Yesterday I had conversation that led to an interesting thought process. She is someone with whom I have a blow-hot-blow-cold relationship. I do not know why she has taken a liking to me (must have something to do with the fact that I can’t say no) but yes I rarely can refuse her. To make matters worse she is an erstwhile psychologist so more often than not she sees through my excuses.

She is closer to 50 than to 40 and is quite worried about menopause. Her health, not always being stellar, is now experiencing symptoms she can’t fathom. So she did what any journalist(or any half-curious person does)–research. And she said a strange thing.

She came back with more half knowledge than needed and is now wondering what course of action to take. So she asks me–how will I deal with hot flashes and extreme mood swings etc?I, of course, don’t have an idea.. so I tell her from what I have seen–my mother and two of my aunts.

I tell her.. avoid Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) if you can. The side effects are worse than the benefits.  And I know so from seeing my mother’s slightly deformed knees. She recoiled and vehemently told me, “Dont tell me! Just because it happened to your mother does not mean it will happen to everyone.” Of course I knew that and this was only as a warning. But I was rattled! Doesn’t one always base opinions on what is our own experience? Yes you do know its not how it would be for everyone but that does serve  as a base opinion. Is that not the way?

Then she cooled down some and went on to explain how its different for different people and she, as person, would not mind.. an eventual bad health condition, if it mean quality of life did not suffer today. I did not get that. I thought everyone did everything in their power to stretch each day .. each moment to as much as it would give them… stretch life to as long as it can be stretched? Isn’t that why people slowly eat healthy, try living lives better and more fitfully?
I guess not. For her today was more important than worrying about limbs and cancer and hot flashes in the distant future. But I dont get that.. and I was left thinking about do we overgeneralise? Or even if I lose a relative to cancer, I still have to be optimistic.


2 responses »

  1. I suppose when it is a personal issue, it is difficult to be objective about an advice. In any case, one tends to expect people to say what they want to hear so…

    And if you think this is bad, well, talk to a parent about how to raise kids. It’s quite a battle.

    The other day, I was talking to my gym instructor about Mumbai being a safe place or something like that. He asked me how do I explain all the hundreds of molestation cases that get reported. Well, I don’t explain that. I can’t explain that. When I’m asked to answer the question whether Bombay is a safe place to stay or not, I will base it on my opinion alone. But that’s not enough. Sure, it’s never accurate but that’s the way it is. And as for generalization, we all do that and we have to do that. I think there’s something intrinsic about our thought process that makes us generalize. It’s not a bad thing. How much individual, discrete pieces of information can one assimilate and think through before making a statement? (I want to study this phenomenon someday.)

    But curious – is there an alternative to HRT? I’m quite clueless about this.

  2. Haven’t researched this one yet but I do know it is playing with harmones. Someone who reports to me – a young woman of 23 – has spent some very painful 8 weeks because of how the harmones she was given (fertility treatment, what else!) messed up her calcium and body temperature (shivering without fever). Not to mention she gained 20 kilos in 1.5 year. I know for sure that my wife will explore other possibilities. There are any number of support groups on the net.

    But yes, I guess Mukta is right about objectivity vis-a-vis personal issues.

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