Am I Really That Hot? 0 431

So one evening as I was preparing some dinner for the family I felt this wave wash over me. I hadn’t felt anything like this before so I just let it pass. I thought to myself, Oh, is that what a hot flash feels like? Then a minute later, another wave, so I thought, Ok let’s go sit down and see if this passes. I sat down and was still feeling quite off and since we also have one of those blood pressure monitor thingys in the house, I decided to check my pressure and it showed 180/100 ..yikes! Ok, let’s test that again, this machine is probably ten years old and a bit wonky, but now 190/100, so obviously I started panicking. Up to this point it was all just a matter of fact but now things were getting real.

So I looked to my better half and he looked at the numbers on the thingamajig, called my daughter out of her room and we decided to go to the hospital. Somewhere in there we phoned a doctor friend who advised the same. We live on the eleventh floor and all I could think of was that if I was going to have a stroke or heart attack, how would these two carry me out? Next was that I was wearing a dress and if I passed out, my underwear would be on show …. Side note: this is when I remembered my grandmother’s advice to always wear matching underwear so that in any emergency you will not be embarrassed. Needless to say, I put on a pair of pants in slow motion so not to trigger the impending incident which I was sure was going to happen and my only goal at that point was to get into the car so that if anything major happened, at least we were on the way to the hospital. 

Now, getting this group of three together in a panic situation was actually quite comical. You have me: panicking mother but trying to be calm to not scare the other two. You have a husband; panicking, all over the place and a little lost. Then you have daughter who is also panicking but trying to be the sober voice.

My husband decides to drive, knocks into another car reversing out of the parking lot, and my daughter and I are just standing there watching him, none of us know how to get to the hospital so they put on waze. We take a couple of wrong roads but we do end up at the hospital emergency and see a doctor. There, the blood pressure goes crazy, up and down, up and down and they can’t do anything but admit me for observation. They put a band on my wrist and I notice its red and says fall risk; wait, me? Nahh! To add insult to injury, both the band and the hospital room door had a picture of a tree falling .. what??!?

We got settled in the room and I was semi-relieved to be in the presence of doctors who would know what to do if something went wrong. My husband and daughter sat next to me, all us still feeling freaked out but a little better. Not to mention the fact that I have another daughter living overseas who I did not want to panic unnecessarily. She could easily see where I was on the app I have installed to keep track of her.. karma has a way of coming back to get you doesn’t it? So I switched that app off and swore the daughter who was with me to silence. I know, I know .. asian parents, yes, I am guilty as charged. 

I stay in the hospital for a couple days of observation, do the scans and they send me home with a device on my body which is supposed to check your pressure every half hour. This is actually a mental torture device because every time it went off, I got more panicky and was just waiting with horror to see the numbers. After all this, some more check ups, meds and the doctor diagnoses it as a panic attack.

Seriously!! Panic Attacks?! Who? Me? Are you kidding me? Anyone who knows me, knows that I am the calm cat in the room.. what the heck is this? Then comes the magic words – pre menopause.

Pre-Menopause .. that is just hot flashes right? Well, apparently not .. there’s panic attacks, anxiety attacks, elevated heart rates, an overall nervousness, anger, sleepless nights, nausea – the list goes on and on. But how come I have not heard about all this? Why isn’t anyone talking about this? Are women approaching their 50s going through all this and still doing everything they have been doing for years? Juggling work, family, home?

But before realising this, I was convinced.. let me stress on that, convinced… that the doctor was wrong and I had a heart issue or something worse. This led me to see a second cardiologist friend, who also told me there was nothing wrong with me then on to another doctor who specialised in hormones who told me the same. Still I was not entirely convinced that it was menopause. Our mothers didn’t go through all this right? I just remember my mother mentioning some sleepless nights and my mother in law hardly said anything …how come?

Then as I started reading online and talking to friends, it became clear that this was something all women silently go through. Some said it hardly registered but then others told their stories and their ways of dealing with it – a glass of wine when you know the anxiousness is hitting or something stronger,  some are on anti depressants, some exercise like crazy, some do hormone replacement therapy to soften the blow ( this is what I am doing by the way) but everyone looked for their own way of dealing with it.

