August 3, 2020

Mirror, Mirror . . . Stay on the Wall

I know I have described my vasovagal syndrome issue here before, but allow me to refresh your memory:     

I pass out easily.  

Well, I used to pass out easily . . . as I have dealt with delivering babies and the annoying IV that came with that (the one that I told Coach to make the nurses remove), kids' stitches, my stitches, wood-chip specks floating around in kids' eyeballs, etc.  I have adapted, but I am not 100% cured as I did have an issue when giving blood a few years back.  I have typically been able to rise to gross duties dictated by motherhood.  Still, there are some chores I would rather skip.

To be clear, vasovagal syndrome is a real thing.  There is a vein that constricts in people like me when we get grossed out, and causes the squeamish person to faint.  I was unaware that my issue had a name until I fainted during a doctor appointment when I was pregnant with Laddie.  The doc was not touching me.  No needles.  He simply described to me what it meant to be RH negative.  "Your blood cells can attack the baby's blood . . . "  My eyes rolled back, I laid back on the table and heard him call out the door:  "Hey nurse, get me some orange juice.  We have a vasovagal in here."  

When I recovered from my embarrassment, I grilled the doc about this vaso thing.  I felt elated to learn that there was a reason for my passing out track record.  I was NOT a freak . . . well, depends on who you talk to.

As a teenager, it took me 4 years to get contact lenses, (as far as I can tell, I have no male readers, but if you're out there - you might prefer to skip this post) and I was unable to handle using a tampon until after Lad was born.  I know, I know - talk about not being familiar with your own body.  

Well intentioned friends:  Use a mirror.

Me:  Not helpful.  

Years later as I prepared for childbirth, my mom told me she found the mirror helpful during delivery.  Again, no.  Mirrors belong on the wall for FACES.  

Fast forward to our trip to Kansas City over the weekend to visit cousins.  Cousins with a pool.  You get where this is going?

The morning we were leaving, Curly called my cell.  I was in a workout class.  "I got my period!"  This was not the first time, maybe the 4th - but she is still so young.  12!  It's a cruel world.  

I stopped at the drug store on my way home from my class.  A young woman walked in at the same time, headed to the same isle.  Of course we were wearing masks, but I sideways glanced thinking 'Maybe I should ask her which one to get?'  Then I realized that I knew her - she went to my kids' high school, swam on their summer swim team back in the day.  

Me:  Oh, hi!  Hey, what should I get?  Isn't there like a teen product nowadays?  Poor Curly, she's so young.  

College girl:  Oh, here.  I started with these.  These are the smallest.  

I bought the box she suggested and a mix box of 'light days' and regular.'  Covering all bases.

I urged Curly to try one out when I got home, so that she didn't feel the pressure of trying at the cousins' house with the pool beckoning.  We first watched a you tube video.  Her attempt was not successful.

Then she and I tried again in a nice spacious bathroom in KC while everyone was off doing other things. First we watched 11 million you tube videos. I think my favorite was 'Nurse so and so at your cervix.' Cute.

Anyway, no pressure - unlike a few years ago when Mini tried and her brothers were hollering for her to get out of the ONlY bathroom in our hotel room, so we could head to the beach. 

Anyway, Curly came out of the bathroom in KC and wondered "IS THIS IT? DID I DO IT?"

Well, I started to celebrate and she stopped me mid-cheer, "I'm not sure it is right."

I tried to reassure her. "The string is hanging down, you're good."

Then she slowly, awkwardly turned around while maintaining a very stiff posture, to reveal that the tampon was wedged between her butt cheeks. Not exactly going to be of much service there.

Well, if Curly was my velcro-child before, then we are now even CLOSER. Thank goodness, I birthed these children with thick skin. There was no holding back the outburst of laughter. I fell to the floor. Pounded the floor with my fist. Tried to crawl away, as if I might escape certain death by laughter. Tears flowed. Curly laughed at me laughing at her. It was just a beautiful mother-daughter moment, not exactly the kind they make Hallmark cards about, but we tend to do things a little different from most.

So Curly was close on the next attempt, but didn't feel quite right and abandoned ship. The weather in KC was not exactly great pool weather, so the kids hung out in the yard mostly. A bit later, I saw Mini and Meggie, the cousin that we brought with us from Chicago who is a year younger than Mini, pushing Curly around on a raft. Curly was in a suit with boy short bottoms and happy to be the Cleopatra of the pool.

