Part 1 — Hormones are…

…to a women’s body what motor oil is to a car. Let one or the other run dry and you’re gonna be stuck with a cracked block, spark plugs that don’t fire, or worse yet, a completely fucked up out of commission engine. This is not a good thing for you or anyone in close proximity.

Not only will your crank shaft be cranky, your axel frozen, you’ll also discover that your tranny and oil well will no longer be willing to accept a dip stick!

Oh yes, these little hormone buggers are the nectar of life for women who’ve begun that descent into that ‘middle place’.

In my book, anything is game when the well has run dry.

I knew something was really wrong when I started cursing at inanimate objects around the house.

My brand spanking new refrigerator was the first to suffer under my barrage of obscenities. It failed me so many times in my plight to ward off hot flashes. It’s one of those new energy-efficient ones with all the compact shelves. Once you’ve shopped and piled the stuff inside, there’s little or no room for any body parts, not even my teeny-weeny head. The only appliance, as you very well know, that was off-limits to my tirades was the washing machine. WE have a special relationship.

So once again I’d drag my ass off to the doctor’s office, roll my sleeve up, stick my arm out and demand they draw blood.

“I’m ready, go ahead,” I’d say.

The young tech would approach warily. Being around anyone who is hormonally imbalanced can strike absolute fear in even the most confident professional.

She’d motion me towards the chair. I’d stomp over and plop down in the worn leather seat.

“You’re gonna feel a little prick,” she’d say.

“I know, my husband already told me the same thing this morning,” I’d shoot back.

She’d blush but otherwise ignore my glare. She’d tie off my upper arm to create pressure, then she’d use two fingers to tap the area where my veins were supposed to be. After a few minutes of this she decides she’s found a likely target and jabs the needle into my flesh. She twists the needle back and forth like she’s excavating a mine.

“You’re hurting me,” I’d say.

“No I’m not, if you’d stop squirming,” she’d say.

“I’m not squirming, I’m sitting here like a rock,” I’d say. “You’re the one squirming.”

“No…I’m not squirming, I’m just trying to find your vein,” she’d say.

“It’s right there…I can see it plain as day,” I’d offer.

“No. That’s not the right vein, it’s not the one I need,” she’d say.

“Don’t you just need one with blood in it?” I’d ask.

“Shhhhhhh…!” she’d say.

“You’re shushing me,” I’d ask.

“Yes,” she’d say.

“Maybe you should try the other arm,” I’d offer.

“Maybe you should just shut up and let me do my job,” she’d say.

It’s pretty hard not to notice that after two or three minutes have passed there has yet to be even one drop of blood drawn.

“Mmmmmm….” I utter as I watch that little elbow crook starting to turn black and blue.

“I’m going to try the other arm,” she says withdrawing the needle.

“Whatever….” I’d say.

We repeat the procedure, tie off the arm, pat the skin, stick the needle in, start searching once again for the elusive vein.

I decide to concentrate on the lively gardening conversation going on between a few of the other nurses in the office.

“It took all day to dig that sucker out,” says nurse #1.

“I know what that’s like, I had this tree once whose roots were everywhere. Took me the better part of the day to get them all out,” nurse #2 replies.

“Hey,pssst!” I say to get their attention. “You guys should hire this one, she can dig like nobodies business.”

“Ouch,” I say as she twists the needle in revenge for my comment.

I see the smirk on her face.

“Sorry,” she says as though I’d actually believe her.

“Maybe someone else should do this,” I say hoping she will stop moving the needle around.

“Why are you whining,” she says.

“I don’t know. Maybe because you’ve been in there seven or eight minutes now and there’s still no blood in that little vial,” I’d say.

That does it for her. She pulls the needle out, undoes the little rubber tourniquet and rips it away from my arm. Of course now all the hair that was under the little rubber thingy is now missing.

“I’ll get the doctor,” she says turning away from me.

“Shit,” I think to myself.

I hear her shoes clickity-clacking all the way down to the end of the hall.

Then–dead silence.

The other nurses stare at me.

I love my gynecologist but she’s one of those slam, bam, thank you ma’am kind of doctors. There’s no fucking around with her. She’s a specialist so her time is very valuable. She’s that git er done gal.

The spark of fear hits me when I hear her heels clomp-clomp on the pristine wood floors that she’s recently installed. I can feel my pulse begin to race. I know what I’m in for and I say to myself “why can’t you just shut your mouth you idiot. Now look what you’ve done.”