Despite what any of your friends or family or even doctors say, the fact is that you are affected and you are changed. You are not the same you as before. I don’t know if hormone replacement will bring you back there or it’s just a life adapted to all these new feelings. Are we just going to make our lives smaller to adapt to our new limitations? I don’t know. I have read that it’s a phase and there is an end to it… let’s see. 

For now, my family will just have to live with me and my pre-menopausal self, I lived with their puberty, teenage angst and husbands mid-life crisis didn’t I? This is just reverse puberty as I see it. Maybe I’ll follow in my husbands footsteps, sports car .. but wait, I don’t drive…..

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Friends For A Season 0 437

I believe that in life, one of the most beautiful things that we can experience is friendship. It’s not a necessity that you can’t live without but it sure as hell makes the mundanity of day to day life tolerable and even enjoyable. I’ve always been a person who valued friendship above all else, of course, family tops the list but the line gets blurred with the friends who’ve been through it all with you. 

In my entire life, I’ve only ever had a couple of friendships implode and fall apart. Mostly some friendships fade over time with no hard feelings and some friendships stand the test of time and space apart. The world prepares you for heartbreak, we see it in movies and read about it in books – we know it’s a natural part of growing up. No one warns you of the deep pain that is felt when you lose a friend. It’s an underrated love.

My approach to friendship comes with the headspace that this will never come to an abrupt end. Maybe it will fizzle if we don’t truly connect, but it’s not going to be a huge dramatic break-up the way it happens with significant others. So the few times that friendships have come to an end in that way, it shattered my heart harder and deeper than I ever saw coming. 

It’s hard to describe the feeling of losing a best friend. It’s kind of like losing a piece of yourself. Your friends are the people that you are utterly you around, you don’t feel shy or insecure or embarrassed with them because they know who you are and love you because of it. You trust them with your ugliest side and depend on them when you can’t depend on yourself. It’s a pure connection because nothing is holding you together apart from the mutual desire to be in each other’s lives. There’s no romance nor sex nor children nor finances that force the relationship to be sustained. The two people are bound by nothing more than pure platonic love.

That kind of pure love is hard to find. Not many people will love you unconditionally and expect nothing in return. Good friends are hard to come by and when you have them in your life it makes the human experience richer and more beautiful. There’s security you feel in friendships that you don’t feel when in romantic relationships or even sometimes in familial relationships. It’s a chosen family that is supposed to stand by you through it all. So when a friendship starts to go sour, it’s so hard to recognize it and let it go. 

When one of my friendships went sour, it happened without me even realising it at first. I started to subtly feel the disconnect and imagining a life without this person, which at one point felt earth-shattering, became more and more manageable. I forgot the joys that we shared because I saw this person changing in ways I didn’t particularly like. 

The thing about being friends for years and years is that people change with time and if you’re lucky, you can grow together at a similar pace with a similar mindset and similar goals. However, there is the chance that you can grow apart, become completely different people until one day you realise that maybe the only thing holding this relationship together is time. 

It’s a tough pill to swallow when this happens because usually you only realise it when it’s too late. You don’t have the energy to fight for the friendship anymore because you’ve lost a lot of the joy that makes it worth fighting for. It starts slow, you first feel mildly irritated about things that you used to like about them. Then you start wanting to see them less, not putting in as much effort to ensure that they have a place in your life. Eventually, you start to feel like you don’t even want them around anymore and it can be so confusing because you don’t understand why you feel this way. 

With the experience I had, I let this animosity for this person stew and live only in my mind. I wasn’t enjoying our friendship anymore, but I also wasn’t willing to have a conversation about it or put in the work to fix what had gone wrong. I struggled to see things from the other person’s perspective and didn’t look at myself for the role I played in it. I was also scared that if we were to have a conversation, that it would result in our friendship coming to an end. A part of me knew that this was likely going to happen one way or another.

All relationships are a two-way street, there is no way to look at a situation and place blame on one person. I can try to absolve myself of responsibility for what happened but we know that just isn’t true. 

