Like a lot of women of childbearing age, my body is my mortal fucking enemy, and, quite frankly a total dick.
When I was much younger, I always felt fortunate. Because, compared to some of my friends, my reproductive organs were pretty tame with little to no personality. But I had friends who, during their menstrual cycles, would be wrought with debilitating pain, cramping so hard they couldn’t leave their beds because there was not enough Midol or heating pads to make a dent in the torture that they endured as punishment for being born with a uterus. And this bullshit started when we were still in junior high! Not cool.
I had one girlfriend who brought a backpack with a change of clothes with her to school for the inevitable betrayal of her feminine hygiene products, as well as keeping two sweatshirts that she could tie around her waist when she bled through the spares. This is how much she bled every day for a week, each and every month. She was a tiny person, and I was thoroughly mystified as to where all that blood even CAME from, as my flow was but a fraction.
I really didn’t even have cramps, a heavy period, or the bizarre symptoms I saw from my girlfriends. I’m ashamed to say that I thought they may be overly sensitive because, honestly, what the fuck, WHY ARE YOU SO ANGRY THIS WEEK? What do you MEAN you can’t get out of bed, this is so WEIRD (you nut)!
Then I hit my thirties and, I swear, it feels like it was overnight sometime after my 35th birthday, my body told me to fuck right off and go straight to hell. I started having the periods that legends are made of. I started having cramps. My fucking BOOBS hurt. Why??
But only every other month were my physical symptoms that bad, which led me to decide, based on the fact that your ovaries allegedly alternate ovulating duties every month, that one of my ovaries thought I was cool enough, but the other one? That one knew of every fucking horrible thing I had done in my life and was now punishing me for it.
And I figure it was partially just karma for maybe not taking my friends’ pain as seriously as I could have.
Oh and the mood swings. Fucking CHRIST, the mood swings. THAT was new.
“WHAT THE FUCK, OVER? WHY AM I CRYING AT THIS LAUNDRY SOAP COMMERCIAL, WHAT IS GOING ON? SWEET MOTHER OF…”
And due to my late bloomer status, it would bewilder me every month, this new PMS crap. I’d be constantly hungry, crying because I dropped a towel on the floor, and I’d be mystified – until I saw the blood in my underwear. “Ohhhhhh….oh ok, fuck, THAT’S right.”
This went on forever. I swear to god, I always thought I was bright, but I was starting to wonder.
The sick fucking irony of it all? I had been done having babies by the time I was 23. I started early and I had my tubes tied at 25. I didn’t even NEED this shit anymore, and now it was suddenly being all surly?
There were days I would yell at my uterus, “I don’t care if there ARE shitty side effects to not having you anymore, I’m going to yank your sorry ass OUT!”
One day, a few months after my 42nd birthday, I went in for my yearly torture where you go in and have some nice person jam a cold piece of metal up your vag, the metal chunk covered in equally cold lube, if you’re lucky, all to make sure it’s not rotting of cancer or some shit. I had actually dealt with cervical cancer when I was much younger (that was great), so I had to go in regularly to make sure nothing new was growing, to pay someone to smash my ovaries and crush my boobs. You know…all the great stuff that we get to do since we have a fucking body full of bullshit that spews forth the beautiful miracle of life, blah blah blah…
I mentioned to my gyno-doctor, who I still see regularly, about my monumentally heavy periods, and she said, “Oh, do you want to consider Endometrial Ablation?”
Obviously, I asked, “What the fuck is that?”
Endometrial Ablation is this delightful procedure where they knock you out, they shove metal mesh into your uterus via your dilated cervix, and they heat that shit up so hot that it lays waste to the inside of your babyhouse. They singe the shit out of it so much that it basically cauterizes everything and the end result is one of three options: It can have no effect, it can make the blood portion of your periods go away completely, or somewhere between those two.
“Where the fuck has THAT been my whole life?” I had to ask.
“Well, you were too young before. We only do this on pre-menopausal women and beyond.”
So I’m like, dude, sign me up, flambé this shit. She laughed and said, “Lucky enough for you, if you want it, I have a surgical opening next Thursday.”
Boom. DEAL. Let’s do this shit.
So I check in to the out-patient surgical clinic, and, once all gowned up, I proceed to have the world’s WORST fucking phlebotomist attempt to give me an IV. I’m not kidding, this woman was terrible. “Woops, sorry. Oh dear. Oops. Ok, just one more stick. Ok, I thought that would work, let’s try over here…oh golly.”
Finally Stabby McNutburger listens to me and jams the IV in the part of my arm I told her usually worked best (I’m not new to this shit), and I was wheeled down the hall with my starter set of track marks.
They knock me out, they flambé the shit out of my uterus, I wake up. I don’t think I was out more than an hour, I unzonked in the recovery room, and, once I wasn’t a danger to myself or others, they sent me on my way with my aftercare instructions that stated that I should rest for the next three to five days, but, once I felt well enough, that I could get back to my normal routine. To listen to my body. Cool. Got it.
I take it easy for about five or six days, the first of which I felt a little crampy and I was bleeding a bit. I was told was to be expected the first few weeks, but I healed up pretty quickly I thought.
So just over a week after my surgery, I felt well enough to resume my normal activity, which included the kickboxing class I attended three to four times a week.
