Guest Blogger: Isabella Horsky

JULY 12, 2018 Ode to RLS/PLMD A Poem by Isabella Horsky Isabella has been an RLS Foundation member since 1998. I'm sitting ...

JULY 12, 2018


A Poem by Isabella Horsky
Isabella has been an RLS Foundation member since 1998.
I'm sitting in the concert hall, the show will soon begin.
The orchestra is tuning up - the horns and first violin.
They finish the first movement of a Haydn symphony,
When I start feeling tickles, and I know the augury:
Before the measure ends, my leg involuntarily
Jerks upward in a spasm that the person next to me
Can't help but notice. And when twenty seconds pass and then,
In spite of my best efforts, that leg levitates again,
He looks at me as if he thinks that I might be contagious.
To cope with my embarrassment I find it's advantageous
To get a seat right by the aisle. And that is just in case
My PLMD gets so bad, I have to leave the place.
Now Haydn is concluded and they're playing Bach or Lizst,
And I'm outside, lamenting all the music that I've missed.

It's not much different on a plane. Soon after we depart
I feel the same sensations in one leg. It soon will start
To jump and jerk for several seconds, twenty then of respite
Before the next. Whate'er I try, I never can arrest it.
But now I can't get up and stretch. I have to stay and sit,
Because my legs don't understand the seat belt sign is lit.
My neighbor notices my twitch. With look of trepidation
She wonders if, when she gets home, she'll need inoculation.
She looks away, uncomfortable, and then she starts to doze.
I wish my legs would follow suit and grant me some repose,
I eat a snack, recline my seat and try hard to relax.
To no avail. Just then a leg maliciously attacks,
Providing for my body even greater turbulence
Than pilots flying through a wind storm might experience.

So now let's say I stay at home. I have some time that's free.
I'd like to knit, do puzzles or compose some poetry.
But if I want to just be still, to read a book or pray,
My legs soon start to twitch as if they want to run away.
And if, by chance, I think I'd like to take a little nap -
You guessed it: Pretty soon a leg begins to tense, then flap
And jerk. It acts as if it were an independent thinker.
And if I had some booze, I might become a heavy drinker.
I shuffle pillows, toss and turn, then lie this way and that.
The dog jumps off my bed and slinks forlornly to his mat.

Then after supper in the evening is the time I dread
Because I know the old routine when I must go to bed.
I read a gentle novel or I listen to some Bach.
I make a point of never looking over at my clock
To see how many minutes of that twitching might have passed.
I wonder if each spasm will turn out to be the last.

So now of sleep I've been deprived for over 40 years.
The thought could very soon engender bitterness or tears
Of helplessness, frustration. Truth to tell, I can't conceive
Of life without PLMD, but somehow I believe
There is a loving God who will continue to provide
The energy that comes from rest, of which I've been denied.
If daily He did not help me to grow in this conviction,
I'd find it quite impossible to deal with my affliction.
Besides which, spending every day in scowling, grumpy mood
Will use up far more energy than simple gratitude.

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