The Diary of a Gout Attack
Monday, 8am: I arrive at work feeling really good. I have had very little joint pain over the last few days. It might be safe to eat a hamburger at lunch. I have taken my medicine today, so why not?
12:45pm: I decide to go to McDonald’s for lunch. I haven’t been there for a while, and it is just across the parking lot from my store. I order 2 double cheeseburgers and a fry. I carry the food back to the store and get a coke out of the machine. On the way back to work, I have a cup of coffee.
4:17pm: I feel a twinge in my left big toe, and my ankle is a little stiff. I just ignore it as another little flare up of Osteo-arthritis. I take a couple of ibuprofen with a sip of water and keep working.
5:12pm: Driving home now. I can’t seem to get my left leg and foot comfortable. It feels sore and stiff.
5:35pm: I arrive home, and I struggle with the onset of stiffness and slight pain as I try to move my leg out of the truck. Although it doesn’t hurt badly, it is sore enough to keep me from standing up straight. “Now what?” I think to myself. I limp to the house, taking care not to let my dog knock me off balance.
I do some quick chores around the house before I settle in. Walking around seems to loosen my joints up a little and it begins to feel better.
6:19pm: I finally sit down and take off my shoes. It is hard to bend my knee to take off my sock. My toes on my left foot are puffy and my big toe is a little red. I hobble into the kitchen and take three ibuprofen with a glass of wine. I go in and sit down on the living room couch and visit with my wife. After a while, I drift off to sleep.
6:59pm: My wife calls me for dinner. I put my feet on the floor to stand up and I feel more pain in my ankle and toe. Trudging through it, I limp to the dinner table, where I find a sumptuous fare consisting of chicken leg quarters, broccoli and mashed potatoes. There is a leafy green salad with spring greens and fresh spinach.
After dinner, I sit down in the living room to watch a movie with my wife and then the news.
11:30pm: She goes off to bed and I go to my office to check my email, blogs, and my E-bay activities. As I try to get up, I realize that the inactivity has caused my stiffness and pain to worsen. I go to the medicine chest and grab my bottle of Colchicine I take when an attack flares up. The bottle is empty. I take an extra Allopurinol instead, along with 4 Aleve.
I settle in at my desk and do what I need to do. I pour myself a glass of wine.
Tuesday, 12:20am: I turn around in my desk chair and attempt to stand up. The pain and stiffness is worsening. It is becoming more and more difficult to stand and walk, but I still manage to make it to bed. I fall asleep quickly.
2:42am: I am suddenly awakened by the intense pain in my left big toe. It was as if someone snuck into the room and hit me on the toe with a hammer. The pain is excruciating. I try to stand up, but I can’t. I do it anyway and try to walk it off. The pain is incredibly intense, but soon it subsides down to an annoying ache. The big toe is red and swollen; the skin is shiny and warm. My ankle and knee are becoming stiffer now. My wife asks me if I took my Colchicine, and I tell her that the bottle was empty, I forgot to refill it. She calls me an idiot, and gets me a Vicodin and a glass of water. I try to go back to sleep. Thank God I go in late in the morning.
8:30am: I wake up and try to stand up. The pain and swelling are incredible now. My head is a little fuzzy from the Vicodin, but a cup of coffee helps to knock that out. I force myself to walk because I can’t miss anymore days because of gout.
9:00am: I shower off and struggle getting dressed. It is hard balancing on one foot to put underwear and pants on, let alone trying to bend my knee to put on shoes and socks. My wife packs my lunch, leftovers from last night, and I am off to work.
10:22am: I arrive at work. My whole leg from the knee down is pounding from pain and stiffness. I park my truck close to the door and take my time going in. I grab a shopping cart and use it for a walker; in the hopes that I can loosen my leg up before I reach the time clock.
10:29am: I am at the time clock and I am leaning against a pallet waiting for the time to click over. Once I clock in, I hobble as fast as I can to my department and prepare for work. My boss sees me and notices I am in pain.
“Gout, again?” he asks.
“Yes.” I say.
“You’ll never get promoted with your health the way it is.” And he walks off.
10:33am: I pop the first of two Vicodin that I brought with me today. It will numb my pain enough until I get loosened up.
The next four and a half hours drag on. The pain is incredible, but dulled by the Vicodin. I refrain from using the saw as much as I can while on these meds, lest I lose a finger.
3:00pm: Lunchtime. I take my lunch to the break room and finish it off quickly. Afterwards, I hobble out to my truck and take a 40 minute nap before returning to work, but I am unable to sleep because of the pain and other discomfort. Again, the inactivity has made everything stiffer and more painful.
3:55pm: I hobble back into the store and take the second Vicodin and an Allopurinol. I have a cup of coffee and try to keep working as best as I can.
7:30pm: I am finally off work, and near tears with pain. I nearly crawl to the truck and climb in for a painful drive home.
8:07pm: I arrive home, and again struggle to get out of the truck. As I do, Wyatt, my 80lb Labrador is so happy to see me, he jumps up and lands on my big toe with all of his weight. I hit the ground writhing in extreme pain as Wyatt (the big oaf) licks my face. Once I am composed, I crawl on all fours to the truck and pull myself up, and I hobble slowly to the side door of the living room. I climb up the steps, walk in and collapse on the couch. Pepper, the Aussie that lives indoors begins licking my face.
8:12pm: My wife comes in and helps me to take off my shoes. She is taken aback by the size of my red, shiny and swollen foot and toes.
“Del, this is a bad one.” She says. “Did you pick up the Colchicine today?”
“I thought you were going to do it.” I said.
“You are such an idiot!” She went on. “You have a pharmacy where you work!”
“Yeah but it’s cheaper if you get it at Kroger.” I said.
She brought my dinner to me on the couch, called me an idiot a couple of more times, and then sat down. I didn’t move from the couch until I went to bed.
10:45pm: I took another Vicodin and crawled (literally) to bed (Pepper thought it was playtime). The Vicodin put me to sleep quickly.
Wednesday, 6:00am: The alarm sounds, and I try to get up. There is no freaking way can I stand up, no matter how hard I push myself. The pain was 15 on a scale of 1 to 10. I reached for the phone and called out for the day. My boss was not happy. I had no more sick time left.
9:35am: My wife returned from the pharmacy with my Colchicine. I took two of them right away and then one each hour until I was relieved, or diarrhea sets in. I stay off my feet all day.
4:00pm: By now I am able to walk comfortably to the bathroom to get the kaopectate. My wife is beginning to cook dinner, and I see that she is preparing salmon with asparagus and a dark leafy green salad.
She offers me a glass of wine, and I turn it down. I also turned down dinner, as I did not want a replay of the events of the last two days.
Thursday, 10:13am: I wake up, nearly pain free. I am off today, and I am going to take it easy, and this time I swear that from now on, I will eat and drink more responsibly!
6:15pm: A friend comes over with a 12 pack of beer. I think “Why not? I have a fresh bottle of Colchicine!”
Epilogue: I missed three more days of work. Having gout is a life changing experience, and if you aren’t willing to go with the changes and be aware of what you put into your body, you will forever suffer the painful consequences.
Copyright 2010 By Del Banks