Getting Me Ready

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The following is NOT for the weakhearted or squeamish. You’ve been warned.

So, Tuesday, I got my period. (yeah – I wasted no time) It’s not something I share with the world freely unless I absolutely have to (due to lack of a pad or maybe commiserating with a fellow female or whatever). I did however inform my husband and thought nothing of that. During the day Tuesday (and when I say i just got it – we’re talking warning shots mostly….) I get a call from someone with a very thick Eastern European accent from Dr. K’s office. “Hello Victoria, do you have your period yet – you have it today, yes?” And I paused for a second and thought – why does she know me like this…. and hesitantly responded… “Yeesssss…….” and she promptly responded, “GOOT. We see you Thursday between 7AM and 10AM!” and I asked if there was any prep or anything to be done before the appointment and she assured me they’d let me know whatever I needed to know when I got there. I called Earl and told him what we were up for Thursday morning.

Yep – today. Well, we didn’t get there for 7AM as we planned but signed in at 8:00 AM and hunkered down for our at least 1 hour wait. We try to be pros at it so it doesn’t make us angry. And I’m thinking… THEY KNOW I have my period. So there can’t be an exam happening today. They’ll probably start me on a whole bunch of pills or whatever. Massive speculations abound as I’m sitting there aging in the waiting room with Earl. Finally they call my name and start to lead me to an exam room. And I’m thinking to myself… they must want somewhere quiet to talk to me or take blood (from my arm) or something… But when I got into the exam room it was all prepped with stirrups and a sheet to put over my nether regions. And the nurse informed me that i was to undress from the waist down. And I said defiantly – um… y’all ain’t ready for what this is like… it’s a heavy day… and my flow ISN’T measly… She waved me off and made it sound like “whatever… basically do what I just told you to do.” I undressed in everything from the waist down except my diaper.

Brief History of me and my experience with this female cycle we call menstruation: I’ve NEVER had it easy. First off, I got my first period when I was 10. I was in the 4th grade. I mean. C’mon. Then to add insult to injury, my flow was never ever something to sneeze at. I learned a hard lesson one day on the way home from school one day when I’d not accurately planned for the arrival of my “Aunt” I only had one pad and I wasn’t my typical extra double wide super long magna absorbency with wings and tabs and extensions. It was just a 25 cent one from the vending machine in the girls bathroom at SFP. Put that on at 2:00. Bell rang at 2:37. Got on the bus and train to get home – about a half hour commute. It was the fall. I had on: my pad, my panties, a slip, my uniform skirt, a long sweater and my wool fall coat. When I got off the 7 train at 90th street, I looked down at the seat I left behind and there was a HUGE bloody smudge all over the seat which made me know that the back of my grey coat was telling of who left said smudge there. I RAN from the train to my home 2 normally short blocks which seemed like an eternity for me and cried for HOURS. From that point forward, I took many measured precautions to avoid that kind of thing from EVER happening again. But there’s only so much planning you can do for stuff like that. As I got older and the fibroids grew, the flow got heavier and the ways for precautions within the realm of the reality of a young lady who gets her cycle regularly became strained. Doubling up on overnight pads through out the day. Changing my pads every 2 hours. ANYTHING I COULD DO to avoid another embarrassing accident. But through out the years, I had my fair share. Bloody butt prints on chairs at work, family and friend’s carseats, restaurant booths… Opting to stand became the regular for me – because I’d rather inconvenience myself to spare what was left of my dignity. One day when my father was dying and after all the years of watching me strain, my mother finally suggested that I try using the adult diapers that my father had in the house for his incontinence issues. She assured they were designed to hold more liquid and could very well be the solution to my problem. I was so reluctant out of the sheer embarrassment of having to say to MYSELF that I’d now resorted to wearing a diaper because of this flow. But the embarrassment of the ever growing instances of accidents shamed me right into that bag of Depends. And that was working famously… till the day I bled through one of those. (that’s when my trek to get the fibroids removed began). At this point, I probably wear them more out of fear than necessity. My flow at present after all the surgeries seems to be 1/3 of what I was used to once upon a time. But I want to be sure I suppose. The anathema of my period all these years is BURNED into my soul. It isn’t something that takes a week or a month or maybe even a year to break out of.

So I sat on the edge of the examination table with the sheet over my yet still girdled loins and cried. Earl was trying to hard to be sympathetic. But what could I tell him that he’d understand? They want me to let loose the flood… and sit here in my own blood until they come to examine me in front of my husband. It was a level of embarrassment I’d not yet dealt with yet and didn’t have much time to learn how to deal with. So I cried. The nurse came in eventually and asked me what was wrong. And in brief I said, “I had no idea that I was being examined today… I have my period… It’s very heavy…. I wear an adult diaper when my cycle is on. I’m very embarrassed.” She said in a soft tone but still being very professional, “we have to look at the ovaries 2 days into your cycle. We do this all the time. Please try to believe that we’ve seen pretty much any scenario that you can imagine. I’ll give you a few moments to take the diaper off…” She left the room and I quietly asked Earl to please turn around so he didn’t have to see me remove the object of my mortification. I slid them off and centered myself on the blue pad that was now on the edge of the exam table. She came back in and asked me to lay back and spread my legs. And conducted the exam like nothing. She took measurements of my ovaries and then asked me to get dressed and get ready for them to draw blood…. *sigh* I thought – this is just a blood centered day. I put a fresh diaper on assessed the damage on the table, which wasn’t as much as I’d expected… and put my clothes on. Sat there quietly and the next technician came in with a tray of 17 vials. I figured… I’d have to fill one of each color. Nope. They had to have me fill ALL OF THEM. 17 vials of blood. Blood. Bloooood. BLOOOOOOOOOOD. (sorry. Had a tiny breakdown just now).

Then it was off to the nurses’ station for my next orders. 2 prescriptions of antibiotics, 1 prescription of antibiotic cream, 1 prescription for birth control, 1 prescription for antibiotics for Earl. Go. Fill them. See you on the 2nd of April. So, yep… the process begins. I’ll try to blog more frequently because I have a feeling that I’ll need to. I found solace in talking to Aisha after it all. She’s unwavering. Just calm and focused. I’ve gotten 2 incredibly great lines to always remember in the last 2 years. One that Auntie INA gave me on a refrigerator sticker that reminds me that “God is at work in you” and today Aisha reminding me, “Do good things to your body… your body will do good things for you.”

I’ll just step and repeat.

Lord Help me.



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