Looking for Mr. Morpheus

 

There is a special time in a girl’s life when the mysteries of her sex are revealed to her.   It’s a magical time of change and growth.  She becomes a woman. 

Time passes.  Hopes & dreams.   Babies may come, then grow up & out.  Highs & lows.   Good & bad.  Time passes.

Finally, a girl reaches another special time of life.  It’s a magical time of change and growth.  Womanhood spits her out.  

If a girl becomes a woman when she starts menstruation, what does she turn into when she’s done with the process?  A chipmunk?  A coffee table?  How about a menopausal crone?

I wore a stylish, new wool sweater to work the other day.  A 30-year-old co-worker was in my office when the hot flash hit.  I discreetly tried unbuttoning the topmost of the sweater’s delicate pearl buttons.  A bit of breeze might help.  My internal temperature built.  Can’t get the little thing out of the hole.  I tugged harder on the button, starting to sweat.  What, are these buttons super glued on?  I pushed up the sleeves.   I don’t care if I rip the damn things off!

I knocked the chair over as I sprang to my feet, pulling the devil’s straightjacket of burning hellfire over my head in one violent move.    I stood there in just a cami, sweating and panting as my co-worker backed slowly out of my office.   She kept her eyes on me like you would if you had just discovered a strange pit bull in your backyard.  Good riddance to her and her 30-year-old hormones.

My poor sister, Terry, has it much worse than I with the hot flashes from hell.  Lately, life is…

On with the shirt, off with the shirt.
On with the blanket, off with the blanket. 
“Open the window – I’m dying in here.”  “Shut that window – what are you trying to do, freeze me to death?”

Her husband, Pat, suffers in silence.  If he knows what’s good for him.

The sweater incident was unusual for me.   Hormone supplements keep my internal temperature pretty much under control.   My problem is that, thanks to “the change”, Morpheus and I are no longer friends.

I can’t sleep.

Falling asleep is no problem – it’s staying that way.  After a couple of hours, I wake up.  Toss and turn.  Think about things.  Doze for a few minutes.  Toss and turn.  Worry.  Think and worry and think and ponder and worry and think.  My sleep-deprived brain is going on and on about things I haven’t done.   Things I have done.  Things that I have no control over.  Things like not being able to sleep.

I know that a lot of people have trouble sleeping.   I shouldn’t complain.   It’s just that I’ve been spoiled for all these years.  I’m used to telling my body it’s sleepy time, and off we go, hand in hand.  We’re down, instantly, and out until the alarm goes off in the morning and it’s time to struggle up through layers of lovely, restful REM sleep.

I could ask my Mom about this.  She was going through “the change” for 15 years, as near as I could tell, so she’s an expert.  On second thought, I’d better not.  We don’t like to talk about The Dark Years. 

Friends have given me lots of hints for coping with sleeplessness, and tonight I’m going to try them all.   I’ll sip a nice mug of warm milk and listen to Brahms’s Lullaby.   I’ll do gentle yoga movements in a dimly lit room.  Then I’ll finish up by downing an economy-sized bottle of Boone’s Farm Strawberry Hill wine. 

Lights out!

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About pegoleg

R-A-M-B-L-I-N-G-S, Ram...Blin!
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69 Responses to Looking for Mr. Morpheus

  1. I live in that fall-asleep-immediatley-then-wake-up-an-hour-or-two-later world, as well. What’s frustrating to me is that I’d love to spend my middle-of-the-night time productively, like blogging (Did I actually just type that?) or reading, but I can’t concentrate then. So I sit in front of the TV, usuall watching a medical show. Last night I watched a health channel show about a man who had face tumors that weighed more than him (neurofibromatosis) and had them removed. I’m becoming an expert on creepy medical conditions.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      I love those modern equivalents of the carnival freak show, but my husband never wants to watch them. Now I’ll just get up and search them out at 4am when I have the TV all to myself. I knew there had to be a bright side to this – thanks!

