Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The last 100 days

I've been considering my last 100 days as you do. They've not been among my best, but then they've not been among my worst - testing I'd say. And providing you don't insist on living in the present, there's always the future to look forward to.

There's the economy of course - I didn't earn any money between January and March and that can't be good. It makes shopping a real bore for one thing. Friends and former colleagues have been made redundant, and I'm thinking I should maybe do something to bring me in a steady income - deal drugs perhaps? Something regular that will see me through the recession. I could sell knitted jumpers, but then I don't knit - sweaty hands. I could make jam, but then I can't afford to buy all the jars of Tiptree's finest I'd need to put my own jam in. I could revive my flagging journalistic career, but I'd have to revive my flagging mental processes first and I think I may be heading into the menopause because my shortterm memory is utterly kaput. Initially, I wondered if it was Alzheimer's, but I can spell world backwards so it can't be that. I'm figuring it's hormones because I've had four "hot flashes". At least, I think they are hot flashes. It's either that or my husband has taken to pouring white spirit over my sleeping body and setting light to it like some flaming sambuca. The other thing I'm doing is jumbling words. As we are heading out the door to school, I'll say "Put your banana on right now" to a mystified child. This is happening so often, they've taken to translating for each other. "She means coat," one said to the other yesterday.

Earlier this week, I went into a health food shop in a nearby market town where they have supplements and homeopathic remedies. There was a nice man with a beard behind the counter (although there's a chance the homeopathic remedies have side-effects they don't tell you about). I waited about 35 minutes for the old lady in front of me to stop telling him about her aches and pains, and then asked for something for the headaches. I said "I think I'm pre-menopausal." "Are you getting night sweats?" he asked. I think that's what he said. My memory is so bad at the minute, he might have asked how I felt about Alistair Darling's handling of the economy. He went to get his colleague who was at least another woman and she decided to ask about my periods. Periods! We are still standing in the shop and the nice bearded man is still standing there with us. Anyway, you don't necessarily want to talk about whether your womb is withering when you're in a shop selling youghurty raisins and halva. I said something elliptical that could have meant anything and she told me I was too young for the menopause. I'm 44 - I'm not, but it was nice of her to try and make me feel better.

Anyway, so what with the fact I'm broke and heading into Menopause City in a truck, I've had it better. On the upside, we're getting a guineapig.

47 comments:

allgrownup said...

hurrah! a guinea pig!

Frankofile said...

Noooooooo! I told you, get a goldfish and you're doomed to a series of small pets that die on you. Give in now and get a dog.

Maddie Grigg said...

Fancy keeping a beard behind the counter. Maybe he's going through the menopause too.
Your jumbled words are the sign of a busy, over active mind. Saying aloud what you are thinking but thought you had already said. Or something like that.

yummy said...

Re peri menopause

You can start symtoms at any time - early runs in my family :(

Before a period flashes increase - like a volcano (I have them, horrible things) kalms help and evening primrose
But I don't have trademark female cold feet now

Love the book and blog is still witty and wonderful

Betty YM x

Parisgirl said...

I am so glad I am not alone in suffering what you describe so well. Goodness, that sounds so selfish, but you know what I mean. I think a goldfish might be a good idea because with a three-second memory you can console yourself with the fact that it remembers even less than you do but appears perfectly happy nonetheless.

Swearing Mother said...

Luxury! There are some of us who would love to be peri-menopausal again,rather than the post-menopausal old hags we have become, withered and gnarled. I now look back on those hot sweats with fondness. Or I would do if my short-term memory hadn't gone tits up.

The bloke at our local health food store used to rub his hands together when I went in, mainly because I always spent a fortune on vits and mins because my GP wouldn't give me HRT (the bastard) and I felt I had to do something to stop the rot. He used to pace around looking at the shelves and muttering "menopause, menopause" as if trying to understand the full horror of it all. What an embarrassing idiot. I wanted to kill him, obviously.

When the time eventually comes (many years from now in your case), I'd recommend Vitamin B complex, it prevented me from turning into an axe murderer when the big M threatened my sanity. Even now, when I am officially declared mad and past it,if I run out of the pills my family will hammer on the chemist's door if shut, begging to be let in to get "Mum's drugs", so effective is it in calming down jangled nerves.

Although you can become peri-menopausal at quite an early age, sometimes I think memory loss in women is often to do with having too much to remember, too much to do and too little time to do it in.

Look on the bright side, even if you're not earning a regular income, at least you can turn the heating down now you're getting hot flushes.

Reasons to be Cheerful 1,2,3 said...

Oh gawd is that what the word muddling is all about?! I'm doing it too...it's embarrassing and slightly alarming. So glad I'm not alone, sorry, but I am.

sophie said...

try black cohosh - it really works

Expat mum said...

You're right though, a lot of homeopathic stuff still has side effects. My mother mearly killed herself with selenium supplements!

