RLS and Traumatic Injury Pain

I’ve started and stopped writing this article so many times because I just couldn’t find the right words. However, I feel it needs to be written. It needs to be written because I’m sure there are people out there who are experiencing the same things but like me, also can’t quite put it into words. The onus then lies on me to try my hardest to transform those feelings into words somehow.

My experience with a traumatic injury

I was in an accident on Boxing Day of 2022 –- a very horrible time to be in an accident, I might add. Most people were breaking the boughs of holly, drinking eggnog, and wearing pajamas while I somehow managed to find myself somersaulting in midair, wondering if that was going to be my very last moment on earth. I mean, Jesus was just born for crying out loud! But I digress.

Since that ill-fated day, my neck, back and knee haven't quite been the same. For the first few days, the physical pain of the injury and the shock of coming face to face with death were so intense that I completely forgot everything else, including my restless legs syndrome. Maybe it was the morphine, the trauma or perhaps the sheer exhaustion I was feeling.

Restless legs increased my pain

That, however, did not last very long. On maybe the fourth day after the accident whilst I was still admitted in the hospital, my legs jerked me awake. This, in turn, aggravated the pain in my knee. Yes, good ol’ restless legs syndrome was back! And it was back with a vengeance.

I kept trying so hard not to move my legs because each time I did, my knee felt like it was dislocating all over again and the pain was unbearable. At the same time, RLS demanded I move my leg. The feeling couldn’t be helped. When I moved my legs, I let out a loud cry from the pain.

Physical and emotional agony

It was like being locked up inside yourself: You can see people walking by and you’re frantically yelling out for help, but no one can see you. The helplessness was just so much. At some point, the nurses either got tired of hearing me scream in pain and frustration, or they just felt plain sorry for me, so they knocked me out. They did this daily for a few days with the okay of the doctor until my knees started feeling better.

The invisible reality of RLS

It was honestly the worst mix of seen and unseen pain I’ve ever experienced in my life. On one hand there was my dislocated knee, which can be seen via X-ray and the level of pain can be gauged and dealt with, and on the other hand there was restless legs syndrome, which no X-ray on earth could show and no medication or therapy could make go away. Somehow, they were existing at the same place at the same time, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

To anyone who knows exactly what I’m talking about, I see you and I’m giving everyone of you a virtual group hug.

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