The Change

They began in January. Hot flashes. Up to 30 times a day.

Hubby was ecstatic as I was no longer wearing pyjamas. I was depressed, thinking about parting with all my cozy sweaters.

0320_The Change

Maybe men have hot flashes too?

After a few weeks of that nonsense and missing a monthly visit from Aunt Flo (although, not sure missing is the right word), I made an appointment to see my gynecologist.

But I wasn’t just seeing him that week. I also had two other appointments with my family doctor for a physical.

The thing is, I normally avoid doctors.

I ended up in my family doctor’s office this past January after having some chest pain. It wasn’t in the area of my heart and was intermittent, but somewhat painful and alarming nonetheless.

After he gave me an EKG test indicating my heart was fine, he assessed that my chest pain was likely caused from carrying my golf bag. (Yes, winter golf here in Germany is heaven! 🏌️‍♀️). He pressed a few muscles back into my back (that felt amazing!) and sent me on my way.

But before leaving, I made a long overdue appointment for a physical and had one booked for hubby, too (he wasn’t thrilled, but relented). The physical took place on two days: blood & urine test on the Tuesday and a stress EKG test on the Thursday.

Thus, the girl that avoids doctors winds up with three appointments in one week. And hot flashes. Yee-haw.

First up was a Monday visit to the gynecologist. The appointment began with a routine blood pressure test, with a reading far above the normal range. The nurse looked at me with concern, asking how I was feeling.

“Anxious!” was my reply. Duh…I’m at a doctor’s office. To talk about my hot flashes and have a pap test. So much to look forward to.

Looking somewhat relieved, she told me to see her again right after the doctor to do another reading.

I had my consultation with the doctor who confirmed I was beginning Wechseljahre ‘the change’. For the hot flashes, I could start taking estrogen or wait to see if they’ll be manageable. I decided to wait.

Then came the pap test. And for my lady friends only familiar with these kinds of appointments in Ontario, it’s a whole new ballgame here.

For starters, there’s no sheet to cover up your privates.

Yup, you take everything off from the waist down (behind a curtain, at least) and walk on out to The Chair. Even though I’ve now done this several times, it still makes me anxious and likely caused my blood pressure to soar.

Once the p-test was finished, the doctor performed a pelvic ultrasound and confirmed that Aunt Flo will still be coming to town. From now on, the visits would be surprise ones. I’m so delighted.

Relieved to have that part over with, I jumped off the chair and marched back to the curtain to dress my downstairs and undress my upstairs. Yes, it was time for the breast examination. And that, ladies, happens here while standing up. With your hands on your hips. I say no more.

After seeing the doctor, I went back to the nurse for another blood pressure test with a normal result. I was free to leave but not feeling exactly relieved.

Tomorrow was Tuesday. My blood test.

I wasn’t so anxious about it – just more concerned about having to wait two days for the results. But after the nurse couldn’t find a vein big enough on my right arm and needed help from another nurse to draw blood from my left, I walked out bruised and weak.

To get our minds off doctor’s appointments, hubby and I spent the night at a sauna. Nothing like getting naked with a bunch of Germans to cheer the soul.

Then Thursday rolled around. Time for the stress EKG test. We were told to wear comfortable clothes and bring a towel & water bottle. The test took place on a bike, and the nurse instructed me to take everything off from the waist up. She then proceeded to attach electrodes all over my back and chest and placed a blood pressure gauge on my right arm. I looked like an alien.

I then rode the bike while the nurse sat a desk and monitored my performance. During the examination, another nurse came in and then later the doctor. All while I’m pedalling like a mad, topless alien.

Immediately after, I met with the doctor who gave me the results from both the stress and blood test.

Verdict was that I need to build up my endurance and take vitamin D. Cholesterol was a little high but not enough to be considered.

Hubby and I both left the doctor’s office with positive results (his cholesterol was also a little high but also no further action). Feeling (very!) elated, I went home and did something I have never done. I put a reminder in my calendar to schedule regular doctor appointments.

As for The Change, at least the hot flashes have subsided over the last few weeks. Excited to wear cozy sweaters again.

But I think hubby hid my pyjamas.

10 thoughts on “The Change

  1. Oh Heather! How appropriate (and funny!) to be sharing this on International Women’s Day. I laughed out loud at the “pedalling like a mad, topless alien”. What a visual. Thank you Heather. 🙂


  2. Thanks for sharing your story -it made me laugh and we need to talk about this more. I think I was pretty quiet about it when I started the change as I was in my early 40’s. I still remember one medical technician’s comment that even though i Iooked young on the outside on the inside my womb was shrivelling up. I needed kind humour like that to get me through it. Thanks for giving me some laughs today xo


  3. OMG, this made me laugh out loud as it did the others. Firstly, I’d like to know how the hell we got old enough to be suffering this stuff. This is the first year I slept in the dead of winter with the bedroom window open, and I am dreading the warm nights of summer.
    Secondly, why I am not surprised at nakedness of all that testing…and it’s the Dutch that get the “liberal and always naked rap”?? Well girl, we are in this together whether we are ready or not!


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