If you aren’t experiencing the joys of hot flashes then this blog isn’t going to interest you. It’s like someone trying to explain being pregnant. If you ain’t then there isn’t anyway you can relate. And if you are in perimenopause (or as those of us who have misplaced our minds like to call it-mentalpause) you may not wish to read what you are in for. Live in denial as long as you can. Enjoy your sweat-free living cause honey, once you hit Hot Flash Hell you ain’t gonna have a stain-free shirt to your name. And sweaters? Wear em if ya got em cause just looking at them in a catalog is enough to start a tsunami of sweat just a’rollin down your back.
When I was young and foolish, I remember hearing older women talk about the horrors of hot flashes and sudden mustache growth and I would always think that they would never happen to me. I would read up on it and take it in stride and it would be no big deal. Oh, the innocence of youth. I was in my early fifties and thought that I had escaped Hot Flash Hell when one day I felt this sudden “heat” overtake my head and I could literally feel water squirt out of the pores on my scalp! Within three seconds water was running down the sides of my face….it was like my scalp just peed. The heat was unbelievable. It was unlike anything I had ever experienced. Thankfully it only lasted 20 seconds or so but I knew I had just had an encounter with the demon flash. From then on, I never knew when I would become possessed and would evolve into a human fire hydrant. Clothing with sleeves became my enemy. I was therefore stuck between a rock and a hard spot as my upper arms had taken the shape of wings and I needed sleeves to tuck the excess skin into. It became a battle between vanity and sanity. I now have a whole wardrobe of sleeveless shirts and have perfected life with arms glued to my sides. To make matters even worse, my job takes me into high rise apartments of the elderly where the average temperature year round is 86. And they like to keep their windows shut to keep out the drafts. (At what age do we lose our body heat and have to have the furnace running in the middle of summer?)
I am one of the lucky ones as I don’t have them too many times during the day and the ones at night usually are around my neck and chest. Tho there have been times that I have leapt out of bed sure that this time the dream of having to find a bathroom was all too real only to realize that I had had night sweats. Whew…dodged that Depends bullet for now. I think the only difference between night sweats and hot flashes is the inner heat. With night sweats you might wake up wet but cold. Either way a full night’s sleep without heat and water and arm/hand numbness and snoring so loud you wake yourself up, is just a dream in itself. No wonder the elderly tell you they only sleep a few hours a night….their bodies are too dang active breaking down!!