I can see from the look on her face she’s not exactly happy to be called upon for this chore because I’m sure she has better things to do than try to suck my blood out.

“Hi there,” I say hoping my friendliness will diffuse her ire because my veins are such a pain in the ass and she has far better things to do than this mundane simple procedure.

There is no response though, nada, nothing, not even a peep. She just stares at the crook of my arm as she snaps the rubber gloves on. She grabs the little tourniquet and ties it around my arm. As I look down to watch her in action I’m fascinated by the fact that I can see all my little hairs waving around as though saying goodbye because they didn’t have time the first time.

“How are the kids?” I ask trying to get her to relax.

“Fine,” she says. Then I realize that when you have kids you are never relaxed. Wrong question I guess.

BAM! Needles in and the exploration begins all over again.

I grit my teeth forcing my mouth to stay shut.I watch the needle zig north and south, east and west.

The whole time I’m wondering where the fuck my blood is. Had it too gone the way of my hormones?

“I guess I’m just fresh out,” I say jokingly.

Her expression turns to stern concentration. By now my toes are curling and it’s hard to keep my butt down on the chair. Another twist, another turn and I’m now ready for take off. But then I see one precious drop of blood slowly sliding down the side of the clear glass vial.

“Eureka,” I yell out.

“We’re almost there,” she says.

She plunges the needle deeper and a little to the left, and a little to the right.

And suddenly, there it is. That wonderous red liquid is now flowing into the tube at a rapid rate.

“Fucking eh beatch!”

She looks up at me and it’s then I realize I said this out loud.

“Are you whining?” she asks.

Again, I deny that I’m whining as I blink back the tears I’m trying to force back into my tear ducts.

She rips the tourniquet off so the blood will flow like a river. Again I notice there is a new barren spot on my arm. I’d once considered shaving that unsightly hair off my arms and this might just be the catalyst for doing just that.

My body, after all this trauma, is more than willing to give up eight or so vials of blood.

I ask her if she needs more than that? I ask her if she can just keep some on file so we don’t have to repeat this dastardly procedure for a while?

Again, that look, the one that tells you you’re a complete moron.

“We’ll call you with the results,” she says sliding the needle out of my arm.

She rips the gloves off and without further ado makes her way back down the hall to her ‘real’ patients.

I roll my sleeve down and go over to the desk to check out.

“That’ll be $40 dollars,” the receptionist says.

“$40 dollars, I’m gonna need that to buy makeup to cover these marks on my arm,” I tell her.

“Funny,” she says. “Give me the $40 bucks.”

“Whatever,” I shoot back.

Three o’clock that afternoon the phone rings.

“I’ve got good news and bad news,” the receptionist says.

“What’s the good news,” I ask her.

“Your check cleared,” she says.

“What’s the bad news,” I ask.

“You’ve got no hormones,” she says.

“None?” I ask.

“None, nada, nothing. You’re running on empty,” she says. “You need to come back right now and we’ll give you some.”

“Will there be any little pricks involved?” I ask not knowing anything about the delivery of such medications.

“No, just cream,” she says.

Again, I’d heard the same thing from my husband that same morning after the ‘little prick thing’ was denied. I was starting to feel like they were all conspiring against me.

“I’ll be there in ten minutes,” I tell her.

“We’ll be waiting with bated breath,” she says as though mocking a women in my condition is not a bad thing.

Ten minutes later I open the door to their office. The nurses scatter trying to avoid direct contact with me now that I am officially a walking time bomb.

“Should I come in?” I ask motioning to the door that leads to the examination rooms.

“Nooooooooo!!!!!!,” the receptionist manages to squeak out. “I’ll show you what to do from here if you don’t mind.”

She shoves a small bottle across the counter. I pick it up and pop the top off. She does the same with her sample bottle.

The demonstration lasts about five seconds. Pump once, rub the cream on your forearm.

I do what I’m told then I stand there waiting for some kind of reaction. The three of them just stare at me wondering what I’m doing.

“What?” I ask.

“Ummmm…….it takes about two to three weeks to take affect,” she says taking a few steps back from the counter.

“What?” I ask as though I’ve heard her wrong.

“Look, I’m just the messenger,” she says. “It takes two to three weeks before you’ll start feeling more like yourself.”

“Whatever,” I say.

I toss the bottle into my bag and as I turn to leave I see a few of her pregnant patients sitting there, staring at me.

“Yeah, that’s right. Enjoy your hormones while you’ve got em!” I say.

…to be continued!