How I battled menstrual cramps twice during strenuous gridlock – Marketer - NATIONAL TRUMPET


Saturday, January 2, 2021

How I battled menstrual cramps twice during strenuous gridlock – Marketer

Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital, offers opportunity for everyone, regardless of age or sex, to earn a decent living. So Nkechi Igwe, like many others, left her hometown in Ebonyi State to seek a better life in the state of aquatic splendour.

Life was good for the two years she spent in Lagos, especially for a fairly rewarding job she got in a company in Ikeja, the state capital.

But since the enforcement of the ban on motorcycles and tricycles in some parts of the state, life has become hellish for the 29-year-old. Apart from the enormous difficulty in moving from one part of the state to another, she is now getting used to waiting for long hours to get a bus to her house in Ajah, where she lives with a distant relative.

Apart from bus scarcity on the roads, the awful traffic that motorists face in the metropolis is equally energy-sapping.

Speaking with our correspondent, she said, “One of the most discomforting incidents since I arrived in Lagos was the wave of traffic across the city, whether on way to work or while returning home. The ban on commercial motorcycles and tricycles in some parts of the state has worsened the situation.’’

Igwe stated that the discomfort she experienced on Friday, February 14, 2020, was the worst, adding that she barely remembered it was Valentine’s Day, especially as she was having her menstrual cycle.

She said, “I boarded one of the green and white buses from CMS to Ajah on my way back home after a stressful day at work. It was an 18-seater bus that was jam-packed with passengers, mostly traders who seemed to have spent the whole day in the popular Balogun market under the scorching sun.”

From the loud noise from the bus conductor to the offensive smell from the heat-soaked passengers on her left and right sides, Igwe said she wondered if any journey could be more traumatic.

She said, “Unfortunately for me, I was stuck between two fat women and a mid-sized man who reluctantly adjusted for me to sit. I even complained to the conductor that I barely sat, but the women adjusted a little and told me to manage since I had a petite body frame.

“By the time the journey started, I thought my worry was over and that the fresh air from the dusty, cracked window would end the discomfort, but the traffic was heavy and we kept moving slowly. As if that wasn’t enough, the driver stopped at almost every bus top to drop and pick passengers. When I couldn’t withstand the pain tearing me apart in my stomach, I knelt down in the bus to ease the stomach pain. With hope that I would be home in one hour, I endured the uncomfortable bus littered with soft drink cans and sausage wrappers.’’

The passenger also narrated how some ticket officers stopped the bus intermittently on the Lekki/Epe expressway.

But amid all these, Igwe stated that she was gripped by menstrual cramps; painful pelvic cramping accompanied by fatigue and bloating.

“Sadly, I spent three hours either standing or kneeling down because I didn’t want to stain the bus seat. Almost 15 minutes before getting to Ajah bus stop, the bus suddenly began to jerk after running out of fuel. Some passengers hissed, others abused the driver and conductor.
“We alighted as the conductor went to a fuel station near Victoria Garden City. After what seemed like eternity, the conductor returned with a 10-litre keg of fuel which could barely get to the bus’ half tank.’’

Igwe, however, noted that the female passengers were sympathetic towards her plight while constantly trying to cheer her up.

She added that many of the passengers proffered diverse solutions to her dilemma, telling her their experiences and how they handled them.

“Finally, we got to Ajah bus stop and I almost fainted out of relief although it was not my last destination. I took a tricycle to my house not minding the amount charged,” she added.

Three months later, Igwe said she had a similar experience during a trip from Calabar, Cross River State to Lagos State.

She stated, “This time, we were stuck in traffic for hours from Sagamu interchange to Ibafo on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway.

“Two trailers collided and caused serious traffic that affected motorists inwards and outwards Lagos. I was so uncomfortable that I had to plead with my male seat partner to move to the first seat to afford me the privacy of changing sanitary wear.
“Since the bus was fully air-conditioned and had window blinds, I was more comfortable to do my ‘business’ without being seen by other passengers or motorists in traffic. Thankfully, a female passenger gave me some pain killers that helped.”

After these incidents, I vowed to be more calculative of my menstrual period to avoid such situations.

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