To HRT or not to HRT

To HRT or Not To HRT.

That is the question I have been asking myself for a few months.

I have pored over the evidence. Well, if I am being totally honest I have been checking what celebrities have been on HRT then watching programmes like Loose Women and This Morning carefully to see the effects. So it is research, but perhaps not as, say a Medical Scientist, would recognise it.

Andrea McLean, Davina McCall, Lorraine Kelly, Jane Moore – all take it and all looking utterly fabulous and don’t forget what they are saying every day – so they make me feel very pro HRT. Gloria Hunniford boasting that she didn’t also made me very pro HRT.

It was in 1966 that HRT started to come to prominence with Dr WIlson, in his book ‘Forever Feminine’ describing the menopause very much as a disease that could be treated. He advocated HRT as a way to keep your husband happy. My Menopausal Monster hackles rose reading this – and tbh reading many articles written even in the last year or two which seem to think that the driving force for all women seeking help is to ensure their husband/partner can get a good shag. Indeed I have yet to read anything that says if you can’t be arsed (due to sweating your tits off, being utterly exhausted and worrying about the possible consequences of telling a work colleague this morning to feck off) then you should just say you can’t be arsed, go to bed and tell your partner to bring you some wine, a bar of galaxy and a cool compress then feck off to the spare room so you can watch Netflix in peace.

In fact how about GQ mag or one of those Gadgety Mags that men read having a wee article on how to look after a menopausal woman. And they maybe explain that when a menopausal woman is lying in bed and suddenly rips off all her clothes it is unlikely that his luck is in and instead of leaping on top of her, he should open a window, bring out a large fan then go and get some chocolate for her.

Anyway back to the point – it turned out his book was funded by one of the biggest manufacturers of HRT – which pissed me off even more than the content of the book. Though tbh my socks were really pissing me off that morning – so it doesn’t take much.

I have played about with fanny magnets and magnesium but tbh I have pretty much been self medicating with Jack Daniels, white wine and Family Sized Galaxies. And I have to concede that this does not seem to be helping my ‘disease’. So maybe it is time to try something else.

I expand my research outwith the confines of OK and Closer – but end up more confused than ever.

‘Go on it’ advocates say. ‘Your risk of osteoporosis and colon cancer will reduce. Your insomnia and hot flushes will go. You will be a sparkly happy sexual being again’.

‘Don’t go on it’ say the detractors. ‘You may end up with endometrial cancer, gallbladder problems, breast cancer and dementia’.

I mean – talk about a rock and a hard place.

I am not sure how I feel about pumping my body full of unnatural hormones. And I suppose if I am honest – it feels like a ‘failure’ to start taking them – after all, isn’t this just another phase of life?

I told that to my friend and she asked me if I could remember what I told her when I visited her after she had her first baby. I can’t actually remember what I had for my breakfast – so unlikely tbh.

She reminded me that she had been devastated as she had to have a c-section and had cried her eyes out to me explaining she felt like a failure for not having a natural birth.

I am still looking blank and panicking slightly that I have no recollection of this.

‘You called me a fuckwit and told me I cooked a gorgeous baby girl and who gave a shit if it came out my fanny or belly button or even got delivered by a bloody stork’

I still don’t remember.

‘You also brought two fantastic chocolate eclairs’. I have a glimmer of recall now – I do remember them. They were fantastic.

So she calls me a fuckwit and tells me that no one gives a shit if I take something that isn’t natural. She also reminded me that it was synthetic cream in the eclairs coz neither of us liked ‘natual’ cream.

So I decided i was doing it – HRT for me. I want to be gorgeous like Andrea McLean and springy and jumpy like Davina and have a big smile like Lorraine. And I have a pal that claims her marriage and job and sanity were all saved by HRT which made her feel herself again. And if HRT can make me feel like me again – then I don’t care if it isn’t natural. I miss me a lot. (though Google says that some HRT has the Urine of Pregnant Horses in it – and that seems fairly natural).

So off to the Doctors I go, happy that I have made a decision.

