Friday, March 23, 2018

A Bout With Gout

Frequent readers may have noticed a drastic drop of new material on this blog lately.  There are several reasons for that.  First and foremost is that I’ve been exclusively concentrating on my WebNovel, mainly doing drafts of later chapters far off in the distance, while neglecting the script
for my next chapter.  I pay so much attention to the far-term plans, that I lose sight of the short-term consequences.  I also haven't been looking at much old-school Newspaper comics as I used to, which is a prime motivator for these entries.

But the main reason is that starting February, I was overcome with a severe affliction that left me severely paralyzed.  On a Thursday Afternoon, I noticed my foot started hurting when I took it out of my boot.  Up until that point, I’d been feeling a little tired, but it didn’t hurt until then.

On Friday, my foot hurt some more, but I forced myself to put my boots on to finish the remaining work downtown.  I’d planned to do some extra working business elsewhere, but the person who I planned to have drive me there never showed up, and I didn’t feel like making the trek myself, since I was feeling extremely tired due to the pain and lack of sleep, so I went home.

On Saturday, my sister came in the late Afternoon, where I’d stayed home all day to recuperate from my foot.  I showed it to her, which at that point, still appeared normal.  She suggested I take some Advil, but since I didn’t know where that was, I didn’t take any.

On Sunday, I’d planned to return some library books, but the pain in my foot had grown so bad I couldn’t even make it to the end of the driveway.  I figured I wouldn’t be able to make the necessary trek, so I grudgingly made my way back home.  I noticed that I couldn’t fit my foot in my size-specific sandals, and concluded it was swollen.

I told my Sister about my foot, having made the amateur diagnosis of having somehow contracted Gout.  The closest substitute was Ibuprofen, which I took one pill of to see if it’d work.  Then I took another an hour later when the double dose started to kick in, and I could manage to walk around and lift my big toe without wincing too much.

When my sister came later with some medication, I showed her my foot, which had suddenly swollen to an uncomfortable size, and she told me to take a pill around 9:00.  I waited until 10:00 just to be sure.

By this time, even the act of sleeping was becoming an ordeal, because even putting blankets over my foot hurt.  I was reduced to sleeping on top of the covers with my feet dangling over the edge of the bed to reduce the pain.

The next day, a co-worker from work showed up to drive me to the walk-in clinic.  She rode a 4x4 jeep, which made it easy to traverse over the unplowed snowy parts of the city, but getting in and out the high doors was quite the ordeal, even more so with a wounded toe.  Wearing boots let alone shoes was a practical impossibility, since even trying to bend my feet slightly caused pain.  But I was given a protective layer of rubber overshoes, that worked as a kind of slip-on boots.  If I’d known of these, I could’ve gone out by myself... is what I told myself.
Not the exact model, but close enough.
There were multiple movies and Manga where protagonists managed to over come adversary by fighting through the pain.  But the majority of my movement centered over my left toe, which hampered my mobility to a severe degree.

I was expecting a long wait, and my co-worker said she needed to go someplace else in a hurry, so she’d take my number, and come back when it came on her cell.  I wasn’t looking forward to going in and out of her massive truck multiple times.  Fortunately, the Nurse took a quick look at my symptoms, and had me rushed ahead of schedule so I could see the Doctor sooner, which was a big relief for the both of us.

I had no confidence in my power of speech given my state of exhaustion, so I wrote a comprehensive rambling series of events as best as I could recall them, and handed the paper over.  Later, I realized I’d neglected to save a copy for myself for future reference, and asked if I could have it back.  Those notes now make up the bulk of what you’re reading now.

The Doctor was unsure whether I had Gout or a skin condition, so I was given a three-day amount of medication to be taken later.  However, my co-worker was more concerned about getting to her destination first than picking up my meds, so she drove like a maniac to her home to pick up her roommate and drive her to her workplace.  Even with the clock radio being a few minutes fast, she still wound up being late.  (Not my fault!)

