Foxtrot, Uniform, CHARLEY, Kilo – make it stop!

21 May

It’s no secret that I’ve been sleeping like crap lately. All a person needs to do is look at me and – if the bags under my eyes don’t give it away – the slightly crazed glint in them will. Between a hectic travel schedule, a demanding job and the stress of two real estate transactions looming over me, I guess it’s no surprise that my bed has become a battlefield in recent months.

Last night was no exception. I woke up at 2:30 in the morning with my leg in what might be the absolute worst Charley Horse I have ever experienced.

The weird thing about my Charley Horse was that it was the OPPOSITE of any leg-based Charley Horse I’ve ever had before. Normally when I wake to a cramp, my toe is stuck in a pointed position and the knot is either in my calf or the arch of my foot. Not last night.

Last night the cramp was in my shin, so when I woke, my foot was fully flexed and I couldn’t get my toes to point.

Today, out of curiosity (and a sneaking suspicion that stress is turning my body into a project the NIH would find study-worthy) I googled the term “charley horse” to see what might be causing them. Wikipedia didn’t shed any light on the matter, but I *did* learn that in other countries they’re called “choppers” or “corkers,” and I’ve decided to adopt one of those terms as my own since either sounds infinitely more descriptive than a horse.

Anyway, so I’m lying there, my leg and foot bent at an abnormal angle to the rest of my body, looking like I’m ready to karate chop the ceiling. Next to me, Alan was slumbering peacefully so I made a serious effort to keep my drama to a minimum.

But it’s pretty hard to be silent when the ligament on your shin is stretched as tight as a violin string. I writhed around, wondering if this was anything like a heart attack might feel like (except for it being in my leg and not in my chest). Somewhere in the midst of this fit I stopped to pound a Gatorade, thinking the electrolytes might somehow fix the cramp. They didn’t.

Finally I decided that the way through it might to walk it off. Carefully, I stood and started to head toward the living room. My leg buckled and I hit the floor. Above me on the bed, Alan snored.

Eventually I made my way into the living room and after forcing a few laps around the coffee table, it felt remarkably better. I did a few more for good measure before returning to bed (where, wide awake, I had to play electronic backgammon on my iPod and listen to an audiobook before I could fall back asleep).

Unfortunately, two hours later, I awoke again with a start. This time, however, it was not a leg cramp that got me. It was a thought that had startled me from sleep, that had struck me as so profound it forced me to wake up.

Well, at least in my sleeping universe it seemed deep. This morning in the light of day, it sounded like something I might see in a fortune cookie:

“I do not hunger for knowledge. I hunger for cheeseburgers.”

Hmmm. I don’t think Plato would be proud. Although – now that I think about it – maybe it DOES mean something. Maybe my subconscious is trying to tell me that I’m suffering from “corkers” because of an iron deficiency. Or maybe I just need to lay off the red wine before bedtime.

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