Metro-East Living

Menopause isn't for the faint at heart

Michelle Meehan Schrader
Michelle Meehan Schrader

I am strong. I am invincible. I am a middle-aged woman. So stand back or I’ll eat you.

Such was the case a few weeks ago when I lost my hormones at Walmart. Well, not my actual hormones. Those vamoosed a while ago. These were my beloved fake hormones. To be honest, I didn’t know how much they meant to me 'til someone rolled them away in a cart.

“How does one lose her fake hormones?” you ask. Well, if she’s like me, she acquires said hormones at the pharmacy and turns her back on them in the greeting card aisle.

One minute, I’m happily reading Hallmark verses. The next minute, I’m in full hot flash mode.

“Help me!” I shrieked to a sales assistant. “Someone stole my hormones!”

A Millennial, she didn’t grasp the gravity of my words. It would be 25 years before she’d fully understand.

“My prescription pills!” I howled. “They were in my cart and someone took them!”

“Might have been a drug addict,” she mused.

“A drug addict with an estrogen imbalance?”

She cocked her head and crinkled her nose. “Or it might have been someone who just needed a cart.”

Clinging to this hope, I asked the customer service desk to make an announcement.

“You want me to ask for the person who took your hormones to bring them back?” the sales clerk said. “How about if I just say, ‘Will the person who accidentally took the cart with pharmacy bag in it please return it to the service counter?’”

“That would work too,” I said.

So much for Plan A.

Now for Plan B.

“You’re not going to believe this, but I ran around the store, looking in people’s shopping carts,” I told my best friend, Lydia Kachigian, later.

“You’re lucky they didn’t call security,” she said.

“The thing is, one guy actually did have a pharmacy bag in his cart. But he showed me the label: Antibiotics.”

And then there was the Menopausal woman I met in the frozen food aisle. Together, we swapped stories of night sweats and hot flashes. Before parting, we shared a warm hug.

“Does this story sound unbelievable?” I asked Lydia, hoping she would tell me it did.

“Oh, anyone who knows you will believe it, Shelly,” she said. “I think it will strike a chord with middle-aged women everywhere.”

I know it struck a chord with the ladies in Walmart’s Customer Service Department. I stopped by there one last time before leaving the store -- and I was greeted with a hero’s welcome.

“Someone brought back your hormones!” the clerk said. The employees beside her broke into smiles. “We made an announcement on the loud speaker but I guess you didn’t hear it.”

“It’s a miracle!” I said with tears in my eyes.

We bowed our heads and observed a moment of silence.

There is a God and she is good.