As a nurse, my schedule varies from 8 to 10 hour shifts throughout the day, on call overnight to the dreaded 24 hour weekend blocks.
I started my period when I was nine, long before any of my friends and by the time everyone else started their cycles, I was the go to girl for information on tampons and pads. If someone had a surprise they always knew that I had a stock pile in my locker. I even taught most of my friends how to use tampons. Some girls had no idea about anatomy and so in order to teach them how to use a tampon, we`d look up the menstrual cycle and vaginal health in a book before actually giving the product a try. Thank goodness we had a good library. I guess my training as a nurse started early on in grade school.
The first few years of learning to deal with my period were awful. I was lucky to make it through a two hour class without having to run out. If I was playing sports or running around, I had even less time to get to the loo. I never stayed away from home on my period. It was too risky. The amount of underwear I went through in high middle school was shocking. I ruined everything. I also wouldn’t travel when I was on my period because on a long trip the bathrooms were too far apart. I would stay over at people’s houses, and wake up in a panic with leaking. I wish so much that I had discovered The DivaCup in high school. That would have saved me a lot of embarrassment.
By the time I got to college I had worked out a system. I would go to bed about 11 o’clock or midnight, then set my alarm for 5 or 6 am. That way I would hopefully catch the leaking before it started. Even then there were some pretty embarrassing moments. Especially in college when you have shared bathrooms and you have to walk all the way down the hall as fast as possible without anyone seeing you.
I was introduced to The DivaCup while in nursing school. A friend of a friend was traveling from America, and had been living in South East Asia. She said that she was so confident with The DivaCup that she slept naked. I have never been that confident ever when I’m on my period!
My initial reaction to the idea of a menstrual cup?
Although I was training to be a nurse, I thought it sounded a little weird and gross and didn’t think much of it for a few months. For years I was “dealing” with my cycle with pads and tampons and although a big hassle, they were familiar to me. I was worried about experiencing even more problems and accidents and was not sure I was up for the challenge.
But knowing all I did about The DivaCup and going through another rough month of period care I decided to give it a try. I figured it could not be any worse than what I was already using.
As a student, paying for the cup was a bit of an investment, especially for something I was not sure I would like. Yet, after doing a bit of calculating I realized I would only have to use it for three months and it would not be any different than what I was already paying for period care supplies. So I got one and gave it three months; which is about how long it took me to get used to using it.
It was a little fiddly for a month or so but the fact that I could go places and have a life was so great. Not to mention sleeping without interruption. As a nurse you do not always get to pick and choose when you can sleep. Our schedules change constantly and we need to sleep when we can in order to do our jobs well.
The DivaCup gives me the freedom to get the job done with one less thing to worry about. When I am assisting in a difficult surgery the last thing I need to be thinking about is if I’m going to start leaking. I also do not always get to just run to the loo when nature calls.
I recommend The DivaCup to all women, especially the women who run on someone else’s time. I only have to empty the cup a few times a day and find it very easy to use and comfortable, it makes caring for my period at work (and home or out with friends) simple!
The peace of mind is priceless.
When there is an emergency at the hospital you can easily lose track of time. Hours can pass, but with The DivaCup you do not need to worry about leaks and product changes every 4 to 8 hours. It is so nice because unlike tampons, with The DivaCup I can really focus on what is most important, my patients. I can face the challenges of night shift, being on call and long standing hours in surgery, without worrying about timing my bathroom breaks or running back to my locker for extra product.
I am always recommending (and will continue to recommend) The DivaCup to my colleagues and hope that they too can experience the same freedom I enjoy each month.
Candace Derrick, Nursing Diva
Candace is a registered nurse who grew up in California, USA, and now lives and works on the Gold Coast of Queensland, Australia. She received her Bachelors of Nursing from Avondale College, Australia in 2006 and has been enjoying her work as a surgical (theatre) nurse ever since. She loves living walking distance from some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.