Gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis, usually in the toe or finger joints (although elbows, knees and even EARS can be affected), brought on by high levels of uric acid in the blood, which results in evil little crystalline cells with horrible "stinger"-like protrusions flitting about in the joint space. My pain-oblivious Marine is hobbling around in misery. And that's saying something.
Here's an excerpt from an article I read on the Johns-Hopkins website - a doctor/gout sufferer's account written in 1683:
The victim goes to bed and sleeps in good health. About 2 o'clock in the morning, he is awakened by a severe pain in the great toe; more rarely in the heel, ankle or instep. This pain is like that of a dislocation, and yet the parts feel as if cold water were poured over them. Then follows chills and shiver and a little fever. The pain which at first moderate becomes more intense. With its intensity the chills and shivers increase. After a time this comes to a full height, accommodating itself to the bones and ligaments of the tarsus and metatarsus. Now it is a violent stretching and tearing of the ligaments-- now it is a gnawing pain and now a pressure and tightening. So exquisite and lively meanwhile is the feeling of the part affected, that it cannot bear the weight of bedclothes nor the jar of a person walking in the room.
It might as well have been written last week - it exactly describes the beloved's progression from late last night's "what the heck did I do to my toe?" to the doctor's office this morning.
Political cartoon of a gouty King George being helped onto his horse
He's camped out on the couch with the remote, his meds, and a huge red toe that simply cannot bear any weight or even a bedsheet touching it. Poor thing.