"Gout is the only disease that had been correctly identified as a unique disease throughout all of medical history. For over four thousand years doctors and healers have recognized pain and swelling of the big toe as most likely being gout." ~ Victor Konshi in Alternative Medicine April, 15, 2009
"The rich ate and drank freely, accepting gout and apoplexy as things that ran mysteriously in respectable families…" ~ George Eliot
"People wish their enemies dead, but I do not; I say give them the gout!" ~ Mary Worley Montagu
Stand up. Say it loud. I’ve got gout and I’m proud!
Hello… My name is Mike Rogers and I have gout.
You know, I think gout has been getting a bad rap all these centuries. I mean, if gout was good enough for the aristocrats during the Renaissance and enlightenment, and has always been good enough for the kings, queens and other royalty then it should be good enough for you and me. Why should only the rich people have all the fun?
I mean, think about it. When shopping at Wal-Mart, have you ever once heard, “Shoppers, in aisle 16, we have a sale on ice-packs, walking canes and Dr. Scholl’s “Gout-Out”? No you haven’t.
That’s because poor people don’t get gout.
James Brown probably had gout. I figure that’s why he was always limping around on stage
Gout has the image of gluttony and mountains of food at glorious feasts at the King’s table with the wine flowing freely and enough victuals to feed an army of nobility. Yet, at our feast, there’s only you and me and the Knight’s of the Round Table chasing gamine maidens waiting at our beck and call.
“Bring me more wine! More meat! You knave!” I command as I take one gnaw on yon Turkey leg and discharge the half-eaten bone to the floor. I wipe the gravy off my face on my tunic when I spot another tempting damsel soon-to-be in distress.
“Stop ye, young varlet and come hither to me at once!” I shout as I spill another vat of wine on myself…. But fear not! There’s plenty more where that came from.
Yeah. Gout has gotten a bad rap over these last, oh, say, 4 to 500 years, so I’m going to change that all negative press with this one article.
The way I see it is that gout, like a hangover, is a sort of trophy… In fact, having gout is better than a hangover because hangovers go away in a day or two… Gout is forever. The reason why hangovers and gout are so good is that they are trophies; they are proof of a great night and a great life. The worse the hangover or the gout, the better the recent parties.
Gout is better than a hangover because gout is forever
However, whereas a hangover might be proof one of good night, gout is proof of years of over-eating, drinking, gross over-indulgence, lack of exercise, decadent living and just plain irresponsible behavior.
Wow! Just makes you wish you were having a gout attack right now so that you can relive all those memories and years of excess in the next 4 days with your foot elevated and hurting somewhat. Oh dear! Did I say, "hurting somewhat"? I meant to say, hurting quite a bit… Uh, did I say "hurting quite a bit"? No, what I meant to say is HURTING LIKE A MUTHA %*!?&! HURTING SO MUCH YOU CAN’T BELIEVE IT!
Man, do those gout attacks ever hurt! They feel like you broke your foot bone or something in the middle of the night… I’ve had gout attacks that were so bad that I couldn’t walk without a cane or some help; I couldn’t sleep a wink without a bunch of painkillers.
If you’ve had a gout attack before then you can attest to what hellacious pain they can be.
The first time I had a Gout attack was in February of 2009. I was staying at a friend’s ranch on the beach in New Zealand and, of course, I was eating and drinking to extreme excess every night. Then, one morning, I woke up and my foot hurt like it had been run over by a Sherman tank! I thought I was going to die! The pain was excruciating!
But, still, that didn’t deter me from fishing. I hobbled down to the ocean and waded up to my waist (which really felt good on my foot) and I sucked it up like a real man every day. Caught my limit too! I mean, we have to consider what’s more important here; is it my quickly deteriorating health or my heading down to the beach to catch fish?
Then the second time I had a gout attack was in early December of the same year. I had to fly up to northern Japan to meet some big shot executives from a Chinese Airlines and arrange their TV/newspaper promotion in Japan. By the time the promotion ended, my foot hurt so bad from gout attack that I could hardly walk.
When I checked into the airlines, the girl at the check-in counter saw me noticeably having trouble not looking like a spastic. She then asked what was wrong and I whispered to her, so that no one else could hear, that I had gout. She looked genuinely concerned and said, “Oh, you poor dear! My father suffered gout too!”
So, instead of my flying back to Tokyo in Economy Class, that kind young lady put me in First Class. How lucky I was. I began thinking that maybe this gout thing isn’t so bad after all.
Later on, I was trying to quietly enjoy the flight (though my foot was killing me) when I saw one of the flight attendants smiling and looking right at me. I straightened my tie and smiled back but then I figured that since I am near sighted, she was looking at someone else. I tried to get some shuteye and peeked at her to see if she was looking at me anymore. She was! After awhile, I noticed that she kept looking straight at me and smiling over and over again. My heart sang. I thought, “The old boy’s still got that magic!” I gave her a mischievous grin and she smiled back.
Oh, stay my beating heart! I’m old enough to be her father… er, older brother, I surmised. Then while I was picturing holding hands with her and running madly in love up some faraway sandy beach laughing together, she started walking up to me.
I braced myself. I wondered if my breath was OK. Maybe she wanted my phone number. Maybe she’ll be lonely tonight in Tokyo? Great, but what will I tell my wife?
She came directly to my seat, offered me a blanket and said, “Mr. Rogers?” I jumped a few feet in the air. How did she know my name? And her English was perfect! She continued, “Mr. Rogers, can I have your phone number?” I smiled knowingly at her as I pulled out a piece of paper from my pocket, wrote down my number and, with a half-wink, I handed it to her.
“What’s this?” She said.
