I’m in my mid thirties and I take old-people medicine. Not the kind that helps Grandpa get it up or Grandma manage the hot flashes, but I’ve always thought of it as medication for old people, nonetheless. When I was nineteen I woke up one morning with a blood clot the size of a hot dog lodged in my left lung, so after that I was doomed to a daily dose of blood thinners. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a conversation with someone in the over 65 set and they have some complaint about taking Coumadin (blood thinner….try to keep up) for their heart condition/heart valve replacement/DVT/stubbed toe, etc. and when I say, “Oh, I know….I’ve taken it since I was nineteen,” they gasp in shock.
Old person: “But you’re so young!”
Me: “I have a hereditary blood clotting disorder, thanks to my dad.”
Old person: “Bless your heart!”
Anyway, taking blood thinners during my prime menstruation years can come with some pretty gross mishaps. Coumadin is a very unstable drug and it can make your blood way too thin before you can say bloody Mary. This has happened to me on a few occasions, the most embarrassing of which involved my period.
One evening, I was walking through Wal-Mart and I felt the floodgates open; I suddenly had blood all the way down to my socks. Luckily, I was wearing dark colored jeans so I managed to avoid looking like a horror movie victim. I rushed home and changed my clothes. Fast forward eight days. There was no end in sight…I just couldn’t get it to stop. I was starting to black out a little when I stood up, so I picked up the phone and called my husband, who is a paramedic.
“Call the paramedics!”, he half yelled.
“You ARE the paramedics”, I whined. I was too embarrassed to call.
“You know I don’t work in that coverage area. HANG UP AND DIAL 911!”
So, I swallowed my pride and dialed the numbers.
Emergency Operator: “911, what are you reporting?”
Me: “Um. My period won’t stop.”
EO: “I’m sorry?”
Me: “Me too. But I’m bleeding all over the place. I take blood thinners and my period won’t stop. “
EO: “I’ll send a squad. Lay down on the floor and put your feet on a pillow.”
Me: “But…my carpet is light beige.”
EO: (laughter in the background) “Don’t worry about that right now, dear.”
While I waited, praying that the medics would be females, I put a towel on the floor before I lay down. I felt like I knew someone was coming to visit me and I had just shit my pants and there was nothing I could do about it.
Thankfully, the paramedics were female and very sympathetic. But as she was sticking me with an IV, one of the medics snickered and said “You’re going to be having your period for another 20 years, honey, so I suggest you invest in some darker carpet.”