I hate going to the doctor. It takes a lot to get me to go, like a severed limb or a bullet wound. And honestly, doctors have never actually cured me of anything. Not once. The way I see it, I’m better on my own and with my own version of first aid: tweezers, hydrogen peroxide, and honey sticks.
But this time, my daughter firmly insisted. And by ‘firmly’ I mean she demanded. She was irritated by my incessant coughing. So I made an appointment with my primary care physician – whom I have no faith in whatsoever.
“Alrighty, what’s going on with you?”
“I think I have a sinus infection; I have sinus pressure, my ears are blocked, and I have a stuffy nose.”
He slapped his knee. “Yep. I’m going to have Meredith come in next.”
Just like that. He didn’t even examine me, but I’m OK with that. He walked out, and I waited for Meredith.
Twenty-four minutes later, the door opens, and Meredith, a perky twenty-something-year-old walks in. She’s wearing pink scrubs with cupcakes all over. I just wanted to be on my way. I was ready for her to hand over a prescription, but instead, she sat down at the computer, looked at me, and said (and I quote): “Looks like you gained some weight. You know, a 10-pound weight gain during menopause is perfectly normal.”
“And not just weight gain. You might notice some mood swings. You know, highs and lows. And you might start to get a little forgetful. This is all normal for your age and what you’re going through.”
“That is awesome,” I said, trying to rein in my compulsion to kill her, all 110 pounds. “But what does this have to do with my sinus infection?”
She actually grunted.
“The doctor suggested I give you these pamphlets about, you know, The Change.”
“Aha.” I stared at her. Then I let it pour.
“I realize I will never be able to wear a tube top again, but I’m not anywhere near the need for the ‘fat talk.’ And no offense, but telling a woman who, “you know,” is going through “the change,” that she’s getting fat is not helpful. You really don’t have any idea. I mean, if you must know, the really upsetting thing is my nightstand drawer. I used to have candles, gels, a blindfold, yeah that’s right! And all sorts of really *fun* things, if you know what I mean, inside my nightstand. Nowadays, when I open it, I have aspirin bottles, Chapstick, a pair of reading glasses, and probably a handful of candy wrappers in it. Oh, and don’t forget the tiny hand-held fan because I wake up in the middle of the night, soaking wet. No less than eleven times! And for the record, I eat right, I exercise every day, and I’m talking squats, bench press, and even deadlifts. And although I’m a little softer these days, my only real problem is hot flashes. Do you know how much I sweat during a hot flash?! I bet I lose at least a pound of liquid a day, just from sweating. I sweat even when I stand directly in front of the air conditioning vent. Is there anything in those pamphlets that tells me how I can get rid of hot flashes?! Well?! Is there? Oh, and I’m losing my hair. I used to have thick and shiny hair. Know what’s thick and shiny now? Just my thighs. I mean, I come in for a sinus infection, and you want to say to me I’m fat and moody?
I’m not moody.”