Tuesday night I had a terrible time that ended with Craig calling 911 and me being taken to the hospital in an ambulance. I am very grateful that nothing was seriously wrong with me. No heart attack, no stroke, no accidental cut or fall.
What did happen was that I had the worst attack of leg cramps I have ever experienced, and ended up collapsing on the floor, writhing in pain and screaming for help. I'm usually a pretty tough old bat, and this was not like me. It was uncontrollable.
I often get leg cramps in the night. I usually can just get out of bed, get to another room and walk them out. Painful, yes, and the reason I try to get to another room is so my little uncontrolled whimpers don't alarm Craig. He knows he can't help me and I am best left to walk them out alone.
This time I had a few cramps as I stood up from the recliner I had been reading in, when it was time to get ready for bed. First my foot and then my leg muscle tightened. It was a bother, but I got relief in a few minutes of walking. I have found that drinking tonic water can give me some relief, so I chugged a large glass of it before going to bed.
Not long after getting comfortable, I felt the muscles on the top of my foot start to cramp. As I got out of bed, it seemed like every muscle in both my feet, both my calves, and both my thighs tightened at once. I couldn't stand upright or walk. I managed to move a few feet to grab hold of some bookshelves, but the pain was so horrific I collapsed onto the floor.
Craig heard me screaming and came to help, but rubbing and trying to flex my legs and feet did no good. It seemed to go on and on. I became wet with sweat, then cold with chills. I felt like I was going to vomit. Craig asked if he could take me to the ER, but I couldn't get up to get to the car. He called 911 and at least six firemen and EMTs came.
By the time they arrived, the worst was over, but I still could not move without the cramping starting all over again. After taking my vitals and getting me calmed down, they determined I had not had a heart attack or stroke, and was "just" having leg cramps. The EMT asked that in terms of pain, if childbirth was a 10, where did this fall. I said 11. Yes, worse than childbirth!
At first they tried to help me up, but as soon as I moved the muscles started locking up again. They decided I needed to go to the hospital, but how to get me out of the house was a problem. They could have brought the gurney in thru the front door, but that involves two flights of stairs. The other option was to go out thru the laundry room that is right next to the bedroom where I was, but the gurney wouldn't fit past the washer.
So they wrapped me up like a sausage in a crescent roll in the quilt Craig had covered me with, and used it like a stretcher.
The ride in the ambulance was not easy. My stomach was flipping and the motion of the ride was no help. The EMT gave me something to ease it, but it didn't have much effect. Wanting to upchuck when you are strapped down is horrible.
Once in the ER I was given a shot for the nausea and put on an IV.
I started to feel a bit better, and the young male nurse replaced the used basin with a barf-bag that looked like this except it was bright blue.
I told him it looked like a condom for an elephant!
Fortunately I no longer needed it.
We ended up spend most of the night in the ER as the IV drip did its work and we waited for the results of some blood work. The older doctor was very kind. He reassured me that it was not serious, but also that he could tell how bad the pain had been. He said my upset stomach was a reaction to severe pain.
The cause? He said there are several theories, but no cure other than prevention by stretching before bed and drinking lots of water to prevent dehydration.
Today, Wednesday, my legs hurt but are not cramping. I have consumed eight glasses of water and feel like a water balloon, but if it will save me from ever having that happen again, I will do it every day.
Coffee, wine, and tea don't count.