Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Hokey Pokey

I'm up again, blogging in the middle of the night. A hot flash woke me up. Those of you who have never experienced a hot flash can consider yourselves lucky. Maybe by the time Caroline hits menopause, science will have discovered a cure without side effects or ominous warnings. But for now, I'm stuck with them.

After my hysterectomy in 1994, I was placed immediately on hormonal therapy and so avoided the dreaded hot flashes. I continued that way for over a decade. By last year, though, I had been persuaded by my doctor that it was time to relinquish the crutch, so to speak, so I went cold turkey. I didn't really know what to expect with my estrogen withdrawal, and although I quizzed my older acquaintances for information and was given hints about what was to come, I quickly learned that the whole scenario is something you can't appreciate unless you've experienced it firsthand. One of my co-workers told me, "My mother always used to say when she had a hot flash that she could have run out in a blizzard naked." Well, we did have a little April snow shower today, but a blizzard it was not, and besides, I'm not quite that desperate. Nevertheless, hot flashes are annoying. And the ones in the middle of the night are the most frustrating - because then it's "kick the covers off" time.

If you sleep with another human being, you know what effect this can have. When a hot flash wakes me up, I need relief, and I need it immediately. Now, it's hard to kick a sheet, blanket, quilt, and top wool blanket off completely in one fell swoop, so I usually just throw the top blanket over onto Ed, then pull my left leg (my outside leg) out from under the rest of the covers and lay it on top of everything to get the cool room air to at least one of my lower limbs. I do this at the same time that I throw off what covers I can from my shoulders and chest area. Believe me - it is quite a feat to be able to accomplish this in a fraction of a second while I'm still half asleep. It takes coordination, persistence, and practice. I have it down to an art. As the heat recedes, my exposed skin gets chilled, and I reverse my maneuver and replace all my assorted body parts back under the covers. Of course, all this does maximal damage to a good night's sleep for Ed.

Tonight when I performed my acrobatics, I woke up just enough that my brain wouldn't easily return to sleep, and all I could hear in my head were the lyrics to that song, The Hokey Pokey. "You put your left leg in, you put your left leg out..." There are songs that pass through your brain like a short excursion train trip from one place to another - a pleasant diversion. There are other songs that stay in your head like the miniature train sets you see under Christmas trees - they go in a circle around and around and never end. The Hokey Pokey is definitely in the latter category.

As I was writing this blog entry, I wanted to reference the lyrics to The Hokey Pokey so I clicked on a pertinent web site. Immediately the song started blaring - and my speakers were up to full volume, of course. It startled me, but not as much as it startled Ed, who was sleeping in the next room. Sorry, Ed - that's what it's all about.


RJB said...

Really? This all had to be done in the middle of the night?

Anonymous said...

Classic. I think I need to print this and have it laminated for easy reference later.

Tif said...

My office colleagues know I'm having a hot flash when they see me with a ponytail and no suit jacket. They've gotten used to it. So will Ed!

Anonymous said...

Too familiar about the order of removing covers during a nighttime hot flash. I am right there with you.