Menopause, Overture #3 or “Is this a hotflash or did the room just spontaneously combust around me?”

27th May 2013

Um, yeah, hot flashes. They come along a wide spectrum of severity ranging from the mildly pleasant “oh-my-I’m-blushing-all-over-my-body” to this:

That’s video of Massachusetts Public Safety Director, and former Suffolk County Sheriff, Andrea Cabral, fanning herself during the live broadcast of Gov. Deval Patrick’s press conference declaring a state of emergency in the Commonwealth due to a coming blizzard. A lot of people made fun of Ms. Cabral. But take a closer look. There’s a film of sweat on her face, she even reaches up as if to prevent a bead of it trickling down her left temple. She and I are the same age. I’d bet good money this woman was having a terrific hot flash. And not in the good rollercoaster “that scared the bejeepers out of me but I loved the whole ride” sense of terrific, either. I’ve had these. They come like a drenching summer storm of heat and moisture, suddenly, inexplicably, without warning.They can rock you back on your heels and leave you dizzy and spent. For real.

And this is why I’m developing a scale on which to rate hot flashes that I’m naming in honor of Andrea Cabral. For the woman who publicly, unabashedly dealt with a monster hot flash and took a lot of shit for it. Much like the Scoville scale for the heat of chili peppers, this scale will be subjective, based on human experience — not scientific measure.

So, what’s “zero” on the Cabral Scale? I’d say the “Flush to Your Face” hot flash that reddens only your cheeks as if a furious blush has come over you. What’s the highest on the scale? I’d have to say the “Cabral Fanning” hot flash that has you tending to your own need for comfort in any way possible, in public or private.

For every woman who’s been drenched with sweat from a hot flash, doffed blankets and pajamas in the middle of a cold winter night, fanned herself in public, I offer you the opportunity to name a point on the Cabral Scale by posting descriptions of your hot flashes here! Have fun, be descriptive, irreverent, profane if you must. I’ll choose the best and share in a future post!

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