It all started with a sleep shirt.
After I pulled it out of the gift bag handed to me by a friend on my birthday, I held it up to my body just as my friend grabbed my arm and whispered, “This one item of clothing will literally change your life.” Bedazzled with illustrations of the seven dwarfs of menopause—Bitchy, Itchy, Sweaty, Bloaty, Sleepy, Forgetful, and Psycho (originally named by actress and author Suzanne Somers)—the shirt apparently held some sort of touted ability to wick away gallons of perspiration in the middle of the night.
“It’s a miracle … again!” I joked as I tucked the shirt back into the bag. I had reason to be a little leery. For the past ten years, I’ve perspired more in the middle of the night than my friend in junior high who had to stuff toilet paper under her arms whenever her crush walked into the classroom. I’ve tried powder, herbal treatments, and cold compresses to no avail. I’ve had more fans on me than Justin Bieber. My husband has resorted to sleeping in a raincoat which unfortunately caused me to begin having vivid nightmares I was having an affair with Columbo. Whether I like it or not, my reality is this: Every night when the sky darkens and the moon rises, I become a hot mess.
“Seriously,” my friend whispered again in my ear, “Trust me. Just wear the shirt tonight to bed and see what happens.” As she walked away, I couldn’t help but wonder if she was trying to caution me that those seven menopausal dwarfs would be coming to life later that night in my bedroom. If that was the case, God help them. They would surely drown in all that sweat.
Call me Pollyanna, but later that evening as my husband changed into his raincoat, I slipped into the sleep shirt and crawled between the sheets. My husband inched in next to me. His hair blew in the sixty-mile-per-hour wind gusts generously provided by the ceiling fan and two box fans strategically placed on either side of the bed. “Warm enough?” I asked as I gently pushed his jaws together to stop his teeth from chattering so loud. He nodded as he pulled the covers up under his chin.
The seven dwarfs moved up and down on my chest with my every breath. Slowly, my eyes grew heavy. The next thing I knew, it was morning. I opened one eye. I opened the other eye. I was relieved I hadn’t been carried off by the seven dwarfs in the middle of the night to live with the wicked queen. But seconds later, I realized something else had happened that was much more exciting.
“It’s a miracle!” I shouted.
My husband shot out of bed, nearly ripping his raincoat in the process. “You scared the bejesus out of me!” he exclaimed as he shakily put on his glasses, adjusted his raincoat, and stared at me.
“Look!” I announced as I hopped up and gestured alongside my body like a Price is Right game show model. “I am not sweaty!”
I don’t know who was happier that morning, my husband or me, but I do know that occasionally in the very scary world of menopause, miracles really do happen. Thanks to my new shirt, Sleepy and Sweaty have moved on to new opportunities. Better yet, my husband is finally able to sleep through the night without being awakened by me deliriously muttering, “Columbo, hurry up and take off that raincoat. My husband will be home soon.”
Now if I can only figure out how to get rid of the other five dwarfs.
By Vicky DeCoster, All Rights Reserved