALL OF THEM), there is no way in hell I’m going to be able to keep alcohol or sugar down on the worst two/three days. I remember the happy, happy months of yore when I was on the pill and indeed would curl up with the Shiraz, a bar of something expensive, a hot-water-bottle and full control of the remote with hot-and-cold-running-H on stand-by and still snivel and bitch about cramps and the immense suckitude of womanhood. How I miss them.

Now, however, I am feeling positively chipper, thank you, if a little anaemic, and am, indeed, writing this with an empty G&T glass by my side and a square of black chocolate balanced on the arm of the chair. H insists chocolate is rich in iron, and who am I to argue.

Just because I have issues (you may have noticed), and also spent an unfortunately formative chunk of childhood and adolescence being told that there was nothing wrong with me and I should stop snivelling on the instant, does the following seem excessive to you? (Well, yes, it is TMI, but you did read the tagline, didn’t you?) Keeping in mind I do have adenomyosis – mind you, I am told a lot of women have it and never notice they have any such thing (WTF?) :

On a day by day basis, May’s body does this during menstruation:

  1. spot, with increasing vigour as the day goes on;
  2. bleed lightly and a little clottily;
  3. bleed like a stuck pig also clottily;
  4. bleed like a whole ‘nother, larger, haemophiliac pig also clots of alarming size;
  5. bleed lightly with maybe one brief outbreak of downpour;
  6. spot, but retaining option on sudden brief downpour;
  7. spot;
  8. spot;
  9. WTF still spotting;
  10. spot;
  11. nada;
  12. no, wait, still spotting.

Physical sensations go:

  1. owie. Really owie. Really, really owie now;
  2. OW OW OW OW JESUS OW;
  3. speechless and writhing with agony, also, can’t eat, think, or stand up without crumpling to the floor, have no swearwords to describe it, have, however, been known to cry sweatily;
  4. OW OW OW OW FUCKING HELL I’M DYING;
  5. owie STABBING CRAMP owie, still walking hunched over and very slowly in case I joggle anything and get kebabed by nineteen shards of glass;
  6. all done now OW OW OW, no, really we’re done OW;
  7. what the hell is up with my ovary? It really stings. I’m not ovulating prematurely again, am I?
  8. ouch, Satsuma, shut up;
  9. hmmm;
  10. it all seems to have gone quiet…
  11. sodding ovary.

I went back to work on day 4, heavily drugged, and got two ‘you look tired’, two ‘you look pale, are you OK?’ and one ‘you’ve got a hangover, haven’t you?’. Also, a ‘can you do an extra shift?’ and one woman shouting at me because I was disinclined to do her personal photocopying for her for free, and after all, I should’ve, because SHE’S DYSLEXIC WHICH MEANS SHE HAS TO TALK TO LIBRARIANS IN CAPS YES! ALSO TELL THEM THEY ARE REALLY UNHELPFUL AND HAVE RUINED HER DAY AND ARE LYING ABOUT NOT BEING ABLE TO HELP HER! I considered saying, ‘lady, my entire fucking family are dyslexic and are also massively endowed with entitlement issues, and not one of them has ever tried to get some woman on tramadol to do their photocopying for them for free. And the fact you refuse to go upstairs and speak to the help-desk about what you are and are not entitled to in terms of help and service from us is ringing my bullshit bell.’ But I was too tired and stoned, so I just stared mulishly at her until she went away. And then I went home late and got shirty with H, as you do. Well, not as you do. I’m sure none of my Gentle Readers have ever got all tetchy with their spouse for having the effrontery to go home earlier than they said they would and offer to cook dinner. (It’s just, I wanted pizza. And as what with the gut-malfunction and the loss of pre-menstrual bloat and the exercise I did last week, I’d just lost six pounds, I was having pizza. End of. (pizza slightly unsatisfactory after all that. Too… doughy. Effin’ diet, ruining my ability to happily carb my face off)).

Anyway. Onwards. Cycle whateverthefuck. Let the baby-makin’ sex-and-fretting biathlon commence.

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17 responses to “All those of a squeamish disposition, please go and look at kittens now.

  • QoB

    I, too, fail to see how being dyslexic renders a person unable to operate a photocopier. Hmm.

    I would be muttering something along the lines of “chronic medical condition…flare-up…. medication… out of my way please…..” and if your colleagues notice that flare-ups happen about every four weeks, well then, 10 points to Ravenclaw for observation.

  • Bionic Baby Mama

    i have seen a litter of kittens being born. that’s not for the squeamish, i tell you what.

    it is appalling what we are told we are just whining about. my own stories pale in comparison to yours, but they aren’t nothing, neither. and then i think of my endo-riddled cousin, who spent the better part of her senior year of high school in and out of the hospital with associated horrors — she’s supposed to buck up, too.

  • L.

    I am blessedly lightweight when it comes to things menstrual, but your pain sounds about childbirth-level, and not the easy early part.

    It’s an old saw but, really and truly, I think that if menstrual pain was a male problem then we would have seen better inroads in diagnosis and treatment decades ago.

