June 5, 2013
You have got to be fucking kidding me. I brought enough birth control with me to allow me to take it continuously throughout the summer, which should have enabled me to skip my period for the entire time of my stay in Kyrgyzstan. Knowing that for the bulk of my time here I would be showering once a week or so (at this point I have bathed once in the past ten days), I really didn’t want to have to deal with menstruation and the cleanliness issues associated therewith. This also meant that I could save space when packing by not having to include maxipads or tampons.
But whaddyaknow. This did not work out as planned.
I awoke from my afternoon nap with back pain of the sort that usually accompanies my periods, but I didn’t think anything of it until several hours later when I went to the pit squatter and – surprise! Period! Not even spotting; full on menstruation. (I should also mention: no toilet paper. My host family uses old news papers. And yeah, pit squatter.)
Having already carefully perused the meager stock at the two tiny local shops, I already knew that pads and tampons were not available locally. Now, back in the US I actually use cloth pads, which I’m guessing is what they use here… but unfortunately Rakhat has gone to a nearby village to spend a few days with her mother, so I can’t ask her, and I am certainly not asking her husband! I have folded up one of my very few pairs of underwear and am using it as a cloth pad (it works quite well, actually). Hopefully this will be a short-lived, light-flow period.
* It was neither short-lived nor light-flow. And it lasted through June 16th. For someone whose periods normally last 4-5 days, this was ridiculous. And given where I was and that I had been trying to skip my period entirely, well let’s just say that this was an utter failure. I was able to get to Bishkek on June 14th, where I was able to buy pads and new underwear… just in time for the longest period of my life to end. Ugh. Let’s just say thank the gods I’d packed wet-wipes, as I got to bathe ONCE during this whole catastrophe.