      Like

  2. notquiteold says:

    Nighttime is the worst! I wake up about 2:30 when my body hits about 115 degrees. I have to get up to towel off. And my senile cat (who I guess in cat years is older than me) then thinks it must be time for breakfast.

    Like

  3. Big Al says:

    That’s why they invented the shopping channel. The best deals are at 3:00 AM. Don’t you remember Shakespeare’s famous line: “Ah, sweet Morpheus, to awake, perchance to shop.”

    Like

  4. bigsheepcommunications says:

    I don’t wanna grow up…

    Like

  5. Tori Nelson says:

    “devil’s straightjacket of burning hellfire”… I am laughing (and thanking the Doot God for my monthly crampfest).

    Like

  6. Don’t hate too much on the 30-year-olds. I’m having a hot flash as we speak. Probably because I’m about to admit this: Mmmm…Boone’s Farm.

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  7. Thanks Peg for the walk down memory lane… starting with the Boone’s Farm Strawberry Hill ~ ah, sweet college days…
    The rest brought a “been there done that” response. It does get better, except maybe the blanket part…

    Like

  8. Amy says:

    I was going to suggest liquor, but that can get more expensive than sleeping pills, and just a addictive.
    I have the opposite problem – I will lay there for about an hour or more before I can get to sleep. Once I’m out, though, I’m out. I can sleep through most anything.

    Like

  9. I’m right there, sweating hellfire along with ya. Oh joy! I’m praying that because I’ve started the misery of perimenopause so soon, it’ll be over soon. But instead I think it will just be longer and more drawn-out.

    And sleep. It’s a long-lost friend that will never return. What really ticks me off? When I’ve slept a good solid night’s worth of sleep, only to wake up, look at the clock and realize I’ve only been asleep 45 minutes.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      It seems there’s a whole world of sleep-deprived people out there that I’ve been blithely oblivious to.

      You’re awfully young for any kind of menopause, peri or otherwise. You might want to consult your doctor about glandular stuff. Really.

      Like

      • Warning: too much information ahead
        I had a partial hysterectomy when I was 39 and one of my ovaries was removed 10 years ago. Not sure if that’s why I’m starting perimenopause early (lucky me!) or I’m just following in my mother’s footsteps. My remaining ovary is in bad shape as it is (covered in lots of endometriosis and scar tissue) My doctor said it would most likely have to be removed if the endo remains. I don’t want that to happen of course. So my guess is I’m heading straight to an early menopause. I hope so anyway, get it over with. (sorry for the long medical history ramble!)

        Like

        • pegoleg says:

          No, no – thanks for the background. From what I’ve heard, starting the process early doesn’t guarantee ending early. You might be headed for an extended stay in Mrs. Dante’s 3rd circle of hell (thank you, Peg/Pollyanna!).

          Like

        • Spectra says:

          Starting the process early definately does not guarentee early dismissal from Dantes Inferno 101 class of hellfire. I was thrown into this mess at age 39, after a year long clinical trial of a drug that whacked my hormones up, but good, and was not given any forewarning, probably because the sweaty little lab mice and rats were not asked about the discomforts they experienced afterwards. Straight into human trials! And it just got worse. Soy Isoflavone supplements can reduce the heat, but as for insomnia, lets just say blogging all night long and some Netflix has kept my anxious, insomniac brain busy. And then, of course, there’s the Boonesfarm… although Chocolate Wine is far superior.

          Like

        • pegoleg says:

          More practical, specific advice – just what I need. Is the Chocolate also a Boone’s Farm product?

          Like

      • Spectra, looks like midnight blogging, Netflix and chocolate wine is in my future. (I have never tried chocolate wine before. A combination of two of my favorite things? sounds like heaven!)

        Like

  10. misswhiplash says:

    I had a hysterectomy very early on..I think I was in my 50’s..what a blessing.
    For me there was no hot sweats, no sleepless nights, no nothing…
    That was the best idea ever and I am so grateful..my youngest daughter is only 38 but is having many problems…I think she will end up like me…worry free with hysterectomy

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      That’s funny, because I’ve heard of women have all sorts of symptoms AFTER a hysterectomy. Good for you for breezing through!

