I was walking with my Mother down an aisle of our supermarket today on our way to the check-out stand. She’ll be 90 next month and no longer drives. (Thank you, Lord.) Still, she’s pretty independent and lives quite comfortably by herself in her own home, so more power to her. We just happened to be in what is euphemistically known as the “feminine hygiene” aisle. What that really means is, if you’ve just gotten a visit from “Aunt Flo”, or it stings when you pee, or your lady parts are itching like you sat on a hill of Fire Ants, then this is the aisle for you.
My Mother knows (at least I think she remembers) that I’ve had a hysterectomy, so when she gestured with a smile toward all the pads on the shelves and asked “Need some Kotex?” I replied with a chuckle and said “No, thanks. Don’t have the equipment anymore.”
What I didn’t say was that I’ve merely traded one curse for another. Monthly periods for stress incontinence. I don’t know why they say “stress” because it usually happens when you’re enjoying yourself (like having a good laugh) or it sneaks up on you without any advanced warning at all. The only stress involved is when you know you’ve just peed your pants.
Why is life like that? You suffer through adolescent acne and about the time that clears up, you discover the crows have been walking all over you at night and left their prints embedded in that “delicate skin around the eyes”, like that frickin’ Andi McDowell tells us in her annoying commercials.
You go through 35 or 40 years of having a period every month, complete with cramps, bloating and the desire to rip the heart out of the next person who says you’re being too emotional, and then, oh happy day, it stops. You no longer have to wear the “back-up” pads that are necessary because the tampon industry, in their desire to protect us from Toxic Shock Syndrome, retooled all the tampons so they’re about as absorbent as a chiffon scarf.
All of the joy of finally being free lasts but a nanosecond in time, because it is soon replaced by the need to wear Poise pads EVERY DAY to prevent those “little accidents” caused by a weak sphincter which, up to now, hasn’t given you any problems since the day you were successfully potty trained. Sheesh.
Apparently, my Mother doesn’t share this condition with me. I have never seen her put any of these products in her shopping cart. Plenty of wine, bacon and Snickers bars, but no incontinence pads.
It seems that stress incontinence can be caused by injury to the pelvic floor during childbirth. My Mother has always said that giving birth to me and my older brother was “like falling off a log” because we were only 6 lbs. 6 oz. and 5 lbs. 11 oz., respectively.
When I had my kids, it was like giving birth to a log—twice. And both of those logs weighed nearly 9 lbs. and one was in bass-ackwards to boot.
I’m surprised I still have a bladder.
So I dedicate this ATC in honor of Andi McDowell and all of the ladies who wish to regain their youthful looks (and sphincters.)