    My apologies if you’ve mentioned this already, but your post leads me to wondering if doctors have ever seen you at around stage 5? I know you probably don’t even want to think about getting in a car and traveling at that point. But I wonder if it would help impress the nature of the problem upon them. I mean, maybe there’s just nothing more to be done at this point, but it seems like in the medical world there’s always something to be done.

  • L.

    P.S. Once the mother of a woman who had a really hard time with menstruation and she said that her daughter got a lot of help from drinking red wine the week before the pain started. Your pain really doesn’t sound red-wine-level in the least but I just mention in case the idea of preliminary treatment several days prior is helpful at all.

  • Melissia

    I can commeserate. When my pain is very bad there is no leaving the house, I know that what I have won’t kill me ( unlike you, never the worry of blood loss), so just prefer to lay in my bed and hope that eventually my pain will be resolved by whatever means I use.
    But like you, I know that running to the doctor is useless unless some symptom that can be cured is present. You may ask your doctor for some antinausea medication explaining that the pain often makes you vomit. This can be a normal response to pain, especially for those who have a high pain tolerance or those with chronic pain.
    This will help you control your pain better and keep your meds down as well.

  • wombattwo

    Much, much sympathy. Cyclizine is a decent anti-emetic. I wouldn’t bother with metoclopramide, it doesn’t do much. Also you can get something called buccastem which dissolves under your tongue if you’re too sick to swallow.
    Am serious about the PR diclofenac…
    Also the “a lot of women never notice they have adenomyosis” was clearly thought up by a man…

  • manapan

    You poor thing! It’s over for another month. At least there’s that!

  • Illanare

    It hurts to read about it, I can’t even imagine going through that kind of torture every effing month. I have no advice, just waves of wincing sympathy being sent your way (?south).

    And – the photocopying? I work with a bunch of doctors and professors, each with about 42 degrees to their names and none of them can work the photocopier either. In fact, one of them spent 5 minutes “waiting for the machine to warm up” when it wasn’t even plugged in at the wall…

  • The Sheila

    Did you tell the good professor about the reality of what this is like for you? Could she recommend someone for you to see who is specialised in dealing with this type of severe pain? I’m so sorry you have to go through this.

  • a

    That sounds miserable…except for the G&T and chocolate part.

    A (vaguely) funny photocopier story for you: We do a LOT of copying at work, and I am always at odds with the copy machine. I am fairly certain I believe it should read my mind, and it doesn’t and that makes me angry. Well, actually, I believe it should know what kind of paper I want to use, and I always have to tell it size and orientation. Anyway…

    Several of us were making copies and all the copies were askew. We adjust the guides, checked the rollers, etc. Then the office called in a service guy, who came all the way over to tell us…someone had loaded the paper improperly. So glad we’re highly paid, college-educated scientists who can’t put paper in a copy machine.

  • Betty M

    Ouch, ouch, ouch. Poor you. This sounds absolutely ghastly.

  • Heather

    Your monthly hell sounds like what I went through with my polyps and I can’t imagine dealing with that every month. I feel ashamed for bitching about my cycles now since they are heavier than in college on birth control. Take away my Woman Card. Can’t they give you medical marijuana or a morphine drip or something??? Seriously. No, really – can’t they do something more? It is just inhumane. Call PETA.

  • Popo

    Mine is:
    1. spot
    2. bleed
    3. bleed lightly
    4. bleed lightly
    5. spot
    7. spot;
    8. spot;
    9. bleed lightly
    10. spot
    11. spot a lot
    12. spot a dot
    13. spot
    14. bleed lightly
    15. spot
    16. spot
    17. spot
    18. nothing (ecstatic)
    19. spot
    20. spot
    21. bleed lightly
    22. spot
    23. spot?
    24. oh, yes, spot
    25. nothing (Is this the real life? / Is this just fantasy? / Caught in a landslide / No escape from reality…)
    26. spot
    27. spot
    28. spot

    1. spot
    2. etc.

  • Korechronicles

    I’m of the belief that if men suffered menstrual pain there would be a week’s period leave per month written into their employment contracts.

    And having been where you are I can only say I’m sorry that this is happening to you. No one deserves this kind of torture on an irregular regular basis. And here’s one other woman who bloody well knew she had adenomyosis. If you don’t know, you haven’t got it!

  • twangy

    Poor poor May, that is the horrifying worst. Even my very worst of worst days on tiles were over in 12 hours – I mean, really, this is actual purgatory you’re in.

    Just glad it’s over for the moment – an insultingly small mercy.

    Onward indeed.

  • everydaystrange

    I love you and am glad the exsanguination is sputtering to a close.

    I also am so in love with this sentence: I considered saying, ‘lady, my entire fucking family are dyslexic and are also massively endowed with entitlement issues, and not one of them has ever tried to get some woman on tramadol to do their photocopying for them for free.

    If only I had a pound for every time I’ve had to say that….oh wait.

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