      Like

    • Wow! Lucky person. My doctor told me that having a hysterectomy would take care of all of my problems. He didn’t tell me that some women couldn’t take hormone replacements. After a few months of experimentation, I had to go cold turkey. For over a year I just wanted to scream my head off or crawl out of my skin. The screwed up emotions, the shivering, and the sweating have finally passed, but sleep? I’ve forgotten what it’s like to sleep for eight straight hours….

      Like

  11. pattisj says:

    This, too, shall pass. I don’t have much problem now, unless I eat something spicy, or step into a too-warm environment. I think it might have been helpful to have a blog during the “intense” years, it’s good to see you can laugh about it.

    Like

  12. Lenore Diane says:

    Hellfire was funny, I agree with the other comments. However, “Womanhood spits her out” pushed me over the edge. This is exactly how it feels…. Hilarious.
    I’m starting the journey – I fear for the lives of my loved ones. Please send prayers. Meanwhile, start wearing zippered shirts during the day and reading the Wall Street Journal at night.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Now THERE’s some practical advice! I wasn’t even kidding (very much) with the crack about my mom going through it for 15 years. My prayers for you, and condolences to your family.

      Like

      • Spectra says:

        Oh, yeah, removable layers is key. I wear tank shirts, and the over-layer does get removed, I don’t care where I am. Okay, I wait for the ladies room or the car, but it comes off! Also, alcohol actually increases hot flashes and nightsweats 😦 however, the numbing effect can make you oblivious to your own dripping internal sauna (it’s like being microwaved alive!) Your partner, however, will not be oblivious, and may need the alcohol more than you to drown out your…well, you know…bitchin.

        Like

  13. That whole “become a woman with menstruation” thing is silly. If this is true, I’ve been a woman since I was 11. Getting there every month means cramps that sometimes keep us in bed for hours, make us nauseous. force quality bathroom time and cause hot waves followed by cold sweats (at least, mine do if I’m not on a certain Rx), mood issues, headaches, bloating, backaches, and temporary eating disorders. And cysts that send you to the ER and sometimes the OR, if you’re super-lucky. There’s the hassle and the horror of “starting” when we least expect it and are unprepared. For many of us, there are days of wondering if we’re naturally late, or why we’re early, or if our sudden change in patterns is normal, or if we have some difficult condition. When we are finally freed from these pains and worries, our treat is menopause, complete with its weight gain and elevated risks of heart disease. Gee, it’s great being a woman. Rip that sweater off, Peg. That 30-year-old needs to know what she’s in for.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      It’s kind of damned if you do, and damned if you don’t, isn’t it? I must admit that the 30-year-old just got back from maternity leave and all the hormonal/sleep problems involved there, so I’m cutting her some slack. Besides, she had the grace to laugh when I ripped my sweater off in front of her.

      Like

  14. The “economy bottle” seems like the best solution, of those offered! Too funny, Peg. Sad, true, but funny. I enjoyed your honest recount of menopause, though of course it frightened me.

    Sorry about your insomnia, I had the same thing during both of my pregnancies. All those changes in hormone levels. Nothing helped. Until I gave birth — and then I was kept awake all night for a different reason! Hmm… maybe you need a new puppy. 🙂

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Looking back on these comments, I’m wondering if this is too much information for you young women – akin to telling scary stories of delivery to a pregnant woman. You should get to enjoy your youth. Maybe we should have a 45+ cutoff age for reading about menopause.

