By Lisa Batten Kunkleman
Why do women get to experience so much change in life? I’m referring to “The Change.” I’ve long passed the age where I find change fun and exciting. I may have some spontaneity left in this old girl but never knowing when my insides will boil and my face will turn red and bead with sweat is not my kind of living on the edge. This kind of living is simply annoying. Cooking from the inside out may be okay for a crock-pot but not for a woman.
The title, “The Old Crone” used to sound funny before I became one, an irritable wretch for as much as two minutes per hour. That’s two times twenty-four. That’s forty-eight minutes a day that I’m a fiery, untouchable, hot ball of walking lava. Move out of the way or my steam might scald you too if my agitated words don’t take you down first. I should tell you I’m normally a very nice, peace-loving person.
My husband, Dan, who, bless his heart, sleeps with my feet in his face at various times every night, told me this morning, “You’re burning up.” He feels a flash coming on before I do if I’ve snuggled up to him in our heavily blanketed bed.
Heavily blanketed sounds counterproductive I know, but I peel them off like Pillsbury flaky canned biscuit layers as my personal global warming comes across in waves. Take off the top cozy spread, then the brown fleece blanket, then the sheet and I’m free to flip my head to the end of our California King bed that we only use my third of. If Dan wakes up, he might risk his life rubbing my feet as I cool off with the ceiling fan swirling overhead as it does every night, all four seasons.
It’s a wonder he hasn’t had black eyes and bloody noses for all the times I’ve kicked my feet and groused, “Puleeze don’t touch me. I’m trying to cool off here.” “And don’t flap my pant legs. That doesn’t help.”
I often stomp off to the blue-tiled bathroom where I splash cold water on my face and neck, feeling my already wet skin and hair become wetter. In the mirror, I look sunburned, bloated, and blotchy.
The cold water does nothing but make me damper than I was but it gets me out of the smothering bed that touches one whole side of my frying body. Standing upright in front of the ever-present little purple fan on my dresser allows air to circulate on my whole self except for the bottom of my feet.
As I’m returning to the bed, Dan says something nice like, “Are you ready to come back up here, right side up?”
“Lord what’s wrong with you? Can’t you see I’m sweating to death? No I don’t want to go back up there where you’ll roast me like a marshmallow. I should go outside and cool off. It’s an oven in here and only twenty degrees out there. I’ll open the window a crack. ”
Knowing from his silent response that I was evil to Saint Dan, I crawl back into bed, head beside his. In mere moments I feel a chill and pull up the sheet, the fleece blanket and the cozy top comforter. I nestle into my husband’s toasty body and we fit like spoons.
“It’s really cold in here,” I say, pulling his arm around me and lacing my fingers with his.
April 1, 2017 at 10:28 pm
My mother was fortunate to not experience hot flashes. I’m hoping that I follow her lead. As I’ve gotten older, I find myself freezing all of the time. Hang in there!
April 1, 2017 at 11:33 pm
Thanks Jill. My mom had very few but I’ve made up for her lack.
April 2, 2017 at 2:12 pm
Oh honey! I feeeeel your pain. Finally, at 60, my hot flashes have abated some. Occasionally I’ll get a quick flash, but nothing like the ones I used to have. You described them perfectly. One quick remedy–keep several rubber baby teething rings in a dorm fridge beside your bed. Feel a flash comin on? Pluck one of the rings out of the fridge and apply it to any part of your anatomy. Instant cool.
April 2, 2017 at 2:20 pm
Oh my gosh that’s a great idea. I hear there are beads made of ice you can freeze and put around your neck like pearls. You give me hope. I’m 57 and it’s been going on for a long time now.
April 2, 2017 at 3:20 pm
Mine began in my early 40’s.
April 2, 2017 at 5:08 pm
Great description! I have had a touch of it for the past 2 years, but I am sure it is just biding its time until it hits me full force. My family is getting used to seeing me bundled up in a blanket and then the next minute throwing it off!
April 2, 2017 at 11:44 pm
For me, irritation comes with the prickling heat and I am irrationally grumpy for about 5 minutes until it all relaxes back to normal.
April 3, 2017 at 12:28 am
Yep. Grumpy sounds accurate.
