I have hot flashes. I have been having hot flashes... for the past ten years. Yes, I've heard them called "power surges," or "my private summer," but whenever I'm in the midst of one and I NEED a fan, I just say, "I'm having a hot flash, and I need some paper to make a fan," and no one misinterprets what I mean.
A few years ago, I was in Sears, and I was buying an elliptical machine when I got a hot flash. I know I was turning red and desperately looking for some paper to make into a fan just to have a breeze in my face. The salesman looked panicky, and he asked me, "Is there someone I can call for you?" I told him, "It's just a hot flash." He looked so alarmed. I wonder if he thought I was having a stroke or something.
One of my husband's friends said, "How long have you been having those? It seems like you've had them a long time now." Wayne immediately said, "Ten years!" He knows, I guess, because he lives with me. He goes around the house in a hoodie, so that when we're sitting at the kitchen table and I reach up to turn on the fan, he can flip the hood up over his head. I even put the fan pull on an extra long cord so that I can reach it easier.
Unless you've had hot flashes, you have no idea how they feel. My husband once made the mistake of saying he knows how it feels to have a hot flash because ONCE he got a radioactive dye injection for a CT scan, and he understood how it felt. I looked at him and gaped, "ONCE? Try 20 times a day and night for ten years!!!!" I don't think he ever said that again, at least, not in my presence.
I'm reading an article in this month's AARP magazine. The title is "It's My Menopause, Darn It!" by Sandra Tsing Loh. I loved the statement by one woman who said, "If anyone tells you menopause is easy, punch them in the mouth!"
I have tried hormones, St. John's wort, evening primrose oil, soy, yoga, macrobiotics, low carb, etc. Nothing has alleviated the hot flashes. So now I just carry this nifty fan that my friend gave me. I carry that fan EVERYWHERE. Otherwise, I will be scrambling for a piece of paper to fan myself. Someone offered to fold the paper into a nice, little fan - I grabbed that piece of paper so fast - there just isn't time to wait when you're in the middle of a hot flash. Give me that paper NOW! As I'm sitting at my computer typing this, I have the fan overhead blowing at maximum speed. This fan also has an extra long cord, so I don't even have to stand up to pull the cord. I don't know why I didn't think of that years ago....