Sunday serialisation – A Bump in the Knight, 9.2

In Knight & Deigh, confirmed bachelor and businessman Hannice Knight suffered a back injury that left him without the use of his legs. Sophie Deigh, physiotherapist and recent widow, devoted herself to supporting him.

On his father’s death, Hannice inherited a global business and great wealth. Then, together with Sophie, he embarked on a series of activities designed to give him some of the excitement and the freedoms that he felt he had missed out on, by being tied to his father’s business for two decades.

As Hannice’s body recovered, he became ever closer to Sophie, and found himself drifting into a relationship with her that neither had anticipated or intended, and for which neither was fully prepared.

This book follows Hannice’s new adventures as he tries to juggle business, hedonism, marriage and ultimately parenthood.

But all doesn’t go quite as he had planned…

A bump in the Knight is now being published here as a serial; one part each Sunday.

A Bump in the Knight. Chapter nine, part two

Preparing for breakfast the next morning, Sophie was her normal self.

“Sorry I was a bitch last night,” she said. Fortunately, David hadn’t come into the kitchen; he was seated at the table, waiting for his breakfast to be brought to him.

“Don’t worry,” I said, “I probably deserved it.”

“That’s just it. You didn’t. I don’t know why I was in such a foul mood. I think if you’d brought me chocolates and roses I would have had a go at you for wasting money or buying the wrong colour roses or the wrong type of chocolates, or something. I think I’ll talk to Dr Lockhart when I go in this morning; see if he has any ideas. We can’t go on like this.”

“I can come with you if you’d like me to.”

“Okay.” She turned to the door, “Breakfast coming, David.”

David responded from the dining room, “Oh, goody!”

We took David to school together, which he loved, then went in to see Dr Lockhart. He examined Sophie and asked us both a lot of questions, and I mean a lot. Finally, he sat back in his chair, steepled then loosely interlaced his fingers and rested his hands on his rather generous midsection.

“I think, Sophie, in fact I’m fairly confident, that you are suffering from one of the more unpleasant symptoms of the perimenopause.”

“Perimenopause?” Sophie asked, “I’m not menopausal. I’m still having my monthlies.”

“The perimenopause is the time leading up to your last menstruation,” he explained, “It’s the time when the less-than-pleasant effects can come to the fore. And one of these is mood swings, sometimes extreme.”

“But does that mean I’m entering the menopause? I’m not even forty yet, and I was hoping we could have another child.”

“According to recent studies, perimenopause can start up to ten years before periods stop. Not does, can. Every woman is different and although there are many patterns that can be seen, the way your body reacts to the hormonal changes that are going on is uniquely yours.”

“So why mood changes, Doc, and is there anything I can do to help?”

“The why is easy,” he replied, “Let me read to you what it says in the textbook, ‘Among menopausal women, the primary cause of mood swings is a hormonal imbalance. Oestrogen and progesterone are important in the production of serotonin, which helps regulate mood. During menopause, imbalanced levels of oestrogen and progesterone cause serotonin levels to fluctuate, which can cause sudden and drastic mood changes’. There is a certain amount that you can do to help yourself, Sophie, and before you go home today, I’ll let you have a few pamphlets and a list of websites that you can look at. Mostly, it’s about diet, exercise and stress-removal. I’m assuming you’re not looking for hormone replacement or anti-depressants at this stage.”

“Certainly not yet, Doctor. Are you sure about this? Have I really started the menopause?”

“It is not terribly unusual for symptoms to start in your thirties, although they are typically quite mild. The drop in hormone levels tends to accelerate during the last year or two before your ovaries actually stop releasing eggs, and once you’ve gone twelve full months without ovulating, you can say you’ve been through the menopause.”

“And then all this will stop?”

“I wish I could say that for sure. By that time, your body will be accustomed to its new hormone levels and most symptoms should cease. However, this depends on the individual. Some women have reported experiencing hot flushes into their 70s.”

“But not mood swings.”

“I would hope not. But read the material I’ll give you later, and think about relaxation exercises like yoga, meditation, mindfulness and so on.”

Did we feel better after that? I suppose the most honest answer would be the politicians’ one – yes and no, with reservations on both.