Wednesday, June 6, 2012

You're hot and you're cold

My BMI is currently at a new low of 18 (normal is 20 to 25), which means I don't have much fat padding my arms anymore. (Must be all that damn fast food, eh?) It's not such a bad thing with summer approaching, but it means I am always freezing.

I came into a meeting this morning and I noticed the A/C was on. I was wearing a sweater (I always wear a sweater), but the sleeves were only 3/4 length, and my arms below that point where covered in goosebumps. I was really freezing, teeth chattering, hugging chest for warmth... you get the idea. Finally, I couldn't stand it anymore, so I went over and shut the A/C off. I still was cold, but not painfully so.

About five minutes later, a social worker came in and said, "Oh my god, this room is like an oven." She then cranked up the A/C again to full power.

It seems odd to me that one person could say a room is like an oven while I could be shivering and covered in goosebumps. The social worker says I'll get it when I go into menopause.

In that situation, who should get preference? I say the cold person should! It's more painful to be cold than hot, in my opinion.

52 comments:

  1. Cold people can put on more clothes.

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    1. Not if you're stuck in a meeting and can't leave. And I don't think it's possible/appropriate for me to be walking around the hospital with two sweaters and a scarf draped on my arm. And it's certainly not appropriate for me to be wearing a coat during a meeting.

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    2. Um, also more clothes isn't always much of a relief. It can take too long to get warm, and then there are too many clothes to take off and sweat when you finally do.

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  2. I can totally identify with this. I kept an actually warm sweater at my desk because of this. Downside: nobody ever got to see my cute tops. Upside: It therefore didn't matter if I owned any cute tops.

    So, I figure if I'm wearing the sweater and am STILL cold (unsurprisingly, this was not uncommon), then the heat could be turned up. This in particular is a certain somebody had turned the heat down to 55. I'm sorry but 55 is not an ok inside temperature even if you're going through menopause.

    If you're not wearing a sweater, then the heat can still be turned down.

    None of these things apply if you are the low person on the totem pole. Even if it's the hallway you sit in, and the menopausal lady has her own office, but just doesn't want to be cold on her walk to the bathroom.

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  3. I can understand that it can be painful to be cold, but it is equally, if not more, painful to be hot. In a professional setting, the person who is hot is constantly embarrassed to be seen as a sweaty mess. The person who is cold can put on an extra sweater.

    I've struggled with excessive sweating since being a teenager (I'm in my 30s) - I do NOT look forward to menopause.

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    1. When I get cold, my fingers vasoconstrict, and it is physically painful for me to work at a computer. At a certain point, I actually become unable to use my hands because of the pain. So.... my pain trumps your pit sweat. Sorry.

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    2. Also, one sweater -- fine. But what about if you're so cold you need to wear a coat and a hat and gloves. Where do you draw the line?

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    3. I think we have the same problems, OMDG.
      I can't even focus when I'm cold. All I can do is think about how cold I am.

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  4. I'm with you Fizzy. It stinks being so cold at work that shivering has kicked in to raise your body temp. It is physically more exhausting as well. When you get cold, your muscles all contract and raise the hairs on your arms, move the blood back from your skin's surface to protect your organs, start shivering...you are using up all your energy to stay warm. What does being hot do...open up a few sweat glands?

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  5. I'd totally prefer to be cold than hot.

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  6. I'd think that some of it also has to do with extenuating circumstances- if anyone is ill, or has a tendency to pass out, or has a big meeting in 20 minutes, those factors might add weight to one side or the other of the equation.

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  7. If you're cold you can always put on more clothes, as Chris stated earlier. If you're hot, there's only so much you can take off.

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  8. I was always cold until I hit menopause. Then I cycled through being cold and then hot and sweaty. I refuse to let my discomfort make other people uncomfortable. So I've learned to layer. I can remove 2 layers and put them back on in a 10 minute cycle.

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  9. Any chance there is an uneven temperature gradient where you work? I remember working at a clinic that had some rooms that were connected to the AC, and others that weren't. During the summer, you'd walk out of one room cold and from another in a sweat. Then again, it was a free clinic...

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  10. I hope then that your sense of smell is quite muted, as the people who are generally hot don't exactly always smell like roses (and it is far more embarrassing and uncomfortable for them).

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  11. As others have mentioned, cold people can put on more clothing. There's only so much a warm person can take off in public.

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    1. I think it's more reasonable to wear a sleeveless shirt in a meeting than a coat and hat.

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    2. An individual that is overheated, menopausal, internally combustable, whatever is not going to be comforted by a "sleeveless shirt". Never thought I'd say this, I was a "coldie" but wait till you get to menopause, crank DOWN that thermostat.....yikes!

