Posted in HEALTH & WELLNESS, Southernisms

Menopause & Marriage

“Can I stop wearing The Patch?” I wondered out loud.

That rhetorical question sent a panicky shiver down my Beloved’s spine.

I’m going through what we Southern women graciously refer to as The Change.  “The Patch”  – an adhesive dose of estrogen – has become a type of pharmaceutical marriage counselor.   It restores peace to our home by lessening mood swings – tears accompanied by sullen quiet followed by a healthy dose of outrage.   Can’t relate?  Before continuing, watch the following video clip from That 70s Show .  It accurately demonstrates the challenges of The Change.  Thanks Retired Army RANGER for posting on YouTube!



My husband loves The Patch.  My first inkling of Billy’s devotion to it came when he was laid off during the “Great Recession.”  We were able to enroll in a discount health care plan. Such plans are like grocery shopping with coupons when you really need food stamps!  With no real health insurance, I offered to sacrifice The Patch.  I could tough it out for a few months.  But Billy could not.

He spoke to the pharmacist.

“Hey.  Will y’all honor this discount card?  Good.  Because WE really need those Patches.  They are for my wife.  WE have got to use them.  Everyday.”  Knowing giggles were heard from behind the counter as Billy unhesitatingly plopped down $40 – double the insurance co-pay – for a month’s supply!

More recently, I had been complaining to Billy that The Patch seemed to no longer work as well. I was wearing the maximum strength and yet menopausal discomfort was returning – headaches, hot flashes, night sweats just for starters!  Why continue to wear the thing if its not working?

So there WE were sitting in the GYN exam room waiting for Cindy (Female Health Nurse Practitioner) and Peaches her assistant.  After a brief exchange of pleasantries, Billy stepped into the adjoining dressing room.  As my annual exam proceeded this is what he heard:

“Any new concerns Miss. Denise?”

“Yeah.  I’m wondering if I should continue wearing The Patch.  Its been several years now and I’m starting to worry that I’ve been wearing it too long.  Besides it doesn’t seem to be working as well.”  I proceeded to go into all the sweaty, details.  Cindy listened patiently as she probed my nether regions, checked breathing, heart rate, etc.  Finally she said.

“Well Denise its certainly up to you to decide.  But you were only peri-menopausal when you started on The Patch.  You’ve recently turned 50.   Welcome to menopause!”  Cindy assured me that my increased discomfort was quite normal.  Still the decision was mine.  Then she left me with Peaches.

“Miss. Denise, how long have you and your husband been married?”

“15 years.”

“Well if you want to be married 15 more years I suggest you keep wearing that Patch!  Menopause will make you so mad at your husband, even his breathing will get on your nerves.  You think you have problems now?  Stop wearing The Patch and see what happens.”

Billy emerged from the dressing room grinning from ear to ear.

“Oh so what did y’all decide about The Patch?”

“I guess I’ll keep wearing it.”

“I think that’s a very  good idea Shuggy.”

What do you do to make life more pleasant for you and your Beloved during The Change?  Helpful comments welcomed!




Hi! I'm Denise Massey - the funny face behind ArtReach at Home. My past: museum curator, art teacher and consultant. Today: a blogger sharing creativity and personal stories about life in the South.