Commentary by Dick Wolfsie
I have leg cramps. In the middle of the night, I jump out of bed screaming, brace myself against the side of the headboard and push down on the ball of my foot, which shakes the entire room. One night, I almost woke up my wife.
Recently, I shared an elevator ride with an old friend, who asked how I was. “I’m okay, Joel, but at night, I get…”
“Don’t tell me—leg cramps. Here’s what I recommend: vitamin E, three times a day. Works like a miracle.”
I’m not inclined to take medical advice on the internet, but you can learn a lot in an elevator. Just in case, I called my doctor to ask his opinion. He told me that vitamin E was not good for me because of an interaction with my cholesterol medication. Then he asked me exactly where I had heard this remedy. I told him the 14th floor of the Chase Building. He said that for my health, I should start taking the stairs.
The next week, in the same elevator, I ran into another old pal. “Hey, Dick, word is out you are having leg cramps.”
“Wow, Arnold, word sure travels up and down fast in this building.”
“My dad had leg cramps, so he drank a gin and tonic every night before bed —and it worked.”
“What did the trick, the gin or the tonic?”
Health websites say that gin may help your forget your pain, but it’s the quinine in the tonic that prevents the cramps. For two weeks, I drank a bottle of tonic water before bed. It didn’t help, so now I’m considering the therapeutic benefits of straight Tanqueray.
Recently, I was in Macy’s and saw another old friend, who had this suggestion: “Dick, this sounds really odd, but if you put a bar of soap under the fitted sheet of your bed, you’ll never have legs cramps again.”
Normally, I’d have ignored this totally crazy idea, but I have to tell you … you can get some really good advice on an escalator.