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September 2009

Menopause, the preview!

Two days ago, I went to the GP to have my hormones murdered suffocated momentarily surpressed via zola.dex. I am almost pleased to say that she was nearly as confused as me as to what exactly the ChildDr was up to, and kept asking me what I thought the plan might be. We went over the scenarios a few times, and she explained the zola.dex effect (temporarily to push a woman, kicking and screaming, (in my case), into menopause) before she finally, in a spirit of, "ah sure, you might as well" plunged the waspish sting into the fat of my belly.
I had a few lip wobbles on the way home. My inner voice-over kept saying: but I don't WANT to go into menopause! (I am assuming I am not the only one with a inner voice-over? Anyone? ..anyone? Mine sounds like it's about three), maybe because I didn't understand the need of the treatment, and wasn't prepared for it. A chugger (charity mugger - we have the highest % of chuggers in the world per capita in this town, a fact I have from a reliable source, ie. me) approached me and losing heart as she saw my face, just said: How are you? on a falling intonation. That even a chugger knew it wasn't a good time to "talk for a minute", as their euphemism has it, says it all.

Since then, I have been trying to see this as a positive thing, a nice calming, time-out kind of thing, where my ovaries realign themselves with the House of Leo, or something, and get all happy and productive.

However it is difficult not to take brooding account of every passing whim and give it the name of side-effect. Like I have a slight headache at the moment, as if I had a few too many last night. A side-effect, no doubt.

Lack of energy? SIDE-EFFECT!
Bad mood? SIDE-EFFECT!
Poor sense of decorum? SIDE-EFFECT!

No hot flushes so far, though, in fact, I have been even more chilly than usual of late.

I am finding myself really tedious. So in an effort to make my Month as a Menopausal Woman fun, I am calling it, Menopause, the preview! Which sounds like it should be, (maybe it already is), on Broadway. I am thinking how I could illustrate it.  More on this later..

In the meantime, I finished that job. In the end, they went for an animation of the members of staff jumping into a box, to illustrate the fact they are moving. Here's that Busin*ss Development Manager leaping:


Any resemblance to Mi*s Piggy (who is a very pretty pig anyway, don't you think?) is purely coincidental.


It is thus the life of a freelancer:
  1. the work comes all at once, so you go demented trying to get it all done, working like a maniac and becoming a husk of your real self,
  2. then you twiddle your thumbs for weeks, and take to making bets with yourself on the raindrops as they run down the window.
  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2

It's a law of nature. So it did not surprise when two jobs flooded in, (to paraphrase Terry Wogan), while my brain is still all fogged up and duuuuull after the anesthetic. Everything seems far far away, minute and incomprehensible. Thinking is like trying to thread a tiny needle with huge woolly-mittened giant's hands.

One was just a look and feel for a website. Quite easy and functional, and the other is an animated e-card for - let's see, what is it they call themselves? Oh yes, str@tegic online communic@tions and marketing consult@nts.* HA HA HA. (Mirthless guffawing). These are the people that out-source everything at the lowest possible price, and pass it all off as their work. A deal was struck, in any case, and off I went to work. Then the Business Development Manager (again, HA HA HA) in charge of the job rang me yesterday morning, to reverse out of the deal. Suddenly my price was huge and unaffordable, and she battled me down another 40%, whining how much "work they put our way" (veiled threat) and how it was "a lovely little job" for me.

I'd GRRRRRRRRRRRRRrrrrr, but, honestly, I haven't the energy.

Now I am waiting for them to get back to me on my storyboards, while I flop-brainedly try to think about things. Like how I should be ringing the ChildDr, to re-hear what she said after the operation. You would think a surgeon would know how pointless it is to explain anything to someone who has just come to after an anaesthetic. But no. All I remember is:

.. mpfff... a month or so, to let it settle down.. lullll.. and then a couple of months.. your own..mhmm.. zolasomething.. puhfffump..

Which could mean anything. The nurse told me to get a prescription for zola.dex, which, if the price (e100) and security involved is anything to go by, must be fairly potent stuff. The chemist told me I'd need to get it every month, and then I made the dire mistake of looking it up on the internet, which confounded my giant's mitts even more, since it makes all kind of references to nasty side-effects, and the fact it dampens your hormones so it can be used for some kinds of breast cancer and if you continue to menstruate while on it, you should inform your doctor.

What was that, again?


[trying to think]


Darkened room might be the thing now.

Till later


* Oops, just occurred to me now that I should perhaps disguise that.

before and after

Laparoscopy Day on Thursday.
It really wasn't so bad, just like May said. (I mean, if I had a choice between a frozen shoulder and a lap, it's a bit of a toss-up, but I'd have to go for the lap).

