Thursday, July 23, 2009

Leg Cramps From Hell

Up until a few weeks ago I had never experienced a charlie horse leg cramp. My only experience with them was the occasional time when I was little and my dad would get one in his hamstring. He would grab at it like something had taken control of his leg and hobble around miserably trying to unleash the death grip it had on him. To me, a kid with no experience what-so-ever with cramps, the sight was kinda funny.
Then it happened to me.
The first time was a couple of weeks ago and it was the middle of the night. I obviously stretched in my sleep triggering the most excruciating pain I have ever felt! My calf snapped into a ball I swear the size of a golf ball right under the back of my knee and my toes were uselessly pointed directly downwards. I shot straight up in bed shrieking in agony and tried (fruitlessly) to pull my toes towards me to somehow counteract the muscle spasm. The dog went mad (why was I screaming like this in the middle of the night?)...and we were both up trying to walk it off.
Then, after a particularly hot day last week and hours of laboring outside with (admittedly) not enough fluid intake it happened again!! Again, 2am, snapped awake shrieking from a dead sleep with a calf the hurt like hell and toes that would only point straight down. Lying on my side, I tried in vain to grasp at the ball of my foot to pull my toes upwards again but due to my ever-expanding front side was totally unable to even get ahold of my foot. I did manage, however, to snag my big toe with one finger and pull my foot kinda sideways. HUGE mistake! This triggered yet another cramp in the muscle running along my shin. My calf felt some relief, but my foot was bent suspiciously sideways. Again, writhing in agony I got out of bed a limped around until it felt a little better. Griz looked at me like, "Dude, really?...This isn't going to become a routine thing with you, is it?"
So, as I was explaining these debilitating charlie horses to my doctor in the "you'll never believe what happened to me now" kinda way he nodded and said, "Drink more water and take some Tums. You're dehydrated and probably need more calcium." What? That's all? Isn't this some mystery diagnosis? Don't I need a referral? At least a consult with another doctor? I explained that although I would seriously consider his recommendation to drink more water that only made me pee more. And, I really hate having to pee all the means taking my lab jacket off and walking all the way down the hall to the bathroom. Plus, I really hate getting up at night to go. So, but cutting off all liquid intake after say, 4pm, I can almost always guarantee an up-once-in-the-night bathroom visit. Anything more is just irritating. "Right. I understand that peeing is inconvenient and time consuming. However, how do ya like those leg cramps? Kinda makes you think 'Mmmmm...some water sounds good right about now' doesn't it? Drink the water - you'll be much happier." And you know what? He was right... nearly 2 weeks without a cramp. Its almost like he'd seen this all before...

1 comment:

  1. Ha!! I LOVE IT when patients come in and are all 'you'll never believe what I've been through, surely you've never heard THIS before' and I have to nod patiently and act like I can't mouth the entire story along with them. ;-) Glad to hear the leg cramps have disappeared, although if Griz is disturbed by the shrieking and hopping around in the middle of the night, I'm guessing he's going to want to find a new family to live with in a few months!!!