Only when the pot had finally boiled over and things had been taken too far, did the two of us have a conversation. I don’t know if I necessarily have regrets about how this conversation went, but I regret not bringing things up with this person sooner. Because when we spoke, the frustrations and anger that I was holding in my heart were also shared by her. It wasn’t just me that was hurting but her too. We had both avoided being honest with one another because we both knew that things weren’t working anymore. 

I had spent so long indulging myself in my emotions and painting her out to be the bad guy that I never took a second to think of how she felt. She was also growing apart from a friend that had been part of her life for so long. She was also experiencing the growing pains of changing and becoming who she wanted to be. I didn’t realise that we were both coming from a place of immense hurt. 

What’s crazy about this story is that the friendship ended at the same time my romantic relationship ended. I was heartbroken in lots of ways but if I’m being honest, my heart hurt harder and longer for the loss of my friend than the loss of my boyfriend. She had been a part of my life for so long and we’d maintained a friendship for over a decade.

We shared so many laughs, so many adventures and so many good times that when it all came to an end, it was hard to believe. I was disoriented for so long afterwards, my life felt like it had so drastically changed in a couple of days. 

“sometimes losing someone helps you realise that there is an ease that comes with letting go”

However, what did happen was the realisation that the people that stood by me and supported me through one of the toughest times were the ones who were meant to be in my life. Sometimes losing someone helps you realise that there is an ease that comes with letting go. All the time I spent thinking and wondering about this person was returned to me. I understood what I needed from a best friend and the tough lessons learnt when things fell apart also strengthened the friendships I still had. 

Sometimes the hardest thing to do is let go of something you felt was going to be permanent in your life. However you’ll realise that letting go brings a lightness you were seeking and as sad as it may be, some friends are around just for a season. They help you grow, teach you lessons and accompany you to the exact point in your life they’re supposed to. 

What I realised is that we have to be grateful for all the friends we have in our lives, the ones that stayed for a season and the ones that’ll stay for a lifetime. 

Aunty Babblings: On Masks 0 392

I am told that I babble and it has gotten worse with the pandemic and as I age! I figured that instead of my verbal babble maybe putting down these confused, excited thoughts may have a point. After all baby babbles turn to language at some point. 

The pandemic and with no work to boot gave me a lot of time to question the goings on in the world. These thoughts are not based on research but just an Aunty Babbling.

This babbling aunty rambles along on walks here and there every day. It’s really a great way to observe life and people who are living through a pandemic that just doesn’t seem to go away. I meet other regular walkers, and most if not all of them observe social distancing and if they don’t, I cross to the other side of the road or move a few meters away. 

Some wear masks and others don’t. I wear the mask as I am a senior citizen with comorbidities, because I am not taking any chances that may put me or the other at risk. Comorbidities by the way means a person with two or more diseases. A word I had to look up in the dictionary when I registered for the vaccination programme. 

Hmmm … may have been simpler to say “Tick here if you have two or more diseases”.  I wonder how many people especially the elderly etc. could Google it!

Coming back to walks and masks I’ve noticed over the past year or so that people throw their masks away wherever they like: on the road, along the grassy sidewalk, in common areas … wherever it is convenient to them. Surely, we can do better than this.

The interesting thing about these masks that are thrown away is that some are folded, fastened with the ear loops and then dumped. My question is, if we can go to all that trouble, surely, we can carry a bag, put it in there and dispose of it in a trash bin on the street or at home. 

The point here is that once again we’ve missed the point. 

Could it be that the global pandemic is here for us to learn the lesson of consideration for one another?

Yes, we should and must keep ourselves safe but we should consider the people who have to pick up after us. Are we putting them at risk? The point is that this whole virus thing is a two-way responsibility.

I keep myself safe, and you keep yourself safe and everyone can be safe. Remember the virus is blind to our man-made differences … all it takes are a few droplets from a sneeze or a cough for the virus to enter our body. Virus or no virus, there still remains the issue of littering.

I’ve seen blue, black, pink lavender and designed masks strewn all over the place and maybe it’s time to wear the mask knowing the task that is required of us. 

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