      Like

  15. This is hysterical. Not funny and funny at the same time–the perfect blog topic! You are such a clever writer. 🙂

    Like

  16. Sandy Sue says:

    I’m embarrassed to say I slid through the change will nary a symptom. I say it was payback for the years of horrendous periods I suffered through, but I *know* there’s no balance sheet in the Goddess’ ledger.
    As one of bipolar persuasion, insomnia is a constant companion. It’s nothing to mess around with. Lack of sleep can do screwy things to your brain, make you fat (really), and set you up for all sorts of hell. If none of the tricks work, get an over-the-counter sleep aide. If that doesn’t work, get a script from the doc.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Thanks, Sandy. I’ve only been dealing with this for a month, and it’s not every night so I’m going to try some of the tricks first and then progress. I had heard that about weight gain. I see what you mean about the screwy brain, too. There have been a couple of times where I felt like I’m walking the day through under water or in jello

      Like

      • Tar-Buns says:

        I like the jello reference. Right now, my flashes are making ME crazy@!!! I usually wear a T-shirt to school ’cause it can get so hot, or rather, I get so hot…HOT FLASHES!!! Make me miserable. No relief. Current Px a mixed bag of supposed relief.

        Did you know that one of the side effects of anti=depressants is that you may become depressed? I don’t miss the ‘curse’ as Mom used to call our monthly friend, yet don’t like this “my body is on fire – help!” feeling. What to do…

        Like

        • pegoleg says:

          Yeah, I love the ads for anti-depressants that say one side effect is thoughts of suicide. Huh???? Doesn’t that kind of defeat the purpose?

          Are your students used to you doing the speedy-strip in class?

          Like

  17. k8edid says:

    I love that my hot flashes come right after I have showered, styled my hair and put on makeup. All for naught, it would seem. I had perimenopause for about 15 years, even after a hysterectomy (they left my perfectly healthy ovaries in so I had monthly PMS without the “M” – or maybe I’m just a bitch, not sure). The insomnia is mind-numbing, and appears to be directly proportional to the amount of sleep that I NEED. I will get no sleep the night before I teach an important class or have a big assignment. I will finally sleep at the end of the week when I have stumbled through the week on a couple hours of sleep. If I could put those wide awake hours to good use I’d be happy, but NO…….if WordPress had a chat room – guess we’d all be in it at 3:00 am.

    This is my menopause post I did during National Menopause Month last month…http://k8edid.wordpress.com/2011/09/17/its-not-the-heat/

    Sleep tight – or sloppy drunk, whichever works (Lambrusco, yum yum)

    Like

  18. egills says:

    But if you have a cut off of 45+ I’d be excluded and unfortunately my hot flushes started earlier this year…. the nasty cramps haven’t gone yet though and I’m always unreasonable according to my children….
    As for the sleep thing – I think I’m the only one in our house that isn’t looking forward to the clocks going back this weekend… every one said yay to an extra hour… I said oh no even longer to lie in bed waiting for a reasonable hour to get up 😦

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      You’ve got the worst of both worlds – that is SO unfair! I’ll raise an extra glass of Muscato (my new wine of choice) in your honor tonight, to help us both sleep.

      Like

  19. Snoring Dog Studio says:

    I’m one of the fortunate few who managed to avoid all symptoms of menopause, but for some odd reason, after I eat or get any kind of exercise, I get hot flashes. Not too bad, but uncomfortable. Unfortunately, I still get the snarky comments from the youngsters in my office who make jokes about it. THAT I don’t like. I can’t wait till those guys get a little older and have trouble peeing.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Ha Ha! That’s show them. At least THAT is one problem I haven’t acquired yet. My 84-year-old mother-in-law said that she just started having to get up in the middle of the night to go in the last year and it really annoys her. I think she should thank her lucky stars for going 83 years without that annoyance!

      Like

  20. As I read this, I’m remembering those three beautiful hours of sleep I got before sleep became impossible.

    I hate how I feel during the day after a poor night’s sleep. It doesn’t feel so bad while I’m sitting cross-legged in bed, tapping out comments–but when I’m trying to get stuff done? Yikes.

    At least I’ve got my birthday tomorrow going for me. “But it’s my birthday tomorrow–can you take care of that?” I suck at using “cards,” but I may try this one today. :p

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Happy Birthday, Deb! I know you’re one of the young ones who have trouble sleeping, so I’m not telling you anything you don’t know. Do you just get up and not bother trying to get back to sleep? Maybe that’s what I should do.

