This post officially falls under the TMI category. If you are at all squeamish (or have a Y chromosome) you might want to skip it. Here, look at this picture of rainbows and unicorns, instead.
Okay, you asked for it.
This post is about cramps. Specifically, menstrual cramps from hell.
I used to be one of those annoying women who had (pharmaceutically achieved) perfect cycles: Regular schedule, light symptoms, relatively painless.
When Minion #2 was born - by unplanned C-section - I told the doctor that as long as he was in there, he could just tie those puppies off, 'cuz I had no intention of using them again. So he did. And the husband and I celebrated with several months of enthusiastically unprotected sex for the first time. (What?! I totally warned you about the TMI.)
And then I stopped breastfeeding.
And, soon after, Eve's curse reasserted itself. (Feel free to go back to the pretty unicorn now. It's only gonna get worse from here.)
And now, every 28 days or so, I have about 12 hours of oh-my-fucking-gawd-will-someone-please-stab-me-in-the-eye-with-a-pencil-to-distract-me-from-the-pain cramps from hell.
Now, 12 hours might not sound like an unsurvivable term in hell to the uninitiated. But, in pain-time (like bullet-time but way less cool) it's about 4,000 years. Remember, it's all relative: 30 seconds kissing a your lover is a totally different span than 30 seconds holding the handle of a hot pan. Don't take my word for it, ask Einstein. ;p
Anyway, on a pain scale from 1-to-childbirth, this is about an 8.5, which puts it somewhere above a broken bone, but just below a full-blown migraine headache. (Which is arguably worse than childbirth - at least you get a baby afterwards with the latter. With a migraine, you just get nausea and a headache-hangover.)
In terms of the type of pain, these hell-cramps are (not surprisingly) similar in nature to labor contractions.
Not the early ones you can "breathe through" ... and not the late ones where you at least get to do something about it by pushing ... but those insidious in-between ones that we only recall later as blurry, red-tinged vignettes of sweating-panting-teeth-grinding waves of oh-my-gawd-pain punctuated by increasingly shorter periods of blessed respite and a string of faceless nurses telling you that you've only progressed 1 centimeter when you know that you could totally drive a fucking mack truck through there by now.
(If you're looking for those rainbows and unicorns, they're still up there.)
For those of you who have never given birth, think John Hurt during his last meal on the Sulaco.
If you've never given birth AND you've never seen Alien ... well, I have no frame of reference for you. Try shoving a pumpkin up your nose or some other similarly sized orifice. That comes close. I guess.
Then, go rent the Aliens movies. Well, rent 1, 2 and 4. You can skip 3. It sucks.
Where was I? Oh yeah, in excruciating pain.
So ... it's been several months of these hell-cramps, now. And I am getting pretty damned tired of them.
So much so that I've resorted to drugs.
That might not sound like a big deal. Unless you know me.
Except for migraine medication, I don't take anything stronger than Tylenol on a regular basis. (Because, when you have a severe migraine headache, you will do damn near anything to make it Go. The. Fuck. Away. Seriously, if someone told me that sacrificing a baby Harp Seal and eating it's heart would make the pain stop, I'd be all, "Hand me a handsaw and some ketchup.")
Anyway, I don't even do OTC cold medicine except in extreme cases.
It's not that I have any philosophical hang-ups abut better living through chemistry. It just that meds screw with my system.
Stuff that other people can nom-nom-nom like candy makes me sleepy or dopey or grumpy or some other dwarf. I tried my husband's OTC allergy antihistamines once and I thought I was going to drop dead in a heart-racing, room-spinning, nausea-inducing cold sweat.
And don't even get me started on NyQuil. I don't call it the nighttime-sniffling-sneezing-what-the-hell-am-I-doing-on-the-kitchen-floor medicine for nothing.
So, when I say these cramps have driven me to drugs, this is a serious development.
Today, I actually took a prescription narcotic (I have some around for emergency migraine treatment). These totally screw me up. When I take them, I usually pass out for several hours of anesthetized coma. Which is not exactly something you can do when you have two small kids to take care of. So it's really a last-resort thing for me.
But, today, the pain was already so debilitating that I could barely unfurl from the fetal position, so I figured it was a choice of being non-functioning AND in pain, or just being non-functioning.
Not a tough choice.
So, I took a half-dose. And then, through some supreme force of will, I managed to only sleep for about an hour before I dragged myself out to the couch to rejoin the living.
The little men in my abdomen have now exchanged their ice-picks for felt-wrapped mallets. I'm still a little fuzzy-headed - I probably shouldn't operate any heavy machinery for a while - including blogging. But it's a trade-off I'm comfortable with for now.
Fortunately, The ZenHusband had things under control in the kid-care department while I was in la-la-land, despite the fact that he actually has a minor back injury right now. He's a trooper.
But ... this is becoming a problem.
I have a pretty high pain tolerance. (Did I mention the two childbirths and the 20 years of migraine headaches? Not to mention a lifetime of general kluzty-ness. I'm no wuss.) So, if I'm being forced to resort to narcotics to function - even just one day a month - I guess it's time to make an appointment with my OB-GYN and see if there is anything modern medicine can do for me.
I guess I've been avoiding going to the doctor. Probably because of my aforementioned aversion to drugs. And my general feeling that there's probably not anything he can do to "fix" me. Except maybe going back on birth control pills. Which I don't want to do. Because those side effects suck, too.
So, I really don't want to go see the doctor.
But I also really don't want to be a doubled-over, whimpering, quivering mass of hell-cramps again in 28 days.
Okay, I'll call the doctor next week.
Holy shit. Are you still reading this?
I bet you wish you'd opted for the rainbows and unicorns.
*This post brought to you by Codeine: The #1 choice of babble-inducing narcotics for bloggers everywhere. And by Rainbows and Unicorns: Coming soon to a nightmare near you.