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  12. have you looked at the actual temperature reading? Most people should be comfortable between 68 & 75. If it is much below 68, you certainly have a legit complaint! A bonus -- 75 for AC and 68 for heat are generally considered good for energy savings. Beyond that, layers. I recently lost a LOT of weight and had not realized how much insulation that provided until it was gone. I am always freezing now (and my husband likes the house 60 degrees in the winter -- tough luck buddy)

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    1. I agree with you. Look at the actual temp. If you're hot/cold between 68-75 tough luck.

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    2. You high tech people with your thermostats. We have an a/c with an unmarked dial. If you turn the dial one way, it blasts cold air. If you turn it the other way, it doesn't.

      I've always been cold (I've heard women are usually colder than men), but since losing weight, I think it's gotten worse. I expect I'll be this way till menopause though, regardless of weight.

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  13. I won't even get into a swimming pool unless the water is above 85 and it's over 90 outside. If it's under 70 outside and I'm in my car, I crank the heat. I hear ya, Fizz.

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  14. I totally shut down if it's too hot and I get hot easily. If the temp is too hot, I won't be able to pay attention. I doubt that it is considered businesslike to bring a small fan!

    Still, I think there should be a happy medium possible. At my office, we have the all or nothing crowd, too. If it's cold turn the heat all the way up. If it's hot, turn the AC all the way up. It was rude of her to turn it up without checking to see if anyone else was hot. Put the temperature somewhere in the middle so no one has to deal with extremes.

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    1. Lots of people use fans where I've worked in the past! I've never heard anyone say anything bad about it. Maybe it's different where you work...

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  15. I disagree 100%. When I get hot flashes like that I just want to hide in a freezer. When I'm really cold (and I get cold a lot also) it sucks but I don't hate it near as much as being hot. When I'm hot I just turn into nothing, I don't even want to move or think.

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  16. Just wait until you are the one that is hot, lol

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  17. Yeah being hot is always worse than being cold. A sleeveless shirt may look ok but with hardcore pit stains and a soaked back? Not really.

    Go ahead and put on that coat. No one will care, since at least they won't have to smell your sweat.

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  18. I am either really cold (and it's painfully uncomfortable) or really hot (causing vomiting, increase in HR, BP, etc.)! The irony is that no matter how hot I am (which is rare) my hands are always FREEZING COLD! I am an anomaly, I think (I have often wondered if this is indicative of something medical)? In your situation, Fizzy, there's no way to make everyone happy so everyone should do their best to layer when they know they are going to be in situations where the temperature could be an issue. I live in an apartment where I have no control over my heat in the winter and in the summer I can set me window units on HIGH or LOW! The law in my county/town is 68 during the day and 65 at night. In the winter it's between 52-60; sometimes colder but NEVER warmer! I use a digital thermometer in the two main rooms (bedroom, and family area) and track the temperature during the day and after 8:00 PM. This will be the year I report my landlord. I sleep in long underwear, sweat pants, multiple pairs of socks, a long underwear shirt, t-shirt, and sweat shirt. Over that a VERY HEAVY bathrobe! And don't forget BOTH mittens AND gloves! I sleep under no less than eight blankets; one being the heaviest down one that I could find (it was MEGA expensive). And on some nights, I even sleep with a hat on! I think worse than temperature, though, is people that wear too much perfume, body lotions/sprays, aftershave/cologne, hair spray, etc.! I think it should NOT be allowed in doctor's offices, hospitals, and schools. If your not a migraine sufferer and/or asthmatic, you may think I am overreacting but someone who baths in Love's Baby Soft and sits next to me, has ruined my day before it even starts. JMO!

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  19. I've been known to fall asleep in meetings/classrooms when the room is too warm. The occasional passing out during a presentation or the awkward sweating I could put up with to a point, but the random narcolepsy just makes me feel rude! But hey, if you want to turn off the AC and don't mind if I just close my eyes for a second here...

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  20. What makes me miserable are the people who refuse to understand how a thermostat works.

    It starts out set at 75. If a sane person were a little bit warm, they would maybe turn it down to 72. But that's never what happens. Instead, someone cranks it all the way down to 60. Then someone else gets cold, and so they turn the thermostat all the way up to 90. Of course that makes other people warm, so they change it back all the way down, and the war goes on forever.

    I'm usually comfortable in a wide range of temperature, but that constant oscillation drives me batty.

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  21. With cold, one can always layer up. When it gets warm, DE-layering is harder

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  22. i am the type who is always cold, but i would still rather be slightly cold rather than hot, because i also get hot easily and start sweating ridiculous amounts when i'm hot. it really sucks having such a narrow range of comfortable temperatures...

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  23. i am soooo jealous of you, Dr. Fizzy. How in the world do you stay so thin? Is it natural???????

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    1. This was actually a source of discord on Mothers in Medicine, when I was told that I was an unhealthy weight and I shouldn't advertise it like it's a good thing.

