Tuesday, January 11, 2011

If my uterus had a face, it would be a frowny face.

Warning: I am about to talk about my period. And tampons. And other things used to deal with the flow of menstrual blood. And I possibly might even mention vaginas. And conspiracy theories about tampons and/or vaginas and/or Johnson & Johnson. If you don't want to read about these things, or if reading the phrase "menstrual blood" has alrea
dy made you uncomfortable, you should probably leave now.

So, I have mentioned before that I have horrible, horrible periods (I believe I've described them as "crotch massacres"). My whole reproductive tract is like a carnival freak show. Years of infertility, eight pound, bowling ball sized ovarian cysts, endometriosis all over the place, three incidences of biopsies because they thought I had cancer...It's just a mess up in there.

But really, the worst are my periods. Two days a month I can't even leave the house. I'm not exaggerating, I'm not being melodramatic. The bleeding is so heavy I cannot go anywhere or do anything other than sit as still as possible so as not to bleed all over everything. And then for five to seven days after that, it's still pretty bad, but at least I can function.

So I, and people like me, try to find ways to deal with it. And I had finally found something that worked. About eight years ago, OB started making Ultraplus absorbency tampons. These suckers were the highest absorbency tampon you could buy. They claimed to hold, like, a gallon of blood before they started leaking. And for the most part they did. Between those and enormous, overnight length incontinence pads, I was able to get through the two worst days a month with minimal spillage from my hemorrhaging lady bits.

But then they started to get hard to find. And in November when we were vacationing in Hillbilly Country and my uterus decided to ruin the trip, I searched numerous stores and pharmacies and couldn't find them anywhere. I couldn't find them when we got home, either.

Turns out that they discontinued that absorbency level. Forever. For a while there if you went to OB's website and clicked on the Ultraplus tampons, you got taken to a page that tells you to see a doctor because you probably have cancer and need a hysterectomy. Terrific.

And then last month I couldn't find any OB tampons of any absorbency level. Anywhere. I finally found some Superplus absorbency ones and bought several boxes.

I didn't think anything of it until last night. Tex mentioned on her blog that she couldn't find OB anywhere either, and she's several states away.

And that's when we both did a little Googling and discovered the Johnson & Johnson conspiracy. You see, apparently Johnson & Johnson, the maker of OB Tampons, hates vaginas. Babies? They love them. Vaginas? Not so much. That's the only reason I can come up with to explain the "supply interruption" they are blaming for the shortage. I mean really, they're cotton and string. Are we now out of cotton and string?

I know right about now some of you are wondering why I don't just buy a different brand and quit whining. I'll tell you why, and you'll probably be sorry you asked when I'm done.

The unique thing about OB is that they have no applicator. (If you don't know what a tampon applicator is you are probably either male or too young to be reading my blog). I have tried tampons with applicators and I cannot use them. They don't go where they're supposed to go. They fall out. I'm sure it's just another facet to my reproductive side show, but whatever the reason, I just can't use them.

Anyway, I posted my discovery of The Great OB Tampon Shortage of 2011 on Facebook this morning, which has resulted in an impromptu OB black market covering 2 continents and multiple states. Tex just spent her kids' college funds buying what her Rite-Aid had left in stock. So, if you need OBs, I have connections. Let me know. But it will cost you. (You think I'm kidding, but I'm not. Two boxes of the discontinued Ultraplus variety are going for $100 on Ebay, and that's just the starting bid. And someone will buy them. I watched two boxes go for $142.00 last night. Vaginas are serious business.)

Funnily, just recently I had three different friends e-mail me about Diva Menstrual Cups (as one told me, I'm the only one who talks about periods so maybe I could spread the word). I have avoided them because taking them out seems so...incredibly messy. But maybe Johnson & Johnson's hatred of our bleeding uteri is going to force me to give them a try.

(And for the record it's not just me who is in a panic over the lack of OB tampons. Read this.)

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