The meds I’d gotten was good for three days, at which point, I’d have to either go for refills or make an appointment with my local doctor.  But I was still hoping I wouldn’t have to go that far yet.  After a day or two, the symptoms started to subside somewhat, and I was able to function again, but was still told to take sick days off, which annoyed me despite the sheer amount of reading material I had.  I wanted to return the library books I’d already finished for newer books.

Since most of my writing is motivated when I get up and walk around trying to find the right word that’ll fit the sentence I’m thinking, I was handicapped in this area as well.  Not to mention that if I got ideas while reading a particularly lousy passage in the bathroom, I couldn’t make a mad dash to write my inspirational thoughts down.  I wouldn’t be able to concentrate on the book otherwise - all I’d be thinking of was my idea, and it’d interfere with my enjoyment of the story.

It wasn't until a month later that I finally made a long-overdue checkup appointment with my regular doctor who checked my symptoms and correctly concluded that I indeed had Gout, and presribed some additional medication for me to take.  But not before taking my weight that I'd been consciously avoiding for years, not wanting to know how heavy I really was.  Taking off my pants, glasses, wristwatch and hearing aids didn't seem to help matters much.

So what IS Gout?  Gout is basically arthritis of the feet.  It’s a buildup of uric acid that’s best flushed out by drinking excess amount of water.  It’s the same stuff that causes Kidney Stones, so Gout is basically the Kidney Stones of the feet.

My Father had once got Gout ten years ago, but that was during Summer, when wearing multiple layers of protection against the cold wasn't too much of a hassle.  The only thing I knew about Gout was that it was caused by drinking too much.  Since I’m a total teetotaler - I can’t even stand the taste of sugar soda drinks - I thought I was safe.  But apparently, it can be brought about by eating too much, and lack of exercise.

The ironic part was, of the foods to avoid, my Father consumed Mackerel and Herring on a daily basis, which should’ve made him more of a candidate for contracting Gout than me.  According to research, it seems that Gout can be hereditary.

Gout was also a very common ailment among Nobles and Royalty, who had little to do than sit around and eat.  I just recently got my test results back, and in addition to elevated uric acid levels, I apparently also have - get this - a bone spur.  Yes, THAT kind of bone spur!  The infamous medical condition that Trump had five of!  Mine happens to be located in the heel - and it's not even the part that hurts either!  Of all the things I might've had in common with the "Millionaire", that's the one I want to be associated with the least.

I was given a list of various foodstuff I’m supposed to avoid, which seemed easy enough:

  • Anchovies, Sardines - Never touch the stuff.
  • Beef boulion - A little too blocky for my taste.
  • Brain - Since I’m not a Zombie, this isn’t a problem.
  • Gravies - Can’t stand liquid sauce.
  • Heart, Liver, Kidneys - I don’t bother eating stuff I’ve already got.  (See brains above)
  • Scallops - Don’t eat clams that often, if at all.
  • Shrimps - Only have those at work buffets, which is once every six months, and they stopped having buffets this year.
  • Vension - Tried some deer once.  Didn’t care much for it.
  • Veal Sweetbreads - Which are neither sweet, nor bread.
Then there’s the foods I’m supposed to eat less of.
  • Seafood - Crab, Oyster and Lobsters.
  • Soups made of Meat Stock.
  • Asparagus, Cauliflower and Spinach.
  • Mushrooms and Peas.
  • Cereals - Whole-Grains, Oat Flour, Wheat Germ, Bran Germ.
  • Beans & Lentils.
  • Meat and Poultry.
  • Freshwater and Saltwater fish.
Most of these don't affect me much, though I'm annoyed that I won't be able to use Meat Stock for soups, and I tend to enjoy Mushrooms and Peas.  Not to mention cutting down on eating Meat.  In short, the good times are over.

Interestingly enough, of the foods I'm allowed to eat, Strawberries or Cherries are a good cure as well.  That, and losing some weight.  But not to the point of starvation against all else.  I have to eat less in moderation.

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