      I'm breastfeeding right now, and while I know this isn't true of everyone, a lot of women lose weight while breastfeeding. I've always been thin, but more importantly, any illness causes me to lose weight. If I have a cold (common with two kids in daycare), feel depressed, stressed out, etc, the first thing that goes is my appetite. And I find it really hard to keep up with the caloric requirements of breastfeeding. There have been nights when I haven't felt like eating and I had to force myself to choke down a meal just so I wouldn't waste away to nothing. I'm weaning now, so I expect I'll soon get back up to a "healthier" weight, which will satisfy the readers on MiM.

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    2. Oh, okay. i didn't mean to sound rude or mean. i'm sorry that you get sick and find it hard to eat. Hope you feel better soon!

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  24. My office is always cold. That is how I like it. We actually have a lock on our thermostat due to temperature wars.

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  25. There are only so many clothes one can take off in public before being arrested.

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    1. There are also only so many hats and coats you can wear in an indoor meeting without looking like a total nut job.

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    2. I think being arrested trumps looking like nut job. And yeah I'm usually the cold one.

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  26. Within a reasonable range, the cold person needs to layer up rather than leaving a dressed-appropriately person sweaty and stinky for the rest of the day. Your BMI is in the range where even Medicare considers it to be a complicating condition, even if you're admitted for something unrelated. So I'd say if the room temp is actually 67 or higher, it's kinda your problem more than other peoples. OK to ask if anyone minds it warmer, ok to steal from the blanket warmer, but not OK to make others roast. Thermometers can be bought for under $5 to check.

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    1. OK, so if an overweight person with a BMI of 27 says they're hot, we're allowed to ignore them because they're not in the normal range? Good to know.

      In general, I'm totally comfortable on the ward. It's just in this one conference room where we have the temperature issue, so I don't think my standards are outlandish. And it's not even the temperature so much as cold air blowing directly on me.

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  27. I'm amazed that it made a difference. It always seems to me that thermostats are mostly fake anyways!

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  28. You have a physical issue that makes you cold. I'm overweight- I've never asked others to be cold for MY comfort- if room is a normal temp, I deal with my issue my own self. Where all can be accommodated with consideration, awesome. But if there is no magic number that works for all, why should anyone else look, smell, or feel awkward because of your condition? Yes, you should be the one looking funny in hats and coats before the majority feel uncomfortably warm- because you are the outlyer. Your house- different story. Workplace? Not just about you.

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  29. The weight/low BMI thing AGAIN!! You simply can't get enough of proudly stating this repeatedly can you? It seriously makes anything you add after it invalid so why ruin your post? Although you refuse to admit it, you ARE promoting extremely lean and unhealthy weight and body images. Think of your daughters, what if they aren't as "lucky" as you when it comes to their weight? Wasn't this JUST talked about on MiM? Do you just not get it or do you just not care? Do you like gloating and possibly making others feel not up to par? You should really be more responsible with your content.

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    1. Wow, you have a massive chip on your shoulder. Even though I said that my weight causes me to be uncomfortably cold and I mentioned in the comments that I have to force myself to choke down food to keep from being malnourished, somehow I'm still bragging.

      If I said that my breasts were so big that I had crippling back pain, would you scream at me for bragging about having big breasts? If you mention anything about yourself that someone could construe as positive, are you necessarily bragging?

      Your comment says more about you than it does about me.

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    2. Yay, Dr. Fizzy! While i did mention that i am jealous of you, i definately would not go this far or (hopefully) not be rude. As you said, you already explained your reasons for being thin.

      Seems like these kind of tirades always come fron Anon's, doesn't it?

      Best, tracy

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    3. Thank you, Tracy.

      I made a post on Mothers in Medicine about a year of breastfeeding and pumping, about how I've sacrificed my time and energy as a working mom, all of the good of my baby. And when I mention that I've lost weight as a result, making a joke about being able to eat whatever I want, I get chastised. It's sad that instead of being applauded for sacrificing my body for my baby, several people seized on a single sentence about my weight and used it to call me a bad person.

      It certainly says something about our society and the value we place on body image that I can't even casually mention my weight as way of explaining why I'm so cold without getting attacked.

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    4. Also, Anon, you asked if I learned anything from this and I absolutely did. I learned that some women are fucking insane about weight. Thanks for teaching me that.

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  30. A lot of haters out there...makes me wonder why anyone takes the time out of her obviously crazy busy schedule to write an entertaining blog. Obviously, some people don't deserve to read it. Sign out. Now.

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  31. Urgh... a lot of your readers comments made me so damn cranky. FREAK! Anything below 20 degrees (60) is BLOODY RIDICULOUS! No one should be able to touch the thermostat. I don't think anyone should be dictating who should be wearing more or less clothing. It should be set at an appropriate temperature. A happy medium, that way if you're still cold you can wear a bit more and if it's too hot for the crazies they can shed a layer.

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  32. i have worn a wool coat to rounds....

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