Archive for January, 2009

My Post-Menopausal Uterus

January 31, 2009

I am mad at my uterus.  I know this is probably not a preferable way to be, especially for a 55-yr-old who has been post menopausal for two years, during which time, I must say, my uterus has been quiet, and compliant.  But then about two weeks ago I … um … started my period?  I started bleeding and bled steadily, “moderately” for five days, then it petered out to spotting.   By the seventh day I was at the ob-gyn’s office visiting my female nurse practitioner, for whom I was overdue for a visit.  I like her and am comfortable being myself with her.  “Okay!” I began, jokingly.  “I’ve been doing  ‘The Secret’ thing and imagining myself young and vibrant and it must be working ’cause I got my period!  It ended yesterday. I guess my body decided to ovulate!  Can I get pregnant?”

Something like that.  Well, her faced soured.  All smiles were now banished from the room.  “This is abnormal.”  She scowled. ” It would have been abnormal if this had happened a year ago.”

The next thing, I am lying on the table, my feet in the stirrups.  She leans her head around my bent upraised leg and warns,  “You will be mad at me,” as she proceeds with the required  uterine biopsy.  I fixed  my eyes on the  floral design in the border paper along the ceiling and for one moment during the procedure I wondered, how many other women have focused on this same spot in this same position with some similar thing going on? The paper wasn’t a bad choice. Flowers.  A little busy, though.  Perhaps they had thought about it when putting this room together; give the women something pleasant and busy to stare at while their legs are spread and the required procedures are performed.

The results of the biopsy were back a week later.  The nurse practitioner called me with the news, “The cells came back ‘normal’.’  However, you still need to schedule a D&C.”

“Well,” I replied, “What about hormone therapy?”  I had done my homework.  Besides, I did not like the thought of having that surgical procedure, surely I could persuade her to let me out of it.

“No, you were negative for hyperplasia, as well.  So you don’t need hormone therapy.”  There was no chatting with her.  “Schedule an appointment with Dr. Gross.”  (Not his real name.)

So I did.  I got an appointment for 10:20 AM two days later (which was this morning).  I arrived at the doctor’s office in a rush, without my book, about five minutes early.  My records were current, afterall.  There was another patient, Rita,  a few years older than me, confident, well-dressed,  checking in when I arrived.  I announced my arrival and stated I was there to see Dr. Gross.  Rita announced she was seeing Dr. Gross as well.  We exchanged glances and both took our seats in the waiting room.  It was full.  I looked around the room  at the generally expressionless  female faces and plucked four magazines from the rack.  Did Dr. Gross have a partner?  No? It was just him and my nurse practitioner seeing all these patients?  I immediately regretted that I hadn’t brought my book.

I was a pretty patient sport at first, realizing this was part of the female condition.  All of us here because of our vaginas and uteruses (uteri?), our reproductive systems.   I wondered about  Rita, 60 at least,  had she been bleeding?  Was it more serious at her age than mine?  There was only one (young!) girl who was visibly pregnant. A young burly man was by her side.  She sat and gazed at the air in front of her, while he was seemingly absorbed in a Reader’s Digest. There were at least five other women waiting ahead of Rita and me.

I waited.  Another girl arrived and asked the receptionist about her blood work.  They chatted and she left. Thank goodness!  I flipped through four Home decorating magazines – I thought I might get some ideas for how to deal with our den windows, bare since we bought our house eight years ago.

The pregnant girl was called back.  Her husband stayed, although he had picked a new mag by now.  Another young girl arrived and sat next to me, picking up the magazines I had discarded. I was okay, relaxed, going with this woman thing, remembering how I sat in these waiting rooms during my younger decades, as an expectant mother, healthy young mother visits.  I could not remember the last time I had visited a male gynecologist.  At least 12 years ago?  I had a healthy reproductive history.  I had never met Dr. Gross in the years I had been coming here for my healthy checkups with my nurse practitioner.

Finally, well, I got up. I walked  to the receptionist desk and politely asked, “Excuse me, but how much longer do you think it will be?”  It was 11:10, I had been waiting 55 minutes.

