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Sunday, October 4, 2015

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An app for hormones

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After 15 years of trying to understand me, my husband has downloaded an app on his i-Pad that he thinks will help him do the trick. The app is a calendar designed specifically around my monthly cycle, informing him, at the touch of the pad, when I’m ovulating, when I’m pre-menstrual and when my period will start and finish.

 With glee, he can now anticipate when a previously inexplicable mood swing is purely hormonal and when it may have more rational origins. Before the app, this was a source of much confusion.

“I think your friend is coming soon,” he would say in the heat of an argument, using the term ‘friend’ euphemistically to refer to my period. “Or perhaps she’s already arrived?”

Mention of my cycle would be an almost certain guarantee to send whatever remaining composure I possessed at that moment flying straight out the window. A fury would streak through me. How typical that he would attribute my frustration or anger to my hormones! How dare he try to reduce this particular issue to that? The invective would fly, body temperatures would rise and the result would be a day of tension, hurt feelings and misunderstanding, fights sparked and reignited like wildfire.

Frankly, sometimes he was spot on. On more than one occasion, the onset of my period was truly imminent. Its pending arrival would cause a rash of frustration, sorrow, anger and impatience that would come from nowhere, spilling all over the house like a toxic cloud.

In the thick of that cloud, I had no perspective on what brought it on, what fed its onslaught and how to see beyond its smoky darkness. All I could feel was the fury, and it exploded around me as I vented pent-up grievances and other small molehills that suddenly assumed mountainous proportions. “Kids, you might want to stay away from mom today,” my husband would caution.

The new app gives him the power of prediction, the luxury of reading my hormonal signals with more accuracy. Turning on the i-Pad, he can now say gently and with greater certainty, “Let’s discuss this issue in a week or so, honey,” when I divulge a problem on my mind. Often they’re small things. The toilet paper roll that he seems incapable, ever, of replacing. Messy clothes on the floor, or his tendency to threaten the kids with punishment but seldom mete it out, even when it’s long overdue.

My husband is a mensch. But at a certain time of the month, those little details start to drive me wild.

You’d think after a quarter century of experiencing the monthly cycle, I might have more insight into how it affects me. But no – each month I’m blindsided with emotion, a gushing stream of frustrated grievances that flows rapidly before ebbing and disappearing into the sigh of oblivion for another 28 days. My husband sighs with relief when he senses the ambush is over.

Now, thanks to the app, he doesn’t have to rely on a sixth sense anymore. The calendar lays it all out in careful detail, available at the touch of a fingertip.

I’m not a big fan of technology, but I admit this app is cool, even though it’s way off track this month and monitoring my body with alarming ineptitude. Still, it speaks volumes about how much he loves me, how much he fears ‘that time of the month’ and how willing he is to try to understand me better, even after all this time.

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