Except I haven’t. In the five minutes I take to get there I change my mind. I absolutely don’t want to go on them. But when I arrive – I am absolutely sure that I do. Then I am not sure again. Then I decide absolutely not. I do some googling and find some information on Menopausal Clinics who can give you more in depth help than a 10 minute consultation with a GP. So I decide to ask for a referral.

In I go – but the GP isn’t for it, She is super keen I try HRT before referring me. But now I don’t want it. So the Menopausal Monster decides it is time for me to cry. I try to control it but the Monster is too strong so I cry quite a lot. This leads her to suggest anti depressants. Between sobs I tell her I am not depressed but can understand totally how she may have drawn that conclusion. She looks at the clock and clearly thinks ‘fuck it – lets get her out of here’ and finally does the referral. Then insists that I get all my bloods done at least to rule out anything else. I nod happily.

Three days later I get a call telling me to come into the surgery. Oh no…. OH NO… What is wrong with me? There must be something. I go into meltdown and try to call the surgery back but it is closed. I try desperately what all the blood tests were for but I have forgotten them all. I call my nurse friend in panic.

‘Did they ask you to bring someone with you?’. ‘No’ I reply. ‘Well it probably isn’t that bad’ she reassures me.

Next day I go back and am advised I have an Underactive Thyroid. I almost leap out my chair and punch the air. The Doctor asks me if I know what it means. I am so excited …. ‘it’s why I am fat and knackered’ I explain ‘and you just give me tablets and I will be thin and energetic again’. The Doctor says this is a bit over simplistic and not 100 percent accurate and proceeds to give a more medical description because she needs to prove that she has done 7 years at medical school. I barely listen as I imagine joining the world of the thin and wide awake club! I bounce out of the surgery clutching my prescription with the GP no doubt writing ‘possible bi polar’ on my notes.

I have 3 months til the Menopausal Clinic – and I have decided if I still feel this crap even with the thyroxine then I am most definitely going on some kind of HRT.

I get my prescription then nip in to Greggs for two massive Chocolate Eclairs filled with synthetic cream. I try to give the impression that one is for me and the other is for someone who has just had a baby – but I know she knows that I know that one is for now and the other is for when I get home to have with a cup of tea.

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Speccy Four Eyes

As well as being menopausal and all the associated crap symptoms., it turns out I am also half blind. The joys of getting older just keep coming! Dodgy Knee, Arthritic Finger, Sore Lower Back and Short Term Memory Loss all come out in force to welcome Dodgy Eyesight.

The opticians diagnosis was not a complete surprise. For a few months I have had to inch the menu in restaurants further and further from my face. I have to finally concede that my arms are not long enough to keep going with this strategy. I’d also dialled in to the wrong conference calls at work, having not been read the number properly.

I did find out some great gossip though as it took about 15 mins before the organiser realised they had a cuckoo in the nest (clearly I was not going to drop off as soon as I realised… this is the closest I have come to being a fly on the proverbial and it was intoxicating. (ps – soz team but Shazza was right – the ten zillionth restructure of the year is on its way).

But of course, it could not be as simple as just a pair of reading glasses. Turns out I am long and short sighted so need two bloody pairs. Twice the bloody expense. I had kind of guessed that too though – driving was becoming an issue especially at night, with the cars all merging into soft amber lights ahead and behind. The deciding factor was running as fast as I could to platform 6 for my train and leaping on it, only to hear the announcer declare it was going in completely the opposite direction. WTF – I leapt off quickly and berated the Railway guard about wrong platform information. He kindly pointed out that my train was on Platform 8 – then more smugly than kindly pointed out I had just missed it!! Had to wait another hour which meant breaking my attempt at sugar free February again (I really do want to give up sugar but for just a pound I can get almost ten minutes of sheer happiness with a Family Sized Galaxy…if anyone can tell me what brings more happiness for a pound then I am all ears (so far Deafness hasn’t joined my ‘getting old party’ but give it time)