      Like

  21. gojulesgo says:

    Yes, strawberry wine has to be the cure all! If not, I know nothing. Oh, except I know that yes, we become chipmunks.

    Like

  22. John Hunsinger says:

    Do women blame this on Eve also? If so that rhymes with witch really messed you gals up. All Adam did for us is make us have an uncontrollable urge to hate kids on our lawns. Loved the “the devil’s straightjacket of burning hellfire” Made me laugh.

    Like

  23. Barb says:

    I could relate to the Devil’s Jacket, but what really lit my firecrackers was getting out of the shower (as k8edid mentioned), and then sweating up like a RAW wrestler. Cutting out sugar and caffeine really helped me. I had no idea it affected anyone else’s sleep. I thought I was the only one awake in the world at 2am. thanks for the sharing.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Me, too, Barb. Since I wrote this I’ve had quite a few women, online and in the “real” world say they have trouble sleeping. I had no idea it was so common. I guess I’ve had my head in the sand (Hmmm, wonder if head in sand would make me sleepy?)

      Like

  24. Perimenopauser here, relating to every word. Hot flashes, no sleep, attention span/memory of a learning disabled gnat…AND…periods. Every month I can be heard yelling, “Oh come ON already” from a bathroom somewhere. Loved this post. Will recommend it to every woman I know who wants to rip her clothes off in public wanting to attract nothing more than a cool breeze.

    Like

  25. Kim Boore says:

    Hello, my name is Kim…[ your response : Hello Kim] …and I DO suffer from the reality of men on pause syndrome… when it finally dawned on me and I came out of denial was after @ 15 years of sleeplessness, hot flashes (mini vacations to the tropics in my body) anxiety disorder…bouts of depression, (I was absoulutely sure they were heart attacks and I was definately denying the depression because I was on a roller coaster of hysteria and sociopath…) Once I accepted what my mother and sister had been telling me for years as fact…I then got a deceptive feeling of jubilation at the prospect of finally doing without that curse of the ages…ahhh to my dismay, from point of acceptance to actual cessation was another 5 years. I too shouted to God every other month ( teasing me was not only cruel but it only brought out the beast in me) MY NAME IS NOT SARAH…LET ME SAY THAT AGAIN..I DON’T HAVE A HUSBAND NAMED ABRAHAM AND THERE WILL BE NO MORE BABIES…SO STOP IT ALREADY!!! When I was positively sure I no longer had to buy stock in feminine protection products …[I gave myself a full year with no surprises] I was finally able to sigh that blissful sigh of rest…but the hot flashes albeit no longer as severe are still with me, and the sleeplessness still haunts me…but there is an upside. Things like ‘the devils -straight-jacket-from hell’ can make me roll on the floor , tears streaming with laughter, because I not only lived through it but find it so aptly descriptive.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Hello Kim. I’m happy to find out there is light at the end of the tunnel, but the way you describe it, it’s a hell of a long tunnel. Disheartening.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing (even though you left me very depressed.)

      Like

  26. Val says:

    Oh heavens, I remember this and sympathise, though my sympathies are with hindsight as I’m, thankfully, past all that now. For me the worst nights were winter ones when it was too cold to put an arm outside of the bed but when I had to or I’d expire from the hot flushes! So there’s be an ‘arm in/arm out’ dance going on all night. I also remember drenching the bed with sweat so much that I had to get up (and wake the husband to get up) so that I could change the sheets. I hope you don’t go through anything like that. Eventually I found a natural remedy that actually worked. I wished I’d known about it years earlier.

    I’ve just subscribed to your blog. I’m sure I’ve surfed into it from time to time before, from comments you’ve left in mutual blogging-friends’ blogs, but find that I’d not been subscribed before.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Thanks so much for stopping by and subscribing. Seems there’s a whole, big sisterhood of us out there. I went and saw “Menopause, the Musical” 10 years ago and didn’t think it was funny. That was before I was living it.

      Like

  27. Pingback: The 99% Solution | Ramblings

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