“Oh, I think you are next!”  She replied.  “It shouldn’t be long.”  I sat back down and imagined if this room were full of men.  There was no way they could get away with this kind of wait with a waiting room full of men!  Surely men would not all sit this long in compliant silence as we women were doing!  What if there were male doctors waiting here?  My husband, the engineer!  He would have been long gone by now. “See ya, assholes!”  Well, he would do it with self control.  He would inquire, state his limits…surely leave!  What do 55-yr-old female doctors who are bleeding do?  They have their doctor ob-gun … er … gyn personal friends, don’t they?  They are connected and awarded home visits or appointments after hours.  Well, other doctors and influential people aren’t sitting in these waiting rooms like this, for sure!

These thoughts were resonating and expounding in my head when the nurse leaned  into the waiting room and called … “Rita!”

Okay, so Rita had beat me into the office by maybe a minute.  Had we been scheduled for the same time? As Rita headed back, I locked eyes with the receptionist, who quietly uttered, “Oops!”

This is where I…did that angry-woman-uterus-hormone thing.  I know it is not my uterus’s fault.  My uterus is just being my uterus.  Besides, it stopped bleeding over eight days ago.  It’s doing its part to act healthy now.  It’s not the receptionist’s fault, and it’s not Rita’s fault.  But  I jumped up out of my chair, grabbed my long wool coat, jerked it around to put it on, and  strode to the receptionist’s desk.    “I’m leaving!” I hissed at her.

She inquired rather politely,  “Do you want to reschedule?’

“No!” I barked at her as I stormed out.

Okay, in retrospect, maybe Dr. Gross had delivered triplets this morning at the hospital, or done some other complicated thing involving another woman’s uterus and that’s why we had such a long wait.  He was involved with  lots of women’s reproductive systems this morning…young women with uteruses way more active and alive  than mine.  But mine has served me and the universe well over the years, having provided a  safe and perfect womb for three healthy fetuses to grow to full term and then exerted its timing and muscle to press them out into the world.  And  it expelled and aborted one fetus it knew wasn’t healthy.   My uterus has lived a clean, honest, hardworking life.  I need to honor, respect, care for, and thank my uterus.

This afternoon I called the doctor back and scheduled another appointment.   The receptionist recognized me of course.  I told her I didn’t want to wait an hour or more.  She explained that sometimes the doctor arrives late from his rounds at the hospital and probably the safest bet is 11:30 AM.  I am scheduled for 11:30 AM, next Thursday.  I’ll bring a book and in my restless moments of waiting I will pause to think of all the things in my life I am grateful for and to feel deeply the  appreciation I have for the long life and faithfulness of my uterus, my friend, my womb.

The Package

January 8, 2009

This event happened on January 6th.  I’m thinking I could fill a category on my blog with “stupid events” which seem to be occurring with increased regularity.

Our son was flying home again after spending Christmas with us. His suitcase was overflowing and  I offered to ship his extra stuff to him. Right after he left I found the perfect box in the basement and  arranged his things in it just  so … a hardback book, a flashlight,  fleece jacket.  I drove the four blocks to the UPS store and  shipped the package, proud that I had gotten it off  so quickly.   I e-mailed our son, “Your package is due to arrive by Friday.  Love, Mom.”    I knew he would be needing his fleece.

The very next day  a UPS truck arrived in  front of our house with a good sized package.  I looked out and wondered, was it a late Christmas package?

The doorbell rang and our dog  went berserk with barking.  I held the dog while opening the door and dragged the package inside with my right foot.  It was quite heavy, from a printing company, I noticed.  Ink cartridges?

“Did you order ink cartridges?” I asked my husband when he arrived home from work.  “No.” he replied.  “Well, yes, I did. We got them a few weeks ago.”

He slit open the box and out popped a flashlight, hardback book, stuff that was … our son’s.  “What the heck?”  My husband flipped the package over. On the bottom  was our son’s address.  On the top was our address.  It was the same box we had received several weeks ago from the printing company.  It had contained ink cartridges.

“If you’re gonna reuse boxes for shipping …,” my husband began.  “I know!”  I cut him off, perturbed.  “I mail packages all the time!”

The next day I returned to the UPS store with my son’s package.  I explained about how it was supposed to go 2200 miles but only went four blocks.  Well, by now it had traveled  twelve blocks, when you added up the three trips to and from the UPS store from our house.

Our son’s  package has shipped again.  It  is due to arrive at his apartment next Monday.  In the meantime,  I’ll be highly suspicious of any UPS truck pulling up in front of our house.