So £800 quid later (coz no other speccy four eyes fecker told me just to get the prescription and go on the internet for much cheaper glasses until after I had coughed out to a rather surprised but happy optician – of course since doing that every bloody specky four eyes has told me. Horse. Stable Door. Bolted. Anyone?), I left with two pairs of glasses. Having spent £800, another £80 on a handbag seemed a snip. And I did need a bigger one now that I have two pairs of glasses to keep in them. I remember the days of youth where I would head out with one small bag with cash and a Body Shop strawberry lip gloss. With each passing decade, my bag gets bigger. As well as glasses, I now have tweezers, small magnifying mirror to use when using the tweezers (just as an aside – either those bloody hormonal chin bristles have doubled overnight or my glasses plus magnifying mirror are a reflection of the bearded lady everyone else has been seeing when they have looked at me) ; water bottle (which is always heavy as I keep forgetting to drink the recommended 2 litres); diary (coz I forget everything and can’t figure out the calendar thing on my phone); a notepad (to write things that I need to remember – coz if not written down now – it ain’t happening); tissues (to mop up the sweats); nuts and seeds so I don’t binge on chocolate; chocolate wrappers coz I don’t really like nuts and seeds very much; tampons all the time coz the days of being regular as clockwork are well gone. So with all of this and the glasses – a much larger bag is a necessity rather than a luxury. And it can almost be described as a medical purchase as it assisted with the depression as yet another part of my body gives up.

So I rock up at work with my fab new bag (after driving half way with this bloody annoying beeping in the car and not knowing what it was – then finally working out the stupid car thought my bag was a person and wanted me to put its seatbelt on). It’s not that heavy ffs. So I had to pushed it onto the floor to stop it – and of course all my crap fell out all over the footwel). I fish out my specs and am feeling happy coz I am now seeing them as a fashion statement.

One of my colleagues looks at me, head tilted to the side. ‘They are OK’ he says ‘but you do look better without them’. Fucker!

I’You look better without them too’ I responded, internally giving myself a high five for such a witty reply – with brain fog these are few and far between. My satisfaction with this is short lived as he turns back to his spreadsheet. I resolve to use this line again in the future though but not with people who look at spreadsheets all day.

‘They are cute’ laughs another colleague, looking up from her spreadsheet. ‘You look a bit like a Harry Potter’

I don’t laugh, partly because a 12 year old boy wizard was not the image I was aiming for when I paid £800 for my designer glasses – and also because she didn’t laugh at my earlier witty comment.

So after three days of being a glass wearer, I have to conclude it may take some time to acclimatise to them. I used to like lying on my side in bed reading – try doing that with specs! They dig right into your head and ear. So have to sit up with a shawl now looking like my old Granny. I can’t drink hot tea when I am reading as they steam up.

And they are never bloody clean. I wipe them constantly but always there is a mark. Yesterday I was ready to go to the Doctors convinced I had glaucoma but it was just a finger print on the (twice cleaned) lens.

I don’t need them all the time – so when I am not reading at work I stick them on top of my head in what I consider a rather intellectually fetching way, but then I forget and lean forward and they fall off.

I continually lose them – though now I always check the top of my head now before looking further.

And what is with people wanting to ‘try them on’ then making comments about how blind I must be. I am sure this is against one of our disability policies. I mean, you couldn’t ask someone to borrow their wheelchair and talk about how crap their legs must be without HR sending you on a four day Diversity course. And then Big Fat Freda borrowed them and gave them back with the arms all stretched. I am a fatso too but so far my head has not increased in size so I had to mould them back into my face shape. She has tiny feet though – I am tempted to ask to try them on and stretch them all to buggery. See how she likes it. But she does have a bit of an odour problem there so I probably won’t. Don’t want to add smelly feet and veruccas to my problems. Actually – my feet are really good with no problems at all now that I think of it. Probably due to giving up on heels and living in sensible sketchers helping there.

But you gotta laugh. Coz where would you be without a sense of humour?

Working opposite me on spreadsheets probably!

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The Invisible Woman

I have discovered that the menopause gives you a superpower. I have become the Invisible Woman. Which is ironic given I am bigger than I have ever been in my life.

And this isn’t just me being maudlin. A recent poll found that 46 was the average age that women start to feel invisible.

