The title is true. I am indeed a sweater.
I’m not made of cotton, wool, cashmere, mohair or any other type of wearable fabric. I am technically neither long-sleeved nor short-sleeved, not even sleeveless. My neck is not shaped into a V, nor is it a turtleneck, mock turtleneck, scooped or rounded in design. I am not a cardigan. In fact, you cannot wear me in any way.
And yet, I am indeed a sweater. As far back as I can remember, there have been times I was a sweater, but there were also times I was not a sweater. About 15 years ago, the transition began to make me a full-time sweater, and in 5 years, the transition started moving faster. Since then, it’s been moving at a rapid rate, and by the summer of 2021, there was no denying that I would spend the rest of my life being a sweater.
Okay, if you haven’t guessed it by now, my perspiration rates are on steroids. I can remember, back even to high school and gym class that I would begin to sweat as soon as I began physical activity. But to me, it wasn’t an issue, nor was I the only one working up a sweat. And yes, living in an area that has high humidity in the summer, it didn’t take me long to start sweating after being outside.
I remember, at the age of 45, that I was walking across a parking lot to go into a building for a sales call. It was a sunny day, I think late September, and I was dressed in business proper. The walk was a bit uphill and had a few steps between levels, and by the time I got up the steps to the last level, less than 20 steps to the entrance, I was soaked. My face was sweating, the back of my neck was sweating, the entire back of my blouse was stuck to me with the sweat. We’re not talking make a few dabs with a tissue and you’ll be fine – it was more like I’d just gotten out of the shower and didn’t bother to towel off before dressing and arriving there. Fortunately, I’d arrived early enough before my appointment to be able to whisk off to a restroom first. I had to use toilet paper to wipe the sweat from my face and neck because they only had the hand dryers that used forced air. And even though that air tended to be warm, I managed to scrunch my body up enough to get most of my back under it to help dry my shirt. My face was flushed, but I couldn’t do anything about that.
I won’t go into detail on how the sweating episodes increased over time. About 10 years ago, after repeatedly mentioning this to my PCP, she finally decided to look into it. I was sent to a kidney specialist since excess sweating is often a sign of a kidney problem. Nope, my kidneys were perfectly healthy after several tests and x-rays. The doctor there then told me that she could send me to a neurologist to see if there was anything in the nerve system to cause the symptom, of she could just go ahead and prescribe what a neurologist would prescribe either way. Apparently, the only drug available was to help the symptoms. I took the prescription but there wasn’t much change after 30 days, so she increased the amount. That helped a little bit – it didn’t stop me from easily sweating, but it did help with the high excess of sweat that was being released.
Fast forward 5 years, and I’m still taking the medicine, even though I’d moved from the area I was living and had to find a new medical practice. Since I was already on a variety of medications, they initially just continued me on what I was already taking. After a couple of years, I asked to be taken off the prescription for the sweating issue, as it was clearly no longer working. I was back to sweating excessively again.
So I lived with it. I started having sweating episodes for no reason at all. I could be sitting in an air-conditioned room and just randomly break out in a sweat once or twice a day a couple of days per week. They would last 5 to 10 minutes and then be gone as quickly as they arrived. This summer, I rearranged furniture in my living room to be able to add a table and bring my laptop out from an un-air-conditioned room. But still, whenever I wasn’t sitting directly in front of the air flow from the window air conditioner, and though I had a clock that told me time, temperature and humidity in that room (humidity was high but temperature was usually at 70), I’d start breaking out in sweats multiple times, almost every day, with episodes that could last up to a half-hour.
My new PCP (if you’ve followed my blog, you know I had issues with the previous one) clearly heard me and made a notation that this was something that needed to be looked at, but there were some other issues that were higher priority so it’s currently on a back burner, so to speak. Meanwhile, I can be sitting directly in front of a fan (I am right now, on its highest speed!), and although it hits my face directly enough to keep it dry, the hair at the back of my neck is damp with sweat. and I can feel a small amount of sweat in the creases of my arms and knees.
So, I spent the summer staying indoors because of the heat and humidity. And normally, I would be spending the winter indoors because of the bitter cold. However, more evenings than not, I open the front door and go outside and stand on the porch – no coat of any kind – to try and cool off my body, or at least dry up the sweat. I can stand out there, even in temperatures less than freezing, for many, many minutes without ever feeling cold.
I wonder if this is God sending me a message about what to expect in hell if I don’t mend my ways? All I know is this: