Monday 25: I don’t remember these stocking being so tight. I take care not to snag the fabric with my toe nails. I curl them under and pull one leg up. Things grind to a halt at my knee, both knees actually. I stretch to the thighs, then the hips. . . This is going to nowhere. Nor does the next pair of tights. I’m a bloated.
Tuesday 26: My head hurts and I’m exhausted. I’ll skip writing for now, smoke another cigarette and see how things pan out between Jim and Pam from The Office. I’d like to get up and leave the house, but I don’t want to put on pants. All of my shirt hug a pot belly. Where did it come from? It wasn’t there two days ago.
Wednesday 27: I don’t know what I want to eat, but I want to eat it all. My friend and I go late night grocery shopping with one real mission: Find Lay’s Chicken and Waffles potato chips. We walk quickly throughout the store hunting them down. We kind five tiny snack size bags. As though we’re packing small children’s lunches. We’re not. We’re grown women who need to be satisfied. When I get home, I eat the chips too fast, along with a medium rare hamburger.
You would think after 16 years of having periods, I would know when they were coming. Only after THE DAY hits me, can I look back and see the signs. Marking my calender would be more helpful. Now, I’m holed up in my house with no desire to leave. It was a chore just to get out of bed and take a shower.
For me, the DAY ONE is always the roughest one. By the time tomorrow rolls around, I’m sure I’ll be back on my feet. How will I wait it out in the bunker? I’ve got some tried and true ways to deal with these days:
- Rest. If you have the blessing of not working on DAY ONE, good for you. Take a rest. Lay about in your ratty pajamas and watch old episodes of The Office. You deserve it.
- Take a walk. I know I just said to rest, but try to schedule a tiny amount of activity in your day. Moving the body around in this tender achy time is actually not a bad thing. If you’re the unfortunate soul that has to work on DAY ONE, keep moving. It does take your mind off of feeling crappy. Doing yoga stretches can relieve your cramping by increasing blood flow to your pelvic region.
- Heating pad. I’ve used one since I was a kid. When I was younger, my cramping was a lot more intense than it is now. My mother had an electric heating pad that plugged into the wall, but if you’re without one, try microwaving a damp face towel and laying that over your pelvis. Or you can fill an old sock with dry rice (or dry beans, I guess) and microwave that. This offers immediate relief by relaxing those contracted muscles.
- I know this is a no-no, but I do drink coffee. It’s one of those frowned upon habits because the high caffeine dose constricts your blood vessels and ends up making you more dehydrated. I guess I think I’m special because it does make me feel better. There’s something comforting about a nice hot cup of coffee in the morning. Also, I might be an addict. If you’re concerned about your caffeine intake, try a hot tea instead, preferably herbal.
- Water. Believe it or not, water is the cure for water bloat. Drink plenty of it because more than likely you’re holding on to a surplus of sodium from your late night Chicken and Waffles potato chip binge. That stored salt will make you puff up faster than the Michelin Man. Flush it out with water.
- Ibuprofen. And plenty of it. If you don’t have the fancy PMS stuff, this bottle of pain reliever will always do. Dosage? Whenever the hell it’s needed.
All of these tips are pretty commonsense if you’ve been on the rag for a decade or more. Every month when I tell my husband: “I’m just going to stay home for the entire day.” He gets this pained look on his face and says: “Aww, I’m sorry, babe.” As if its the first time this has ever happened. As though my dog has died.
He then asks when he should do. Do I need him to run to the store for chocolate? I have to stop myself from telling him to hunt down every back of Chicken and Waffles potato chips he can find. Be smarter, Charish, just stick to your tips!