Menopause from a man's point of view:
Today I wanted to talk to you all about a problem that has plagued both men and women since the dawn of well, men and women—menopause. Now lest the ladies out there take umbrage at including men in this discussion, allow me to explain.
My darling wife, who is not yet sixty, but close, has been undergoing the change for several years now. In the beginning it wasn’t so noticeable until one day we were watching a documentary about oil drilling in the arctic wildlife refuge. Of course, no documentary on drilling for oil in the arctic would be complete without showing archival footage of the Exxon Valdez oil spill. The documentary was interrupted for a commercial and I turned to my wife to ask her if she wanted anything from the kitchen. That’s when I noticed that she was crying. No one wants to see birds and otters covered in oil, and by nature my wife is a compassionate person, but tears? “What’s wrong dear?” I asked.
“Nothing,” she answered between sniffles.
“OK.” That was my first experience with how menopause wreaks havoc on a women’s emotions—and it wasn’t going to be my last. Fortunately, the mood swings didn’t last all that long and I was able to weather even the worst of the onslaughts.
What hasn’t changed is the problem of hot flashes. Now, I haven’t experienced a “hot flash,” but my wife has compared it to being inside a microwave oven and being cooked from the inside out. Many is the night that I have awakened to find my wife’s side of the bed empty, only to discover that she has been up for hours, unable to sleep because her internal body temperature has reached the same temperature as a medium rare steak. She turns down the A/C and lies there uncovered while on my side of the bed, I’m lying with the blankets up to my chin, shivering like a puppy at the vet.
Menopause from a woman's point of view:
I sat down at the computer in a gray sweater to write this blog. Two sentences into the draft, I pulled the sweater off. I was overheating.
I don’t mean overheating as in, “Come here, honey, let’s have some fun!” I mean overheating as in, “Turn the a.c.down to sixty degrees so I can get some relief!” We live in
Florida, don’t forget.
This bodily reaction has been going on for twenty-plus years. It started around the time my hormones left me and took up residence I don’t know where. I refuse to take Hormone Replacement Therapy and instead pop nightly soy supplements and drink soy milk for breakfast and dinner. The milk tastes better than niacin tablets, which turn my face and neck into a prickly red minefield of zits resembling the rash I get when Charley’s chin scrapes me with a two-day growth.
Time out…now getting cold and must put my sweater back on.
On any random night Charley knows that our blanket will be thrown off sometime before midnight and then yanked back up at an ungodly hour. He tucks his side of the sheet and blanket under his body so it won’t move. He has grown used to my saying that I’m burning up and would he please roll to the other side of the bed because his body is like a coal furnace and I feel like the burning coal. He knows if I’m out of bed and he doesn’t hear the toilet flush it’s because I can’t sleep and have my head in the freezer to cool down. He also knows things won’t change anytime soon – my mother passed away at ninety and was still having flashes. Sometimes he knows during breakfast that I want to pick a fight over why he didn’t secure the cap on the orange juice, which spilled all over the table when I shook the container, so he’d better vacate to get the newspaper.
Excuse me…must take the sweater off again.
At a dinner party Charley actually counted four times I took a jacket off and put it back on. I reminded him that testosterone doesn’t last forever, either.
Thanks for the male version on menopause to Don Weiss, guest blogger and author of the mystery novel PICTURE PERFECT, available as an e-book through major distributors soon.