The worst part was being left (fasting! on an empty stomach! that is, hungry! and thirsty! I think the point is made!) to wait in a series of windowless rooms for hours, being interrupted every once in a while for a blood test or to fill in a form.

So far I haven't been given any before and after images, so I have improvised:



Or, you know, something like that.

sights for sore eyes

Some backstory: I am rather short on sight, blind as a potato, and when I go to the pool, the better to wave my arm around as if training for the synchronised swimming event in the Arm Olympics 2012*, I remove my glasses. I then walk/swim around in a fog, marveling at how all the other people are reduced to blobs, as if painted by an Impressionist. This is wonderfully liberating. It's hard to have prejudices if you can't see if you are swimming alongside a grey-haired man rather than a annoyingly smooth and fit young wan.

But even I could see a canoodling couple in the pool. "Ooh, brave" I thought. "You never know when a situation could arise." And even I, with my weak eyesight, could plainly see when the young fella got out of the pool that a situation had indeed reared its head.
GAH. Mortification by proxy.

The JB is back from Canada where he'd been lying around being fed grapes by servants in gold tunics, or, sitting on a panel in a conference, as he refers to it. So early Tuesday morning found me waiting for him in the arrivals hall. There were touching reunions all around, and I was becoming misty-eyed at the way we people form attachments, at our wonderfully human capacity to love.

I got a text from the JB saying he was waiting for his bag.
"Let's run together in slow-motion when we see each other" he said.
But sadly we were too chicken, (ah, if only I were brazen, I'd like that) and we had to satisfy ourselves with a hug, suitable for public consumption. I was glad to have him back.

Meanwhile, in another county, my father is settling in back home. He still has work to do, but he's getting on well, and I think he and my mother are adjusting to this new turn of the page.
(Strange, this marriage thing, isn't it? You hitch your star to someone else's, in the name of love, on a hunch, really, but with no inkling of what might happen, and you can but hope for the best.)

Your, blinking in bemused fashion,

*Arm-waving as recommended by my physio. We had another torture session yesterday, and this time, instead of crying, I laughed semi-hysterically. It still hurt. The spangly-eyed one twisted and levered, pummeled and pounded as if her life depended on it, but somehow I was more prepared, and it was okay (sort of). And worth it, because it does seem to be working.

spiral of doom

Today was the day of the physiotherapy, that, along with the rather de-humanising experience of an MRI and cortisone injection, is intended to heal my shoulder, so that no longer will be limited to the Na.zi salute (ie 90° ) but have its full range of the Power Salute/air-punch/high five, even. After a half hour waiting, I was invited to join my torturer physiotherapist, in a curtained off area of a large gym, complete with racks and thumbscrews. She levered my arm back and forth in a competent, if slightly offhand manner. It hurt like a focker. And I cried.

Actually that's not quite true, it wasn't so much the pain as the fear of the pain that made me cry. (This is the screwed up world which we like to call our neuro-muscular system: say you get an injury, to your shoulder, while swimming inexpertly in a pool in Eindhoven (as a totally random example). It hurts and your muscles tighten up in an effort to immobilise and protect the area. So when you repeat the movement, it hurts even more, which makes the muscles even more paranoid and Hey Man! You threatening me? and tight.
And so the cycle of pain and fear of pain gets worse and worse until you are a gibbering rolled up ball in the corner of a cell. Not because of the injury, but because of the fear of the pain of the injury. As the man said, we have nothing to fear but fear itself.
Oh, that's fine, so. THANKS.

Anyway. I was afraid so I started to cry quietly. And then I felt, oh no! I can't be crying, I am an eegit. Which made me cry more. I thought: get a grip, self. And then, I can't, and it's because I am such an eegit. And the physio said: Are you okay? Is it the pain?
And I was thinking: it's the fear of the pain! How can I tell her that, she looks about 23, not to be ageist, but has she ever pulled a muscle in her life? it's the fear of being an eegit! it's the fear.. we have nothing to fear but.. oh Gawd, what I am thinking, I am such an eegit. Then I looked up long enough to see that the Physio had spangly Urban decay-ish eye-shadow on. And this, (essentially seeing something shiny), distracted me enough to climb out of the hole. And the grip was got, finally.

I still feel bad about feeling bad though. No-one cries unless he or she needs to.

Twangy says: CRY IF YOU LIKE.
I am printing tee-shirts.

Destiny is calling

Well well well. (The story of the three wells, as my father used to say, in a fine example of Dad humour). Here we are again. The Time, as JB calls it, came in a timely fashion, (though oddly, it was almost painless). So no miracle then, I am for the chop. And, to add insult to injury, (literally) it's going to be rather expensive.