Curly is on the raft doing her 'Carry me 
down the Nile' role on the first day.

Then Lad said something about her being a dope for not swimming, and Reg dumped the raft upside down. Brothers are brainless and irritating, and make me wonder WHAT DID COACH COVER WHEN HE GAVE THEM THE TALK? 
Curly hopped out of the pool,  wrapped herself in a towel and growled at them.

The next morning, I was out for my walk. Mini called.

Mini: Now I got my period.

Me: Oh, shit. Well, you won't have it next week (which is when we anticipated it arriving) when we go to the beach in Michigan. Maybe I will have to conduct a joint class and see if you and Curly can figure out the tampon thing.

*So Mini, aptly named Mini because she is my Mini-me, has vasovagal and has had a vasovagal convulsion before, which was scary - apparently she wanted to one up me. So I was less confident she could tackle the task.  She  has not tried since the hotel disaster a few years ago.*

Mini: Um, Curly already talked me through it. Like, she knew exactly what to do. Meggie was in the bedroom cheering me on while Curly was in the bathroom with me. But I got it in, I think, but I started to dry-heave and I was sweating a ton, and I thought I was going to pass out. Curly started yelling at me to take it out, so I took it out.

Me: Oh my gosh. Well, I will be home in a bit and we can try again, (Mini moaned) or not. 

Mini: Can you EVEN believe that Curly taught me how to do it and she hasn't even done it yet?

Me:  (giggling) Well she did watch 11 million you tube videos.

After my walk, Mini invited me to join her upstairs. Curly followed. Meggie sat in the adjoining jack and jill bedroom. I coached from around the corner of the bathroom in the other bedroom. Curly was right in there directing traffic. And Mini managed. Hooray! 

There was much celebrating, until Curly realized she was now a potentially great future health teacher but would be missing out on the pool fun. 

Folks, Curly tackled the task next with Mini's play by play encouragement. And I was able to keep my social distance.  Afterward, we all enjoyed a little girl-power celebration. Meggie has no sisters, but now she has the sister experience and I believe her status has been raised from cousin to almost-sister.

So how's that for a memory making road trip? Anyone care to share an encounter where you almost passed out, when you hated being a girl, or when you had some awesome girl  power bonding?


Amy said...

That is such a great story! I love that you were all able to guide & cheer each other through it.

Ernie said...

Amy - Thanks, it was one of those situations that I was unsure would end well. So many people I know were like, "She'll figure it out - that's what I did and I was 11." Knowing the struggles I had, I was not overly confident. I kept telling her she would have fun no matter what - just didn't realize half the fun would be making the fun possible. ;)

Nicole MacPherson said...

Oooooh, I remember my first attempt too. My mom never used them and so I was on my own with the little instructions that come with the box. It was tricky, that's for sure!

Ernie said...

Nicole - I did not know that this was even an option and when I was in 8th grade and there was a grad swim party, I was super annoyed that I had to stand at the edge of the pool. I was at my best friend's house that afternoon, and her mom told me about the tampon option and I fainted. Tricky for sure. Thank goodness for you tube nowadays.

Kara said...

In 5th grade, my best friend cut her hand on a fence at school. She didn't even notice. I saw blood dripping, and I went DOWN. Recently, my neighbor had a facelift, and asked me to check the tapes behind her ears. I thought I could handle it. I could not. I got tunnel vision and started hyperventilating. My husband had to come and get me (and he checked out the tapes and declared them fine). I really couldn't deal with it when my oldest got her wisdom teeth out (I'm starting to feel faint just thinking about it) and my husband had to do it all.

I can deal with my own blood, no problem. I got my period at 12 and figured out tampons pretty quickly. My daughters were between 10 and 12 when they got theirs. The oldest was the youngest, just turned 10. She hates tampons, but will use them if she really want to go swimming and it's a heavy day. Since getting on the Pill, her periods have become almost nonexistent, so that helps her too. I make sure all of our bathrooms are fully stocked with all sorts of easy to find feminine hygiene options, because I hated being young and getting caught without a plan at a friend's house. All of our cars have emergency pads and tampons, just in case.

Busy Bee Suz said...

