While driving home from the grocery store Friday afternoon, my right hand cramped into a position that looked like it was deformed, then the left hand did the same.
I drove the last mile and a half home steering our Liberty with my elbows.
Periodic muscle cramps are a part of life for older individuals with rapidly-advancing arthritis. I’ve managed to break nearly every bone in my body over my 72 years on this earth and those breaks help the arthritis advance even more rapidly.
Running warm water over my hands helped ease the cramps when I got home, enough so I could bring in the groceries and put them away.
Later in the evening, while I sat in my studio editing news articles for our political news website, my right hand began acting up again with small cramps that seemed to ease after a short time.
Then muscle cramps in both legs brought on a gasp of pain. I had to lift myself up with my hands on the arms of the chair to try and stand, a move that usually relieves such cramps.
Not this time. The cramps continued to coarse through my legs. I managed to get to the living room, where Amy ran her hands over the back of my lower legs and said the skin was stretched so tight that she thought it might tear. Same for the skin on the top of both feet.
Normally, I have a high tolerance for pain. Not this pain. I hurt like hell and Amy said the string of obscenities that flowed out of my mouth like verbal diarrhea was excessive, even for me.
She helped me stretch out on the couch and push my feet hard against the armrest, which eased the pain. She said the scream from me when the cramps hit was the loudest expression of pain she had ever heard in our 40+ years together. She said she was going to call the rescue squad but I talked her out of it. I have a doctor’s appointment Monday afternoon and they can check it.
She rubbed liniment on my legs, which helped, and I fell asleep for a couple of hours before returning to the studio to complete editing the articles and worked on other tasks until about 4:30 a.m. Saturday before climbing into bed and sleeping until about 9:30 a.m.
Shots of pain continue to shoot through my legs and hands and the skin on both legs and the tops of my feet are sensitive to touch. Standing time is limited and I’m trying to work on articles and other items on the computer with naps in between.
Medical websites say cramps like mine are not unusual for those my age and are driven too by too much time sitting down and not enough exercise — two frequent actions during stay-at-home and lockdown orders during this COVID-19 Coronavirus.
Not having time in a gym hurts too and the Floyd Fitness Center has been shut down under Gov. Ralph Northam’s orders and his “plan” to start reopening businesses does not include our fitness center because it does not offer outdoor exercising. During this pandemic, I’ve put about seven pounds I didn’t need back on my aging frame and at least an inch on my waistband.
Friday’s cramps scared me — and I don’t scare easily. Amy is in the midst of recovery from her major back surgery on March 27 and I’m the one taking care of her at home, her transportation to PostOp appointments and doctor visits, and the one who gets groceries, prepares meals and takes care of other items.
I can’t afford to go down at this point in our lives.