Home of the Bellingwood Series – Nammynools

Can You Laugh at This?

hotflashes1About five years ago, I was in Iowa City for a Greek language three day course. Twenty of us (only three women) met at a church for intensive training with a fairly well-known professor of the language. Yes, my brain hurt. Yes, it was incredibly awesome.

The funniest thing, though happened when I walked out of the classroom for a break. I stopped to talk with the church secretary who was madly fanning herself.

“Can I get you something?” she asked me.

“No, but it looks like you could use a bigger fan.”

“Damned hot flashes.” Then she looked around furtively, just to make sure none of those Greek-speaking preacher-types was there to hear her. Because, you know … they’re boys and don’t want to hear about menopause. Oh yeah and the cursing thing. It was hilarious.

We spoke for a few moments about how our parents NEVER talked about menopause and that for years women didn’t know how to deal with it because it was such a forbidden subject. We suffered alone. There is nothing your doctor can do for you, the only appropriate treatment is a healthy air conditioner when the hot flashes hit and patient friends and family when the nasties just fly out of your mouth. Stupid hormones.

Her attitude that day was to find the whole thing comical. Because if you stop to think about it, it’s the final bit of the curse God gave to Eve before kicking her and Adam out of Paradise. Childbirth was meant to be difficult, but once you get those rugrats all grown up and out of the house, your body goes into full-blown rebellion, reminding you once again that you really aren’t in control.

For me, the whole thing was either entertaining or gut-wrenching. The gut-wrenching came when my hormones decided that I should be reminded about just how awful my life was, how horrible my friends were, how stupid I was … you know, regular depression stuff. Good news? Two hours later, everything was rainbows and roses.

The best thing in the world for everyone – no matter what you have going on – is to talk about these weird things with other people. Whether it’s menopause, cancer, loss, true depression or addiction; open communication with someone – anyone else is so important. The only way to discover that you aren’t alone is to find someone else who is in the same boat and can either commiserate or lift you up.

My poor mother had to face it by herself. Okay … she faced it with us. She dragged us into all of it. The cold winter day we walked into K-Mart and Mom began flinging every single layer of clothing she could decently remove into the cart was eye-opening for me. She cursed, she swore, she dripped sweat and laughed through the whole thing. What else was she to do?

Mine was in the middle of bible study one night. I was standing at a podium going through a presentation, when all of a sudden, my concentration lapsed, I wanted to bury myself in a vat of ice and nothing was as important as cooling myself. I finally looked at the rest of the women in the room, who fortunately were mostly my age and older and said, “You know what I’m going through, right?”

They all laughed out loud and were right there with me while we waited for that to pass.

TB hated being under the blankets in the middle of winter when a hot flash would hit. Usually about 4:30 in the morning. I’d fling back blankets and he’d come rushing out, desperate to leave the intense heat buildup.

Max just learned to live with blankets wrapped around him … in the middle of the hottest part of the summer.

Yeah. It’s menopause. We all get it. We all face it (or have faced it). We can’t escape it. I choose to greet it with laughter. It’s funny to watch the cats run away when I’m attempting to cook them. The hormonal emotional stuff? Once I get to the other side of it, I find that it’s easier to laugh at it as well. There might need to be a few apologies, but then … let’s just laugh about it. I can’t change what’s going on. Let’s find the humor.

What was your funniest hormonal (either pregnancy hormones or menopausal hormones) experience? Really … you just have to laugh (and if you’re a male-type person, you might want to find out if it’s safe before telling your best girl’s story).


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