I’m not sure if I can actually put into words how it feels to go through the menopause. I say go through as though I’ve been, done and gone…. chance would be a fine thing. A friend of mine, who is older than me, started the menopause and asked my mum how long her hot flushes had lasted. I think she was hoping for a year or two, ’10 years’, my mum answered. The look of despair on my friend’s face was a picture.
I remember sitting in a meeting in work with a colleague and she started to have a flush. I saw an absolute red line come up her chest, her neck and then her face. Having now experienced flushing I hold this woman in the highest esteem as she never missed a line and continued to participate in the meeting as though nothing was happening.
I have always been cold blooded and I remember joking with my already flushing friends that Icouldn’t wait for the menopause to start as I envisaged it as internal heating, a bit like the Ready Brek kid you used to see in adverts, surrounded by a warm and comforting glow. When it started it wasn’t that bad, ‘I don’t know what you’re complaining about, it’s not that bad’, I used to say.
Then the flushes really started.
Oh boy, it’s an overwhelming, fast building, ‘I’m going to spontaneously combust’, kind of heat and it’s all happening to you from the inside out. I don’t remember too much about the science I learnt in school but I’m pretty sure you had to burn energy in order to generate heat. If this is so why the hell am I not 6 stones in weight?
When I’m taken by a flush, that may sound all Rhett Butler but it just happens with no pre-warning or consent, everything stops. It doesn’t matter where I am or whom I’m with I start flapping my hands – as if that will help – and mutter, ‘Hot, hot, hot’. I am useless until it passes. A work colleague often gets out her fan, yes, she’s a flusher too, and starts fanning me until its gone then normal service resumes.
So, there we go, that’s the hot flushes. Doesn’t sound too bad?
Then come the night sweats.
When your children were little did they ever come into your bed in the middle of the night? You’d snuggle down and start to doze and a warm feeling would start to spread across your back and legs and as you’re dozing you’d think ‘this is so warm and comfortable,’ then you’d go from laying on your bed to standing up next to it in one movement as you realised your little visitor had peed? Welcome to the world of night sweats.
Night sweats were created by the devil himself. You wake up overcome with heat so much so that you feel you can’t breathe. The bed is wet, very wet and you have sweat running down your back, your legs, and your face, everywhere. There is so much sweat you could front crawl your way to the side of the bed. So, you have to get out and cool off, sitting on the edge of the bed trying to regain your breath, you throw the quilt back in order to try and let it cool off. You don’t shower as you’re so tired but you have to change your pj’s and to save time you throw a towel on the bed to lie on so at least you have a dry bit. Back into bed you climb only the wet bedding is now cold so you shiver under a cold wet quilt in the hope that you’ll fall back off to sleep….. and then the devil laughs Mwahahahaha