It’s nothing. Really. They just look blue. No, I’m not partially a smurf. No, I’m not dying…I’ve said all of those excuses and then some.
My lips go blue and it happens on a daily basis. My fingertips also change colour. They go white and my toes go numb. Before you start to think I’m a chameleon, let me tell you I’m as human as the next goof.
I’ve lived with the strange ability to have icy extremities all my life. My husband suffers from always being too hot, so I just place my frozen digits on his forehead and he groans in relief–though he seems to hate it when I thaw out my feet under his legs in bed. Still, I live in Canada. It’s a cold country. I simply feel it more than others. Lips go blue when you’re cold. Right?
As it turns out, the people I work with find blue lips fascinating. My job is such that I’m in front of a group on a daily basis. Since I’m presenting information and it’s fairly convoluted, my audience immediately finds ways to dissociate and pay attention to the most mundane things. For example, my lips and their colour. I get every sort of comment, from “Your lips are blue,” to the more sophisticated, “Are you going to die?” Finally, last June, I decided to go to the doctor.
My GP is a lovely man who seems unable to make a single diagnosis on his own. (Note to self: in the next life, become a doctor). He listened to my symptoms with a bored expression, took my blood pressure and promptly referred me to a specialist.
The specialist eyed me with mistrust and even asked my husband to confirm that my lips did indeed go blue. When he attested to having witnessed the miracle in person, she pointed out that I was very thin. When I told her this has happened for years no matter what I weighed, she finally acquiesced and sent me to do some tests.
The tests were exhausting. I won’t bore you with the details. Suffice it to say they took months and I cursed every time I had to do one. Still, the verdict came today.
Turns out I have…Reynaud’s phenomenon. It’s basically very sensitive capillaries that close up when they’re upset, or cold or nervous or happy or any time they feel like it. It’s nothing to worry about, which is great news, but it’s also nothing you can change.
So, good news, I’m not going to die. My hands will keep turning white and my lips blue but, according to my wise specialist, that’s not important. What is important is the torso. That baby needs to stay heated. The appendages can go fend for themselves. Who cares if I lose a digit? I just have to keep my core warm and the key to doing that is to wear a scarf. That’s right. A scarf. Months of testing and she tells me to accessorize.
A scarf…hm. Seems I’ve had issues with this exact item of clothing in the past…Oh, yes! I remember!