Friday, February 1, 2019

To Menopause or Not to Menopause

In life there are things that you enjoy and things that you don't.  I enjoy wearing soft fuzzy slippers, watching movies, and eating ice cream.  I do not enjoy going to the doctor...any doctor (except the eye doctor I love to go there) but most especially I HATE to go to the lady doctor. I have had the same doctor since I moved here three years ago and this year they changed my appointment and put me with a nurse practitioner/midwife.  Don't get me wrong, I think she is more than qualified to perform an annual exam.  Here's the thing: I don't make it a habit to meet people in my birthday suit.  It's not my thing. In fact, I don't even like to be in my birthday suit at all.  I like my big soft "The Comfy" that I got for Christmas and my soft fuzzy memory foam slippers.  Basically I want to be covered in soft fuzzy fabrics at all times but I digress.

They called Friday morning to change my appointment because the doctor was called away to surgery.  They asked if they could put me with a nurse practitioner on Wednesday and I said that was fine.  What can I say, I had just woken up and was about to get ready for this appointment and they caught me off guard. At the time all I registered that I was agreeing to was a postponement and more sleep on a day off.  Fast forward to Wednesday morning as I'm getting ready for work and they call again.  Now in my mind I'm thinking, "I'm going to get out of this.  This is fantastic.  This is when you know that God is real and wants us to be happy." So I answer the phone and it is the doctor's office.  The nurse practitioner they had scheduled me with was out but if I could come in at 2:30 then I could see the other nurse practitioner.  First of all...when they called the first time to change the appointment was the first time I was even aware they had nurse practitioners working there.  Now they have not one but two.  I'm going to now continue going down the chain of command here until I don't have to go.  This could work.  Unfortunately for me, they didn't call to cancel the whole thing later in the day and by two o'clock I'm calling my friend FREAKING out because I'm really going to have to go meet a woman I have never seen before while in a gown open in the front and covered in a paper sheet.  I don't know about you but I don't hang out like that around people I DO know. So I call my friend and she is trying to tell me this is going to be ok. Let me preface this by saying that this friend I have known only for the three years I have lived here.  I love her but I'm afraid now that she thinks I'm a bit unstable to say the least. I called her on my way home from work, I may have called her on the way to the appointment I'm not sure but I was definitely texting her while waiting to be called back and I called her on the way home.

While we are talking we talked about a story we had both read about a woman who had been getting ready for her annual appointment and happened to grab a wash cloth that she didn't realize had glitter on it before she used it to shall we say...tidy up?  We laughed then I started panicking about grooming.  How much is too much? This was not covered in health class.  "How to Prepare for the Lady Doctor 101" was not a chapter in any of my classes nor was "How to Maintain Dignity While Naked in Front of Strangers (aka The Lady Doctor). Once upon arriving at home after work to prepare for this appointment I changed clothes, used the restroom, brushed my teeth, and ran a brush through my hair, general maintenance.  I left my house and actually drove around the block and back home just to make sure I was good to go. This stranger woman has made it her life's purpose to look at women naked all day long and I was not going to be the one she remembered and talked about around the water cooler later.  On the way to the appointment I realized I had made a mistake.  I had used the restroom.  They always have to give a sample to make sure you aren't pregnant and now I have to drink my entire Tervis of water to make myself have to go when I get there and I only have at best fifteen minutes drive to make this happen.  Now I have pee anxiety.  Leave me alone and I have to pee all the time.  Tell me to go on command and I can't do it.  The last time I was asked to go on command I had to sing the potty song to myself from the video my kids watched when we were potty training them.

I arrive at the appointment and check in.  I texted with my friend and laughed a bit before getting called back.  Scales.  I am overweight and can we discuss how to remedy this situation because me being overweight makes little to no sense because of the way my work schedule is.  Basically I stand up all day, rarely ever take a break, barely eat anything or drink anything, maybe use the restroom once or twice in a 9-12 hour time frame and so please explain to me why I'm not a size 4, thank you very much.  The nurse didn't know but she told me to let her know if I figure it out.

New development: We went straight to the room after the scales without passing go.  No restroom stop on the way.  So what we can surmise from this is that I look like an overweight middle aged woman who couldn't possibly be pregnant.  This is correct because we took care of that years ago but it is kind of like getting asked to a party or to go out with friends on the weekend.  You don't want to go, even though you want to see them, you have no intention of going but you still want to be asked.  So I didn't get invited to that party....weird.

I had a great time chatting with the nurse who I thought was the nurse practitioner because I'm an idiot.  She was quite nice to talk to and said that my blood pressure was great.  We discussed that I might be starting menopause because I have convinced myself that obviously we are there now.  My mother had started early so surely I would too.  I had research (I asked my cousin about her mom and menopause and she feels she started early so obviously we will start early too), I have been moody, I have had some hot flashes, and I'm a pretty happy person in general but something isn't quite right so menopause makes sense.  She then told me that the nurse practitioner would be in soon and that I needed to get in the gown open I the front and cover with the paper sheet.  (I had such high hopes that I was making a friend here and now....not so much.)

I prepared and waited.  She came in and introduced herself and sat down.  We talked about all sorts of stuff.  I get very chatty when I'm nervous.  I discovered this as did she as I talked and talked and talked all in an effort to feel better about what was to happen once we stopped talking and I would be forced to be naked in front of this stranger.  It's uncomfortable and I told her that.  She responded with, "Yes, but that is what you are here for."  So basically I have to pay this woman who I have just met to talk to me, see me naked, essentially violate me in the name of medical science and I don't even get dinner out of it.  AND while she is a lovely person and we could potentially be friends we can't.  You can't go to coffee and Target with a woman who has seen you in all of your glory unless that woman gave birth to you and changed your diapers.  It's a rule...I made it up...but I think it could be real.  We eventually got down to the task at hand and I, of course, never stopped talking because I'm uncomfortable with silence when I am uncomfortable.

Side Note: When I was pregnant for my third child I went to get a massage and ended up with a male masseuse.  Absolutely could not relax at all and never once shut up.  Chatted the entire time because I was so uncomfortable and I never ever returned. The only massages I had after that experience was when I went to a spa night at a friend's house for the MOPS group I helped with once all my kids were in school.

OK so back to the story. Once she finished she told me the nurse would be in to draw my blood so they could test my hormone levels and then she sprinted for the door.  I dressed as quickly as I could and waited.  The nurse returned and I told her she had one shot at it.  If she didn't get my vein the first time we were not doing it.  I don't like needles. We chatted and chatted and she actually said, "I feel like we're friends now."  We might be able to be friends because she did get my blood on the first try and she hasn't seen me naked.

I received a call the next day.  I am not in menopause. Apparently I'm just in my terrible forties as I saw on Facebook recently.  I'm moody, I'm having hot flashes, and I'm gaining weight, I thought sure I was starting menopause.  Now I'm just a terrible person who apparently needs medicated. I'd rather get a kitten and eat chocolate.  If this is the forties, I can't wait to see what the fifties hold.  Maybe I will get uninvited to my next yearly.  One can only hope.

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