One of my many night time ails is difficult to describe. We all know that the thesaurus is a girl’s best friend, however when describing this condition, I can hardly think of one accurate descriptor, let alone a synonym. Nevertheless, I’ll attempt to illustrate the symptoms and you start guessing what it is.
Clue # 1: It is very strange. You might picture a circular UFO, emitting a phosphorescent stream of particles, beaming me up, or perhaps you envision me getting probed by an extra terrestrial.
Clue # 2: It comes in the form of an itch. You could be thinking the problem is bed bugs. You imagine these tiny, flattened, brown, segmented parasites feasting on me as I sleep. (Sidebar: Did you know that bed bugs are on the rise? They are becoming resistant to our pesticides, and are growing in number, at an alarming rate. We are no longer able to effectively kill these suckers. They are multiplying like crazy and chomping on people’s exposed bits at hotels, nationwide. It is actually becoming a huge problem. I’m not making this up.) Perhaps you think that last example was extreme and were really guessing the problem was eczema, since that makes people itchy, too. You picture me scratching at rough patches of red skin, my fingernails scraping loudly across crusty bumps. My chunks of skin served to dust mites on a cotton platter. Or, you might be thinking dry scalp. You wonder if they gray you see in my hair is actually dandruff, and not ….age.
Clue # 3: The itch is located exclusively waist down. You might guess athlete’s foot, my toes an array of colors, my feet a fungal disaster, smelling like moldy cheese and Tinactin. Or perhaps, since I am a girl, you think it could be a yeast infection and imagine curdled, moist, panties with the scent of baked bread. Boys can get yeast infections too, you know.
Clue # 4: It comes in the form of a twitch. You might be worried about me and now think I have seizures. You imagine me biting down on a stick to prevent me from swallowing my own tongue (This perpetuates a myth, by the way. If someone is having a seizure, do not stick something into their mouth! They can’t actually swallow their own tongue, but they could choke on the stick). You might be getting really worried and think I am now disclosing one of my secrets from my last post, which is that I have a horribly unkind, lethal, neuromuscular disorder. You might think I’m a goner and may already be thinking of me in the past tense. Here is a test: Are you describing me as passionate, endearing, advocate, or an opinionated, judgmental, loudmouth? One of those descriptions would be accurate, and the other would be used in my eulogy. You could wonder if I have contracted The Dancing Plague, the delightful-sounding disorder that causes people to dance for days or weeks on end, eventually causing them to collapse in a heap and die from exhaustion. After hearing your wild conjectures, I’m thinking that perhaps the word twitch is leading you astray.
Clue # 5: It is definitely an ache. Ah, you are back in known territory. You think I have a bruise, from running into coffee tables or chairs, or even walls. Because I do those things. Or, maybe you wonder if I have simply strained a muscle, picturing my out-of-shape ass attempting a work out (I did actually pull a muscle doing a hurkey yesterday – ask L.R. in B Hall). You could possibly presume it is tendonitis, resulting from some sort of repetitive motion.
Clue # 6: It’s my legs.
Ah ha! Ding ding ding! You figure it out. Restless leg syndrome! I was starting to wonder if you would ever get it. On many nights, the moment I lie down, I can feel my legs get antsy. It is strange because up until I lie down they aren’t really too antsy at all. But, once I’m horizontal, they NEED to move, it is not an option. They get twitchy. The longer I lie (lay?) there, the worse it gets. The itch I referred to earlier is an odd one, since it isn’t on the outside of my skin, it is buried far below the surface. Muscle deep. Bone deep. They ache so badly it hurts. I have experimented with a few remedies.
The first countermeasure is getting up and walking around. This helps quite a bit, actually. One problem with this method is the fact that I am blind without my contacts, so I often run into things like doors, doorframes and my cat. Perhaps the more critical problem is that I am unable to sleep whilst walking around (unlike a friend of mine who sleepwalks nightly, more on her later). The walking helps, until I get back into bed, at which point the legs start screaming at me again. So I get back up. Sometimes this is a process that begins when I go to sleep, and continues for hours, and other times I will fall asleep, and then these legs of mine will wake me up, on fire. Another semi-useful remedy is to repeatedly flex my quads as hard as I can, hold them there as long as possible, and then release. I do this in an attempt to wear out my legs. It doesn’t work that well, but I get a brief reprieve while flexing. A third remedy I have tried involves slathering my legs with Flexall 454. This is most effective immediately after a shower. (If you thinking you might try this remedy, just be careful during application as there are sensitive bits located near your thighs). I have also tried an herbal pill, which tastes sweet and dissolves quickly when placed under the tongue. I am 90% sure it is made solely of sugar, so I refuse to look at the ingredient list. I understand the placebo effect and sometimes the little pill works. No matter the remedy used, eventually I fall asleep, but just like my legs, my slumber is restless.
A remedy I have not yet tried, but have fantasized about for years involves a unique bed furnishing. I have seriously contemplated constructing this contraption for my bed. I know what you are thinking, and no, it is not a sex swing or some type of kinky bed-sex furniture. What I have envisioned is a stationary bed-bike. So, when I am laying on my back, legs refusing to let me sleep, I could go to the side of the bed, where my bed-bike is attached, by a hinge. When not in use, the hinge allows it to fold down, on the side or under the bed. When needed, I simply flip the bed-bike up, and I am able to use it, while positioned on my back, horizontally in bed. I know, it’s definitely not the sexy bedroom accessory a husband may dream about, but at this point I am pacing like a zombie and smell like an arthritic anyway.
Since reading with my light on, or moving my leg or foot back and forth keeps my husband awake, I’m guessing the whirring noise of pedals circling and the bed shaking wouldn’t be very welcome. Perhaps I should check into this bed and breakfast?