“The Pill” is a song that was released by Loretta Lynn in 1972 and tells the story of a wife who has a rambling husband that knocks her up yearly. After years of being pregnant, she is happy because now she has the pill. It was controversial when released and considered risqué with a lot of stations refusing to play it.
Fast forward about 15 years from that song to 1987. I was attending Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. That summer I decided to stay in Cincy and work at the school’s library, McDonald Library. I loved my work. I biked on a regular. And, suddenly, I felt like I was a late bloomer. I was getting curves and feeling great about life in general. Then the dominos started to fall. While at work, I did not lift a stack of books using my knees, I used my back. Immediately I felt pain. My supervisor sent me on to the ER just to make sure I was ok. While at the hospital I was asked a series of questions, including:
Are you pregnant? … No, I am on the pill.
When was your last cycle? … Last week.
At the end of the examination it was determined I sprained a muscle, a prescription was written for pain killers and I was sent on my way with instructions to take it easy and stay on bed rest for a couple of days. I returned to the apartment, script in hand and proceeded to follow doctor’s orders. I took the first dose and within fifteen minutes was throwing up everything but the kitchen sink. After an hour in the bathroom, my (then) boyfriend insisted he take me back to the emergency room. There they thought, maybe it was a urinary tract infection…pee in this cup.
The doctor returned to the room and asked, “Is this your boyfriend?” I immediately burst into tears. The only time they asked that in the movies was when someone had cancer or a life changing horrible disease. ((Not sure what pee test could diagnose all of that in the mid-80s but you know, the movies and all…))
Doctor: You are pregnant.
Me: Not possible. I am on the pill, I have never doubled up and I had my period last week.
Doctor: You are pregnant.
Two days later I was sitting in the office of one Dr Unger, following a pelvic exam.
Unger: You are four to four and a half.
Me: There is zero ways for me to be four and a half weeks pregnant! I just had my period last week!!
Unger: Four and a half months.
I learned something that day. If you take an antibiotic, it can nulify the effect of the pill. If it were not for the wonderful son I have today, I would have considered that a useful piece of information to have. Things happen for a reason and I am a better person for it.
Fast forward almost thirty years later to now. I have all of these hormonal, fibroid, “I’ma bout to have my uterus ripped out” issues. My friend makes a suggestion to help with the symptoms and I float the idea past my doctor. The doctor said let’s give it a shot. So… I have been non-childbearing for over twenty five years (tubal in 1990) and I am having my uterus removed in a matter of weeks and I am now taking the pill. There is some irony to all of that. Some serious irony.
The thought behind the action is that birth control helps ease the hormones, makes the cycle regular, drops the bloating and helps with various other symptoms. I have been on the pill for 16 days now and these are my observations:
- I have had my cycle for 14 of those days.
- The bloating was eased, not totally taken away.
- The best way to describe my emotions is a roller coaster for these reasons: they can drop at an instant, there are a lot of twists and turns, they make me want to scream, sometimes I feel like I am in a dark tunnel from which I might never emerge and the ride is horrifying.
There are other symptoms I will not go into detail about here but I can safely say the pill has had limited success.
I am sure there are millions of women who have gone through this same process and who have survived and have been the pillar of success throughout. I am obviously not one of those women. I am impatient. I want to be more physically active than I am currently comfortable being. I want to have an entire day where I do not burst into random tears for no given reason or to wake without being pissed at nothingness. Why is it that at their mid-life men get to buy a sports car and bang younger women while we, the older women, have to have their reproductive organs ripped out? That is the burning question from where I type. AND there is not enough coffee in the world to raise me above the utter exhaustion that I suffer from constantly.
I walk every evening. I have tried to run but I end up being very uncomfortable and thrown into a panic. So, walking it is. I have made the decision to urge my doctor to give me an earlier surgery date. This morning I called my doctor but she is in surgery all day today and Monday. Keep your fingers crossed that maybe she can move up my surgery. We will see on Tuesday when she returns.
Note: I have a few people ask me if I was so young that I did not realize when my periods stopped that I was pregnant. Because I was on birth control and did not realize that I was pregnant, I continued to have what the doctor called “false periods” every month. I was very much unaware of my pregnancy and my body didn’t give me warning signs other than the extra curves to my body.