It’s so hard to get a good night’s sleep when I wake up with cramps in the calves and/or thighs of one or both legs.
Sure, stretching the muscles prior to climbing into bed helps, and sometimes taking an aspirin (or two) before bedtime helps. I’m careful with my diet and take the recommended vitamins and supplements to offset the deficiencies caused by my ulcerative colitis. Hubby and I take Puppy Cody for a nice walk every evening, which has strengthened my legs and made the muscles more flexible.
But there is no way to prevent the Charlie Horses from galloping into my bedroom.
Like many little girls, I was horse crazy. For every birthday and gift-giving holiday, I asked my parents for a pony. I never even got a large dog!
My dad was a roofing contractor (God, I wish he was alive now – my kitchen roof is STILL leaking!). He would come home with stiff limbs and sore muscles. Right before my birthday one year, I heard Dad holler, and my mom asked what was wrong. Dad said, “I’ve got a Charlie Horse.”
Silly 5-year-old me … I immediately ran out into our large backyard looking for my pony named “Charlie.” I was so disappointed. All was not lost, however – Dad had a friend who owned a horse, and arrangements were made for me to go for a horseback ride. Except that, the friend did not also own a saddle or bridle, and riding bare-back with nothing to hold onto except the nag’s mane scared the heck out of me. Dad meant well, but I think the booze got into his brain that day.
Anyway, back to my post.
It’s gotten to the point that if I wake up during the night (and need to use the facilities), I’ve trained myself to move very, very slowly so as to try to avoid those cramps. I ever so carefully slide to the edge of the bed, careful not to straighten the legs too much nor to bend them too much. I then ease myself up into a sitting position, in which position I stay for several moments until I’m sure my legs won’t spasm. And then – a quick hop from a sitting position to a standing position (hopefully without landing on Puppy Cody), followed by gently stretching my whole body.
Even then, sometimes old Charlie Horse finds me, and the screaming begins. Poor Cody usually thinks she’s done something bad, and she runs into the other room.
No one ever said that getting old[er] would be easy or fun.
And I still don’t own a pony.
Images by Cordelia’s Mom