April 3, 2017 at 11:36 am
I remember ‘the change’ well. That was when, in winter, my kids would close the backdoor for the 10th time as they said ‘Seriously, mum, you are the only person in the house who’s hot’.
April 3, 2017 at 1:22 pm
Oh yes. I leave them all chattering their teeth until my chills come on afterwards.
April 3, 2017 at 8:53 pm
I did much the same because I reopened the door every time they closed it. Said door is in the kitchen where I was cooking dinner. I figured I had right of way.
April 4, 2017 at 3:57 am
I started getting hot flashes in mid 30’s and still do get them when nervous or stressed out. In my 40’s I got rage. Thankfully I found B vitamins and got that sorted. Late in my 40’s I couldn’t stand my husband’s feet touching my feet while we slept anymore, and him moaning at me in the morning when my alarm would go off. I’m an earlier riser than he is, but we didn’t start out that way, it was reversed when we were young. I would sleep til noon, and he would just be rollin in from a bicycle training ride or event. It was perfect.
I want to hike in the morning when it’s cool, and he wants to go ride his bike or hike in late morning or afternoon when it’s warmer.
We’re not in sync in the mornings too often these days. 🙂
I quite often go in the spare room to sleep. I call it the retreat. I’m waiting for the day I don’t get weird about him touching my feet.
I’m so grateful he’s taking it all in stride. I know one of these we’ll both wake up one morning and I won’t have pulled my feet away from his while we slept, and we’ll go hiking in cool hours of the morning.
He-man is a Saint! I think all men that go through this with us are! 🙂
April 4, 2017 at 4:22 am
Oh my goodness. You make me feel like I’m part of a club. I hope y’all get synchronization someday and I hope I just chill out. Ha thanks for sharing and for reading. I love your description.
April 4, 2017 at 1:05 pm
🙂 I hope we do too!
I hope you get through the night sweats quickly!
April 15, 2017 at 8:55 am
Great post, I can so relate to this
April 15, 2017 at 1:49 pm
There is a whole world full of us. We should form a club. Ha. I often speak to fellow gray haired ladies and compliment them and that beam with joy.
April 15, 2017 at 9:30 pm
I’m 50 & they’ve just started- I call them ‘warm flashes’ at the moment! But I have to say Chinese medicine & acupuncture definitely seem to calm them down, & I don’t care if it’s a placebo effect!
April 16, 2017 at 9:19 pm
I carry a hoodie around, which is on and off quite frequently. I’ve decided however to kick any labels for these hot and cold periods to the curb, because alas, I’m simply happy to have a temperature.
I had “female problems” from the age of 9. When the doctor and I decided to free me of my ovaries and such at 28, I knew I’d probably start heating up and cooling off earlier then most. Like Rosie O’Donnell, I also sweat around the borders of my scalp whenever I exert myself, like when cleaning the house for instance. Still do it, just wear bandana.
Although our maps are different, this being a woman stuff comes with the territory. I sometimes wonder how women generations ago handled symptoms they didn’t even have names for back then.
I giggle thinking of what a country doctor might have called some of what a women back then probably was a little too ashamed to describe accurately.
When I think of all the more scary things I could be suffering from in this day and age, I am so thankful all I do is 💦 now and then.
I will admit however that taking the supplement Black Cohosh (suggested by girlfriend) does help one sleep a little more comfortably. I don’t have to keep my toe nails cut, or wear my on and off again hoodie to bed. Yikes!!!
May 5, 2017 at 4:18 am
I don’t get hot yet. I just get angry. And my husband has made this huge joke out of me getting mad because I’ve never in our 20 years of marriage been truly mad but now a few times a day I blow my top over something dumb and he rolls over on the floor like I’ve injured him. He has a great sense of humor in the face of my crazy shriveled up ovaries!
May 5, 2017 at 4:26 am
I call my dried up ovaries raisins. Glad your hubby takes it all so well. Good luck with the anger management.
May 5, 2017 at 4:33 am
It’s literally only 30 seconds a day! If I could just bite my tongue but it just flies out of me!
May 21, 2017 at 5:41 pm
My wife has the same super power, she flames 🔥 on and as a result she keeps our room like a meat locker all winter with the fan on. We laugh at the temperature swings and hang on hoping it won’t last forever
May 21, 2017 at 8:24 pm
Good luck. I just keep on flaming.