Thursday, 10 June 2010

Dreading a very likely future health situation

As long as I can remember I've suffered from night cramps (known in the USA , I believe, as 'Charley Horses'). In my family it's been only me suffering among us five siblings, but my father also had the complaint. When I was younger they came on rarely, maybe only two or three times in a year. But getting older, it's become more frequent till now it's a nightly fear. When they were occurring at the rate of about once every week or so, I told my doctor who prescribed Quinine Sulphate tablets, to be taken every night before retiring. They seemed to make little or no difference, but they also aggravated my already debilitating fractured sleep patterns, so I ceased taking them. Of course the threat of oncoming cramps continue to come on regularly and relentlessly, and I still have to jump out of bed to arrest it before it can take hold, otherwise if it's allowed to, the pain is so extreme in it's agony that if there was the means close at hand to end it all I do believe I might be sorely tempted. Anyone who doesn't experience these 'night cramps' just has NO idea! The absurd and inconsequential mild term of description doesn't even begin to reflect the magnitude of the pain. I simply cannot imagine there being anything more excruciating that it's possible to suffer. Only very recently did I become aware that jumping out of bed at some point has become just about a nightly occurrence now. I looked up the condition on the Internet yesterday but it didn't really tell much that isn't already known - suggested preventatives being going to bed well hydrated and doing calf-stretching exercises. So yesterday evening I drank plenty of water and did the stretching. The result? I had to jump out of bed twice last night. Some years ago, for the first time that I remember, I got it in both legs simultaneously and wasn't able to stand up in time to stop it. God, as a result of the absolutely dreadful pain, the sweat poured out of me while I bit and chewed on the pillow. I really thought my heart was going to give up as I heard it thumping fortissimo. I was praying for deliverance - anything, but please take this hideous agony away! After possibly the longest two or three minutes of my life it eventually passed, leaving me drenched, panting for breath but ever so thankful it had receded.
I suppose I can continue to live with this condition (what choice is there?) - but for how much longer? I'm terrified of when the time comes when I just cannot manage to get out of bed in time to stretch the calves before the pain sets in on its inevitable arc of indescribable agony, and even moreso when the time arrives when I've become permanently bed-ridden and cannot rise at all. I'll be screaming and yelling so hard my vocal cords will snap. What a horrible prospect in store. If only a really effective remedy could be found - quickly.


  1. Oh my lord!!

    I don't have a remedy for you, but I will tell you one thing that I've noticed in my own life. Ever since I started exercising a year ago I've been prone to cramping in my legs and feet. Like you I have to jump out of bed in the middle of the night when I feel a cramp coming on. While painful, they are nothing like you described!

    I didn't have cramping before I started exercising regularly, and now I do. And you said that your cramping actually got worse when you tried stretching before bedtime. This indicates to me that exercising is the cause of the problem.

    I suppose a solution may be for you to become like I once was: a fat, lazy sod, but one who got restful sleep. But that really isn't an option for extreme hotties like us.

    I'd say keep scouring the internet for information. Perhaps there are ancient but effective methods of dealing with this that modern medicine is ignorant of. If you find a solution, please let us know.

  2. Yes, since I started running about 20 years ago it began getting noticeably more frequent - even though it's said that NOT exercising makes one more likely to suffer. One suggested remedy on the Internet is acupuncture - yes, with a needle between (predictably!) the nose and the upper lip, of course. I've never had this treatment in the past for anything and feel apprehensive about it. Just the thought of it sends shivers. But acupuncture is one of the very few 'alternative' therapies which is taken seriously by a lot of more 'conventional' doctors and even scientists here. Another possibility is homoepathy, which I could explore. If I don't find something that works, the prospects for the future are quite terrifying. (And your comment about 'extreme hotties' didn't go unnoticed!)

  3. Ray, I checked my Google email today, which I rarely do, since it is not my primary source, AOL is. But, I am delighted I did. I was growing very frustrated since I found I was unable to post a comment on your post - kept getting a we're sorry,etc. Regarding you're post and Cubby's response, I find that he stated it very well - You have company. I suffer from the same condition, although not as often as you, and I completely understand what you're going through. I don't know if I could cope if I got these attacks nightly. I hope the severity and the frequency of these attacks lessen and that you enjoy an uninterrupted night's sleep. Hope you keep us posted on how you're doing. PS. How are your two little feline friends doing?

  4. Thanks, Paul. You give me a great deal of heart. You're probably the first person I've ever 'met' or contacted who has the same condition at my level of severity. A few others I've know also suffer, but not so acutely as I describe - It sounds like you maybe DO. Yes, I'll keep posting any developments in my blogs.
    Both Blackso and Noodles are fine, though the former is showing signs of age - rather scruffy coat, teeth that need seeing to (but it'll cost £120+, money I just don't have!)He must be at least 11 years old by now.
    I ought also to report that the neighbour downstairs is far less trouble than when he moved in. He's evidently got a daytime job. He's looking better, having put on weight - and still owns his beautiful big dog which I always feel sorry for, being left alone in his flat on weekdays from around 9 a.m. for about 12 hours. It's one of those dogs that are 'voiceless' - no bark or whining, but I can hear it moving around during the day. But when I do see him taking it out it looks okay, both head and tail up, though being a pack animal it must really crave constant company. The neighbour himself has the occasional noisy evening still, but it's now rare. I can only think that his work, whatever it is, has sobered him up. But thanks for asking about me and my pussies. Best wishes, as ever.

  5. Ray, it really is weird that Larry is having the issue with more cramps since changing his life to exercise more. I have had the same thing happen to me since increasing my workouts.Obviously not to the frequency or severity you are suffering, but it was enough to notice a difference.

    Acupuncture isn't so bad. The needles really don't hurt in most places and I know many people who have had great success relieving aliments through acupuncture. The first hurdle is to find one you like. Would acupuncture visits be covered by your insurance? It can be pricey.

  6. Kyle, with three of us now saying that, contrary to advice, it gets worse with exercising, that just about clinches the reality of it.
    It's just the thought of needles going into one that puts me off - I do believe it WOULDN'T hurt, but I do so hate any tiny injection at all - and don't mention giving a blood sample! No, acupuncture, as far as I know is NOT prescribed within our (Commie!) National Health Service - and if it's not then the expense of it would be out of the question in my current circumstances. Btw I'm getting a lot of comfort knowing that now several of my computer buddies share at least some of my trouble in this connection. .....thanks for visiting my blog, pal.