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.