I've had it for over thirty years. My parents both had it; they called it Jumping Leg. No one had ever heard of it, and everybody just laughed about it. A few years ago, drug companies gave it a new name, and then everything changed. Now everybody has heard of it and... everybody still just laughs about it.
If I hear another comedian joking about how I should just get up and take a walk, or another trendy lefty hippie explaining that I don't have a disease, I've just been fooled by a greedy drug company I'll…I'll send them my legs, that's what I'll do.
Parcel them out, nerve-ends flapping. Grab the mouthy wanker and force them on him, make him live with that peculiar alchemical combination of fire-ants and lead that my legs become on symptomatic days. Make him deal with the random movements, the knee-thumping, the shaking.
I don't actually take any of the drugs – the drug companies ARE greedy bastards, and the only drug that ever worked for me was Quinine, which is no longer available over the counter, presumably because a generic drug that works shouldn't be allowed out in consumers' hands in case they buy it instead of the new, proprietary one.
But, Bill Maher, and all you other self-righteous prigs, the injunction to take a walk makes no sense. Sure, I could take a walk now – it's 10:30 pm, it's raining, it's cold, and the road outside runs past the railroad tracks (which, as in most towns, have a wrong side). Want to guess how much I feel like walking? When I'm in the cinema or at a play, how useful is the puritan demand I take a walk? If I'm in a lecture, where do I walk? Those all day seminars – I don't do much walking there, either. And then there are plane journeys, which can be hours of torture.
And although taking a walk actually does work for me when I have jumping leg, it works for the following amount of time:
Exactly as long as I'm walking.
As soon as I'm back in the house trying to write, or in bed, or at work answering email, the fire and lead comes back.
I realize I'm responding to this article rather late, but restless leg is episodic. I didn't have symptoms when I first saw it, but I remembered it tonight.
Perhaps I can wangle a date with Bill Maher, to see the new Indiana Jones movie this weekend. After a couple of hours trapped next to me as I cross and uncross my legs, stretch them out and thump them with my fists while he's trying to concentrate on crystal skulls, the truth might penetrate through the solid bone of his own.