No point in arguing though, it's booked. The die is cast. (Hah! I used half-wittedly to think it was the dye is cast, I thought it was something to do with home hair-dye jobs gone bad. Oh dear.) I may have to stay overnight, in order to be starved, a thing I object to on two counts:
1) it costs even more of a fortune to stay overnight (because we made a mess of our health insurance, and the ChildDoctor only works at certain private hospitals) and
2) Sleep? huh, in my dreams! (ironically), in a hospital bed.
And oh! 3) pay 5 star hotel rates, to be starved?


The JB is currently lounging around in Toronto like a playboy on some kind of a "work trip". Lucky divil.
I may need to make greater efforts in the socialising dept before he comes back to find me a wild lunatic who has lost the power of speech. The only person I spoke to today was my mother, on the phone. My voice sounded a bit croaky and out of practice, even after just a day.
(I work on my own in a shed at the bottom of the garden, with no one but slugs and spiders for company).
Further evidence I should probably Get Out More: I made a cake today. Whizzed it up, put it in the oven. Then it struck me that I had forgotten to put the eggs and milk (ie, the whole wet part) in the mixture, so, quick as lightning, I  retrieved the sludge from the oven where it had hardly started to cook at all, and beat them in determinedly. Good save, me.
Speaking of the cake, it is calling me from the house.
TWAAANNNNGY!!! If you don't eeeeat me, I won't have fulfilled my destiny! Myyy deeeestiny!

It's probably not a good sign when baked goods start speaking to you.
I best away before I add to the body of evidence against myself.
Till later,

things keep happening

but in an inconveniently unrelated way, which makes it hard to weave them into a narrative. So, let's forget coherence and logic and just leap straight in:

Bit of a Blast from the Past this weekend, in the shape of OldSchoolFriend. Ah, OldSchoolFriend! She was my constant companion for all our school and college days, and then she moved to Surrey, married a local chap and had a little boy. (Well, naturally he was a baby at first. Over time he became a boy). Her brother (incidentally the lucky man who took me to my Debs dance. Ooh! *blushes at memory*) now lives in Dublin and so it was we all met up for a dinner in D*nnybrook. We ran into another Old Friend, D, there too.
Time was, in the late 80's, we all used to go out together on Friday nights, to the local pub, which was then called the L*rds Tavern, and is now defunct. There'd be an amount of drinking and late night carousing, all fairly normal studenty stuff.
D, though, couldn't get enough of anything, ever. He never knew when to stop. You know those people? He'd always be looking for more booze, more smokes, more all-night sessions, and so more drink-driving, more reckless mad behaviour.
Cut to 20 years later: and predictable as taxes, though sadder, last year he got throat cancer, and it was quite bad, I gather. He was treated and last winter got the all-clear. I remember at the time wondering with the JB if D had been scared straight, or not. Well, the answer, as so often, is kind of.
He has given up smoking, but that was only because he had no choice whatsoever, but he is still drinking like a maniac. Not surprisingly he hasn't anyone in his life, because he would drive anyone barking mad in 5 minutes. He has to be all outrageous ALL the time, you know? Maybe it's an Irish alcoholic thing, this need to be a mad character. You can't have a normal conversation with him, because he has to be wracking his brain all the time for the next CRAZYMAD thing he is going to SHOCK you with. As soon as he saw me, I knew it was coming:
Got any kids? You better get going you know, TICK! TOCK! biological clock! Getting on you know!
And there it was.
I couldn't work up a rage though, although it was indeed totally outrageous. I knew he didn't really mean anything by it, for one thing, it was just the MAD D talking, and for another, I couldn't help but remember how sick D really was last year. I don't know how fertile he could be either, after all his chemo.
His battles have been so much harder than mine, for all that he doesn't seem to care to acknowledge them.

Addiction to Internet - discovering exact severity thereof.
Last Thursday our internet connection slowly failed. Since then, like a vampire hanging around blood banks, I have been skulking around libraries, colleges and cafes, and even have ventured bravely into McD*nalds in the hope of picking up a stray signal. One night found me in the NoddyCar on the dark street outside the local library, furtively checking my email.
(Sorry, any passersby who may have been alarmed by the sight of a woman in a car, illuminated by a ghostly blue light. I wasn't up to no good, I promise.
Though I couldn't claim to be up to any actual good either).
A man representing Major Irish Telecommunications Corporation rushed over urgently, (within 3-5 business days), to check our modem.
Ah, she's dead, he said. We look at the modem with one light blinking sadly. She'd crashed.
(Modems, like ships and cars, are female, in case you didn't realise).
My new she-modem will be couriered across the city, (in 3-5 working days).
This is because my business is important to Major Irish Telecommunications Corporation.

Your appropriately reassured