Take today for example. I am waiting to get on the tram and a man steps practically through me and stands one inch in front of me so he can get on first. He didn’t see me at all as he rushed for the last available seat. He didn’t quite knock me over as I am a bit like a weeble in that I wobble a lot – but I don’t fall down. He didn’t seem me in fact til I ‘accidently’ stood on his foot. At the next stop though he leapt off the seat as if there was firework about to go off up his arse so he could help a gorgeous 20 something woman off the tram with her bag. I nicked his seat quicksmart.

At the lift at work two people just pushed straight past me, not even interrupting their conversation to acknowledge me. They didn’t ask what floor I want to get out at and just hit Floor 6 for themselves. They notice me though when I pressed all the buttons from Floor 1 to Floor 5 then departed on Floor one happy in the knowledge it will jolt up one floor at a time.ha ha. (I was going to take the stairs every time I was only doing one floor but I am going to wait til I get a fitbit so that I can officially record it each time). I go to the shops for some chocolate and a guy comes in and shouts over my head for fags – ’20 silk cut mate’. The shopkeeper also can’t see me as he goes to serve him first. But they see me when I say ‘EXCUSE ME I think you’ll find I was here first’ because invisible women aren’t supposed to speak up for themselves – they are supposed to accept their lot.Well I beg to feckin differ! Not me. Not now. Not ever. I’d recommend it – speaking up for yourself becomes easier and easier the more you do it. The snotty woman who told me not to take two of the (postage stamp sized) towels at the gym – I told her I was taking them and to have her manager waiting for me when i came out to discuss further if it was a problem. The shop assistant who gazed above my head while holding her hand out for my money – she finally saw me after I just stood still refusing to be ignored – and finally asked me for the money and even said please. The guy who marched past me when I stood aside for him who turned in shock when I shouted ‘you’re welcome’. The young woman who pushed up against me on the sale rail and looked at me in shock when I said ‘I think the phrase you are looking for is excuse me’. She was so stunned that I had a moment of horror thinking she was maybe deaf and mute and I had just been disabilityist – but turns out she was just totally shocked about an invisible woman actually talking. My friends 17 year old who said that Kim Kardashian was a feminist because she earned lots of money and did what she wanted with her body – who had the good grace to look embarrassed when I fell about laughing explaining to her that getting your arse and tits out is fine if you want to but for god’s sake don’t call it feminism.

I mean I know I’m not exactly Rosa Parks – but there is a thrill in small moments of being very visible – and giving zero fucks about what anyone thinks about it.

The list goes on. Doors swing back in my face. Bar people ignore me as the young and the beautiful walk in front of me to be served first. I am only represented in Tena lady and nutritional supplement adverts – I don’t exist to the sexy car adverts. Nobody stands up for me on the bus. Hairdressers gaze at themselves in the mirror as they work on my hair. Construction workers don’t lift their eyes from their doughnut and newspaper when I pass. On one memorable occasion I had my hair darkened and cut and felt most self conscious the next day til I realised not one fecker had noticed.

I can’t decide if this is a good or a bad thing. I go running sometimes (well I shuffle round the park with the dog about twice a month) and no one shouts ‘cor look at the arse on that’ because I am an invisible woman. I sit in Starbucks with a book and a latte without having to endure some fool ‘talking’ to me about what I am reading/why I am there etc. No more unwanted attention. Because I am an invisible woman. And often, I am grateful for the silence.

I wonder how much further I can take it. Would I be invisible to the John Lewis security guard? I wondered as I fingered their lovely but very expensive silk scarves. I resist though. I am waiting til I am in my 70s before I start properly shoplifting. If I don’t get caught I will sell my gains for cash to buy butter and chocolate and big purple hats. If I do get caught, prison is likely to be an improvement on the only care homes I will be able to afford (because the government took all my money away and won’t give it back as a pension til I am 107 which was NOT the deal I signed up to). Three good meals a day, lots of company; my own room with telly; access to education etc. My mum is a little concerned about this retirement plan and thinks I should up the pension contributions instead but I am not convinced my idea is not superior.

