I. Hot flashes and/or night sweats
Luckily, I don't have the hot flashes yet. But I do have the night sweats. (Addendum—since I wrote this a couple of months ago, I've been inundated with hot flashes.) It's wild. I'm going along doing whatever, la la la la la, and then suddenly, I'm on fire. It's like spontaneous combustion with no rhyme or reason to it. I'm not a sweater, but now, several times a day, I'm drenched. I say to Jimmy, "Feel the back of my neck." And he invariably responds, "Honey, I felt it an hour ago." He doesn't seem to be as fascinated with my fluctuating body temperature as I am. The night sweats have increased. I wake up every few hours in a pool of fluid and not the good kind. I'll have the A/C set to Ice Station Zebra and still my body is hot and clammy. Jimmy wanting to touch me in those moments is not a good idea. As a matter of fact, it's an act punishable by death. The last thing you want when your body feels like it's in the middle of Dante's inferno is to be touched. And I think there's an adrenaline rush too, because once you're up, it's impossible to get back to sleep. My heart and head are racing a mile a minute.

2. Trouble sleeping
See number I. I've been awake since November 25, 2006. But I do know how to buy real estate with no money down. So you've got to take the good with the bad. Besides, I get a lot of work done in those wee hours of the morning. Not meaningful work, but I keep busy. My files have never been so organized and my liquor cabinet never so bare.

3. Vaginal dryness
Although I know that male readers are now closing the book and heading to the plasma TV, I must persist and address it. If we have to deal with it, then so do you. This symptom annoys the shit out of me. Who wants a dry, crusty vagina? Not me. As of this writing, mine is still moist and delightful, thank you very much. It's like a vaginal wetlands down there. Jimmy Hoffa may be buried in my vagina, for all I know. To me, KY still means Kentucky. But for how long? Will I wake up one day and have to file a drought report? Is it in my future? I ask my postmenopausal friends and some of them say they have it and others say not. Are they lying? Some tell me that they don't have dryness, but rather a thinning of the vaginal walls. What the f**** is that? It doesn't sound like something I have any interest in. What's behind those walls? And how thin does it get? Can it disappear altogether? Should I call Bob Vila in to build an addition? So many questions and so few answers. I'll have to wait and see. But one thing I know for sure, I'd rather have vaginal dryness than erectile dysfunction. At least with the dryness you can use a lubricant or salve and maybe it gets a little drippy but it's all external and harmless. With erectile dysfunction, however, you have to take a pill that screws with your biology, and there are all sorts of side effects. The four hour erection, for example. The thought of anyone—even Clive Owen, hot as he is—coming after me for four hours is frightening. The thought of Bob Dole, packin' wood, on the prowl...I don't even want to think about it. It's too disturbing. I wouldn't know what the hell to do with it for four hours. Four minutes is about my limit. Besides, I don't even want to do anything that I like for four hours!

4. Mood swings
**** you.
I've had mood swings since I was seven. Nothing new here.
Excerpted from What Would Susie Say? by Susie Essman. Copyright ?? 2009 by Esswoman Productions, Inc. Reprinted by permission of Simon & Schuster, Inc, NY.


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