First class after being gone over a week, and I felt wimpy but fine. Was doing my thing, was running laps around the gym, shadowboxing with light weights, jumping rope…all fine, but maybe a little more tiring than it usually was, but hi, I just had surgery so I should expect that.
Did some front kicks and side kicks…oof. Crampy. Did a few more…eh, no, I’m not feeling like I’m up to much more of this. Maybe I’ll take it easy and come back in a day or two. Listen to your body, the aftercare instructions said.
Returned to the gym a couple days later, same routine, running, yay, punching, yay…ok, no, definitely no crunches, and kicking? Ow. Bummer.
Went to the restroom at the gym before heading home, and low and behold, I had bled through my stupid maxi pad onto my shorts. Dammit. Ok, dummy, time to go home and rest. Maybe try again next week.
So the weekend comes around, and I’m celebrating an early Thanksgiving with my significant other. He had to work on “real Thanksgiving” so we were doing this a bit earlier in the month.
I had mostly stopped bleeding, so that was cool, but I was feeling fatigued. Figured it was residual from OBVIOUSLY pushing my wimpy ass too hard at kickboxing class a few days before.
Turkey was in the oven, I had started some side dishes, college football was on the television (GO DUCKS), and I felt…damp. Hmm.
I decided to go upstairs to the main bathroom instead of the once down stairs, because my extra clothes were up there. As I’m walking into the bedroom towards the master bath, I feel like I’m peeing myself.
What the fuck? Am I peeing myself? HOW AM I PEEING MYSELF? WHY CAN’T I STOP PEEING MYSELF?
I had the presence of mind to walk into the bathroom, leaving the nice beige carpet and arriving onto tile, and I remove my sweats.
I’m gushing blood.
Not “I’ve bled a lot on my pants and now it’s stopped and I can deal with the leakage.”
I am a faucet. I look like the little dude from the “Rejected” animated thingy by Don Hertzfeld
Only it wasn’t my anus, it was my fucking vagina. Or, more specifically, my recently napalmed uterus.
Seriously, I have never felt so frozen and confused as to what to do next as I did as I was standing there with no pants and a full on raging faucet of what seemed to the entirety of my body’s blood. I cannot adequately convey to you the sheer volume that was pouring from my vagina onto the floor, making a growing puddle underneath me and soaking my socks. I was strangely fascinated. And in shock. No amount of Kegels are going to stop this either.
Just as I was about to call for help, I coughed.
And then I heard the worst noise I’ve ever heard.
I looked down.
Is that my liver…?
Involuntary cough cough.
*SPLAT SPLAT…splat…splat splat*
Holy fuck I’m dying, those are my guts, they are on the ground, what is happening…
There is blood everywhere.
There was already a large pool of blood, but now?
WHATEVER THE FUCK FELL OUT OF MY BODY SPLASHED THE ALREADY DISPENSED BLOOD UP THE FUCKING WALLS, ON THE COUNTERS, INTO THE CLOSET, ONTO MY LEGS, AND SOME ONTO MY FUCKING FACE.
Holy shit, I can’t believe I’m going to die in this bathroom. And I start laughing. Maniacally. Because that’s how I react to very serious situations.
Blood pours out faster, which makes me laugh harder as I’m yelling for help. Help that won’t come, mind you, because I’m upstairs on the other side of the house and the TV is on. FUCK.
So I grabbed a towel, jammed it up against my crotch, and put on the new sweats that happened to be on the counter.
I took my blood-soaked socks off.
And, because your brain does stupid shit when most of your blood is on the outside of your body, I thought, “Oh shit, I have to try to clean this…I can’t LEAVE this here…”
I leaned down and picked up the biggest chunks of horror off the floor and tried to smash it into the drain with my fingers…mostly successfully.
I realized I was going to pass out. So I carefully headed downstairs, sliding along the wall, and got to the kitchen.
“I need….some help…”
This is where things get hazy as fuck. But I will never forget the look on that poor guy’s face, the man who I eventually tricked into marrying my crazy ass, when he saw me standing there.
“OH MY GOD, ARE YOU OK?? WHAT’S GOING ON?”
Long story shortened…I didn’t die.
The large cow livers on the ground were actually massive blood clots that I developed while kickboxing, AS IT TURNS OUT, way too soon after my surgery. They had started forming probably after my second high side-kick and just kept on a trucking while I moronically thought that kickboxing a week after having my guts fried was a fine plan. And they came flying out of my scorched earth of a womb when it was at max capacity and could hold no more clots or blood.
The following Monday, when I haul my ass into the doctor’s office to make sure I’m continuing to not die, my gyno laughs: “Well, congratulations…you’ve made me have to revise my Aftercare Instructions. By normal activity, I meant going back to work! Or walking your dog! Not KICKBOXING, WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU!?”
Also, I will forever pat my back for this:
After I was stabilized and that poor traumatized man willingly cleaned up the fucking gnarly-ass crime scene I had made of his bathroom (he missed out on the big chunks, but it was still bad as fuck), and we sat down to eat a delightful Thanksgiving dinner together, giving thanks that I had not, in fact, hemorrhaged to death that day…
I waited until we were completely done with dinner to point at the bowl of cranberry sauce on the table and go, “Hey…does this remind you of anything?