I was talking to a 50 year old head teacher friend of mine about this last week – and she was feeling rather pleased with herself. She had discovered an on-line poll her pupils had put together – rating her and the other female teachers out of 20. While having to be outwardly disapproving of the poll which objectified women – she was pleasantly surprised to find she had scored 19 as many of her younger and, as she perceived, more attractive colleagues had scored much lower. She put it down to her healthy vegetarian lifestyle and regular exercise plan with occasional shots of botox.

However… her joy was deflated the next day when it was uncovered that the score was the number of pints of beer the boys who had created the poll felt they would have to drink before ‘shagging’ the teacher in question.

When she told me about it we both laughed so much we wee’d a bit. And we realised that if she had been given that score at the age of 25 she would have been devastated. But with invisibility comes a subtler and stronger power than sexuality. An ability to laugh at yourself. An ability to speak up and be heard because you don’t really care any more about what people think.

Try it – it’s addictive… All hail the Invisible Woman!

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Bum Symphony

So here I am writing this blog from the ‘little girls room’ as I play a bum symphony that would rival Beethovens! At least I am in my own house (and I am staying here til I can trust my farts again!). I had the same problem at work yesterday but the toilets there are not conducive to bottom explosions due to the 7 inch gap above and below the cubicle (probably summat to do with budgets – policies such as no more taxi’s when you can get a bus are springing up … so perhaps no more full size toilet cubicles is another way to save cash). This meant some serious bottom clenching when I heard people coming into toilets that were deserted when I entered. This kind of illness is a rarity for me – normally my body will not give up a calorie without some considerable fight.

And what has caused this? I resist the temptation to fall into a Google frenzy which will result in me convinced I have some awful disease – it is a simple tummy upset I am sure. Well at least I think it is – I can always google later – like maybe after I’ve lost a stone or so and can get into my jeans again for the visit to the Doctor. However, after careful deducement consisting of comparing food eaten with my partner and finding out we had eaten the same (apart from 8 jaffa cakes and two aero’s and a mint club biscuit – but they have never made me ill before so I don’t think it was them) and I am the only one who is ill – I conclude it is bloody magnesium supplements.

I decided a week or so again to try ‘natural’ help to get me through my menopause. It is a bloomin minefield. I Googled like crazy and you could actually end up remortgaging your house if you took advice on everything. Magnesium seemed a good first choice as it claimed to reduce irritability, mood swings, insomnia and anxiety. I mean – what’s not to like? So off I went to the Health Food Shop to stock up.

It was my first visit to a Health Food Shop and what an experience that was. The clientele are a bit different from Lidl that’s for sure. Lots of serious faced people with large rucksacks marching stridently up and down the lanes saying ‘Excuse ME!’ a lot while they compared different types of muesli that you had to scoop into a paper bag. No coco pops anywhere! I worked through seeds and nuts and tofu and oat milk and lots of similar type stuff that made me start thinking it would be a good way to lose weight – I cannot imagine sitting by the fridge eating tofu pieces out of the packet in the same way as I scoff rolled up ham with Chicken flavoured crisps in the middle. Or eating muesli at night when I come in rather than stopping off for a doner kebab. Then I discovered the sweetie section and decided that i must definitely become a vegan – at £4.20 for a bar of vegan chocolate I would be far more restrained than I am at B&M Stores (39p and apart from maybe some of it coming from animally things and being called ‘milk chocolate’ rather than some nobby title like ‘raw halo pink himalyan salt organic coco snack’ seems to be remarkably similar). I am convinced and decide to become vegan there and then. I buy a chickpea and spinach bake which appears to resemble a Greggs sausage roll apart from the price tag (£4.20 rather than 90p) and of course the sausage filling but how different can it really be. It will be expensive to be a vegan but it will be worth it when I am slim and healthy. I get some of the himalayan chocolate to try on the way home.