A word about guinea pigs - when the children put it down, make sure they hold on to the pig all the way to the floor, ground or bottom of the cage as it might try to break free, often scratching said kids' hands in the process. This makes the kiddies drop the pig, which can result in a broken leg. Not that it happened to ours or anything....

Rebel Mother said...

Your blog really made me laugh - the way it was written - not about the hot flushes.

Could stress and worry about finances bring on hot flushes? Stress does funny things.

Hope you get it sorted soon. x

Livvy U. said...

I'm with Sophie - Black Cohosh everytime. I know it sounds like some kind of coven, but it does, as she says, really work for the flushes (or flashes - I'm sure that's the American way of saying it)... Also, Agnus Castus, which always reminds me of the bit Faure never wrote into his Requiem, works too... but you could be fooled into thinking otherwise, because it takes MONTHS to work. But Leslie Kenton, who is a goddess on such matters (written a great book on the menopause, if any book on the subject can be great)says that if you persevere and take it for 6 months, you'll suddenly find it's worked, and then you'll never have to take it again because it just keeps on working forever. Or something. I forget. Anyway, sending thoughts.

mills said...

guinea pigs are great - ours make lovely little squeaky noises asking for their veggies when I am chopping things. Hate to be a nag but your new one would be much happier with a friend to play with and two no more work than one (well, be careful they are the same sex ...!). So great to read you again.

Pam said...

I agree with comments about it being an over-active mind, though I do sometimes worry that it's alcohol abuse and dementia setting in. I guess either way we're buggered.
But anyway, a guinea pig sound nice.

family affairs said...

I am so glad your brain cells are rapidly diminishing - I have been very worried about mine of late and I too keep talking absolute rubbish to the children...do you think it could have something to do with blogging? Still, it could be worse. You could be in Disneyland on a "mummy bloggers" trip like me. Lx

family affairs said...

ps I thought it was hot "flush" not flash. Lx

Lilly said...

Its a sad day when I have to admit that I would rather have a hot flash than a guinea pig. Shoot me I know, its sad. I am a little adverse to scurrying creatures - thank goodness my daugher never had the urge to ask for one.

Mmmm this whole menopause thing is frightening really. It didnt help that I had a mother who told me she never noticed at thing. Cant even remember a hot flash, memory lapse, tears or anything. Small comfort when I started burning up. Is there a support group or forum for perimenopausal woman I wonder? There should be. It seems to creep up too fast. Not nice at all. Live in the moment though as it goes on for a while. Sometimes these symptoms last for 15 years or so, apparently. And I agree recession and menopause ARGHHHHHHHHH!!!!! At least there is still red wine.

Sarah said...

Glad to hear from you, WITN, I was worried.
It seems to be an unavoidable trait of so many people I know, myself included, that if there's no money being earned, self-esteem suffers. Nuts to motherhood and being nice to people or just embracing the 'now' and enjoying the moment, we have a monetary value and not finacially contributing is akin to being a parasite, it seems. I have my 'little job' so the bits between selling paintings aren't so horrid; but it also means i have no answer, just empathy.
Have you thought of 'Avon'? Tuppaware?
My mate swears by a hot water bottle filled with cold water- beside her bed...
...she squeezes it between her knees, she told me; as a way of dealing with hot flushes, not an income stream.
xxS

Lola said...

An old wife once told me that guinea pig pie is a well known palliative for menopausal women.

BearLady said...

I'm 47 and been going through the peri-menopause for a few years, here is what I have worked out:

Lots of your female peers don't want to talk about it. They are either dreading it themselves, or going through it and don't want to admit to it.

Husbands/partners don't really want to talk about it, "You're too young" meaning, "I am too young to have a menopausal wife".

So you look it up on the web, ah hah there are dedicated sites with ladies offering each other useful advice. Beware, you will will come away displaying all "35 symptoms of menopause."

I went through the herb thing too, eventually when I was half crazed from lack of sleep/headaches/depression my GP suggested I took a low dose of the dreaded HRT. I resisted. Two months later I went back and got the prescription.

I feel about 500% better.

There was a programme on radio 4 recently, several well known Drs saying that, in their view women were denying themselves - or worse, some GPs were denying their patients - a safe treatment because of over-hyped recent scares (the data for which is suspect in the case of the million women survey anyway.)

If it gets really bad Wifey, slap on a patch.

Iota said...

Are you sure it's a guinea pig? Not a banana, or a coat? Think carefully, now.

Do you not realise how iconic you have become? The Obamas have turned an area of the White House lawn into a vegetable patch. Michelle was out there herself, digging and planting. You move from London to the country and write a book about it, and now all the major world leaders are wanting to do it. The Obamas can't actually relocate physically, what with being busy rescuing Capitalism as we know it, so they're doing their best to bring the country experience into their Washington-bound lives.

