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RLS and Me

Do you know what RLS is? Would you like to try it?

RLS – restless leg syndrome. It’s a horrible malady I’ve had since I was young. I didn’t know what it was, I just knew one leg wouldn’t hold still. Both legs are affected now, not just one.

In 1960, Jerry and I were driving home after visiting my parents in Indiana, about a five-hour drive. I was pregnant with our first baby. My legs became very restless. I suggested we stop and walk around a little bit to give my legs some exercise. But Jerry was anxious to get home and he didn’t understand my problem. I still remember the restless feelings in my legs. Finally, I begged him to stop and just let me run around the car a few times! It wouldn’t take me long…

As years rolled by, the problem persisted. I tried lying on the floor with my legs propped up on the sofa; I used a battery operated, back vibrator on my legs; I rubbed my legs; I shaved my legs. Sometimes in the middle of the night, I’d get up and take a hot bath! That seemed to work the best!

I heard once that RLS is common in Norwegian people! I don’t know if this is true. My mother was full-blooded Norwegian! I guess that makes me half Norwegian! But I don’t remember my mother complaining of RLS. Two of my sons seem to have the problem.

Then, just a few years ago, on TV, I saw an ad for Requip. A person not able to stop the restless feeling in his/her legs took this medicine and found relief! I saw the ad two or three times before I realized they were talking about my problem! The next time I went to my doctor I told him about this. I hadn’t mentioned my restless legs to him before and he was surprised. He prescribed Requip for me and what a relief! I’ve been taking it now for several years! By the way, my Requip has now been replaced with a generic brand and our insurance covers most of it.

There have been a few times when I’ve traveled and have forgotten to take my pills with me! Oh, how I’ve suffered! One time we were in Chicago visiting our daughter’s family. I forgot to pack my medicine! I remembered Jerry’s, but not mine! I was up, in the night, walking the floor. I was tempted to take a bath but didn’t want to disturb the family by running the water. So I rubbed my legs and walked the floor. Pam got up and saw me. What was I doing? I explained about my legs and lack of medicine. As I was telling about a hot bath, she said, how about her hot water faucet in the kitchen? It’s a separate faucet with almost boiling water! We wet a towel with the hot water and I  quickly wrapped the towel around one leg. It was nearly burning my leg! But oh, the relief I felt! Then we wrapped the other leg!

When I fly anywhere, I end up walking the aisle, back and forth, back and forth. Sitting for such a long time is torture for a person with RLS!

A couple of days ago, an interesting post came on facebook about RLS and tonic water. It said to drink tonic water for relief of RLS! I didn’t even know what tonic water was! But I decided to try it. I bought a big bottle and drank a tall glass that evening. It’s a tingling kind of drink! I took a chance and skipped taking my medicine! Oh my goodness, I had no restlessness all night! Not any!

The next night, again, no pill, just a tall glass of tonic water.

Oh, oh. My legs began to twitch. Then they became so restless, about midnight I went downstairs to drink another glass full. I took my medicine bottle upstairs with me, just in case the restlessness persisted. It did. I finally took a pill to get some relief and some sleep.

So now what? Quit the tonic water? My friends say no. Keep drinking it, give it time to get into my system. Can I take my medicine along with it, for a while? Should I give it time to work before resorting to a pill?

I wonder if any of my readers suffer from RLS? If so, what do you do? Have you had experiences similar to mine?





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