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Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Women’s Body Problems

By Johna Ferguson

Any men reading this blog might just as well tune out for this only involves women and their body problems. If you want to write about your prostate or other problems, OK, I’ll tune out then also.

So here I am 80, that wonderful age when wearing a purple skirt with an orange and green plaid blouse, a wide red plastic belt decorated with rhinestones and black high-topped tennis shoes is okay. (Remember our ankles are weaker now.)

At my age, no one should care what I wear; all those constrictions put on me first by my mother and then society are off limits now. I thought that also meant my body. If the skin on my neck hangs free like turkey wattle, well so be it. If the worn out muscles of my arms jiggle like jello, well who cares.

But I truly thought some bodily things were over like “the curse,” having to shave the hair on one’s legs and those various problems women have during menopause. But here I am an old lady having hot flashes that you can’t believe.

Somewhere my circadian clock got off beat, maybe due to the phase of the moon affected by daylight savings time change or maybe that black cat that walked across my path as I ducked under a ladder last week. Whatever, they are a damn nuisance, (excuse my cussing, but you would too) if you were going through what I am.

They wake me up every night, maybe five times. They start first with my feet tingling and then, just like hot lava flowing from a volcano, my boiling blood just surges up my body and out the top of my head. I must get up, take off my nightie and fan my body to cool it down.

Funny thing is, I’ve taken my temperature during and before them and my core temp remains the same. After fanning for about three minutes, I then become so chilled I must put on a nightie and climb under my quilt again, but only for a few minutes for the feeling is back, only worse.

One episode lasts about 15 minutes before I can think of going back to sleep. When morning finally comes I am exhausted after being disturbed so many times. But that’s not all, they continue on during the day leaving me a basket case.

I looked up hot flashes up on the internet but really got no answer as to what to do for none of the women writing in were my age bracket, all were in the menopausal age. I hate falling back on taking estrogens or any other kind of medicine, especially here in China where I don’t have my own primary care physician. Mayo doctors on their web page said to relax, try deep breathing, cut out caffeine and alcohol. So now they want to take away all the pleasures of my life.

I timed them the last few days and found they happen about every two to two-and-a-half hours. At that rate I’ll have 10 in a 24 hour period or roughly 310 a month, or 3,720 episodes a year or 41,925 if I live 10 years. But then the flip side of the coin is, I just might make it into The Guinness World Record Book. Now, how many people do you know that are in that book?

[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Instructions for submitting are here.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 02:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


Oh God, Johna, is that what I have to look forward to? I just got over that phase of menopause. However, I must say I AM looking forward to wearing the purple skirt and the rhinestone belt.

Johna, I'm getting some of these nowadays too (I am 74). I am pretty sure that in my case they are associated with reactive hypoglycaemia as they come on one and a half to two and a half hours after eating. Just thought I'd mention it in case there's a possibility yours might be related to blood glucose levels also.
You're so lucky to be in China, for there you are in a perfect position to take advantage of oriental medical practices such as acupuncture and herbal treatments. As I am sure you know, oriental medicine is based on a vast accumulation of knowledge and understanding about the body that is entirely different from ours(and much more ancient)and 'hot/cold' is one of the key elements in diagnosis and treatment.

Oh no. I went through that - I really don't want to do it again. Loved your story!

I have experienced similar hot flashes, although not as severe as yours. Mine are rare and always happen in the middle of the night. I don't have a clue as to what is causing them.

I thought it might be circulation, or just a weird thing that happens when you get old; like memory loss and weariness.

Hi Johna, I'm so sorry to hear this. I'm 72 and also have hot flashes. My gynecologist assures me she has even older patients who experience them. I also truly thought that was all over as for 25 years I didn't have them. It seems too ridiculous for Mother Nature to punish us with hot flashes at our age. By the way, I'm the one who offered to send you sheets. The offer is still open. Just tell me size,favorite colors, and home address and I will send you some. I lived in Taiwan for six years and know what it's like to be separated from U.S. consumer goods.

Dear Judy: Thanks for the sheet offer; actually I have lots now as my friends in Seattle who are going from twin to king beds gave me many, and even very pleasing colors. The hot flashes have subsided but I had to take birth control pills to make them stop. I wonder what is next. You'll read about that on May 23rd, but it was my own doing. Cheers. Jo

Dear Judy,

This is just a thought as I have been having hot flushes and I'm 62, way past menopause, I thought. I've read that certain mattresses with "Pillow tops" tend to retain your body until you feel like you're lying on a 'hot seat' during the night. Have a closer look at your mattress for a possible answer. Also, I suspect my down quilt heats up too much as well.


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