A burning ring of fire

I lay in bed, soaked.  Every part of me touching a surface is burning, damp, and unbearably uncomfortable.  I feel sure that if an infrared camera were focused in my direction, the entire screen would be lit up.  I lay there in a burning ring of fire.  Unable to escape it.  I get up.  Flames are shooting from my head.

I turn on the little fan.  It does no good.  I’m still hot.  HOT.  I wander the house, wafting my nightgown in the warm house air, which isn’t helping since it is damp already.  Finally, I turn on the air conditioner.  I cannot believe I’ve turned into an energy sucking vampire just to cool this fire off that surely will consume my entire being if I’m not cautious.  I’m positive that I’ve already lost many, many brain cells in the terrible inferno that my body ignites randomly, vengefully, encompassing my every acknowledged skin cell whenever it pleases.

I’m sure I am not the only one with this burning.  No, guys, it’s not desire – sorry.  It’s the hell bent effort of my hormonal system trying to prove the phenomenon of spontaneous combustion.  I’m sure it will give proof one of these days.  The fire officials will find a heap of ashes in the shape of a menopausal woman.

It starts with my scalp and face….I feel just a bit of warmth, tingling, perspiration begin.  I swipe at my face.  I despise sweating and yet I am proficient at it during these moments.  My head starts to kindle.  My scalp feels like it will surely burn off each and every hair like a million fuses set to blow the dynamite that is surely embedded in my skull, because its follicles surely could not survive the coming hellfire.

Then it spreads.  Uh, oh.  Now I know I’m doomed.  My entire back begins to burn and now I know there will be no redemption from this slow, excrutiatingly painful fire across my body.  Of course, when I’m sleeping and this happens – I can wander the house like a ghost, not bothering anyone and certainly not facing anyone.

Then there’s the times that I’m out and about, running errands, and trying to get work done.  I stand at the counter of the post office, trying to get some packages taken care of, and suddenly it begins.  I cannot explain to the person taking my packages, my money, watching me strangely as I fan myself and sweat like I was putting out a fire on my skin……Oh!  Wait!  That’s it!!  That’s exactly what my body must think its doing: Putting out the fire.  In private, that’s just fine.  In public, I feel like some kind of freak.

I’m wiping my brow, pulling back my hair, which is now soaked like I had just gotten out of the shower, and I stand there and assess the person I’m dealing with to see if they will “get it” if I say, “I’m having a hotflash”.  Sometimes I do say it.  Occasionally, when I do, there is an instant recognition in the person’s face and they respond similarly.  More often, I think I must seem suspicious.  Like I’m nervous.  Of course, it does make me a bit nervous….in fact, downright anxiety-ridden one time when I was standing in front of an audience, interpreting, and suddenly a half-hour or so into the show…..BURN baby BURN!  Oh god.  It was awful.  I could not cool down, I could not swipe at my brow and interpret at the same time, I became a distracted, forehead-dripping, disaster of a professional interpreter.  Those are the types of moments where I wish I could hide in a hole somewhere – at least it might be cooler there.

I don’t interpret any longer, I’m retired to care for our small children.  But, those late night sweat fests of the not-so-fun kind are apparenty here to stay.  I feel sure we could bottle that heat and use it for clean energy, no?  Well, maybe not.

Swinging my nightgown to and fro, sitting in front of the air conditioner vent, I’m feeling much more like myself now, thanks.  Until next time…