"If the doctors told Sen. McConnell he had a kidney stone, he wouldn't pass it."
—Alison Lundergan Grimes
So there I was, ready for work—looking rather fly in my birthday-splurge Anthropologie blouse—standing in the street with a tow-truck driver. Three of the four tires on my car had been slashed over the weekend, and now, at 8:15 on a Monday morning, I'd begun to address the logistics of repair and reimbursement from my insurance company. It was almost enough to send me into a perimenopausal meltdown.
Incidentally, P-meno is no joke. If you see me weeping because Yogurtland doesn't have Apricot Tart on Wednesdays, or ROTFLMAOing at the nice old lady with a strip of Charmin trailing from the back of her gray-and-purple paisley skirt, or if I fly into a teeth-baring, vein-pounding rage, flinging placemats to the floor when you ask me to please pass the salt, just know this: Elevated follicle-stimulating hormone.
Yes, I hear the words coming from my mouth. Yes, I know the tone and sounds are all sorts of demonic. But, no, I can't stop. This, my friends, is part of the Before-the-Change Change, and there could hardly be a starker reminder of how far from 20-sexy I have come.
Well—except for a kidney stone. A kidney stone is the asterisk, double-underline and exclamation point on Girl, you are old .
Which brings me back to Monday. I was dooted up and feeling sort of magic , as my friend Jill put it to me recently (noting, with a bottoms-up of her drink, that days like these are nearly extinct as youth and vigor begin to wane). I also happened to be having a Monica Lewinsky kind of hair day, which thrilled me to no end because M-Lew is my hair hero. No way was I about to let a little vandalism steal my thunder.
I dropped the keys into the hands of the tow-truck driver, sassed my way back into the house and, just as I began my nagging-mom routine (further proof of my vanished fecundity), I experienced a severe stabbing pain in my back that moved quickly around to my front. I became, metaphorically speaking, my tires.
Within two minutes, I made a breathless I've-Fallen-and-I-Can't-Get-Up phone call to my husband after limping my way to our bare mattress (we were expecting delivery of our new one that day), upon which I collapsed in a rather fashionable ball of sweat and nausea and Oh Sweet Filner, the paaain ! This one went to 11.
At this point, my 8-year-old was exhibiting signs of perimenopause, all sobbing and hysterical and whatnot. "Honey," I whispered, trying to act like being folded and writhing on a 20-year old mattress is normal . "Daddy will be here soon. How can I help you? Do you want a hug?"
She shook her head. "Can I have my iPad?" she said, tears vanished. I gotta hand it to her: The girl knows when she's got the advantage.
She joined me on the bed and happily disappeared into Temple Run 2 while I called 911 from a fetal position.
What happened next was straight out of a "Lifetime Television Program for Perimenopausal Women" starring Valerie Bertinelli. Like any good dream sequence, I looked up from my (death) bed and there was a soft-white halo of light surrounding everything in my vision. And everything in my vision was a bunch of superbly hot men in uniform and carrying manly equipment, hovering in slow motion above me, asking me questions in kind but far-away voices—questions like, How long ago did the pain start ? And I'm going to put an IV in your hand , OK ? And I'm Javier Bardem. I'm taking you to Barcelona, where we'll eat paella and splash naked at Cala Morisca.
Though I don't remember it, I walked bent in the shape of an L with Javier and the others to a stretcher parked out front. Still in debilitating pain, I was loaded up in a shiny ambulance bound for Spain, where one of the Chippendales set a puke dish on my chest after I announced I might hurl. Which I didn't, because, you know: new birthday shirt. Then finally— finally! —morphine. I could get used to that. Seven milligrams and I was ready for naked ocean splashing. Or hot flashes. Or mood swings. Anything is possible with opiates.
By the time I floated into the hospital, the pain was gone and I was feeling euphoric, maybe even a little bit adorable. Mostly I was delusional and high, which I realized after I slogged toward the bathroom schlepping my IV bag—my hospital gown open to the back, the cord for my heart-rate monitor flung over my shoulder, my mascara smeared beneath my left eye like a bruise, my hair way more Ethan Hawke than Intern Lewinsky. To paraphrase Dorothy Parker, I was terrible. I was fancy terrible with raisins on it.
And, like a signature on a Discount Tire work order, this sorry state of affairs was completed when Nurse Anne gave me a dose of Flomax to help me pass my kidney stone, making it official: I'm a perimenopausal geriatric man who pisses rocks and suffers from prostate issues. Asterisk, double-underline, exclamation point.
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