Tahlequah Daily Press

Columns

January 14, 2013

Nothing to do with ‘men,’ but it should give you ‘pause’

TAHLEQUAH — It’s a funny word, “meno-pause.” It sounds like a dreaded disease or psychological condition that should give men pause before they make demands on the aging women in their lives. Actually, that’s pretty close to the truth.

When I was a kid, I heard whispered rumors about menopause – covert discussions that abruptly ceased when youngsters entered the room. With tones of pity, my mother and her friends would murmur the names of women who had “hit menopause.” The first time I heard that, I thought they were speaking colloquially about someone who had physically struck some man’s hands. No doubt he deserved it.

If women my mother’s age were reluctant to discuss what they sometimes called “the change of life” in polite company, my grandmothers were worse. Once when I was about 5, I accompanied my dad’s mother to the beauty shop – back when women went to the beauty shop once a week, whether they needed it or not. On this occasion, my grandmother told her beautician and a couple of other women that someone at her church had “just started the menopause.” Just up and started it, apparently, with no forewarning. My grandmother used the article “the” – as if there was only one of these menopauses, or at least this one had special status. Kind of like “the” God – the real one, as opposed to the idol all those other people worship.

“Shhhh... Eva Mae!” the beautician warned my grandmother, nodding in my direction. Perhaps, I thought, I would be the next victim of this thing. Whatever it was, I wanted no part of it. Obviously it was dirty, like a girlie magazine, since it couldn’t be discussed in front of kids.

My mother never told me what to expect from “the menopause,” an omission for which I’ve chastised her several times. She seems nonplussed, only saying it wasn’t a big deal. But then again, she’s one of those weirdos who enjoyed being pregnant.

Menstruation is bad enough without having to worry about what comes next. Women have to put up with that nuisance for decades, and then suddenly, they get the rug – or at least the pad – pulled out from under them. It seems like a blessing until the other problems erupt. Changing body shape and loss of collagen; the migration of hair from head to chin; and  ex-haustion and depression are part of the package. But nothing prepares you for your first hot flash.

When I started having those mild, premenopausal temperature fluctuations a few years ago, I confused them for hot flashes. Inwardly, I scoffed at friends who had been opining on the horrors of hot flashes. This dismissive attitude prevailed until last month, when reality bit. I can only compare it to opening the door of a blast furnace. Since it was winter, one second I was chilly, and the next, I had stepped across the threshold into the abode of that guy with the horns, pointy tail and trident. And you can’t close the door to the furnace, or retreat from the threshold and say, “Sorry, Lucy, there’s been a mistake.” You just have to ride it out.

This is not an internal or imaginary heat. The “flashee” will break out in a a noticeable sweat, and her clothing may be drenched within seconds. After a minute, the heat retreats, only to come roaring back 30 minutes or an hour later.

It happened the other day at the grocery store. The clerk peered at me with concern and asked, “Are you OK?” “I’m fine – or will be, eventually,” I said, wishing I could get out of that hot building. I considered telling her I had been “hit with the menopause,” but decided not to elaborate. “It’s just that – well, you broke out in a cold sweat,” she said. The sweat wasn’t cold, but I didn’t correct her.

It’s a real challenge at the office, where our ad manager likes to keep the temperature a tad too warm for my tastes, anyway. When the flash hits, I’m always tempted to rip off my clothing and bellow. The only thing that stops me is the sure knowledge that all four men in the newsroom would resign their posts immediately, perhaps halting in their mad dash to the exit just long enough to throw up in a trash can.

It’s worse at night. My husband alternates between accusing me of trying to immolate him with my body heat, or freeze him to death when I kick off the covers. The cat, who insists on taking up mattress acreage in winter, does not help matters. We have a hot tub, which my husband keeps at a barely tolerable 104 degrees – 2 degrees hotter than the manual suggests. It doesn’t matter in terms of the warranty, which ex-pired years ago, but it matters very much when a hot flash pushes the water to the boiling point.

The other morning at 5:45 at the Muskogee aquatics center, the water seemed especially frigid, and I loitered for a bit, dreading the plunge. I was hoping a hot flash would expediently hit, but I’m never lucky that way.

