Guest Blogger: Ann Battenfield

A Wonderful Place to Be Submitted by: Ann Battenfield, discussion board moderator for the RLS Foundation It is 3:10 AM. I wanted ...

A Wonderful Place to Be

Submitted by: Ann Battenfield, discussion board moderator for the RLS Foundation

It is 3:10 AM. I wanted to go to sleep hours ago. I wonder what went wrong. I am relatively sure I took my medication correctly, but for some reason the sensations and urge to move are reluctant to stop. As they are all too many nights. Some nights I would be pacing; I am lucky tonight and can sit and type. So I head to my favorite place on such nights.

When I was a child, no one would sleep with me. It was a family joke that my bed looked as if a tornado hit it; every morning sheets were pulled out, covers on the floor, and I often was asleep upside down or with my legs dangling over the edge when someone would awaken me. As an early teen, I joined the jumpy leg club that included several family members. Some people learn how to play golf or knit from their grandparents; I learned how to use sewing machine legs when you had to be seated or how to punch my legs with my fist to apply counter stimulation.

I watched my grandmother struggle with her symptoms and medications; I vowed to use non-pharmaceutical options, distraction, and counter stimulation. Yet when I couldn't work anymore and was unable to remember nouns because of the cumulative effect of missing sleep, I finally caved.

I was put on pramipexole to treat the PLMs; my RLS was very mild and did not need any treatment. Soon, though, I had daily RLS. The neurologist kept increasing the pramipexole, I kept getting earlier RLS. For a year, this went on until I did not sleep more than an hour or so a night and the RLS was 24/7. One October, while searching about RLS online, I found the RLS Foundation's newly created Discussion Board. The members welcomed me warmly and I instantly felt better – other people were in a similar situation. Other people were getting help. Other people had uninformed doctors, too.

I read every post on the Discussion Board over the next few weeks, learning as much as I could. Through one of the posts, I found a link to the Southern California Support Group site and to the pages and pages of emails sent to Dr. Mark Buchfuhrer along with his answers. I emailed him immediately and told him about my symptoms. He responded the next day and I finally knew what was wrong. I had augmentation.

On the Discussion Board, I learned the RLS Foundation was hosting the first ever RLS conference; I booked a ticket immediately. I kept reading posts and conversing with others on the Discussion Board. I logged in every day, sometimes two to three times. I went to the conference and I met Drs. Richard Allen, Christopher Earley, David Rye and others, as well as several members of the Discussion Board. I learned of a way to resolve augmentation through the information and support of those wonderful people who were suffering as much or more. I found a way to make the RLS more manageable.

Twelve years later I still log into the Discussion Board every day, sometimes two or three times. Some of the people who were there to welcome me are still members and stop by occasionally. Thousands of others have joined. I have made many friends and hope that I have been paying it forward, as others did with me so long ago. On nights such as tonight, coming to the Discussion Board is like coming home. A home where people support me, where accurate information is available, and where I can sometimes help others with compassion, understanding, and by listening. At 3 AM, that is a wonderful place to be.

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