Radio review: What not to say to menopausal women

Nuala McCann

Five things not to say to menopausal women: Afternoon Edition 5 Live

Paul's cancer diary 5 Live

I've a friend who swears that the menopause played a leading role in the break-up of her marriage.

She could have taken a knife to anyone in the hell of it.

5 Live takes a bunch of women who confess all about “the change”. Once it was discussed in hushed whispers ... now there are no taboos.

Afternoon Edition featured a laid back, sharp but funny conversation between a group of women of a certain age.

“I've used it as an excuse,” confessed one in a whisper.

What are the five things you should never, ever say to a menopausal woman?

One of them is : “Are you having a hot flush?”

One of the women said she had chronic fatigue and depression, the whole heap.

“I told everyone I had glandular fever, they left me alone and I just spent weeks and months in bed,” she said.

Then there's the teenage daughter's response: “You're STILL going through it!” cue exaggerated rolling of eyes.

Of course, everyone has a solution.

“Have you tried black cohosh/ the Mediterranean diet/ veganism/ cutting out wine/ not eating chocolate...” ah the hell of it.

And finally, mothers find themselves as “biters bit” ... at the other end of that oft repeated sentence that teenagers abhor: “It's just a phase.”

Paul Meisak (58) lives with his wife Bridget outside Glasgow.

He is producing a cancer diary for 5 Live, but it's not doom and gloom.

He's celebrating life.

Telling your friends you have terminal cancer certainly separates the optimists from the pessimists.

“I now have a friend called the undertaker ... all he ever asks me is ‘how long have you got?'” he jokes.

There have been so many cancer diaries down the years.

Paul takes the practical, no nonsense approach. He has a quirky sense of humour but the full-on reality of his prognosis hits you hard.

In a matter-of-fact way, Paul tells us: “You'll be with me as I select my hospice, talk to my oncologist, speak with the Macmillan nurses, organise my funeral, you'll be by my shoulder as I chat with Bridget on our day to day cancer journey.”

It's sobering and a privilege ... he's a pathfinder for his audience.

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