Are you a sublime hot flusher or in need of refrigeration?

I was watching a TV show with my youngest the other day when I yelled, rather over enthusiastically, “She’s having a hot flush, I swear it!” I think I may have been rather consumed by the camaraderie of it all, to be honest. And I was somewhat in awe. The woman, despite her predicament didn’t have a hair out of place.

My offspring looked at me (I’d like to say in awe also, but the look was more, well, sceptical), “What makes you say that?”
By that time I was already clicking on my phone, scanning through the omniscient Wikipedia for further info. “Yes”, I fist-bumped the air. “She’s 48!” I stated, “Definitely at least perimenopausal!”

“But what makes you think she’s having a hot flush?” My child looked challengingly at me. The way a teenager just needs to.

“Because she left the building to go outside and removed her coat!” I concluded.

The expression on my young one’s face revealed that she still required some convincing. But I know I was right. The history documentary couldn’t have been filmed on a hot day otherwise, why was she wearing a long coat?

I jubilated at my own cleverness for a while and the fact that I AM NOT ALONE. But I can understand my child’s unconvinced stance. The presenter is an absolute consummate professional. Who knows what she did right after they said CUT! Maybe she threw herself into the nearest lake? But for the shot, she managed to keep her composure and simply removed her jacket, which was a signal only to those of us ‘in the know’.

In contrast, my child witnesses scenes like this:

Yesterday I hardly slept. I woke up time and time again, sweating. I thought I had a fever at some point, which made me think I might have Covid. Although I am almost the only person in my suburb still wearing a mask voluntarily and I am avoiding contact with actual people, so I will be able to go on holiday. And my warning app hasn’t turned bright red and sung “You were standing next to an infected person on such and such a date.” Leading to me puzzling away for half a day exactly where I was a week ago.
I tossed and I turned and I took my socks off. I always wear socks. Always. I have bad circulation and they prevent cramps. Well, I don’t wear them in the shower. Or in the pool. Or when I wear those red shoes. I also wear them during sex. Unless it’s a special occasion.

Anyway, the socks came off and I dangled my feet out of my side of the bed. I threw my quilt over my man. Who’s a naked sleeper by the way. I always wonder what will happen if he has to go into hospital as he doesn’t own any pyjamas… Then I clearly remember whining somewhat. My man does as well. He doesn’t get much sleep once I finally climb into bed nowadays. We are travelling through my trauma together.

Morning arrived. Dishevelled, I looked for my socks. Then decided on a fresh pair. I staggered downstairs to the tap and the Covid tests.

And then it started. What I like to call my ‘rolling flushes’.

A brief explanation: a ‘rolling flush’ is when you have one hot flush, which subsides after a few minutes, but you go straight into another one.
After a ‘normal hot flush’ you can take a little time to properly cool down, you may even get to feel cold, as the sweat on your skin chills you. That never happens during a rolling flush, as you never quite make it back to normal temperature before the next wave comes. In my experience this can go on for as long as an hour or more.

I got my little battery operated fan out but it just wasn’t up to the job. I overheated my cooling scarf. I entered a self imposed bra ban – no need at all for extra items of clothing. My son advised me to go out in the cold rain, so I ran out onto the terrace, my half open linen shirt flapping around, but I only contributed to global warming. In a supportive attempt my poor son joined me, battery operated fan in hand. But neither the wind nor the rain nor a well meaning son could help me. I re-entered my hot-house, soggy socked and moaning. And raced to the fridge. I opened both doors (it’s a French double door fridge – the French are wise people) and I shoved my head in there for a bit. To no avail. But while I was there opportunity struck: I spotted a ready chilled bottle and I had the glorious epiphany to hold that to my naked skin. The flavoured water inside even contained some ice crystals. Hooray!!
Suddenly my linen top, hanging by then off shoulder, revealed a kind of hammock shaped carrier and I realised I could actually lie the icy bottle in there, directly against my naked boob and perhaps, finally, find some relief.

Me, my shirt and bottle wandered around for a while. Coexisting. Cooling. Occasionally wailing. My damp thinning hair made the word dishevelled feel tidy.
Then the bottle got fed up and threw itself to the floor. I grabbed it, quickly, and thrust it’s icy loveliness to the nape of my neck. Sticky, sugary flavoured water trickled all the way down my back.

I’ll finish with two points.

One: thank fuck for HRT gel.
Two: I understand exactly why my baby didn’t associate that incredible woman removing her long coat with a hot flush.


27 Replies to “Are you a sublime hot flusher or in need of refrigeration?”

    1. I read somewhere that the average length of time women have hot flushes is 7 years and some women suffer for over 10 years. It’s crazy!

      1. I don’t remember unfollowing your blog! But I checked it now and I’m not following it. What’s happening? I’m worried I’m losing my memory and acting in delirium.

  1. I didn’t really have hot flashes but I think I have some lizard DNA – always cold although I live in the subtropics. One of my friends had such bad flashes that the snow was melting around her feet…

    1. Oh no! Your poor friend!!! You do actually feel hot to the touch, or so my husband says.
      Feeling cold isn’t ideal either, is it?

