I'm guessing that the male readers, although tempted to keep reading, are ever so close to hitting the delete button right now. But persevere my fellow colleagues, you may get the answers you've been looking for all of your life! Besides, no one's watching!
Every 28 days or so, women go through a transformation. Sometimes it's good, sometimes not so good; every woman is different. This transformation lasts anywhere from 5-8 days; some, unfortunately suffer for longer, but its safe to say 5-8 days is the cycle. But then we throw in issues of pre-menstruation and post-menstruation. These can last a few days on either end. Some women get one and some get both. It's just an extension of the horrible feelings we get during the actual menstruation. So, worst case scenario, you're looking at the "menstruation infliction" possibly lasting half of a given month, which is half of your shifts when you work with her.
Let's take a look at some of the feelings, physical and otherwise, that are going on during this one- to two-week period (no pun intended). Perhaps you can relate to them.
Think of it like this: you've drunk six beers and eaten a plate of nachos and an order of potato skins, both fully loaded. Now stay that way for a week. Better yet, go put on your uniform and gun belt and be expected to jump out of your car, over that fence, and run after the bad guy at any moment. To say the least, you won't be at your best.
I'm not irritable--did you call me irritable? Maybe its YOU! Did you ever think of that? Sound familiar? Okay, pretend you haven't slept in two days, and you are working night shift. Things that used to be water off a duck's back are no longer. Everything bothers you. You are likely going to want to use the "B" word when referring to us, but don't, rest assured we will return as normal when this is done. Just keep us away from the victims, suspects, complaints and accused, and we should get out of this without an internal investigation.
Chocolate, where's my freaking chocolate? Enough said. Don't eat my chocolate, but if you bring chocolate, that's a good thing. That will buy you some time.
So we get a little emotional. This is not the time to say, "Have you put on a little weight?" Choose your words carefully or somehow, some way, you will regret it. Sometimes our emotions will get away from us. We may shed a tear at a fatal accident when we hadn't ever before; we may show frustration and anger a bit more quickly; but this, too, shall pass. Funny how the happy emotion doesn't get accentuated during this time--just the bad emotions. Oh, well, or c'est la vie, as they say on the other side of this country.
This speaks for itself. They hurt. Don't touch them, and don't even look at them. The only thing that will help is if we suck them up tightly behind a nice snug bulletproof vest. No movement is good. Yet, we are still not on the top of our game. It's like a muscle injury, you know, the one you got after the soccer game. Like that, but different.
This is a sticky subject (ha). But it does have to be said. If I can explain the bleeding to my ten-year-old son, why can't I explain it to you? You've seen them on the commercials and you've probably even been forced to go to the store and buy some. We need to wear these horrible pads and tampons while we are working. The package may say "extra comfortable," but I beg to differ. We may be asking you to stop at the station a few extra times on a shift because we need to change our "things." Now try and run after a suspect with one of these on. They are like a half-full adult diaper. I know the ads say you can go swimming and horseback riding, but I think NOT. We appreciate you making the effort so we can be as comfortable as we possibly can. Some of us may not tell you why we need to go to the bathroom at the station four times in a night shift, but you can make that leap yourself. Don't worry, you'll know.
There are some who complain that female officers take sick time off during their periods, and that they should just suck it up and come to work. For most female officers, this is exactly what they do--they suck it up. Keep in mind, this is not a "I get hay fever every spring" type of an affliction. This happens every single month until you are over fifty. Forty years of this--it's like living with a disease. But some female officers are in constant pain and cannot come to work, or need to take medication to help them overcome the pain so they can come to work. So, cut them a little slack. I ask you this; if you were bleeding for five days in a row, would you be at work? Just asking.