Patching Things Up

Have you ever used a transdermal patch?  It’s like a George Foreman grill for the body: Set it and forget it!  When you slap on one of those babies, you can passively self-medicate for hours or even days without a second thought.

If you’re not familiar with them, here’s how they work…gluey plastic patches, laced with substances (medications, hormones, vitamins, etc.) slowly release their contents through the skin and into the bloodstream.  You can patch it and forget it.

I have had two experiences with transdermal patches.  The first was 10 years ago; I bought nicotine patches to help me quit smoking.  The warning label was very specific about two things.  First, users are strongly cautioned against smoking while wearing the patch.  Second, users’ sleep might be “disrupted” by wearing the patch to bed.  However, this could be avoided by removing the patch at night and reapplying it in the morning.  Hmm, I wondered.  What’s that all about?

NIGHTMARES!  That’s what.  The first night, I dreamt that I was on a chain gang working the coal mines.  There I was, shuffling along, covered in soot, chipping away in the gloomy, soul-sucking blackness.  But that wasn’t the scary part.  In the dream, the light from my miner’s cap revealed that I was smoking!  The directions clearly stated that you must not smoke while wearing the patch.  As an obsessive rule follower, this transgression made me more upset than being forced to labor in a dark and toxic mine shaft, shackled to the dregs of society.

Never one to give up easily, and not wanting to take my patch off (lest it not work as well), I wore it to bed on the second night.  Also, I am stubborn and sometimes not too bright.  This time, my dream turned me into a remorseless monster.  I stood over the dead body of a complete stranger, a smoking gun in my hand. “Dream me” didn’t feel one bit sorry that I’d taken a human life.  But I was all in a tizzy over flouting the rules again; a cigarette dangled from my gun-moll lips.  I awoke in a panic.  What a relief to discover that I hadn’t actually smoked.  Oh yeah, I was also glad I hadn’t actually killed anybody.

For the record, the patch worked for me, and I successfully kicked the habit.

My second encounter with patches is much more personal, but I will share it, because we are friends…

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As we all know, there comes a time in a woman’s life when things begin to change.  The medical community calls this menopause.  Women have other names for it: mean-o-pause (because the mood swings are swift and legendary), men-on-pause (because the only thing less interesting than sex would be sitting through a Steven Seagal film retrospective), mental-pause (because you find yourself staring into an open refrigerator until you remember you’re looking for paper towels).  Me?  I called it total and utter living hell (no explanation necessary).

I was still in my 30’s when the process began, so none of my friends could relate.  Some actually thought it was funny, while others suggested I was exaggerating my symptoms.  Well, now they are all relating (not so funny anymore, is it ladies?).  The hormone replacement patch was the best thing I did for myself (way better than cranking up the air conditioning in December or storing my jewelry in the freezer until it was time to wear it).  Those little sticky squares saved me from going off the deep end.  By the time I stopped using them, the worst was over.  The patch had gotten me through the hardest part.

That made me think, what if there were patches for getting over other hard parts of life?  Break ups.  The first year of marriage.  Your children’s teenage years.

Those patches don’t exist, but there’s always duct tape.

So, when someone breaks your heart, you can maintain a healthy weight (by taping your refrigerator shut to prevent eating raw cookie dough in your pajamas at noon).  Or use it to maintain positive self-esteem (by covering the buttons on your smartphone.  You won’t be able to obsessively stalk your ex on Facebook or drunk dial).   When your teens turn on the sassy backtalk or complain about nothing to eat in the house, you can patch out (by placing tape over your ears).  And that first year of marriage?  What can stop you from saying things you don’t mean, while your buttons are being pushed or your last nerve is being pinched?  Yup…duct tape.  And you know where to put it.

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7 comments

  1. Loved it. I too was in my thirties when I started my menopausal Journey. I couldn’t even get my doctors to believe me and they refused to take tests. Only when they were sure I was close to certifiable insane did they start to take action. Wish I’d heard of the patch!

  2. Hilarious as always Anita! Can’t say I’ve any experience with patches of any kind but def with duck tape! That is one multipurpose item! Love it! BTW – I am flashing away as we speak – a patch may be in my not-to-distant future! Jacqui

  3. Donna Bernstein

    As usual I love your blog. Since you have shared something personal I will too. I duct tape my toes going on down hill hikes ( large mountains only) to prevent my toenails from coming off.
    I never knew that Duct Tape has so much diversity .
    Lots of Love,
    Hiker Mama ( I am not leaving my name as I want people to think I am a Lady!)

  4. Anita, as always….”PEE IN MY PANTS” funny! As I was reading, I thought of some great duct tape uses in my house in lncluding taping mouths shut or the door shut (from the inside) to prevent those from entering when I want PRIVACY! Keep them coming (so I can duct tape the bathroom and read this in privacy while peeing where I should).

  5. Lisa Sirabella

    Absolutely hysterical!! I loved reading this as I sit here having a hot flash with the air blasting. I kept John up all night throwing the covers off and on every 10 minutes. I was in church today asking Alex if she was hot (she just looked at me strange and said, what?!?!?, no I am not hot). I did quit smoking but I went cold turkey (not bragging) and it was the most difficult thing I ever did in my life, I was sick for days. Love the useful suggestions for duct tape. May use a few! Thanks for keeping us laughing!!

  6. Claire Leone-Skody

    Once again….HYSTERICAL!! The thought of you working in the coal mines is funny enough (as I know how festidiuos you are about being clean & neat), but a chain gang? Thank goodness I didn’t have coffee in my mouth!!
    When my dad got sick (about a year and a half ago) & was hospitalized, of course he couldn’t smoke. The man had smoked for approximately 71 years! The doctor immediately put in a script for THE PATCH. My father was NOT happy! He thought they would fix him up & he would go home & continue smoking. Oh he came home, and I went out and purchased the patches myself. I then quickly threatened him with an all-out tizzy (from me) if he even thought about not using them or smoking while using them (which he done another time). Dad ended up being diagnosed with Lung Cancer & had surgery. I am happy to say, he has not smoked since!

    As far as Duct Tape goes….IT’S JUST NOT FOR BOXES!!

    • Claire, thank you for taking the time to write. I love knowing that people are actually reading SNORK. More importantly, however, I want to say I’m glad your father is doing well and that the nicotine patches helped him, too! It’s a really hard habit to kick. I tried everything (including hypnosis – now there’s a blog post, let me tell you!), but it was the patch that actually got me through.

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