        1. Not nice at all. We have an infra-red cabin for the winter. It’s really effective and doesn’t cost too much to run (so much cheaper than a sauna). It can get as low as – 20C here in the winter which chills your bones.
          I know you can get single ones for one person. They are also good for circulation, headaches, concentration, stress, insomnia, and low blood pressure. When I’m not hot flushing this winter, I’ll be back in there. Very peaceful. But of of course they take up a lot of space too!

          My temperature is up and down like a yo-yo. Thank goodness cardigans were invented!

  2. This is very humorous, but stems from quite a lot of agony, I reckon. I didn’t know whether to laugh out loud, and so, I smiled. You wrote it extremely well though. It was like reading an excerpt from a novel!

    1. Well thank you!! I really appreciate that!!
      It’s a good way for me to deal with the agony. And I often laugh out loud while I am writing. Or just cry.

      1. I updated some php thing WP asked me to and I’m following and unfollowing your blog. The follow button says I’m not following. But I am following it because it shows up on reader! It’s either that or there’s some glitch on both are blogs.

        1. You are not the only one having a problem. I started answering a comment on your blog and it just disappeared again (and my answer wasn’t complete). I got a message that there was some connection issue or something like that.
          But now I see you answered that comment so you must have got it.
          And it’s not just us. Another blog I follow was showing up in my reader, in my email and on my notifications for my own stuff. No one else’s comes up in the latter. So now I tried to fix and she’s gone completely. I think there are many glitches.

          1. Yeah the disappearing comments thing is super annoying and so weird. I don’t use WP on my phone any longer. I think the app is terrible. It seems to work better on Chrome on my laptop. All my comments for a prompt went to spam recently, and a lot of them are still there, unseen by writers. Too many glitches. I hope they fix these things soon.

          1. Yeah definitely. The internet is so much with us now that sometimes it becomes an extension of our private personal lives. Anyhow I digress. WP is glitches galore!

  3. I so feel for you, Sarah, I really do. I’ve been through that stage, too, although thank goodness my menopause is over now. With me, it lasted over 10 years! I remember every hot, flushed moment of it. The embarrassment when in public and suddenly, my face turned bright red, and sweat began to run down from my forehead, neck and back and completely drowned my body in unwanted moisture. I had the flushes back to back, also. And at night, too. It was horrible waking up with a night sweat, having to get out of bed, strip the sheets off and my pyjamas, and freshen up, only to go through it all again 20 mins later! Despite my unpleasant memories, I thought this was an excellent read. I hope your hot flushes don’t last as long as mine did. Take care, Sarah. X 🌺🌹🌷

    1. When I first started mine, my face turned red too! I had sudden memories of being an embarrassed teenager. Luckily currently I at least, I keep my regular face colour.
      The overheating during the night is fairly new for me, but my temperature control during the day has been broken for years. It’s definitely been worse the last year or so. I keep hoping the hot and cold feelings I had previously were all part of it. And that I don’t have years and years of suffering ahead of me.
      I downloaded a menopause app. It’s so useful as you can see your own patterns a bit more and I realised I definitely flush loads more once my period has started and the first week after. Then I get some relief. However, this year I have had so many periods. One month I started 3 times. And I notice I’m totally exhausted just before it starts. Like exhausted, as in it’s a strain just to move my arms and legs. Then once there’s been a heavier day, I feel much better. Also my head is like mush a lot of the time. I can hardly remember anything. I am unable to concentrate at all. So, for example I’ll read an instruction and as soon as I look away, it’s gone. 😳 Really disturbing. But then other days I am fairly with it. So the app has helped a lot to kind of order what’s actually happening every day and see I’m not going completely mad.
      I had a procedure in my early 40’s as my periods were so heavy and had built up to last 19 days of the month. Since then, they have been better (I’m 50 now). I had huge problems with PMT since my last period was due this time (it was 22 days late) which just continued the whole 22 days. So I hope now that I’m bleeding again, it will all calm down a bit. I missed a period here and there the past couple of years, but it was nothing like this time, so clearly things are progressing. I also realised that a few years ago when it all started, I had that extreme level of PMT every month. So it made me realise that although some things seem to get worse, some have also improved.

      I haven’t had a soaking bed yet. That must be so horrible. I am happy for you that you are through to the other side. You suffered long enough. Some friends told me once their periods stopped, they felt quite good for up to a year, but after that they felt worse again.

    1. I’m currently in the artic circle (we wanted to see the aurora borealis and some whales) and the terrace is an excellent place to run to in the midst of a flush, I’ve discovered!

      Some days are pretty good. Other days are truly horrendous! Very strange, the body!

  4. Hmmmm… my gynecologist left me on a few mg of HRT until I was 60. I never experienced hot flushes but I recognize the symptoms. I was fit as a butcher’s dog until I stopped taking them … at another doctor’s suggestion and it’s been all downhill since then.

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