Sorting through the bathroom cupboard, I found my Mooncup. Suffices to say it was not fit for wear. Memories of why I bought one in the first place flooded into my head like a haemorrhage (forgive the pun) and I thought what a blog entry that would be. So, hang onto your hats and be prepared. By the way if you are like me, you will be wondering what on earth a Mooncup is. I would never have known had a good friend not introduced me to them. Throw away your tampons and sanitary towels and join the revolution! Save money and never worry about Toxic shock syndrome again and when you came as close to it as I did, for that alone you would be grateful. Okay, I exaggerate a bit, well, maybe a lot but hey I was the one who had a tampon surgically removed. Okay, ready, because, I shan’t be telling this story again in a hurry. So let us go back a few years. It is close to Christmas and a good friend has invited me to her works Christmas party. A great opportunity to buy a posh frock, dress up and basically have a good time. Now, if you’re a woman you probably know all about tampons. Easy to insert (apparently) not in the least bit messy (apparently) Gives you amazing freedom to do just about everything (apparently) and they are safe (apparently.) The latter I would question. But hey, it was probably just my luck. So, here I am, all doled up, posh frock, fake diamonds and all, ready for dancing, should anyone be asking. Just a change of tampon and I will be as ready as ready can be. The next eight hours free of worry and full of fun fun fun. Oh, why does life have a habit of backfiring on me? I had ten minutes. Plenty of time for a quick tampon change, you would think. Oh no, not in this case. My first fumble for that little piece of string didn’t cause me too much anxiety. I still had another hour or so to go before it was due to come out. With as much elegance as I could muster under the circumstances I cocked one leg and tried again. Now, there was a feeling of mild anxiety. Good god where was the damn string? I fumbled and probed and felt myself perspire. I stopped to check the time and then flew back for another go. Five minutes later and almost losing my hand up there I sat down panting onto the toilet seat. Now, I was seriously beginning to doubt I had even inserted one. I mean just high can the thing go? And more importantly how the hell did it get that high? One more try. This time I feel the string. God it is so high I almost lose my arm. Okay another exaggeration. I scream as I pinch myself and quickly give up. I am now fighting the clock in more ways than one. My friend expected me ten minutes ago and my tampon (bless its cotton socks) expires in less than an hour. Frantic now, I grab the Tampon box and yank the Toxic Shock Syndrome advice sheet and slump onto the bathroom floor with it.
* Remember to wash your hands before and after inserting and removing the tampon.
(Well, obviously, I know that!)
* You should change your tampon every 4 to 8 hours
(Oh good lord, it is close to the 8 hours now.)
* Be sure to use the lowest absorbency tampon for your flow.
(A quick check of the tampon box confirms my fear. Yes it is super strength.)
* Always remove your used tampon before inserting a new one.
(I’m bloody trying aren’t I?)
* Be sure to remove your last tampon at the end of your period.
(I’m having trouble removing one In the middle of my period, let alone the end.)
* If you wish to use this product overnight, you may do so, provided that you insert a fresh tampon before retiring and remove it immediately upon waking.You should never wear a tampon for more than 8 hours to reduce the risk of TSS during your menstruation.
I pulled myself up from the floor, grabbed my car keys and drove like a maniac to my friends. She rushed out smiling on hearing my car screech to a halt. I never hated her more in that moment. Dressed to the nines and tampon free, I mean, I just couldn’t help myself. I was so sore in the nether regions from so much poking about that anyone without a period was a target for my hate.
‘We have to go to A&E.’ I announced.
It suffices to say I was not popular. All credit to her, she did agree to come with me. Of course the only thing that propelled me to A&E was fear and that quickly trebled to absolute terror on seeing the board as we entered.
‘Patient waiting time is an estimated 8 hours. Please report to the triage nurse.’
Eight hours! I didn’t have eight hours to spare. I would be dead before they even got near my vagina. This was turning into a nightmare. My friend pushed me into the queue and found herself a seat. Constantly checking my watch, I edged closer and closer to the desk, very aware of the man with the bleeding arm behind me. Not because of his bleeding arm, you understand but because he would overhear everything I relayed to the triage nurse. I was embarrassed enough.
Finally she calls me over and just my luck she has one of those voices that closely resemble a fog horn. I want to die. In fact I am thinking dying is preferable to the embarrassment.
‘I have a tampon stuck. I have tried everything…’
‘How long has the tampon been in there,’ she interrupts and I feel sure the whole of A&E stops. A bit like one of those John Wayne moments when the stranger walks into the saloon.
‘Almost eight hours,’ I quiver.
‘You’re certain you have one in there?’ She says dismissively looking behind me. Ooh, excuse me is there a better class of patient waiting?
‘Well, yes,’ I say feebly. ‘I can feel the string.’
Did the man behind me tut?
‘Is it a regular one?’
‘Super,’ I say blushing and she raises her eyebrows. Is this bad?
‘Have you had intercourse?’
Good lord is that relevant?
‘Well, when do you mean exactly?’ I ask stupidly.
She shakes her head.
‘Today, have you had intercourse today with the tampon in?’
Does she think I am totally stupid? The look on her face tells me she obviously does.
‘Of course not,’ I reply defensively.
‘Take a seat.’
I question whether I really ought to be seen urgently but it seems to be met by a sneer.
And so we wait and we wait and my friend gets more and more anxious and I get more and more convinced that the symptoms of Toxic shock are beginning to show. At 10.30pm I am called in. I have been there 4 hours and the tampon has now been in for 12 hours. My days are numbered. My friend assures me it is fine and that the symptoms of Toxic shock are not that bad. She obviously has not read the same horror stories I have. I leave her wallowing in her ignorance. I then spend what seems like agonising hours being poked by a very handsome doctor and trust me it was not as nice as it sounds.
‘Are you certain you have a tampon in here,’ he calls from somewhere within my nether regions.’I can’t even see it. How did you get it so high?’
Well, if I knew that…’
‘Shall I have a go,’ offers a nurse.
Why not. Anyone else want to get in the queue? Trust me if you want to hang onto your dignity, don’t lose a tampon up your… well anyway. So, the nurse has a go and the doctor tries again. Forceps are requested and general surgery is discussed. Then the words I had been dreading.
‘We have to get that out. If it is in there much longer we will face a serious threat of toxic shock. Prepare for surgery.’
My heart sinks and I think it is time to call my husband. Forceps are pushed in and the nurse screams.
‘I see it,’
I almost cry. I have been vindicated.
‘Can you grab it,’ asks the doctor urgently.
More probing, more pinching, more biting of my lip and she calls out triumphantly that she has it.
‘Push,’ orders the Doctor.
This is probably the closest I will ever come to giving birth so I make the most of it. I push, she pulls and this lasts for all of a few seconds and then she is holding it up for all to see. Suffices to say they did not wrap it into a blanket and hand it to me while tears were shed all round.
Walking rather like John Wayne I approached my friend and with great difficulty drove us both home. After that little story do you blame me for resorting to the Moon cup? Talking of which I am heading over to Amazon to order a new one as we speak