Hot flushes have been mentioned before in this blog, but I return to this hot topic so that you can stew alongside me. Recently I have been blaming my hot flashes on the unseasonably hot weather, lock down food sweats (not baking that sour dough loaf is spiking my temperature) and maximum teacher-brow-mopping during the last two exam result weeks (surely there is an algeorithm we can blame for female combustion, Gavin?); ultimately I have to face the fact that I am going to be feeling hot under the collar for some time to come.
Thankfully we are now ‘allowed’ to mention the Big M in public – this blog evidences that I am pumped and ready for my specialist subject. Indeed, I sometimes mention the M word with male colleagues during a conversation lull just to see them squirm . Don’t judge me for this for apparently crankiness and irrationality are official symptoms of the Big M, alongside forgetfulness – meaning I never feel awkward when meeting these colleagues later.
During commercial breaks on TV, it is now de rigour to mention periods, constipation, bloating and leaky bladders – way to go, sisters. However, let me know if you have ever seen an advert showing a mature lady lying in her bra and knicks in a darkened room – fan and air con both on full blast. It could legitimately include her partner shouting, ‘can you stop kicking the duvet off’, or ‘back off, you’re burning me,’ or ‘have you wet yourself in the night?’ against a sound track of Bowie’s ‘Changes’ or ‘My Husband Sleeps Tonight’ (poetic license, sorry Tight Fit). If you sense a gap in this market my agent is primed.
While we are promoting awareness – stay alert people – it doesn’t hurt to think of those who are blasted into an abrupt and brutal menopause while battling chemo and radio therapy. I feel pathetic mentioning my river of heat beside them, but my friends in this situation are so flipping upbeat that they tell me they are just glad to be, ‘out the other side’ and don’t envy us whinging fifty somethings our indefinite span of Big M years. (Golden arches? I think not, but Mcdonalds if you wish to pivot into a new sector of the market with me, speak to my agent (above).
Relief comes this week in the form of my Menopause Pillow. I hadn’t realised that such an item existed until a female colleague told me she had bought one for her dog to see him through the heat wave. ‘They are really meant for pets, but they have now made one for menopausal women – perhaps it’s called ‘Menopaws!’ How we laugh. She sends me the link and asks me to tell her how I get on.
The excitement of waiting for this package proves greater than actually unwrapping it, for in the flesh the ‘pillow’ looks very much like one of those cool packs we used to put inside picnic boxes or the cool pad they give you for sports injuries. I hate to think I have kept Amazon Prime in business when I could have just put an ice cube tray under my pillow. I tell mum about it on the phone. ‘What a waste of money, dear, ‘ she says with the voice of experience, ‘we used to fill a hot water bottle up with cold water and ice cubes. Worked a treat. If only your age group had the stamina of the snowflake generation’. She hangs up with no sense of irony.
I should point out that that no payment for product endorsement has passed hands in the writing of this blog. Well, you will probably guess this from what I am about to write.
So, although disappointed that the Menopause Pillow is in fact more thin, slippery layer than cushion, I incase it below my pillowcase and wait for a refreshing, cool night of slumber. I awake at 2 am to hear Favourite Man saying, ‘Are you alright, love? You’re glowing phosphorescently in the dark’. Turning my back on him, I kick the duvet off, while muttering, ‘strictly speaking I can’t be phosphorescent if I am producing heat.’ I think I can hear him chuntering about English teachers always having to have the last word but to be honest I am distracted by my disappointment that my hair is still plastered to my head in perspiration.
I take the Menopause Pillow out of the pillowcase and lay it on top of my pillow to see if this will make a difference. It doesn’t. It is limp and slippy and my head – which is also limp and slippy – keeps dripping off it as I try to get back to sleep. I throw the pillow on to the floor beside the bed. I wake at 4 am believing I am drowning; I check I haven’t had an ‘accident’ (thankfully I haven’t) and retrieve the ‘pillow’ and wrap it around my face. For 5 minutes this feels quite cooling – and to be fair, FM says it helps with my snoring – but soon the cushion is the same temperature as my face and I feel that I am being smothered. I throw it across the room. I wake at 5 am and see FM is sleeping peacefully on ‘my’ pillow which must have landed in his direction.
Every menopause story deserves a happy ending and I can share that although not fit for my purpose, my pillow has proved useful over the last few days. Yesterday it worked well as a sandwich wrap, preventing limp sandwiches during a walk of the Cotswold Way. Today I discover Samantha the Cat (her first blog mention, go Samantha) cooling herself on said item, and as FM is feeling a little achy after yesterday’s yomp, he has scheduled in a ‘pillow wrap’ for his knee at 4 pm once my cushion finishes her shift at the local Burns Clinic. At this rate, Menopause Pillow will need an agent. I wonder if Gavin Williamson may be available?