Anyway – I have digressed. Magnesium! Supplement aisle was next. You would think it would be easy. All I want is some magnesium supplements. But nope – there are ten million types – chelated magnesium; magnesium citrate; magnesium spray – then on top of that there is a variety of strengths. I am in despair but now that I am a vegan I decide that I am in the club and can legitimately ask a member of staff. I have my chickpea bake and my vegan chocolate and a pair of vegan socks I discovered that were as soft as anything all in my basket to prove my worthiness. All the staff are about 12 and very very pale. I ask one what I should get just for a normal supplement. I pretend it is for my mum so I don’t get asked any difficult questions. She hands me a bog standard magnesium supplement – success!! I leave the shop proudly displaying my eco friendly brown health food shop making sure the logo is displayed on the outside. I am almost fifty quid down but hey ho – I am now a healthy vegan who is never going to be irritable or moody again.

Except no one told me of the bottom related side effect. And realistically I can’t spend my life on the toilet (though it would help with my aim of losing 50lbs in the 12 weeks til my college reunion). Apparently too much can also lead to a calcium deficiency though I am confident that my chocolate intake would always keep me out of the danger zone. But then if I am a vegan… maybe I would need to do another supplement to counter act that. I have checked other potential side effects for other supplements I was considering. Black Cohosh – weight gain and rash – so no way – Menopause has made me fat and ugly enough as it is. Ginkgo – dizziness and restlessness – can’t be doing with that. Motherwort – sleepiness – well am already in bed for 9pm so that’s out.

So am giving up on the supplements for now. And tbh I have to give up on the veganism as well. Well tb very honest – I gave up after an hour as the chickpea and spinach pie was absolutely awful even when I dipped it in tomato ketchup (at £4.20 I was not going to throw it away!), And also though I’d like to be slim for my college reunion – reality tells me it will be like the school reunion when most people had also got fat – many even fatter than me.

So anyone looking for some magnesium supplements for a knock down price (and let’s face it – after reading this – how coudl you not?) – you can get them on my Gumtree account!

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Work Bitch Work

Well it is the 74th of January today …. or at least that’s what it feels like. This month has gone on FOREVER. But on the plus side it is also payday…. at long long long long long last! And that reminder of why I go to work is most timely.

Because today was a bit rubbish but not particularly different from every other day. I started the day by hitting snooze about 15 times due to exhaustion. Zephrus said ‘the only people awake at 3am are in love, lonely, drunk or all three’. He clearly had not consulted with menopausal women. I bloody wish it was alcohol keeping me awake then rather than the well known ‘menopausal worry hour’.

Then it was time to find something to wear – plans to lay everything out the night before never quite came to fruition. Discard the first blouse as it shows up sweat patches – never good when the hot flushes kick in.

Finally dress and set off to work. Decide to walk as need to
get fit – 30 mins up to the bus stop and 30 mins back – perfect, fits in with all those recommendations to ‘make exercise part of your life’. But… it is freezing and my bag is really heavy and I have just been paid – and a taxi with its light on goes past. So just for today I get a taxi to the bus stop. I have a panic at the bus stop that my forgetful mind may have caused me not to pick up my work security pass. I have done this too many times before – and have to sit in reception for 100 years while they can find someone willing to sign me in which most people don’t want to do as they are then responsible for me and lending me their pass every time I need to swipe out to get to the loo… which can be rather frequent. But I have it – hooray!! And I seem to be reasonably matched in my attire. I wore two odd shoes once – same colour but an inch of difference in the heel. I didn’t notice til lunchtime – I was relieved rather than embarrassed though after worrying all morning I may have osteoarthritis (which is apparently another likelihood as estrogen levels drop) as my hip ached from walking on uneven shoes.

Get to work and time to sign on – I gaze thoughtfully at the flashing line on my PC daring me to remember my password. It takes a minute or two but then it comes to me – hooray, no need to spend another hour on to IT explaining that once again I have locked myself.

So the day isn’t going too bad but then it is time for the ‘training event’ – won’t bore you with the details but we had to all start by giving an interesting fact about ourselves that might surprise people. Well I was most excited – I did a similar exercise about ten years ago and everyone was most impressed.

