And yes, I've heard all the 'jokes' about it being a 'rich man's' condition and 'drinking too much port', blah, blah, blah - oh how I laughed - but Im afraid I have had something of a sense of humour failure about this attack, coming as it has in the middle of an exceptionally busy period of work; and before you think it, no, going off sick simply isn't an option for me, so I'll limp through it feeling, probably looking and certainly behaving, like a bear with a sore head (or paw, as the case may be).
But it's not just the timing of this attack, it's a little bit more than that. For instance, when the attack began, I didn't have any medication left, having given my last few tablets to a fellow sufferer who was in agony a few months ago. And yes, I know that was my own fault, but bear with me.
As someone who has suffered from the condition on and very much off for the last twenty years, I know when I'm having an attack: believe me, only first-timers don't know*, so rather than book an appointment with my GP, I thought the more sensible course was to free up his time and order a repeat prescription on-line instead.
So, yesterday morning, I emailed my request to the surgery, expecting the prescription to be ready at 3 o'clock this afternoon, after which treatment could commence immediately, or sooner, if possible. Imagine my
Just remind me why I didn't book an appointment and waste five minutes of GP surgery time writing out that prescription...
But there's more: this is an excerpt from the website I linked to at the top of this post, offering advice as to how to reduce you chances of suffering further attacks:
'Lifestyle factors may reduce the risk of having gout attacks. These include losing weight (if overweight), eating a healthy diet, not drinking too much alcohol or sugar sweetened soft drinks. If gout attacks recur, then taking vitamin C supplements and/or allopurinol each day can prevent attacks.'
Dealing with them in order: I am not overweight, even according to the ridiculous BMI 'standard'; perhaps not surprisingly, given the fact that I am not overweight, I eat a healthy diet, I never drink sugar-laden soft drinks and I take 500mg of vitamin C every day. Regular readers will know that I do like a drink every now and then, but to put that into context, I have not had a drop since last Friday evening and then I only had four bottles of Magners' cider; so I hardly qualify as a sot. Lastly, and for the uninitiated, allopurinol is a medication given to gout sufferers to reduce their production of uric acid, which is the root cause of the problem. However, it is only given to those who have regular attacks (i.e. every couple of months or so),which thankfully, I have not had to endure and my GP has never recommended it to me.
So why me? I'm fit, strong, relatively athletically built, eat sensibly, supplement appropriately and don't drink to excess.
Probably because my father had it and I'm told that there is a very strong familial link to the condition; for instance, my elder brother is also a sufferer and he is on allopurinol. As (bad) luck would have it, my brother-in-law is another victim and as my son wrily observed earlier on tonight, given that combination, he is firmly in the cross hairs, too.
Rant over. Time for me to hop back over to my easy chair and put my foot up.
(* The first time I suffered an attack, I went to casualty, because I was convinced I had broken my foot, the pain was that bad).