You watch. They'll be getting a guinea pig next (or banana, or coat).

Savonarola said...

For headache try this.

Large cup of black tea with 1/2 teaspoon of sugar.

You should feel relief within 30 minutes.

The Life Behind the Coach.com said...

You really are very funny Wifey!x

Susan said...

Except for the random hairs that I tweeze from my chin, menopause rocks. I finally have an excuse for my less than perfect self.

"I'm getting old - what do you want from me?"

But perhaps that's because my eyesight's shot as well, so I don't scare myself as sufficiently as I otherwise might.

But never in my young life did I ever imagine myself huddled over a magnifying mirror in the glaring sunlight in the bathroom, hunting for stray hairs.

It's humbling.

Expat mum said...

I think a bona fide support group is forming!

~elizabeth said...

I check your blog every day hoping that you have been given the time to share with the rest of us the goings on in your head. Your way with words inspires me and I have missed hearing about your wacky world in the North of England. What a fun life it would be if we could be neighbors! Feel better. Oh, did you kown that guinea pigs are a delicacy in Peru?

sunshine said...

"Over here" we call them "power surges"! I cannot be very encouraging about the length of time you may suffer with them, as I am almost 68 and still have them. On the 10th and 25th of the month (I can only assume that is when I had my period or ovulated), I am hot, bloated, very irritable -- they may never disappear. Tell hubby for me, that the window will be open for the next several years, and flannel jammies and extra blankets will help him!

Re: drugs ----- I strongly recommend Xanax for every other member of your family. Then when you are acting irrational, they can just smile benignly and pat you and say "we love you anyway"!

The jury is very much still out on low-dose HRT, but compared to being sent to prison for the murder of your entire family (including the guinea pig), a little breast cancer isn't so bad. Just get checked regularly so it's a "light case" as mine was. It can be removed if it comes back a second go-round, but murder and insanity are forever!!

billatbingley said...

Lovely to see you back in the land of blogging. I was beginning to get a bit worried about you.

Now about this word mixing up thing - it's nothing to do with your pre menopausal state. I have done it for some years (and I'm a male!) I just take comfort in the fact that the human brain is like a water filled sponge and if you add more water to it, some has to drop out!

Last week we attended the wedding of a relative and my wife decided to wear a fascinator. I commented on the fact that her new "terminator" looked good on her!

Now to get over all the worries of the worlds present economic state/menopause/lack of funds/inability to knit or make jam, what you need to do is get a chocolate Labrador dog. Our youngest daughter bought us one for our Ruby Wedding Anniversary.(Incedentally she was called "Ruby") She gives total and unconditional love and affection no matter what. Just to look into her soft appealing brown eyes and all the cares of the world disappear! She is super with children, and in the 20 months we have owned her she has become a much loved member of the family. They don't cost a fortune - try your local dog rescue servic. - Oh, by the way, a good brisk daily walk with your labrador is bound to help your hot flashes!!!!

Wifeoverseas said...

All things considered, your last 100 days have probably been harder than Barack Obama's. Mind you, he's possibly had a couple of hot flushes too.

goodnessgrawcious! said...

http://www.rawfoodtalk.com/showthread.php?t=32962

http://www.beautifulonraw.com/raw-food-blog/raw-food-lifestyle/raw-foods-and-menopause/

Fiona

occasional northerner said...

I agree with Frankofile - get the dog now. It then becomes the perfect excuse for not buying any more pets which it might eat.

Crystal Jigsaw said...

You've made me feel a whole lot better about mixing up words, thought it was just me who had gone mad!!

CJ xx

Helen Romeo said...

Squeezed for cash? Maybe Frustrated Stay At Home Mum can help you with my "Credit Crunch Tips for the Cashflow Challenged!" www.frustratedstay-at-homemum.blogspot.com
... can't help you with the hot flushes, though...hot water bottle filled with ice-cubes perhaps?

Rob-bear said...

First, it's great to see you back. I kept wondering (and worrying a bit) about what had happened to you.

OH, for heaven's sakes.

Menopause is not the end of the world. It is not "mental-pause"; we all go through that same thing at some stage. (The gray inside my head is changing from brain into silly-putty, unfortunately.) And, contrary to the thinking of "family affairs," they are neither hot flushes or flashes; they are "power surges." (Oh, I see "sunshine" beat me to that one.) HRT can be helpful, unless you have a personal or family history of breast cancer -- in which case you need to proceed with extreme caution. (Women in our family do.)

Why does it take a male bear to explain these things?

I also thought of trying to re-start my flagging journalistic career. The flag I ended up waving was white.

And by all means, a dog is a good thing. Takes you for walks (fresh air, sunshine, etc.) and gives unconditional love.

The one thing which puzzled me was that "friends and former colleagues have been made redundant." Strange. Why?

Steve said...

