From Chicken Soup for the Soul in Menopause

What Amy Did

We all live under the same sky, but we don’t all have the same horizon.

Konrad Adenauer

Some physical conditions are common to us all, no matter if you live in the United States or in Scotland, as I do. The difference is simply how we react to them.

The worst thing anyone ever said to my husband, Eric, was what his mate Davie said about his wife, Amy. Davie said, “Amy’s fifty-four this year, six years older than your Joyce. Take it fromme, Joycewill soon be at that difficult age.

” Naturally, Eric wanted to know more of what he was in for! Unfortunately, Amy, though I love her dearly, had every possible “difficult age” problem that existed, and she made the most of it!

To say that Eric is a forthright Scot just about sums him up. He asked me, “Am I in for all that hassle then, all those flushes and funny moods, bursting into tears all the time?” It didn’t seem so much a question as a warning that he would not be at all amused if he was!

I just shrugged and said, “Who knows; it’s nature. Not much I can do about it if you are!” I retorted. The only downside to my retort was Eric’s constant dread about when my “horrible” menopausal symptoms would start!

One night, I said to Eric that our bedroom was too warm. His reaction was immediate; since I’m nearly always cold, this set off his alarm bells.

“Davie said that Amy got some kind of tablets from the doctor that helped her!” was Eric’s immediate response.

I just stared at him and asked, “What?” I sighed, realizing what he had said, and tried to keep calm. “I’m too warm because, as I have said before, the lowest tog duvet cover we have is much too high for warm weather. We have put in new central heating and double glazed the windows!”

Eric considered that and shrugged, “Well, yeah, I suppose that would contribute.” Unfortunately, another one of Amy’s problems was sudden dizzy spells. “She would be fine one minute and fainting the next!” Davie had explained to Eric.

One evening, I came in from visiting a friend. Just inside the living room door, I felt my head go round and steadied myself on the back of a chair. Eric got to his feet and offered, “Davie said that Amy used to put lavender oil in her bath and that helped.”

I sat down and looked up at him, “Lavender oil for too much alcohol? Never heard that one!”

He studied me and repeated, “Too much drink?”

“I was visiting Lois and Mel, and he produced some of his homemade strawberry wine. It’s blown my head off!” I confessed.

We went on for quite a few months like this. When I got on him about leaving shoes lying around, he got that look on his face, and I was sure he would tell me that “Amy drank dandelion wine from a bell pepper, when Davie left his shoes lying about.”

Finally, I sat him down face-to-face and brought it all out into the open. “I am scared to just be myself because you are going to put it all down to the menopause. It’s making me nervous!”

As we discussed it, I realized that Eric was scared, scared that I would change and he wouldn’t know what to do. We managed to get it all sorted out eventually, but I did make Eric promise me one thing—that from then on he would stop listening to Davie and his tales of “What Amy did!”

I have to say that it worked. There was no comment whatsoever when a small tin of fruit was found in the hall cupboard and a small tin of paint in the refrigerator— mind you, that was because Eric put them there, not me!

Joyce Stark

off the mark.com     by Mark Parisi

Reprinted by permission of Off the Mark and Mark Parisi. © 1999 Mark Parisi.

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