Finally it’s my turn. ‘I was on Top of the Pops dancing behind Craig McLachlan’ I announce proudly. Blank looks all round. Too late, I remember the average age is around 28. I continually forget I am twice the age of half the people I work with. ‘Who’s Craig Mclaughlin’?’ say the graduate. ‘What’s top of the pops?’ says the Apprentice. FFS – Its Craig MCLACHLAN I say then I sing a bit of the song ‘Hey Mona…OOOO Mona’ just in case it triggers a memory – but there is zero recognition. A sudden urge to get up and do the dance comes over me but I manage to resist and we move on to 24 year old Cliff who tells us about his climb up Kilimanjaro to raise £5000 for orphaned orangutans or something similar. When did young people get so bloody compassionate? Do none of them get wrecked on cheap booze while hanging out on street corners the way my generation did? The youth of today just don’t know how to have fun. Anyway – I resolve to find a more recent interesting fact in case I am in this position again.

At break time the Apprentice approaches. She has checked youtube and cannot find me dancing on top of the pops. I explain that it was sometime ago and utube wasn’t around then. ‘No utube’ she says in wonder then glares at me again ‘well do you have a picture?’. ‘No’ I sigh and I can tell she is sure I am lying now – no selfie? So I have to give a short history lesson on how you used to have to take a proper camera out with you not just fish your phone out because shock horror – there were not mobiles!. And due to the likely vast intake of cheap booze you often didn’t take it coz you would have broken it or lost it. And in actual fact we often went out and… did not take one single photo all night!! I am getting into my stride when her apple watch makes a noise which tells her she must go and run up and down the stairs. I watch her retreating back and remember when we just did exercise without needing a bleep to tell us when to do it.

Anyway the day dragged on but finally it was time to go home. I was most depressed as I wait at the bus stop – as I couldn’t think of a single interesting anecdote about myself in the last decade. Not one!! I rack my brains. What happened? I’ve tons from before but I need to be more relevant for the next one. My mood is falling – a man joins the queue eating his pie from Greggs. Well he eats half of it and throws the other half in the street. I don’t know whether it is the menopause rage or if I am justified (it is often hard to tell?) but I am raging. ‘Mate – you just dropped your pie on the road’ I say. ‘So?’ he says in an insolent way. ‘So it means you are a DIRTY FECKIN BASTARD’ I say ‘Pick it up and put it in the FECKIN BIN which is conveniently situated just a 12 step walk from where you area standing’. He looks at me slack mouthed. And I get a slight panic… Oh no…. What have i done? No one else at the bus stop is menopausal and it is Edinburgh so they are all just pretending they haven’t heard anything. I suspect if I am stabbed they will just step over me trying to avoid the blood and get on the bus. I see a taxi and quickly flag it down. Yes I should be saving money but this is really a health and safety thing.

Back home and I search Spotify – there it is. I try my dance steps out – I can remember them!!! I dance around the living room ecstatic. I mean the steps were fairly easy – I just happened to be in the crowd and pulled up to do a simple dance with a few others – but I’ve still got it going on!!

I have a couple of drinks and open my laptop and check out skydiving; canyoning; everest climbing and a number of other exciting but slightly scary activities. I have yet to choose – but I WILL have an exciting fact to share next time. But for now it is 9pm and time for bed.

Over the hump and the weekend is on the horizon – hooray!

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Poorly Sick!

So I am poorly. Very poorly. I was most reluctant to visit the Doctor because of my many visits last year with various ailments I had self diagnosed – eg altzheimer’s; underactive thyroid, diabetes – all of which I was tested for and found negative for. All my ailments ended up being symptoms of the menopause and so at that point I determined only to visit the Doctor if it was really serious so that I would not get a reputation for being a hypochondriac and potentially cause them to miss something in a sort of ‘girl who cried wolf’ kind of way.

But I can barely move. I am existing on a diet of lemsips and phish food ice cream (medicinal as it is the only thing that will ease my throat). My head hurts, my chest is congested, my eyes have disgusting exretions coming from then. My ear is on fire. My body is on fire and I am sweating (though that could be the flushes – it is kind of hard to tell).

