LIFE has its inevitable phases and I appear to have entered a new one, the delightful hot flash period.
According to Statistics Canada, this country has close to five million women between the ages of 45 and 64, and as much as 80 per cent of them will have to put up with this particular highlight from Mother Nature’s Compendium of Inconvenient Female Nonsense.
One word about us: Beware.
You’d have no trouble identifying our group, if anybody ever wanted to pick us out in a crowded room. We’re the ones with the red faces madly fanning ourselves in hockey rinks and discreetly sidling up to good-looking ice sculptures at cocktail parties.
I don’t know why women have to endure so much of this baloney. Is it because Eve helped herself to a healthy snack in the Garden of Eden? Sheesh. How about a little forgiveness, Lord (if You are, in fact, to blame), at this point in the history of humankind? Menses, pregnancy and childbirth are enough of a burden for most females without throwing hot flashes into the mix.
It’s true that men and women alike have to deal with wonky eyesight, aches and pains, and inconvenient ear and nose hair growth as we get older. Some men have personal health issues that they’d surely prefer I not discuss. As if my unkempt age group isn’t sufficiently humbled by our countless physical and mental shortcomings, we women suddenly get a random simmer feature. Supposedly this has something to do with the body’s thermostat, the hypothalamus, but even the Mayo Clinic online is vague on the reasons for this outrage. Who cares, it seems to imply.
We’d much prefer to be overheating ourselves while inspecting the lats and pecs of Channing Tatum or even the wang dang doodle of John van Dongen. But it’s the change of life, damn it, and it’s beyond our control.
Worse news: Those of us who don’t want to mess around with scary hormone replacements may have to endure hot flashes for up to 10 years or, as one Internet source blithely puts it, “for life.”
Naturally, we Baby Boomers are spending money to help ease this affliction. There are all kinds of natural remedies suggested to vulnerable gals with money to burn, made of “the earth’s best extracts and herbs,” as one purveyor claims. We’re also instructed to toss back lots of Vitamins E and B complex, try flaxseed, and give the nutritional supplement black cohosh a whirl. Aromatherapy is another option. Meanwhile, Asian women focus on foods containing soy. There’s no proof that these things work.
In addition, various sources recommend that the hot flasher cut back on caffeine, alcohol, spicy food, and chocolate. That’s one sure way to hike the incidence of hot-flash-induced carnage, if not full-scale murder sprees. Sufferers also ought to avoid hot weather, which, luckily, is no problem for Vancouverites 95 percent of the year.
In terms of gear –- and you had to know there’d be some -- Cool Gel Solutions offers a Coolrest Sleep Pad full of gel to soothe the savage core body temperature when you’re in bed, alleviating the night sweats that can apparently cause insomnia. I read about it online and have no idea if it’s effective or just feels embarrassingly like your cot did back in your bedwetting days.
This pad doesn’t have to be refrigerated, although if you refrigerate yourself first for a few hours in the meat locker of your favourite butcher, I suspect you’ll get more than 60 minutes of relief out of it. If he’s a particularly attractive butcher, you can stay in there as long as you like. Tell him Dr. Zimmerman sent you.
Likely there are many other products on the market. The trouble is that many “middle-aged” women (how’s that for optimism?) are in public denial of the ageing process. You can see that in the desperation of Botoxees like Mama Kardashian and the Real Housewives, who pretend that we females can remain fertile, camera-ready poopsies if we just make the effort.
Why not go whole hog and embrace The Change? If part of a beer label can turn blue when it’s “Rocky Mountain Cold,” why wouldn’t some clever entrepreneur create a woman’s outfit that cools down and changes colour as her body temperature reaches “Hot, Sweaty and Old”?
I’ll take a page from Joan Rivers -- well past the hot flash stage at this point, since she claims “I was on the beach when Moses parted the Red Sea.” Rivers once said that when she had hot flashes, she made toast on her stomach every morning.
Ach, Joan, you’re right. We might as well laugh.