Sleepless in Sheffield

“I’m a woman of a certain age and I love an open window!”

These are the words that, these days, greet bemused colleagues and kick off any meeting I’m ever in – usually accompanied by an unseemly dive for the chair nearest said window. You see, I’ve always known I was hot. ;). But now I’m red-hot. And not in a good way. I’m talking about hot flushes (flashes, for my American cousins :)). Potatoes have got nothing on me – my hot flushes are so goddamn NUCLEAR you could run Blackpool Illuminations with my emissions. The heat fair radiates off me like I’m some kind of organic convector heater. I could wire myself up to the National Grid in times of critical power shortage. I might too, I’m that civic-minded.

potato clock

My hot flushes are so violent, so sudden, so HOT that I can be totally fine one second, and the next resemble a drenched sunburn victim with sweat literally trickling down my face and rolling off my chin. Not a great look on the beach, never mind in an important stakeholder meeting. And a look that has my colleagues staring in a kind of disgusted fascination as I go into full-on meltdown. Unfortunately, there’s nothing I can do but sit tight and hope it passes quickly.

But I don’t suffer in silence – oh no, everyone knows about it. Why keep it in, I say. It’s uncomfortable, and unpleasant but entirely natural and I refuse to be embarrassed – so I demand as much sympathy as I can get. Particularly from men, the jammy gets. They don’t have to go through it, so I don’t spare them any of the detail. It’s a fair tradeoff, don’t you think?

And don’t get me started on the sleepless nights. I usually know as soon as I lay down when I’m not going to sleep; and if the heat’s not bad enough my racing heartbeat will put the kibosh on anything resembling restful slumber. Toss, turn, swear, cry. Covers off, covers on, covers, off, covers off. Rinse and repeat.

The joys of menopause, eh – it’s the gift that just keeps on giving. Brilliant.

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