My wife has brought some wonderful things to our relationship over the years. Restless Leg Syndrome is not, however, one of them.
The woman can’t sit still. Her legs are constantly in spasm, and she claims that when the syndrome acts up, she gets anxious and ‘antsy’. I don’t really notice it, except at nighttime.
She has her routine, designed to help her fall asleep. Lay down, and then toss and turn for 1-2 hours, until she passes out from the exhaustion from all of the exercise she has just participated in. I lay awake, and watch this, amused by her supine callisthenics, and at the same time, worried about just how the hell I will be able to wake up in the morning, and head off to work.
She cannot keep her legs still. Prior to her diagnosis, we simply referred to it as ‘crazy legs’. She moves them all across the bed, left to right, up and down, to the point where we have had to replace several fitted sheets due to the holes she has dug through them. I have suggested that she use this skill to dig for buried treasure, or perhaps diamond mining, but she finds little humor in it. She has been prescribed assorted medications for the problem, but nothing seems to alleviate the ever moving legs.
She kicks blankets off of the bed, swings her legs like a Vegas chorus girl, and gets in and out of bed several times throughout the night, pacing the house, trying to get her legs to be less restless. On one occasion, and only one, as she was walking around the bedroom at 2 in the morning, I started singing ‘The Hokey Pokey’, thinking that this would be a practical use of this dreaded disorder. My wife failed to see the humor in it. She did not find my suggestion to tie pieces of cloth onto the bottom of her feet, and get the floor moped when she was wandering around the house humorous either. She is a hard woman to please.
I understand how upsetting it is for her, to not be able to sleep, to not be able to just relax, without the appearance of ‘crazy legs’, that seem impossible to control.
But I have always been more solution focused, and believe that every cloud has a silver lining. I have told her that I think she could be very successful on ‘Dancing With The Stars’, as her sense of rhythm is beyond reproach. Alternately, she could join the chorus line of any reproduction of ‘Riverdance’. She is that good. In the meanwhile, as she sorts out her aspirations, and future of her restless legs, I continue to lay in the bed and coach her.
“Okay, honey.”, I say, “You need to try something different.”
“Like what?”, she asks.
“Try standing up.”, I advise her.
“What for?”, she wants to know.
“Trust me.”, I tell her. “Stand up.” She does and I tell her to move to the foot of the bed, as there is more room. She complies.
“Okay.”, I add, “Now, put your feet together.”
“I can’t stand like this much longer.”, she barks.
“You won’t have to.”, I tell her. “Now, put your left foot in.” As she starts to comply, she realizes what I have tried to get her to do. If I was not as agile as I am, one of the numerous projectiles that she launched at my head, would have knocked me out cold.
“I’m sorry.”, I told her. “I couldn’t resist.”
“You’re such an ass.”, she informed me.
“Not really.”, I said. As I massaged her legs, she fell asleep, while I stayed awake for the rest of the night, trying to figure out how I could get her to do ‘The Time Warp’.