Hot Flash

It can happen anywhere, that hormonal malfunction of the bodily furnace — along the non-refrigerated grocery aisle as I gaze at hot sauce for instance, or while merely contemplating the possibility of self-inflicted exercise, or often right after I pull on my sweater.

No matter. I can take it, I mutter to myself when bedtime rolls around.

But the nocturnal version is a whole other animal — waking up with an unwelcome passion, sweating from the wrong kind of combustion, fanning faster than belles at a debutante ball, kicking off the sheets like a two-year-old.

There is no time to take cover. It roars in with the solar flares of a thousand searing July afternoons, prickling the skin like sunburn, smelling of baby oil and bonfires. I hear the tinny beat of beach radios as polka dots from a long-gone bikini flash before my eyes.

I’m wondering what I’ve done to deserve this. Am I still holding the iron too close to my face? Have I been caught sipping illegal beers during illicit decadent dinners with underage carbs? Is it worth the raging forest fires while getting my fix from strong coffee and good chocolate?

And then it is gone.

I come to my senses only to find my head in the freezer.


10 thoughts on “Hot Flash

  1. Ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh I am so with you, sister! I’m 56 and have been having these since 39. And they’re worse. Nothing helps. Currently keeping a food/meds/weather/activity/sleep diary to see if there’s anything that correlates to frequency and severity.

    I can put up with the warmth, but it’s the painful ones that get me down, pain that flares in a girdle around my middle, above the waist, and down my inner arms. Casual observation says red meat or too much dairy fat seems to correlate with the painful ones, so I’m keeping a diary to see if that is true or just some bias on my part.

    But your description of the sheer misery is so poetic, so spot on..The night ones are always, always so much worse. Hugs.

    1. suburbansatsangs

      Sending cool breezes and sweet relief to you, Meg. Like you, I can put up with the heat, it’s the other weird stuff that throws me, and makes it miserable. I’ve experienced them off and on, and the last time I had the pleasure of their company this past winter, they somehow triggered heart palpitations. Now THAT was fun getting straightened out. My ongoing mantra into old age continues to be “Nobody told me this would happen!” as if being better prepared would somehow make it easier. It’s not. Hugs back to you, too. Always good to see you.

  2. Elizabeth Farr

    Oh my, Tamara, you made me laugh so hard! You look too darned young for this to be happening! Have had these for, let’s see, 16 years now? I was told they would burn out, but the only thing that burned out was me for lack of sleep, so went back on the hormones, and it helps some, but I use as little as I can just so I can sleep well.
    I was told chocolate triggered these, but no chocolate is no fun. So, I eat and heat……and I try to dress in layers. So hope you and Meg are finding some relief.
    Love love love your sense of humor with this topic! Your writing is awesome and magical and touching. Thanks!

    1. suburbansatsangs

      Oh no, I can’t live without chocolate, either! Thanks so much for your support, Elizabeth. I hope a little humor goes a long way in helping cope with our own global warmings!

  3. I can sympathize. I’ve never taken hormones, but these started for me in my mid 40’s and thankfully ended after about a year. The most embarrassing one happened while talking to my boss at work. I suddenly just started sweating profusely trying to pretend I wasn’t. Ugh. Oh well, if you have to stick you head into a kitchen appliance, this is the better one.

    1. suburbansatsangs

      I’ve watched my friends sweat and fan for years wondering what it was like. Now it’s my turn. It takes spontaneity to a whole new level, doesn’t it? Glad that yours have gone away. Always great to hear from you, Adriene.

      1. KathyM

        I adored your post and yes it made me laugh. I live in London and the first hot flush (as we call them in here) happened while I was waiting for the tube one day. I thought’ why am I sweating from the small of my back upwards’? Then it dawned on me. The worst of the flushes are over now thought they took about four years (summers were dreadful) and I tried sage tea and other herbal potions when they were unbearable. What have I learnt? To dress in layers and never ever wear anything like a jumper or polo neck (turtle necks). To have a fan over my desk at work and to cut down on coffee.

      2. suburbansatsangs

        I like the term “flush.” It fits better than “flash” I think. Thank you for the tips — I’ll have to try the sage tea because I like the taste and I even have some growing outside (guess fresh leaves would work as well as dried?). I’m very glad this post made you laugh — have to see the humor in it sometimes. Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing. It’s lovely to meet you, Kathy.

    1. suburbansatsangs

      Thank you. It’s a hard thing to explain. Hope it helps someone who’s wondering what it will be like. At the very least, it helps to laugh. 🙂

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