a woman stands outside of her car which is pulled over on the side of the road where she is stretching her legs

Patience and Understanding

For a little background information, my dad is number 9 of 12 kids. A couple of years ago, his first sibling passed away, and of course, I wanted to be at the celebration of life to support my dad.

The celebration of life would be held in a different town, 5 hours away and over a couple of mountains. I almost wasn't able to go because I needed either my dad or my husband to drive me as I am incapable of driving myself. I needed a driver who was going to be understanding and patient with me. If I couldn't have one of them drive me, I wasn't going to be able to go.

The trouble with long car rides

Car rides that are longer than 45 minutes can have my restless legs syndrome (RLS) start to act up, sometimes sooner than that and other times later than that. This ends up leading to me needing to stop a lot to stretch my legs, as well as putting joints back into place.

There have been times when a 5-hour car ride ends up being 7.5 to 8 hours. On top of needing to get out and stretch, there are times when I need to use the bathroom a lot.

The quest to stretch

I never know how long I will need to stop and stretch my legs. Usually, it's 15 to 20 minutes, but the longer I've been in the car, the more intense the pain is, so I need longer to stretch.

It can also be difficult because there are not always places to stop and pull over to get out and stretch. This can lead to shifting around lots in the seat to try to change the pressure on my legs, which can help a little bit. I also move my legs around a lot, sometimes like I am playing the drums, other times like doing calf raises.

There have been times when I needed to put the seat back and lie back in my seat to really change things up. When I finally am able to get out and stretch, I do things like small lunges around the car.

Why patience and understanding matter

This is why I needed either my dad or my husband to drive me. I needed someone who was going to be patient and understanding. Yes, a couple of other extended family members traveled down there who I could've gotten a ride with, but they are not understanding and patient enough for me to travel with them.

My husband's work was being difficult in giving him time off, and my dad was fighting forest fires 5 hours away. It ended up being that my dad drove to get me after he was done work, grabbed me, and we hit the road. When everything was all over, my dad drove me halfway home, and my husband met us so he could drive me the rest of the way home.

Do you find car rides difficult with your RLS? Are there different things you do to help manage the pain?

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