Johnson also fell asleep while driving. She'd change lanes and her head would droop. She'd wake up seconds later not knowing what had happened. "I thank God my guardian angel was on my shoulder," she says.
Johnson didn't know she had narcolepsy until she saw Fry in the early 1990s. With medication and regular sleep, she's "almost 98% symptom-free."
Fry also treats patients with a neurological disorder called restless leg syndrome, which can cause twitching and various sensations, primarily in the legs, making it difficult to fall or stay asleep.
Anne Belcher, 67, a retired chemist from Wayne, Pa., says she used to spend much of her nights pacing the floor. She'd get a sensation in her legs described by Fry as a "creeping, crawling" feeling. Only walking could relieve it. "You get very antsy," says Belcher, who has been seeing Fry since October.
Belcher has been taking special medications to make the symptoms go away. Now, "as far as the legs go, I could sleep forever," she says. "The last couple of months, I haven't felt the sensation."
Ralph Cipriano is a Philadelphia freelance writer. He is a former staff reporter for the Los Angeles Times and the Philadelphia Inquirer.