The pains of getting older
I have reached another milestone in my life. I’ve got my first proper adult condition.
I’m not a big drinker, I exercise and I eat healthy. It is hereditary.
A ‘gift’ from my Dad.
They say a decent bout of gout is comparable to childbirth. In mid-chronic gout pain I would prefer to push out a child.
Gout is a common form of arthritis. Caused by a build-up of uric acid, in the bloodstream, causing inflammation, pain and swelling. If left untreated it can cause more serious issues.
Imagine having pain so severe that you cannot rest the covers of your bed on that part of your body because the pain it causes is so unbearable. Imagine having your finger nail ripped off with a pair of pliers……slowly. Makes your squirm, right? I would prefer that.
It starts with a little bit of soreness in your toe as you wiggle it. Then over a few days the pain increases and the mobility of the toe decreases, until such times as you are unable to move nor touch anything with that toe or surrounding area.
I have met and heard stories of people passing out, being hospitalised and having to go on morphine drips for gout.
All this in your little, big toe.
Having to explain to people that this is in fact more than just man-pain and that yes, it is just my toe that hurts, is in itself painful.
Having people say “oh, gout?” then watching as their minds tick over…. “that’s the alcoholic disease isn’t it?…. “ is another stigma attached to the name.
I met a fellow gout sufferer recently. He was limping that unmistakable gout limp.
“Gout?” I say in that one-mason-to-another type of acknowledgement
“mmm” he says and nods that weary nod.
A gout limp is not like a sore leg limp, or a sprained ankle limp. No. A gout limp is like you are walking on glass with every step. Not laminated glass that breaks up into harmless pieces but the John McClane, Die Hard glass that penetrates deep into the underside of your un-shoed fleshy foot.
My boys think it is hilarious and pretend to touch or press my toe. I spring forward to protect it only to cause myself more pain from the sudden movement. Hysterical. Not.
“game of football, Dad?” they tease.
“Grumpier than usual dad?” they chime
“Just wait till I get my hands on you” I say
“come on then” they giggle as they continue to taunt me just a few centimetres away from my outstretched hand.
Their time will come. Revenge will be best served wrestling on the bed and taking it that little bit too far…….
I remember my dad suffering when I was a kid and then accidently banging into him as he was shuffling round the house. I learnt swear words I had never heard before – a whole mix and match of real words and made up ones….. “aaah for fu-bastar-mother-fu-shi-cu-jeeesuuuUUUUUSSSSSS” as he reaches out for the nearest wall to stop himself collapsing.
I talked about it with him when I had my first bout. Gout sufferers generally get attacks 2-3 times a year for about 2-3 weeks at a time. It took a while for him to decide to take the daily medication. But eventually enough was enough. He is now pain free.
I am not quite at that point. This is my first year. I have only had 2 bouts so far. I am reluctant to take a pill every day. I am not prepared to admit that I am at that stage of needing pills to keep me going. I am not ready to admit I am getting older. I am 40 in a few months. That is something I still need to get my head around.
There are plenty of worse things to happen to people. Gout comes and goes. And for those unaccustomed to gout or the suffers of this condition I can imagine it is hard to fathom.
So to those who laugh and say “have a spoonful of concrete and harden the f*ck up!” I say….don’t come to close or I’m going to give you a well deserved kick up the arse.
Or at least I would if my bloody toe didn’t hurt so much