So the thing about yesterday (er, wait, I’m all screwed up now… technically it’s now Wednesday… but I’m talking about Monday) is that I have become one of “those women” of a “certain age.” And you know, I’m not even 35 yet. This is a sad, sad thing.
I fully expected to be well into the twilight years before my body started betraying me with diffuse and bizarre complaints that were more sort of interpretive than actual medical syndromes. While I have often thought it must be sort of entertaining to actually be able to say “I do declare, I believe I have the vapors,” I’m just not digging this new development.
And that, my friends, is this: I can’t take the heat.
I know. I know. And yes, yes—don’t even say it. I got out of the kitchen. BA DUM BUM.
And yet, here I am, a DELICATE FLOWER, stuck in summer and having all kinds of epiphanies spurred on by heat exhaustion. Lucky me.
So, hey, do you remember last year, about this time, when I was Having Issues, and, um, I was certifiably insane? No? Me either. The meds have wiped out most of that timeframe.
Hahahaha! Stop looking at me!
No, seriously. Remember how I was having panic attacks? All of these awful stressful things were happening, and I was pretty much responding by freaking right the hell out, and I started having panic attacks. And at the time, you know, life pretty much sucked, so I didn’t think too much about it. I mean, yes, I thought “this sucks,” but I didn’t think much MORE about it.
Well, now, life is going pretty well. But darned if I’m not having some of those old anxiety issues again. And I couldn’t figure out WHY. Until yesterday, when I made myself completely miserable.
After my triumphant morning training walk, I came home cruising the adrenaline high and had a nice shower and felt great. For about an hour. I went to my friends’ party and stood out on the porch for a few minutes and realized that I was either
A) having a panic attack
I couldn’t think of any reason why I would be panicking, as it was a beautiful day and I was feeling relaxed up until the imminent death feeling took over.
I could be sick, I supposed, although that would be… weird. It came on pretty quickly. But I certainly didn’t feel WELL, so sick was a possibility.
But for the most part, dying seemed like the best bet. I just felt dizzy and nauseous and headachey and discombobulated and horrible. Which is so not how you want to feel at a party unless you’ve been drinking a lot and there was some dancing on tables preceding this feeling, I think.
Anyway, I went back inside the nice cool house for a while, and then later I actually went upstairs and laid down for about half an hour (woo! invite me to your parties! I will take a nap!), and I got through the afternoon in spite of feeling crappy. But last night I pretty much collapsed and even for most of today I just didn’t feel like myself.
And all of that was the final confirmation of what I’ve been suspecting for a couple of months, now: Ever since my hysterectomy, I am extremely prone to heat exhaustion. Weather that used to make me happy now makes me ill. Instead of soaking up the sun and bitching about how much I hate the endless winter (which has been my schtick for years), a few hours in the heat renders me sick and cranky.
I went back over my training walk, mentally, with a fine-toothed comb. Had I had enough to drink? Were my electrolytes replenished? I couldn’t find fault with anything I’d done, other than that maybe I should’ve drunk a bit more before heading out. But I’d had plenty of water and plenty of sports drink. So that wasn’t it.
Nope, the more I thought about it, the more I started piecing together times of “anxiety” coinciding with being outside in the sun and heat, or on the heels of such an exposure.
Just to illustrate: I spent, what, a MONTH, dealing with a flooded basement? Did I have any anxiety attacks during that time? No. Not a one. (Did I cry about it a lot? Yes. Did my pulse race? No.) But that all happened while it was cold and rainy outside. My point is simply that no one on God’s green earth would’ve FAULTED me for having a panic attack during that time. Everyone would’ve UNDERSTOOD if I had stood up and completely LOST IT once or twice during that process. It was very stressful. But that didn’t happen.
When I feel light-headed and my pulse is racing, I assume I’m freaking out MENTALLY. But it’s entirely possible—heck, I’m going to say LIKELY—that I’m having a physiological response and then misinterpreting it as resulting from an emotional state.
(This is what happens after a lifetime of mental problems. You rush to assume that you’re crazy, rather than otherwise afflicted.)
Having figured this out, I now realize that this is probably just heat intolerance and/or heat exhaustion. I’m curious to see if I’m able to keep it from happening. I can limit my heat exposure, I suppose. Except for that whole walk three days in the blazing sun thing. Whoops. Or I can take greater steps to stay cool while I’m out and about. Like, um… I could carry my own pool around with me…? Not sure, really.
God, I’m old.
Now here’s the part I don’t get: I’m on hormone replacement therapy. Nothing I’ve learned about human anatomy teaches that there is something intrinsic about the uterus necessary for regulating body temperature. So… ummm… what the hell? Do I worry about this? Do I assume it’s just how things are now and deal with it? I’m so confused.
I do declare, I believe I have the vapors. Mercy me.