I haven’t a clue how to spell relief. My doctor, who has heard me gripe, has not yet offered to put me on hormone replacement therapy, so I must assume HRT has gone out of vogue, and is another of those things women now speak of in muted tones: “She got herself on the HRT and now she’s got the cancer.”

I, like legions of women before me, will just have to suffer. But don’t expect it to be in silence.

Kim Poindexter is getting old, but is still the managing editor of the Tahlequah Daily Press.

1
Text Only
Columns
  • A twist on words can get you into trouble

    The misuse or mispronunciation of words can be forgiven in children, but in adults, it’s water-cooler cannon fodder.

    July 28, 2014

  • Keeping the interest of boys is just a matter of ‘gross’

    A couple of my friends complained to me recently that they didn’t know how to “connect” with their teenage sons, and that they are growing apart from the sweet little boys to whom they once read bedtime stories.

    July 14, 2014

  • ‘Different’ situations aren’t so very different, after all

    “Well, that’s different!” It’s the favorite phrase of the hypocrite, when confronted with his glaring flaw.

    July 7, 2014

  • Threats on social media or elsewhere won’t change any minds

    I try not to take political positions on my private Facebook timeline. I used to sometimes, in what I considered a polite way, but that offended friends left and right – literally. And sometimes I watched in horror as a thread degenerated into name-calling between people I respect, but who happen to be polar opposites on the political spectrum.

    June 30, 2014

  • Striking the hyphen, and other journalistic maneuvering

    A couple of years ago, my office phone rang. With no greeting or fanfare, the caller indignantly said, “Did you know they’ve taken the hyphen out of ‘fundraiser’?”

    June 23, 2014

  • taylor.armerding.jpg IRS spins email yarn as Obama slips past another scandal

    Forget everything you've heard about email. All digital trace of a former IRS official's email over the 25 months the agency harassed conservative groups has mysteriously, improbably vanished. Gone, too, is the White House's accountability as President Obama slips from another scandal.

    June 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Front-load washers are harbingers of foul-smelling fabric

    May 27, 2014

  • Beetles in the office aren’t up on blocks

    We have more dead beetles here at the Daily Press office than you can shake a can of Raid at.

    May 12, 2014

  • NOLA always worth your time, especially for Jazz Fest

    When it comes to New Orleans, you can have a “glass half-full” or a “glass half-empty” attitude.
    Either you see anniversary celebrants enjoying a romantic dinner at the Court of Two Sisters, or the aging transvestite hawking her wares on Bourbon Street. You hear the joyous sounds of Zydeco music from the band on the corner, or the lewd cursing of the drunken frat boy at Pat O’Brien’s. You smell the enticing aroma of Cajun cuisine in the French Quarter, or the fresh puddle of vomit on the sidewalk.
    I’m a cynic, but I take the “glass half-full” approach to New Orleans. My family loves the city’s character, even with all the blemishes that repel respectable folks, and we especially love the Jazz and Heritage Festival. That’s where we were last weekend. The main action is out at the fairgrounds, with its sweltering temperatures, stick-tight-laden grass, and sea of sweaty bodies packed in around a dozen stages and 60 or so booths selling local food and crafts.

    May 5, 2014

  • Selling of lies in the dreaded car game

    Recently, my husband and I did something that is discussed in the same tone of disdain reserved for Communists, salesmen, politicians, lawyers, and sometimes, journalists. We bought ourselves a “furrin” car.
    We decided on a foreign contraption because my husband now commutes to Tulsa every day, and a quick calculation revealed the horror our three-quarter-ton diesel Chevy would visit upon our bank account. That vehicle gets a comparatively impressive 18 mpg, but doing the math on the current price of diesel and a 150-mile daily round trip is enough to send anyone to the nearest toilet to hurl up the previous meal.

    April 21, 2014

Poll

Do you believe school administrators and college presidents in Oklahoma are paid too much?

Strongly agree.
Somewhat agree.
Somewhat disagree.
Strongly disagree.
Undecided.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage
Stocks