Buck It Up

“Are you going to grab this bull by the horns or not? Well, are you?”

“Yes,” I said. I looked up from my fumbling fingers on my lap. I see he was unconvinced. Perhaps, if he could look into my eyes, he’d know I meant it. I’ll do my very best. Buck it up.

It wasn’t quite the bedside manner I had hoped for with my doctor, suffice it to say, especially considering our topic was menopause or possible menopause. Since we met in his office and not in the clinic room, he left the white coat behind. He appeared casual in a baby blue jogging outfit, energized as if, in fact, he’d jogged to work or perhaps jogged in the clinic hallways between appointments. Someone got enough shut-eye. Hint: it wasn’t me. No white lab coat meant no awkward, intimate check-up. Just the straight talk.

“If you want to eat a piece of pie with some ice cream you need to run a seven-minute mile to earn that.”

“I can’t do a seven-minute mile. Did I tell you about my aching back?”

“That’s not my department,” he said. “Motrin up.”

I half expected a bird to fly through the window and perch on his bushy eyebrows that were likely to sprout wildflowers at any moment or perhaps something less nurturing. He’d just as easily lead a marching band, swinging a baton, with that happy frown of a grey mustache; or else take part in the generous drinking of ale on a hillside, pausing to twirl an inevitably soaked beer-foamed mustache.

“Are you drinking?” He must have read my mind. “A glass of wine is just empty calories. Two or three of those a week and that’s an extra thousand calories a month. An extra pound a month. Think about that.” A delightful thought. “You decide. The choice is to work out twice as much or eat half as less.”

It occurred to me that my steady fitness regime of dancing, running, swimming, and the boot camping I had endured my whole life had been thwarted in a matter of months. Canceled out. So it goes, in the search for missing estrogen our bodies think they’re helping by producing more fat, gently coaxing the estrogen like it really deserves it. In discovering this fat, the body is fooled into thinking it has found its missing estrogen.

What a load of crap is this? Hormones are wicked and stupid. That’s what they are. And mean. This bears repeating. Hormones are wicked, stupid and mean. And unaccommodating and dishonest and confused. Deep down, they’re tricksters. If I could pull their hairs, I would. Hard. So there. That would probably hurt me though and I suppose they don’t have hair anyway. I’m at their mercy. Dammit, Jim!

Doc went on to tell a rich tale about his stay in Brussels when he was a med student there. I spaced his big reveal, you know, the whole purpose to his story. Having trouble concentrating again? Another point for menopause.

“Seven percent of women hit menopause before the age of forty,” he said, checking something on his computer.

This affects me how? “Before forty, you say?” I’m on the other side of the tracks now, doc, and further down. If I do the basic math and round my number, I get 50 AND 40 ≠ 50. We’re definitely not talking anything before 40. All of a sudden, forty seems so…young.

We agree to a full panel of labs before I hear a light tapping on his door. Our time together was up.

*****************

On an unrelated point, but vital to any conversation, have you heard of the new gene-editing technology called CRIPSR? Here’s the fascinating article all about it. It’s said that it will change medicine forever. I hope they find the cure to cancer because they should definitely concentrate on that. Fingers crossed. Please find the cure to cancer. But after they figure out cancer, they really should figure out a way to rewire women’s hormones. We really got the short end of the stick here. Yeah? I think so. I’m sure it would be a simple task, right?

Note: Please don’t rely on this for medical advice. I’m exaggerating and leaving out whole chunks of our conversation. I’m poking a little fun at my doctor because I can’t help myself. He would get a kick out of it.

photo credit: 077/365 Day After Pills 031809 via photopin (license)

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Chick Moments

I’m calling Chick Moments things that don’t happen to guys. So guys, if I haven’t already turned away, you might want to stay and have a peek into the inner workings of a chick moment. There’s nothing wrong with getting in touch with your feminine side. Gals, you can let me know if any of this rings true.

Have you ever found yourself in a circle of women discussing the “chick” topics: purses, shoes, hair, manicures, pedicures, etc. I think we all have. This is the scene: Women gather, pheromones blend into the perfect formation, and a chick connection is made. Sassy Queen Estrogen flies in and makes her presence, taking notes on hair styles and makeup.

Can you tell I don’t like this? And, yet, I participate with the best of them. It’s as if the pheromonal air is acting as glue, holding the circle in one cohesive unit. Sometimes I feel that I almost can’t leave, and if I want to leave, I need to run. No bolt. I find myself commenting when actually I don’t care that much. Now let me pause for a moment. If it’s a close friend who asks for my opinion on something personal, this is a completely different story.

It’s the mindless bantering, chit-chattering about purses and shoes. Admittedly, I’ve never been much of a shopper. Shopping to me is usually about finding a specific item for a particular purpose within a confined budget. This is more of an assignment really. Shopping is only fun when you have money to burn and don’t need anything. This never happens. Still, if I had extra money, I probably still wouldn’t enjoy it. I’d prefer to be given clothes that fit perfectly and look great on me. I guess, who wouldn’t?

Purses and shoes are one thing, but it’s hair….hair color, hair styles, hair length…this is where there is more common ground. The chit chat about hair, indeed, surfaces.  The worst thing that can happen is if you make a noticeable change to your hair, and you get NO RESPONSE.

Case in point. Get ready for a disastrous Bumble. Once, in the process of getting my hair colored, the hairdresser said to me, “I’m just following your file here,” as she poured color or toner (or what?!) all over my hair.

Panic sets in. Was she kidding me? “File?” I ask. “I’ve never had my hair colored here before.”

She stopped with the chemicals. “Are you sure?” Is she doubting me? Mind you, we did have the pre-color talk. We already agreed on the color and the direction we were going. I guess that went out the window with evidence of the file.

After she rinsed out the chemicals, she promptly grabbed more bottles of toner (I think) and she poured them all over my head; rinsing, more pouring, more rinsing. My head felt raw.

The moment arrived on the chair in front of the mirror. How bad was it? She pulled off the towel, and all I could say was, “Oh, oh, wow…it’s, uh, brassy.”  Inside I was screaming, What did she fucking do to my hair? Why me? Why, oh why? The color was like the brassy gold of a door knob, with tinges of orange. I wasn’t going for the chic, Cindy Lauper. I couldn’t pull that off even if I wanted to.

But at that point, I pretended I was looking at someone else in the mirror. Who was that strange girl? Then denial set in. It won’t be that bad once she blow dries my hair. It will lighten up and with a few shampoos, indeed, it will tone down. Sure. I was in shock and actually paid for the color.

I was promptly taken back to reality when I arrived on school grounds to retrieve my children. Certainly, my female acquaintances noticed. Sure they did. I got the big NOTHING. I got the glances and the head turning in the opposite direction, or my favorite, the flat out stare directly into my eyes and then ZILCH.

Honestly, I should have worn a hat. The following week, I got, “You colored your hair,” and then NADA. They collectively knew they could not fake this.

You could say I’m out of the blond phase. As this happened a few years ago the brass has been replaced by my more natural brown tones. You can always fix hair. That’s a good thing.

photo credit: porschelinn via photopin cc