Life

When Menses Give You The Middle Finger

For as long as I can remember, each time I have tried to donate blood, I couldn’t because I didn’t have enough blood. One time in a girls-alone session, one of our highschool teachers told us that a lady loses about two to three tablespoons of blood during her period. How is that possible? Some months it feels like I am losing a jug of blood.

The signs and symptoms to my menses vary from month to month: feelings of laziness, eating a lot, lack of appetite, bad mood, irritability, a flood of pimples, stomach aches and rumblings, feeling cold, talkativeness, deeply emotional, frank, rude, brutally honest, very picky, sneezing, freezing fingers, perfectionism, clean freak, overly happy and optimistic…But my favorite has always been the fact that I seemingly have no off button. I can do every chore and task that I have been pushing for the entire month.

At campus, my eating disorders went out of hand. I would go from over-eating to starving myself-(but that’s a detailed story for another time). I was not cooking, for fear of gaining weight. For two years, I mostly survived on busheera, tea and bread. I lost so much weight that people assumed that I was seven years younger than my actual age. I didn’t start cooking at campus until mid 2020, as I neared my graduation that happened a year later.

I have always known my menses to give me the middle finger once in awhile; one such time was in December, 2019. It was during the examinations’ period. I took a week off work to focus on my final papers that academic year. At work I would eat, but now that I was at my place, my diet was affected. On top of not eating proper meals, I was drinking whole chopped lemons in hot water, even when I knew that my body did not work with acids and spices. Even my drinking water had lemons. This made my menses worse.

As a result, I had excruciating stomach pains. I remember texting my boyfriend at the time and telling him that I finally understood why girls get the extra 1.5 points when getting admitted at campus. The period pains were unbearable. It felt like the end of the world. Then there was the stress and pressure from the exams.

The day I had my last paper, I sat cross legged for nearly three hours. After the paper, my right leg was paralyzed. I knew it was because of the poor blood circulation. I believed it would pass. But it did not.

After exams, I returned to work the following week. I was still limping. When people asked why, I told them it was because I had lost so much blood. My menses were heavy that month. Now I know it was a bad idea saying that to anyone. People imagined the worst.

The pain from the paralysis got worse. Simple tasks like bending became difficult. Crossing the road became so hard and I nearly got ran over several times because I couldn’t move quickly. Sometimes half my body was paralyzed. My hand was too weak to even hold a broom and sweep. Even after my period, I saw no improvement. It was at this point that I purposed to seek medical attention.

I went to the clinic at home for medication. I explained to the doctor what was wrong and she listened. When I was finished, she looked me in the eyes and asked if I was involved in any sexual activity. I was bewildered, to say the least. But it was her job to ask questions. I replied that I wasn’t. And as God is my witness, that was the genuine truth.

Besides, home is the last place I would go if I was sexually active. I would have gone to any clinic in town for treatment if I had something to hide. No girl that is sleeping around would go home when she was having such complications.

The doctor ran some tests and prescribed some medicine. The entire weekend I was home from Friday to Sunday, I could tell from people’s glances that they were drawing conclusions. My conscience was clear, so I let it pass. I was happy to be home for the first time in a long time and I was not going to let anyone ruin that for me. Of course it hurt that people would think such about me, but we can’t control what people think about us.

That Sunday as I went in for service, the Pastor and all the adults I passed by stared at me. Surprisingly, the many children that ran up to say hi did not seem to notice my limp -or they did not care.

After church that day, I limped home. As I neared home, I passed a house where some youths gathered in one of the windows, just to look. I recognized all of them so I said hello. As we exchanged greetings, I heard a comment from behind me, “Bakuyiyemu.” I turned to see a guy and his two friends walk past me. I knew that voice. I had studied with this guy for many years -many of which he was crushing on me. I stopped and stared as they walked past. He was embarrassed and couldn’t meet my gaze. Almost as if the comment was not meant for my ears.

The direct translation would be, ‘they poured in you’. Ouuch! That comment stung and my face showed it. I didn’t expect that to come from him.

My mom never questioned me. Not even once did she doubt my virtue. When I told her I was sick, she just did what all mothers do best. She took care of me. Eggs, greens, fruits, vegetables, milk. The entire time I was home, mom prepared and served me balanced diet meals. I suppose it was because of her reaction that I did not care what everyone else thought. Those that mattered were not suspicious in the least. Early Monday morning, I travelled back to town.

During that same week as I was recovering from the paralysis, my boda crushed into another motorcycle on my way to work. The accident was not so bad but the limp got worse. The only advantage was that I now had wounds on my legs to account for the limp. Anyone that asked about the limp from thence on, I told them that I was involved in a motorbike accident.

The slap in the face for me was when I texted my boyfriend at the time about the whole paralysis saga and he replied, “How many times have you had sex?”

It is inexplicable how I felt when I read that text. What an insult! The only thing I can liken it to, is that time when a woman gets pregnant and tells her man, the only one she was sleeping with by the way, and he asks her, ‘Whose is it?’

Here I was, fighting so hard to abstain and keep sexually pure, and the only person I knew would back me up asks me, “How many times have you had sex?”

I just wanted to block him forever, but at that point, I just texted him back, “How many times have you had sex with me?” I mean, if none then shut up!

That whole incident alone taught me about Christians and people in general. People will always judge even without facts. Two, if your conscience is clear, you can survive anything. Three, at the end of the day, only the opinion of those who matter matters; ignore the noise from everyone else. To this day, I still don’t understand the connection between paralysis and sex.

The End.

6 Comments

  1. Esther Byoona

    August 13, 2022 at 9:59 am

    Beautiful Beautiful story ❤

    1. Echoes Over Coffee

      August 13, 2022 at 10:27 am

      Thanks Esther.

  2. Ayebare Patience Joy

    August 13, 2022 at 10:30 am

    How on earth is paralysis and sex connected!
    Humans!

    1. Echoes Over Coffee

      August 13, 2022 at 10:39 am

      That’s people for you.

  3. Tukamushaba Godfrey

    August 28, 2022 at 11:22 am

    Those are powerful life lessons in the last paragraph.

    1. Echoes Over Coffee

      August 28, 2022 at 3:58 pm

      Yes. Once you realize who people are; both the good and bad, it helps you to enjoy life more.

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