I think, given your obvious writing talents, you should write a series of humorous books. You would make a fortune. This posting was very funny and made me laugh. In fact, my wife had a go at me because I was unable to contain my mirth. I am a compulsive "laugh out louder" and find it almost impossible to internalize my amusement. I also think you should post more frequently, as we don't hear so much from you these days, although I suppose your life was turned upside down with the publication of the book. Good luck with the Guinea Pig! They are wonderful animals and hard not to love. I might be wrong, but something tells me they get along well with rabbits??

Moonspinner said...

Oh ... to be able to write like you, and make even the down times sound up!

Z said...

Over-active mind sounds right to me too. It's your body's sign to warn you to slow/calm down before you make yourself ill. I do it under stress too, I also misjudge distances and walk into doorways and through them, and that's when I make a conscious decision to relax. I suppose I'm peri-menopausal, but with no apparent symptoms yet, and I'm more than a decade older than you, so don't assume anything.

I rather love Sunshine's comment and hope she starts writing on her blog.

Pig in the Kitchen said...

nice. the guinea pig can be your surrogate baby, so you can sort of feel like Sarah Jessica Parker for a while, all glam (and I bet she's peri-menopausal too)and skinny.

i might get a guinea pig as well.

altho i think a dog is enough. especially one that eats the rubber trim off the windows of your husband's classic car. but that's another story altogether.

pigx

BeanMa said...

Do you have a naturopath in your area?









my pregnancy blog: www.beanma.com

Yvonne Young said...

The reading at the Laing was brilliant, everyone enjoyed it. The link to the video clip is
http://www.youtube.com/user/clik365
I can delete it if it`s not very good quality.

Yvonne Young said...

http://www.youtube.com/user/clik365

This is the link for the video clip, I`ll delete it if it`s not any good. x

Rob-bear said...

What a delightful presentation, Judith. Well done! Great to see you in action.

Glad that Yvonne caught part of it, so we can see what you're doing. Thanks, Yvonne.

Millennium Housewife said...

Surely you can't wait to get off at menopause city? It always sounds lots of fun- you can do anything (anything!) and blame it on hormones. I suggest you start a list of all the irrational and unreasonable things you're going to do over the next few years, excellent fun. MH

wife in the north said...

thanks for all the advice
re swearing mother: I love the idea of wandering round a shop muttering "menopause, menopause" . I may try it myself next time I want to clear a shop and get straight to the front of a queue.
re Black Cohosh: I'm going to go into the health food shop and say "Umm what was it again? I want the one that sounds like a movie with Russsell Crow in it...????" and see what I come out with.

"Moaning Mum" said...

I sympathise....you may be broke and feel headed toward menopause (a fate that awaits all creatures (un?)fortunate enough to be born sans penis.

My last 100 days have seen me also 'broke' and now toothless. I resemble a hag if you look closely enough so have taken to covering my mouth like dear anorexic 'Posh' before she had her teeth done.

Saying that, I'm on a liquid diet, so I shall be skinny at some point i imagine. Toothless and skinny. Actually I'm going to resemble a hag even more (sigh)

Primrose said...

.You always give me a smile. I'm the same age as you and I've been declared that I'm going through the peri menopause. My GP says she keeps seeing women younger and younger. Also seeing very young women starting their periods early. My friend's daughter has just started at ten. I seriously wonder if all the parabens have something to do with our bodies going so haywire hormonally? I don't have the flashes or memory loss but very heavy bleeding, weight-gain etc. I did get my hormone levels checked and I'm very high on oestrogen and low on progesterone. I've started a course of bioidentical hormones and I wish I could tell you they've really helped but no luck so far. They do taste yummy if you get the chocolate flavoured ones. I'm way too scared to try anything stronger however just because of the breast cancer links

blossom said...

is the hair on your face growing, do you start to need reading glasses, you can`t colour your hair as fast as the grays are coming back????????
Well, there you have it. Menopause is around the corner... or maybe just already comfortably sitting at your table. Don`t worry, it will get the best of us. I`m dealing with it, but I`m happy to be alive and healthy. Never felt better in my body.

Amanda said...

Well what else could I say,I think just about everything has been covered from strange herbal remedy's,Alzheimer's,witches coven's being skint,hot flashes & flushes mood swings and '''HEARRRS JOHHHNNYY ''' axe swinging moments well not quite that bad ha ha

But on said subject of The Guinea Pig,I hope you realise that these creatures like to nibble and chew,as I found out in 1979 when my father decided to let our so cute Abyssinian guinea pig run free in our living room (I know you don't have to say anything)WELL It decided to chew the cables of the music centre (remember them) I now know where Spielberg got the Idea for Jaws !! he must have had a guinea pig too ,the smell and the frazzled little body still remains with me today. So for goodness sake if you get a guinea pig DON'T LET IT GO NEAR WIRES !!!