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Period piece

By Gloria Diaz

Check out Gloria's Blog — Edge of Gloria!

Fort Wayne Reader

2009-01-05


My boss inspired me to write this column. Or rather, he said it was something I could write about. So blame him.

Most women of childbearing age get unreasonable and irrational at least once a month. Itís the monthly menstrual cycle, and in this case, the old ďit hurts me worse than it hurts you lineĒ rings true. Yes, people have to put up with our exteriors, but we have to actually experience all the physical and emotional upheaval that comes with bleeding once a month. They donít call it ďthe curseĒ for nothing.

Since youíre all probably dying to hear what I go through each month, and since I have no shame, here goes. Perhaps my experience might enlighten clueless men and those lucky women who donít have any problems each month.

For a while, I was on the Pill. That regulated my periods and kept them bearable. However, for financial reasons, I havenít been on the pill in several months. The first period during my first month without pills was a killer. I have insurance and money now, so as soon as I can get into the gynecologist, Iím begging for the Pill. I never realized the added additional benefits of fewer pimples along with fewer cramps, but you know how it is: you donít miss something until itís gone.

Anyway, my monthly ordeal starts out like this: first, I cry. It doesnít matter if itís some stupid commercial, or a song, or the end of ďNapoleon Dynamite,Ē I am on the verge of tears until something sends me over the edge. If I have time to cry, I indulge myself.
Physically, Iím very tired at this point. Sometimes it feels like someone has injected me with a sleeping potion, because Iíve felt tired enough to lay down in the aisle of whatever store Iím shopping in. If Iím too tired to spend money, I know something is very, very wrong.

Then, the rumblings in my abdomen start. Itís sort of a cross between indigestion and hunger pangs. After that, the bloating and the cramps. Topped off with painful gas, I feel like a Macyís balloon that is about to pop. Usually, I get a sudden cramp and gas at the same time, powerful enough to make me wince and freeze into whatever position Iím in because itís just too $%^&$# painful to move. Imagine having your insides beaten with a mixer for a couple days. THAT, gentlemen, is what it feels like for me.

Then thereís the blood. Lots of it for the first couple days, necessitating frequent bathroom visits, because all that activity takes a toll on my bladder. Plus, I need to check for leaks. Fortunately, Always has come out with an overnight pad that really does the job.

So, I load up on Midol in order to keep functioning. Back in September, my period hit me really hard, so I took the maximum strength Midol (lots of it) so as not to take any time off work. I was amazed when I put in a 12-hour day at work, had dinner, and went bowling with a couple friends and actually kicked their asses. I was stumped as to why, then I remembered the Midol Iíd been chomping all day. Itís packed with caffeine.

Which helps during the day, but at night, I turn to Tylenol P.M.

Those are some of my current symptoms. In the past, Iíd end up with migraine headaches, which wouldnít go away unless I took some regular Tylenol, waited 20 minutes, then threw up. It was like clockwork. Bad headache, Tylenol, then barf. I threw up on the way to a Barenaked Ladies concert, I threw up a wonderful meal Iíd had at Bandidoís and I threw up in my cousinís gorgeous bathroom while on vacation in Puerto Rico. That last one was embarrassing. It was Linda-Blair-in-The-Exorcist-style projectile vomiting. I tried to clean it up the best I could, but still.

So if you notice your girlfriend or wife is a little edgy during certain times of the month, itís probably the dreaded curse. I almost forgot to mention the horniness and irritability. Why we feel this way during the messiest time of the month is some sort of cruel joke, let me tell you. Itís an emotional and physical ordeal that is unpleasant, and all we ask is a little understanding when we snap at you. Itís not you, itís us. So we love you, but shut up and leave us the hell alone. Oh, and can you grab us some chocolate ice cream?

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