On Writing

January 6, 2009

With 5,183,504 Blogs, 157,254 New Posts, and 43,898,208 words already written today on (and compounding exponentially), I should feel ‘okay’ about making a second entry  on my Blog.  My last (and very first) entry was written last Thursday, on New Year’s Day.  My son got me going and said, “Now, Mom, remember, you should write a new blog entry at least once a week.”

“Pssssht!” I thought. “Piece of cake! Heck I’ll have the first 3 chapters of my novel done by then.”  My head has since been swirling with material, words, cute little ditty soundbites, memories,  all jumbled in a big mess.  I have been typing at the computer, albeit laboriously, composing in my sleep.  Two days into this I resurrected  a line from a “Pink” song and revised it just for me (how musical!).  It’s in my head now:  “You can be a writer, just change everything you are.”  I don’t know why.  I could write, maybe,  if I could crawl out of my skin.

I woke up determined today…  “It’s just a freakin’ blog entry, for heaven’s sake!”   Maybe  I need more rules.  Just write?  That’s it?  Nobody  has to read it anyway.

As New Year’s resolutions go, writing more is a good one.  I have started and the exercise is churning my insides and unfolding them outward like the exposed pulp of an inverted half-orange.  I like much of what lies there.  Some of the substance of my pulp I need to clench between my front teeth and tear from the rind.   Gently.  I need to make more room in my life for writing.  And just write.

My First Blog!

January 2, 2009

Blah, blah, blah, blah, I’m starting this and I have to get over the anxiety of starting something new.  Writing a first blog entry.  Hey, I’m 55 years old and it took me 2 tries to log on for my first entry, not bad.  Okay, with help from my 26-year-old son standing by my side, giving pointers and repeating things, cupping his hand over his mouth to surpress his laugh.  But I want kudos, credit, aren’t I just the cat’s meow because starting a blog was my New Year’s Resolution.   And today is January 1st.  So far, so good.

I have a second New Year’s resolution that I think would be bad luck to mention, as it can’t be accomplished sitting at the computer, and to be truthful I haven’t really done it enough to call it “accomplished” today.  I started this morning.  I donned the outfit, loosely fitting yet stylish, cobalt blue velour jogging set, good color for me.  The top has  kind of a ‘juniors’ look, fitted at the waist with a yoked front, sporting dainty pleats which enhance my tiny yet ‘location-in transition’ breasts. I moved the furniture in our den and unfurled a full-body yoga pad in front of the TV.  I was down on the pad and trying to relax into a kinesthetically correct starting position, intending to ‘begin’  leg lifts and stretches to the best of my ability. Then our puppy, Rudy, bounced into the act.  I found myself thrashing violently at my face and the dog to keep him from assaulting me with a sloppy tongue three times too large for his body and long enough to penetrate unimaginable depths and crevices  if allowed open access to my oral cavity.  I leaped up.  All told, I may have completed a stretch on each leg and additionally, in my back and up each side.

Well, there we go.  My first blog.  I’ve had about 300 distractions since my exercise in starting a floor exercise and I may get back to it today.  The yoga pad is still there, just as I laid it down.  It’s a comfort to know that, although I seem to be in a state of constant flux,  some things in the universe stay completely still.

Time to jet off now and get  the New Year’s Day dinner on the table. Can pulling a lasagne out of the oven count as some kind of arm stretch?

Hello world!

January 1, 2009

This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!

This wasn’t my first blog post. I didn’t know when I signed up that I had a post all ready to go entitled “Hello World!” Maybe I should keep this one on hold for when I crawl back out of a deep depression or perhaps just out of a deep Idaho winter drift. I am writing this little blurb on April 2 and it snowed though most of today. I am still waiting for the last of the snow, the first snow that fell last October, to disappear in our front yard. The subsequent feet-deep layers that fell and drifted on top of it have been gradually melting away, except for when they re-accumulate, like during the snowfall of today.

Hello Idaho April world! I am hopeful that the Christmas lights on our front trees will be down soon now that the snow has melted enough not to preclude access to them. I’ll add “take down Christmas Lights” to my spring ‘to-do’ list. Well, for when spring gets here. Although I guess it is spring, since it’s April. Yeah. Well in southeast Idaho, so far this year, spring is just like winter. Fa, la la la la … and a Howdy ho-ho! Where are all the baby bunnies?