I love it when someone gives me permission to write about them. Especially when I don't have to ask. Just last week I got a text from my coworker Mandi.
"Come to my office NOW. I have something for you to blog about."
Half an hour before this she'd been on an epic tampon-hunt that took both of us to the bottoms of our purses and the backs of our glove boxes. The lack of tampon is a huge problem where I work, because only three of us are still menstruating.
I walked over to investigate her noteworthy incident, expecting to find her half covered in blood and/or fashioning a tampon out of tissue paper and an empty tube of Chapstick. On the way there, I passed Ruth, an intimidating woman whom our senile housekeeper refers to as "Salt and Pepper Lady."
Mandi shut the door as soon as I got to her office.
"I asked Ruth if she knew anyone who had a tampon, since she's our Shero."
I waited in anticipation as she told me how Ruth kept an old stash of tampons in the back of her closet.
"So she brings me this little rusty metal box that squeaks and sends up a puff of dust when she opened it."
She paused for effect.
"And then she dumped this into my hands."
It was three small OB tampons without applicators.
"Have you ever seen anything like this?" Mandi demanded. "I'm bleeding like a stuck pig. It's World War 3 in my uterus -- a Q-tip isn't going to help."
I wasn't nearly as shocked -- I'd encountered these midget tampons whilst traveling in exotic faraway lands. Before leaving for China, I'd been advised to pack a nine-month supply because tampons are hard to come by. The idea of paying $50 to check a second suitcase full of feminine hygiene products didn't really appeal to me, which left me with two options--take these shrunken Willy Wonka style tampons or try something much more daring: The Diva Cup
If you've never had the fortune to use or read about a diva cup, it's a little rubbery plastic funnel shaped thing you fold up and stow away in your hoo-ha. It's described using words like "vacuum seal" and "environmentally sustainable." I figured that if I was booking a one-way flight to go backpack alone in the wilds of SE Asia I may as well add to the adventure by putting strange objects up inside my vagina.
Not to get too graphic, but getting it up in there isn't the hard part. You merely fold the thick rubber in half, relax thyself, and insert. You then turn it a full measure clockwise to "seal it," after which you're good to go for several hours. Those hours are then spent panicking about whether or not you will ever be able to extract it back out of your body or if it'll end up wedged between your lower ribs.
At the end of my first diva cup session, I pulled out the instructions and prepared to go cave diving in my cervix. According to the cutely designed package insert, I should have been able to just reach up inside and pull that thing out like I was one of the Von Trappe family singers picking apples by the roadside.
But no. I couldn't find it. My diva cup had gone rogue.
This was one of the brief moments in my China life where I had access to the internet, so I began frantically googling whilst doubled over in the bathroom.
Apparently 173,000 people have had this same issue, which meant I had a lot of advice to go on:
Use your pelvic muscles to expel the diva cup, as though you're giving birth.
I'VE NEVER GIVEN BIRTH. ISN'T THE WHOLE POINT OF MENSTRUATING LIKE A REMINDER THAT YOU'RE NOT HAVING TO GIVE BIRTH?!
I can see how this would theoretically make sense-- being alone in a foreign country might normally make me sexually attracted to a piece of rubber, but the fact I didn't know anyone who spoke English and had no idea how to get to a hospital was a total mood killer.
Immerse yourself in a warm bath
This would have been an option if it weren't for the fact that my hot water had stopped working, so the only way I could take a hot bath was by boiling 5 quarts of water at a time. By the time I could've carried enough water to "immerse" myself, the Diva Cup would have gotten so settled in my abdominal cavity that it would be rearranging the furniture and comparing paint swatches.
Eventually, after watching my life flash before my eyes (and seeing way too many stupid choices) I did manage to give birth to the thing. But not before I'd invented a new type of yoga that involved things you have to be 18 or older to look at on the Internet.