From Chicken Soup for the Soul in Menopause

Poor Clyde

It was finally Friday afternoon. It had been a very long week at the manufacturing company where I was employed as the purchasing manager.

One of my responsibilities was to address all the correspondence to and from our vendors. We had been having problems getting product out of one of our sole-source suppliers. The boss asked me to write a letter and tactfully remind them that they were not performing to our agreement, and also that we needed components for our production line as soon as possible.

I found it quite difficult to write a tactful letter. I wanted to scream at them, but of course, that couldn’t happen. I was tired and irritable. I had not slept well the entire hectic week, as night sweats were robbing me of much-needed rest. I seemed to have one decent week a month. But lately, my emotional levels could hit manic highs and rock-bottom lows in one fifteen-minute span, which was unusual for me. This whole menopausal thing was becoming very troublesome. They didn’t even call it menopause yet; it was perimenopause, as if that made a difference. I had tried different medications to find relief, but the doctor could not find the right combination. My doctor thought herself humorous, teasing, “What’s the matter, Bonnie? Are you losing all your friends?”

Very funny, I thought, in my cranky state of mind. The only people who understood me were the ones in the same midlife dilemma. Some friends and I joked about staying away from each other for five years in order to retain our friendships until this crisis passed. This is when it’s a blessing to have friends in all age groups.

Anyway, I had to get this letter written before I could go home—and I was ready for the weekend. Typing intently, I tried to use just the right words with the right amount of firmness, but not be negative in tone.

Concentrating hard, I felt a presence behind me but ignored it since I wanted to finish the last sentence. BAMM! The loud bang of a hammer hitting my desk sent me straight up out of my chair. Instantly furious, and without as much as a second of hesitation, I clenched my fist, whirled around and punched the unsuspecting maintenance man in the stomach with every bit of strength in me. I hadn’t even thought but simply reacted in a moment of anger. If it had been the company owner, I would have been in a great deal of trouble as he was a small man and not in the best physical shape. Luckily it turned out to be Clyde, a very fit fellow who rode motorcycles on the weekends. Even at that, he made a loud “Oof” and bounced back a couple of feet when I landed the punch. We just looked at each other; I was flabbergasted at what I had just done, and Clyde looked at me with total disbelief. Neither of us spoke, but I could feel the color rising in my face as I realized what had just taken place. I felt foolish, but deep down, still a tiny bit justified.

“I’m very sorry,” Clyde said slowly. “I must have really scared you.”

“Yes, you did,” I answered with a sheepish smile. “I’m sorry.” Trying to recover some professionalism, I asked, “Was there something you needed from me?”

“You know what, I think it can wait until Monday,” he said.

Trying to make light of a totally embarrassing situation, I said, “Thanks, Clyde, I would appreciate that. Please be more careful next time. I don’t like to be surprised.”

Well, time passed, and the doctor did find the right hormone prescription to settle my nerves and allow me to rest better. Two fibroid tumors were removed, which gave me relief from the pain I had been experiencing. Menopausal symptoms lessened to tolerable and eventually to minuscule. I even managed to keep most of my friends and family through the ordeal.

At work, Clyde and I remained amicable. He treated me with the utmost respect, but, much to my chagrin, he never let me forget the day I delivered him that sucker punch.

Bonnie Nester

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