Jewish World Review Nov. 1, 2002 / 26 Mar-Cheshvan, 5763

Lori Borgman

Lori Borgman
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Consumer Reports

The crazy mind of middle-age | The conversation between the family doctor and myself:

"That should take care of your poison ivy. Now is there anything else?" the doctor asked.

"Yes. I'm crazy," I said.

Without so much as glancing up from my chart, he said, "So are a lot of women your age."

"Maybe, but I have these mood swings," I replied. "On Saturday I was making a meatloaf and cried for no reason."

"That's not uncommon. Consider these experiences warm-up exercises for menopause."

"So my occasional moodiness and hair-trigger temper are just a sample of things to come?" I asked.

"Yes. It's like your ovaries are crying out."

"Thank you for that wonderful word picture, doctor. Still, it seems that I used to have a temperament that was much more even-keel. As I recall I was a warm, gentle and quiet person. "

"You're confusing yourself with Mother Teresa again," he said.

"OK, so I haven't always been the demure type. Doctor, I'm sensing I'm not getting a lot of sympathy here and your prescription pad is nowhere in sight."

"Not right now," he said. "What you've described isn't serious enough to warrant medication."

"Correct me if I'm wrong, doctor, but I sense you are saying buck up and prepare to suffer?"

"For now, that would be correct," he said.

"And what if I make my family unhappy?" I asked. "Let me guess.

They should prepare to suffer with me."

"Excellent choice of words," he said.

"Thank you very much, doctor. Now if you will just give me my bill, I will proceed to the check-out window and make the next payment on your boat."

The conversation I had with my family:

"I had an appointment with the doctor today," I say.

"Great!" they chorus. "Did he give you some happy pills? Will you say yes to getting a dog now? Can we buy a convertible for me to enjoy during my fleeting teen years?"

"No, no and no," I answer. "The doctor said happy pills are for people who are depressed and I am not depressed. I am crazy. He did say a few other things which I think you will find of interest."

"What things?" my husband asks.

"The doctor said I am a delicate flower. He said I need lots of love and patience and understanding and chocolate. He recommended you make your purchases at Sweet Things. They have two convenient locations."

"Wait a minute. The doctor recommended a confectionary?"

"I thought it odd, too, but what do you expect from an HMO? He also said I may need periodic trips to that bucolic little village in Kentucky known as Shakertown. He thought it best if I go alone."

"Did he suggest you should schedule an Alaskan cruise?" hubby asked. "No, but I can call his office in the morning to see if that was an oversight on his part. And honey, you'll be happy to know the doctor said that I overreacted about wanting to choke you when you told me you would be working several days during your vacation."

"Really?" he asked, with a look of vindication.

"Yes. He said breaking one of your arms would have been enough." "The doctor also said when I have these moody spells I may need to spend lengthy amounts of time in my room, not talking to anyone, just watching HGTV. He said you all should leave trays of nutritious and attractively presented food by the door when it is mealtime and then run for your lives."

"Really? The doctor really said those things?"

"Well, either the doctor said those things or my ovaries were calling out with some truly excellent ideas."

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JWR contributor Lori Borgman is the author of I Was a Better Mother Before I Had Kids. To comment, please click here.

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© 2001, Lori Borgman