HealthHumourLifestyleSelf CareSpecial


My Drinking Partner’s Diagnosis Proved Correct

Gout is a type of arthritis that causes sudden, severe joint pain. That is the official description, but let me describe how it happened to me.

I had been trying to lose weight and had noticed that my lifestyle needed a change. I had signed back with my favourite Gym, where they have personal trainers that make you put in the work during a one-hour session.

My Doctor had sent me for blood tests because my Blood Pressure was a little high. They came back as pre-diabetic, so I knew I had to do something. At seventy-four years, I felt I was at a crossroads; it was either sink into old age and various medications or put in the effort to change my lifestyle.

I wasn’t prepared for this attack of Gout, though. I had never had it in my whole life before. I had always been a heavy drinker in my youth. I was a rugby player and did other sports for general fun rather than being a committed athlete, and I was a party-goer throughout. That youthful fun developed into a job as I got older. I worked in many countries, and as a business development guy, I had to eat and drink with many clients.

I ate at the best restaurants and stayed out clubbing, all on expenses. I always looked much younger than my years, and I guess you could say I abused my body more than most. I had always felt invincible, thinking I’d continue to live up to my motto of “growing old disgracefully.”

Then I woke early on Thursday for my gym session, but my left foot was sore. The skin was itchy and felt like I’d twisted it without realising it, maybe stubbed my big toe. I was limping, and the trainer noticed it, so I went easy on my leg exercises, and when I returned home, I put an ice pack on my foot for twenty minutes.

From experience, I learned to use the R.I.C.E. physio method for various muscle tears, etc. (Rest Ice Compression Elevation). That had always stood me in good stead and quickly aided my recovery from many injuries. This time, it eased the pain a little, and I continued with it after two more gym sessions.

However, the pain had worsened considerably the following Tuesday, and the limp became more pronounced. One of my fellow gym attendees mentioned that others had overdone the leg press machine’s weights, which might be a cause. I agreed that might be likely, as I tend to overtrain occasionally.

By Wednesday morning, the pain and discomfort had gotten much worse. I was going to London to meet up with some pals for drinks and a Chinese meal. I was in half a mind to call off my attendance because it involved a pretty long walk, but after consideration, I decided to take it slowly. I hobbled through my village, across the large recreation field and a long tree-lined alleyway to the railway station. I had to climb the stairs onto the bridge before arriving on the platform for the London-bound trains. That was a half-hour or more struggle for what would typically take less than fifteen minutes. I was delighted to get seated on the train and ease the pressure on my foot.

Once in the west end of London, I had to negotiate my way across from Oxford Circus, down through the Berwick Street market, frequently stopping to rest my foot, until arriving at our meeting place in a pub in Chinatown next to the restaurant where we had arranged to meet. That probably took another forty-five minutes. By the time I arrived, I was glad to be seated.

Once my friends had arrived, we’d lightened up with a few beers, and it was my round; I stood and limped up to the bar from our table, and two of my friends commented that they knew what was wrong. “You’ve got Gout,” they cried out in unison. It’s funny how their experiences of the condition turned them into medics. Because I had never had that condition in all my seventy-four years, I was totally unprepared even to consider it. I was quite amazed that a Chartered Accountant, a Builder, and a Printer could identify my symptoms before I had.

L to R :      Dr’s Carver, Patel, Singh and the Writer

After a beautiful meal with the guys, they saw me to a taxi stop near the restaurant, and I flagged a London cabby down who took me back across the city to my mainline station. By that time, my foot was excruciatingly painful from all that days walking, and I telephoned home to arrange a pick-up at the other end of the journey home.

The following day, I managed to get an emergency appointment at my local Doctor’s surgery. This time, I hobbled there on a pair of crutches left in our old garage from a previous injury need, where my friend’s diagnosis was confirmed. My new beautiful G.P. prescribed a robust dose in tablet form of Colchicine. That had a speedy effect, reducing the swelling and pain over the next six days.

I believe that because of my usual denial of pain and treatment with ice, I would have continued struggling through and possibly even caused more nerve damage if it wasn’t for the early diagnosis of Doctors Patel, Carver, and Singh and might not have visited the qualified Doctor Vijay. Thank you all.




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