“Silly," I whispered while slowly flashing my bedtime eyes to her, “You asked for my phone number.”
“Pardon me, Mr. Rogers," she replied, "There must be some misunderstanding. I didn’t ask for your phone number, I asked, u2018Is your foot feeling better?’ I’m sorry my English is so poor.”
My face turned beet red. I told her that I was fine and acted like I was sleepy so she would leave me alone. She walked away, out of my life forever, and behind the curtains where the other stewardesses were… A minute later I could hear them giggling.
I’ll bet they were giggling at my expense too. Talk about poor service! I’ll never fly on that airline again!
Later on, when I got home, I told this story to my wife (well, not all of it) and she accused me of trying to pick up the stewardess in First Class.
Coffee, tea, or me? Watch out for Gold Diggers prowling the airplanes!
“Stewardesses are always looking for eligible men in First Class as those are the rich ones.” My wife scowled.
“Yeah, right, dear. I responded in my calmest, most mature manner. "As if a young stewardess is going to date a guy who is at least 30 years her senior, why, I was old enough to be her father! Not to mention that my baggage includes one hellacious case of gout. My, honey, you sure do have a wild imagination." I chuckled.
After that little episode, I decided that I had better go to the doctor and do something about this gout business. At the doctor’s they game me some blood tests and told me to come back a few days later. I did and as I, and the doctor, suspected I had gout.
The doctor told me that I also had high cholesterol. He told me that he wanted to put me on various drugs to control these problems. I resisted but he then told me that if I do not take medicine for gout, it could cause kidney damage and all sorts of other problems so I relented.
What a mistake that was!
The doctor told me that the medicine he was prescribing for me was the standard gout medicine. (Hey! I am not a doctor!) He also told me that this medicine was powerful stuff and that my body had to get used to it first so I wasn’t supposed to take full dosages, but to build up to a full dosage over a two-week period.
I was to take the pills and cut them into quarters and take one quarter every day for eight days. Then, after that, cut the pills in half and then take another half every day for another eight days. Once I did that, I was to start taking one full pill every day after that. Simple. Right? Sure, but things didn’t work out so well.
On December 12th, I started taking the quarter pills and increasing the dosage as the doctor prescribed. Finally, after doing this religiously every day, on December 30th, I was up to a full dosage; one pill a day in the mornings.
For New Year’s we were invited by my wife parent’s to stay at their house in the country. So, coincidentally, we were at their home from the 28th of December. Things were going fine, but by the evening of the 30th, my right knee started to hurt. I thought nothing of it and went to bed. The next morning I took my medicine, as usual, and, once again, by the evening I noticed that my right knee was really starting to hurt a lot.
The next morning was “Happy New Year!” We all got up and did the traditional Japanese New Year things that people here do; go to the shrine, eat rice cakes, visit family and relatives… Of course, I took my medicine again.
But darned if my right knee wasn’t really hurting badly that New Year’s morning. It felt as if I had twisted my knee doing some sports but I hadn’t done anything for the last few days except get out of bed. By 5 pm that night, my right knee was killing me. It had suddenly swollen up like a grapefruit and I just couldn’t take the pain anymore so off to the emergency room at the local hospital I went.
It just so happens that, when I got to the hospital, there was a doctor who was a specialist on gout on duty and he attended to me. He said that what happened to me was a fairly common reaction of some people to the gout medicine I was taking. He used a syringe to pull about 200 milliliters of liquid out of my knee and gave me a bunch of painkillers. He also told me to stop taking the medicine and go back to my regular doctor and tell him what happened.
What a miserable New Year’s Day that was!
Well, a few days later, I did go back to my doctor. He told me that he wanted me to take the same medicine, but only this time, he was going to give me another medicine to prevent the side effects of the first medicine!
Hold your horses there cowboy! I thought. That’s when I decided that there had to be a better way; and that, actually, is the point of this article.
I remembered on this very web site reading about how a raw food diet can cure and help alleviate the problems and pains of many diseases and ailments. So, I ordered the book, The Live Food Factor, and tried it. I went 70% raw for the first two months. I also got great tips from the Beating Gout web page.
I’ve stopped drinking alcohol and I now eat raw foods at least two meals a day. I also try to drink at least three quarts of fresh water every day. I found the advice in the book The Live Food Factor wonderful and I recommend it to you. Even though I eat raw at least twice a day, I can tell you that I do feel great. I take no gout medicines and my cholesterol levels are completely normal too. I have also cut my blood pressure medicine dosage by two-thirds and plan on quitting altogether when I get the courage up to eat three raw meals a day.
It has been now seven months and I have had three blood tests that show that my uric acid is well within safe levels and I haven’t had any trouble with gout at all. On top of that, I’ve lost 22 pounds in six months and feel great!
If I feel this great with two raw meals a day, I bet I’d feel even better on three. But, for me, raw food is not a religion; I do go to business lunches and dinners and do have to eat out with clients sometimes. So, of course, I do look forward to eating delicious cooked food sometimes too. In fact, since I don’t eat cooked food all the time, it makes it that much more special when I do.
You don’t have to shorten your life or the quality of it by taking drugs prescribed by Big Pharma. I suggest a little self-control and eating healthy. I think the Live Food factor has advice that can be helpful for many people. Perhaps you can benefit too?
This article may have started out as a joke, but gout is no laughing matter.
Mike (in Tokyo) Rogers [send him mail] was born and raised in the USA and moved to Japan in 1984. He is the president of an Internet & Cross Media advertising/marketing agency and a media production company named Universal Vision. He writes about marketing, the Internet and Social Media at the Modern Marketing Japan blog. His book, Schizophrenic in Japan, went on sale in 2005.