Restless Legs . . .
Torture by neurotransmitter –

By Patricia Ross: For Complete Post, Click Here…

I have been plagued by RLS (Restless Leg Syndrome) for years now, sometimes dealt with by having some warm milk, walking around my apartment for a couple of hours, or more recently, by medication. Restless leg syndrome reminds me of the story of the Flying Dutchman in which a legendary ghost ship was said to never be able to make port, doomed to sail the oceans forever. Or the story of Dante’s adulterous Paolo and Francesca who are doomed to be in the fifth circle of the lustful in Dante’s Inferno. After being killed by Francesca’s jealous husband, Paolo’s brother, they get to be together forever but entwined in a tortuous embrace in Hell.

In any event, I have been prescribed a medication which is quite helpful, a medication that is a dopamine agonist also used for Parkinson’s Disease. The downside of this med is that it can be (and is) sedating, so it takes me some time to get with it the next morning. However the importance of taking this medication was brought home to me recently when I went out-of-town for two nights. Well, two nights ended up being one because I had forgotten the medication at home. The result was not sleeping even one minute of the first night. Getting up, lying down, getting up . . . almost falling asleep while standing, but then running the risk of toppling over. Lying down . . . drifting, drifting, then jerk . . . legs move involuntarily and I’m awake.

I decided that I could not go through another night of this torture. I drove home in spite of having been up for 36 hours, the restless legs guaranteeing that I would not (could not) fall asleep at the wheel. The drive was only a little over an hour, but I had to stop twice to get out of the car to walk around and alleviate the unbearable twitching of my legs, something like a cross between scratching on a blackboard and chewing on foil.

I made it home, took the medication, turned on the TV and woke up after 13 hours with the dental floss and remote in my hand. The lesson learned: keep extra medications in the car at all times, not only for when you forget, but for evacuations, emergencies and peace of mind.

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