Thursday, December 10, 2009

RLS Home Remedy

I like to think I use the common sense approach when it comes to illnesses and their remedies, be they the prescribed or home kind.

I get about one cold or sinus infection-type malady per year. I try not to go to the doctor if I can possibly avoid it because, inevitably, she will say either (a) that it’s probably a virus and it’ll have to run its course and in the meantime drink lots of liquids and eat fruits and vegetables or (b) it might be bacterial so here, go get this prescription filled and take the entire amount and if the mucus is yellow, yeah, it’s for sure bacterial and this won’t do you any good if you don’t take all of it but, really, it just kind of has to run its course.

So, as I said, I try to use common sense. I get the flu shot every year. I try to eat right and exercise. And I try to just let whatever it is run its course (as if I had any choice?!).

Ever so occasionally, I’ll try a home remedy if I can stand it. My dad was a big believer in caster oil and/or this awful ointment-stuff called Mentholatum – for anything! If one of these wouldn’t do the trick, according to him, you were probably beyond help and were going to die. And believe me, I much preferred that alternative to getting anywhere near either of those products.

I know a lady who has drunk a glass of Ovaltine every day for the last twenty years and swears she has not had so much as a sniffle during that period of time. I don’t do Ovaltine but I started eating a bowl of oatmeal most mornings about three years ago and it definitely helps with the cholesterol count. The makers of Cheerios claim their cereal will do the same thing but if you look at the fine print you’ll see that you probably have to eat them at every meal to have the same benefit as oatmeal. I think I would tire of that much Cheerios.

But I digress. The latest home remedy that Wife and I have discovered is, get ready for this, IVORY SOAP! No you don’t eat it, silly, you go to bed with it!

And get your mind out of the gutter!

Let me explain. Wife and I have both self-diagnosed ourselves with Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS). You might have seen the commercial in which the narrator describes this stick person (who appears to be androgenous) who can’t get his/her stick legs to stop twitching. He/she takes this drug and, lo and behold, the sticks/legs become calm. Side effects include -- and this is the God’s honest truth -- a tendency toward compulsive gambling and/or sex. Ahem.

Wife and I both think we have mild cases so we haven’t sought medical attention. I won’t comment on sex but I have never gambled and don’t want to start.

My leg restlessness, when I have it, is purely nocturnal. It starts sometime in the evening when I’m sedentary. It continues a little more noticeably when I go to bed, which is when Wife’s really kicks in -- pun intended. If I am dead-dog tired I’ll just toss and turn a bit, then drift off to sleep and it doesn’t bother me anymore. Wife can pretty much do the same.

But if either of us happens to be having one of those nights where we are a bit preoccupied with the affairs of the day and either or both happen to be twitching and kicking too, it can be a long night. One of us inevitably ends up going to the guest room to sleep.

It’s not awful but it’s annoying. I have thought of telling my doc about it the next time I go but it’s not worth a special trip just for that. And again, there’s that sex and gambling thing. So we have lived with it for, oh, a couple of years now.

That’s until about three weeks ago when Wife announces that she has found the cure, the aforementioned Ivory Soap. Now understand this is coming from a woman who has been known to buy into an urban legend or two, so you might understand my skepticism.

But she was adamant that she had gotten this from a reliable source, a friend of a friend, and she actually named names.

Well, why not, I thought. It’s a bar of soap and it will have other uses. And I’ll get a lot of mileage out of this when I want to share about it at parties, I thought to myself.

Well, folks, I am here to tell you that said bar of Ivory Soap has resided in our bed going on two weeks now and there has been narry a twitch! NONE! NADA! The bar of soap rests between our bottom sheet and mattress pad and I tell you our legs are just as calm as sleeping babies!

I have done a little Internet research and there are numerous testimonials to this and apparently it’s good for leg cramps too. I just wonder why it took us so long to hear about it.

I understand that, if you suffer from RLS, you might want to go the more traditional route, get a prescription and take the risk of unbridled sex and/or gambling. (Now I can’t make any guarantees as to the side effects; that’s just what they say on the commercial). That’s your prerogative.

But if your legs, they are a-twitching, you’re skeptical of drugs and you want to keep sex and gambling in check, I urge you to invest in this stuff that is still, famously, 99.44 percent pure. Your legs will thank you.


Redlefty said...

I can honestly say I've never uttered the phrase "if you want to keep gambling and/or sex in check"!

Weird solution but glad's it's working! After all, even if it is a placebo effect, the effect is real. You had RLS symptoms, now you don't.

Debby said...

I loved that line - if castor oil or mentholatum did not help you were beyond help and probably going to die.

I was taking Ambien for awhile. A possible side effect was nymphomania. (I paraphrase). Tim waited so hopefully. I got vertigo instead and had to stop taking it. Poor Tim. He was awfully disappointed.

Kelly said...

I don't remember any castor oil in the house while growing up, but we did use Metholatum. In fact, I believe I have some in my medicine cabinet right now.

Just how is the Ivory soap supposed to help? That is so bizzare! If it works, though...go for it!!

Bob said...

Beats me, Kelly. Obviously Michael (Redlefty) thinks it's all in my mind . . . but you're right, if it works, it works.

Hilarious, Debby. I could make all kinds of jokes about the side effects of the RLS drug . . . but I won't.

quid said...

This is amazing (she says as she sprinkles her carpet with 20 Mule Team Borax to get rid of fleas)!! Also unusual that you both got RLS.

My mom was really into Vicks Vaporub. If we had a cold, when we went to bed, we got it rubbed around in our nostrils, on our chests, and a big fat dab in the water in the humidifier. I can still smell it.


Redlefty said...

I don't necessarily think it's all in your head. I just meant that for the beneficiary it doesn't particularly matter, because the effect is just as real!

If thousands or millions more could benefit, though, studies would hopefully shed some light on the mechanisms at work in the Ivory.

Bob said...

I know, Michael, just giving you a little grief . . . :-) and I know "believing" something might work goes a long way toward making it work . . . which is why I still believe in Santa Claus!

Debby said...

Doesn't everyone? Believe in Santa, I mean? What are you trying to tell us, Bob?

*lower lip begins to quiver*


Steve H. said...

So, you don't even rub the soap on your leg? It just sleeps in the bed with, who was the first person who thought to do THAT?...and why? :)

Bob said...

Yep, Steve, the bar of soap just rests there in bed with you. Believe me, I was skeptical . . . and as I said . . . it doesn't hurt to BELIEVE that it will work! ;-)

Unknown said...

Bob, I thought my mother was the only person who totally believed in this crazy remedy . . . but she won't go to sleep without the soap in place. She uses just any bar of soap -- the brand doesn't seem to matter. Also, she puts hers on top of the fitted sheet. She doesn't play games (as you know!), but she believes in this soap thing.
She also firmly believes in taping a zip-lock bag of water over the front door to keep out the flies. Looks a bit trailer-parkish to me, but she swears by it. When we ask if it works, she says "do you see any flies?"

Bob said...

Nancy!!!!! I should have known someone as smaart as Johnny B. would know about this home remedy! Yes I have heard any bar of soap "works" but the majority of "believers" seem to lean toward Ivory. Susan is so convinced she has put one on each side of our bed!

Hope y'all had a Merry Christmas. Obviously you got my card and letter! Great to hear from you!