So I call the receptionist. I tell her I am not sure whether or not to come in – I might be wasting the Doctors time. She listens to my fragile voice describing my awful symptoms and I hear her tapping away at her computer. I am hoping she is looking at my file and not ordering something off Amazon as she is very quiet.

‘I think you should come in’ she says ‘I can get you an emergency appointment at 2pm’.

I take it. Then i start to panic. It must be serious if they have fitted me in on the same day. Menopausal anxiety, sickness and Google are a troublesome combination. A few clicks and I realise I have symptoms of pleurisy. Or maybe pneumonia. I wonder if I should pack a small bag in case they send me straight to hospital. A few more clicks and I suspect I may have a lung abscess. Maybe chronic bronchitis. Or even chronic obstructive pulmonary disease!!

I am really panicking now and start to work out how long I can live for if I have to give up work to recover. I am kicking myself for not taking out income protection cover. That starts me worrying about whether I have mortgage protection cover – will they let me remortgage or do interest only payments? I logon to see the pitiful amount of savings I have and deduce I could last about 3 weeks and 2 days before I would be out on the street.

Then it’s time to go. In my younger days, in the very rare event I went to a Doctor, I only ever went if I wanted a sick note so I could skive off work (I have realised though that as I get closer to 50 then Doctors/Medical Practitioners take you much more seriously than when I was 22 and the bloody Doctors would shush me away with no sick note and some advice to ‘cheer up’). I worry and worry on the way there – Receptionists are trained to pick out malingerers so she must have realised I am very much at risk

I go in and answer the usual questions – smug as always with the no smoking… less smug with the units of alcohol per week. No sign of scales thank god as that would have wiped the smugness completely off my face.

I panic as I realise I have no bra on – feck – what if he wants to listen to my chest. As he checks temperature, oxygen flow etc I get more and more anxious – what will he think if I have to remove my top and my boobs are thrust into his face? He might put something in my notes that I am a total loony (if it isn’t there already)

He listens to my back with his stethocope thing. He gets me to cough and I do a delicate little cough. He asks again – then tells me to do a full on deep cough. God he is a Doctor – I am a menopausal women – does he not get why I am coughing so lightly?. But I obey and hope for the best – fortunately it is only a little bit of wee that comes out and I think I get away with it. I cough again and again for him – it starts to get quite traumatic – my bladder is really full from all the lemsips.. He stops there – doesn’t do my chest – maybe coz he can see from that there is no bra and doesn’t want to risk it.

‘Just a cold’ he says.

‘WTF’ I say.

‘Yes’ says ‘lots of it about’.

Does he not realise just how sick I am? I panic and worry again that maybe he was too embarrassed to listen to my braless chest and maybe that would have been the decider in sending me to the hospital for immediate treatment. Maybe he has seen all of the appointments for last year and a ‘hypochondriac’ note on my file.

‘Antibiotics?’ I croak. ‘Oh no’ he says. ‘Two paracetamol every four hours, fluids and rest – you’ll be fine’. Well I beg to feckin differ – it will serve him right if I have to be blue lighted into A&E at 3am with one of the many illnesses I think I may have.

So I return home to bed, picking up some more phish food ice cream with paracetamol on the way back. I try to buy three packs but am told that I can only buy 2 – apparently if you buy more than that you are probably planning to kill yourself and the supermarket refuses to potentially be a guilty party in such an arrangement. I resist the urge to say ‘FFS – if I really wanted to top myself do you think I wouldn’t just choose another method or just simply pop to another shop’ but it is hard as I am due a rant. No need though – as she tells me she’ll just put it through on another transaction and that will solve it.

Next day I suspect I might be getting slightly better. I truly think you can judge how sick you are by how interesting you find daytime telly. Yesterday I was desperate to find out if that lovely man on Jeremy Kyle was indeed that poor girls father and was hooked for the DNA results. Today I am couldn’t care less if the man the lady wants to marry may be her cousin. I mean I record it – coz I want to find out. But I don’t watch it.

May actually be getting better! But I am now obsessed with the various ‘diagnose your own illness’ websites there are – and I may need to make another visit to the Doctors soon.

I may change surgery first though…..

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