Discovering I Had Hyperhidrosis: Part 1

by Jul 18, 2011Hyperhidrosis1 comment

I can’t remember ever not sweating. As early as 3rd grade was when I became acutely aware that I had wet hands and other kids didn’t. In math class, the teacher would do timed multiplication tests. The first student to stand up from his or her desk was the winner. While I usually won (yes, in my early days I was a math genius), my paper would be smeared, damp, and the edges would curl up. In that same year, we learned cursive writing. Those Big Chief tablets that had red and blue lines on them were never a good match for my hands. The paper simply tore too easily underneath the damp, flat side of my palm. I wouldn’t be surprised if my mom had to buy me pants more often than an average child, since I constantly was wiping my palms on them and wearing out the fabric.

In 5th grade, I finally complained enough to my mom that my hands were always so gross that she took me to the doctor. The term hyperhidrosis was never mentioned, I was prescribed Drysol (a prescription strength antiperspirant), and sent on my merry way to rejoin the P.E. class where, oh joy, we were learning how to square dance. While it was slightly easier to conceal my sweaty hands during this particular unit of P.E., if the teacher caught us pretending to hold hands by osmosis, we had to immediately clasp hands and endure the cooties while we were supervised for the next few minutes. Don’t even ask me about Red Rover. My team always lost because my grip was so easy to break through.

The ways in which I masked my HH were always evolving, as the older and more involved in school I became, more “trigger situations” likely were to arise. I never joined band. How could I hold an instrument? I’d probably ruin it and cause it to rust if it were a brass instrument. So I chose choir where I could more easily blend in with the crowd. The only sport I played was track and field. I ran the 100M & 300M hurdles and the 4x200M relay. With the relay, the baton was long enough that I could grip the very end and not transfer my sweat during the handoff to my teammates. During homecoming and prom, I constantly was worrying about ruining my dress and my wrist corsage. Dress clothes are a trigger for me, so I was most comfortable sitting down so I could hold a dinner napkin or just borrow the tablecloth for a quick mop-up.

And then came college. And the required speech class. (Insert march of death music.)

Copyright © 2011 My Life as a Puddle

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