The whole mirror thing: I can't even. No. Nope. Never. Somethings just need to NOT be seen.
Your condition sounds made up, but Know it's not. Scary. I have a much lesser version of it when it comes to spines. spinal cords. Ughhhh....I get a nauseous feeling and my brain feels numb and I feel like I could pass out. I still don't know how I had TWO C-sections with the you.know.what. shot beforehand. Still gives me the heebie-jeebies.

I'm sorry, but I laughed OUT LOUD when Curly had the tampon in her butt cheeks. HA. That is priceless and I'm so happy you shared with us. I'll never get the vision out of my head. Never
I wish we'd had YOUTUBE when I was a kid....that That would have saved me from losing my virginity to a tampon. I lived with my Dad. I had no guidance. I was almost 16, or maybe I was 16? I was a late bloomer. No one told me that you had to take OUT THE CARDBOARD cylinder. Sadly, it took me a while to figure that out. Imagine walking around with that cardboard inside you. Me thinking: This IS not very comfortable. At all.
Ummm....stupidest kid on the planet.

I love that this story has a happy ending, lots of laughing and some sisterly/cousinly bonding.

kellyg said...

No tampon stories here. The closest thing I have to girl power moment is when my mom, my sister and I were on a girls' trip to Savannah and sharing a hotel room. My mom noticed a large bug on the curtain and pointed it out to my sister who lived in Chicago at the time. The idea being that sis would have dealt with large cockroaches and could deal with this one that was squicking my mom out.

Me (from across the room): Oh it's on the curtain? I don't think...
Sis: Ahhh! It can fly?!?!?!?!?!
Me: Yeah. That's a palmetto bug. They fly.

My sister and I spent the next 5 minutes chasing it and running away from it before we finally got it to fly out the door. All of us were hysterical with laughter by that point.

Kari said...

Have you ever seen the movie Fried Green Tomatoes?? One of my all-time favorite movies. They have a "mirror" scene. You need to watch if you haven't seen it. They don't show anything gross but it is a great movie. Heartwarming for sure.

I am not a tampon girl for sure. I have a tampon story though. I just wrote it for the book. Long story, not as good as this one. :)

Ernie said...

Kara - Mini packed pads in her backpack in 7th grade before she ever got her period, so she was ready. She dropped stuff out of her backpack during the school day. Tank was passing her in the hallway and he helped her pick stuff up- he held up a pad and said loudly, "What's this?" Sounds like you are prepared and will not likely deal with family members who cause embarassment.

Suz - Yes, the mirror - hard no!The butt cheek thing - well, how could I NOT share? It was so hysterical. Later in the day Curly and I just looked at each other and burst out laughing all over again. Cousins were like, WHAT? We were like, oh nothing. Hee hee. Your cardboard story made me bite my lip and puff up my cheeks - as in YOWZA! Oh my gosh. Kids today, they have it so easy with you tube telling them all life's little mysteries. Yes, so much laughing and so much bonding.

Kellyg - OMG - the sister from Chicago can handle roaches . . . what? I prefer not to bond over tampons or bugs, but some things cannot be controlled.

Kari - I LOVE that movie, and yes - oh my gosh . . . the mirror scene. Too funny. Who doesn't have a tampon story? Girl- power.

angie said...

My husband and I have three daughters. My husband was out of state working and we went to visit. My oldest was in her early twenties and asked hubby if she could borrow the car. He said no and they argued a bit. It was a company car so big no. Finally he asks what do you need? I’ll go get it. She said tampons. Without no hesitation my husband asks, well what kind do you want? Big, small, extra large, unscented, scented?. Eldest daughter was so embarrassed but the rest of us were hysterically laughing. Ten years later we’re still laughing. Even the eldest.

Ernie said...

Angie - hilarious! When Mini had to buy supplies on our vacation a few years ago, my husband took her to the nearest Walmart and she was not happy about that arrangement at all. I think I was working out, or packing the food for the beach, etc. No wants Daddy to pack the lunch, or people will starve.

Beth Cotell said...

"Mirrors belong on the wall for FACES." Never before have truer words been typed.

And I am still laughing at the tampon between the butt cheeks! You guys have the best stories!

Ernie said...

Beth- you are not wrong . . . maybe I should put that quote on a t-shirt. And the tampon that overshot the target was one of the funniest motherhood moments EVER. I almost died.