The US is in the midst of the first heat wave of the season. Record temps are being set in AZ and across the desert southwest. In Death Valley, CA- it’s only a couple of degrees from the hottest ever recorded temperature in history. Of any place. EVER.
In fact, I heard that folks visiting Las Vegas, left the casinos and rented cars yesterday so they could make the 3 hour drive to Death Valley to “experience the heat”. Idiots.
I’d lay a bet that not one of those folks trekking out to test the temps was a middle aged woman in the throes of life change. Heck no. Why go there when it feels like Death Valley every night about 2:30am?
For those wondering what a hot flash feels like (Side note: Before I started into the big M, I asked a friend of mine how you could tell if you were having hot flashes. She correctly answered: “It’s kind of like an orgasm-if you have to ask, you’re not having one.”) I digress.
While hot flashes may differ somewhat from woman to woman, I think we can all agree that it is one of the worst parts of having “the change”. That and the mood swings. The hot flashes, the mood swings and the screaming out of body experiences where you float high above the room and look down on the screaming episode and wonder who that person in your body is, and why is she so mad?!
What? It’s just me??
However, being a nurse and not wanting to lead anyone astray-I thought I would see what the medical community has to say about hot flashes and I came across this nugget:
While the onset, duration, frequency and severity of hot flashes varies greatly between women, hot flashes often begin one or two years before a woman’s last period and can last anywhere from six months to fifteen years.
Fifteen years!!!! Are you kidding me????
The same site went on with this advice:
Simple daily (emphasis mine) changes that can greatly help a menopausal woman manage hot flashes include:
• Considering air conditioning, ceiling and floor fans, and even small personal handheld fans. (Personal handheld fans? Cause we don’t cause enough distraction with our sweating and red faces??)
• A woman can also manage hot flashes by arriving to meetings and other events early. (Seriously? “Jane, why are you here so early?” “I’m trying to beat my hot flash.” “Oh, sorry I asked.”)
• Keeping ice water or another cold beverage on hand during the day and night. (Yes, please.)
• Taking a cool shower before bed. (How does this help at 2am?)
• Using cotton sheets and avoiding silk or synthetics. (Finally, a practical tip, but- did we really need someone to tell us that silk + sweat=gross?)
• Keeping a cold pack under or near the pillow and turning the pillow often can also help keep a woman cool and minimize hot flashes. (Kept in the cooler next to the bed? Or are we destined for a wet pillow to keep us cool?)
They had me at “daily”.