Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Dickensian Dilemma

Well, our 10 guests have departed (cousins, nieces and nephews of all sorts who came up to the lake this past weekend and said "please" and "thank you" to Aunt Softie and Uncle Pushover) and we are getting back to normal. Except the poor Beloved, who thought he broke his toe out fishin' with the boys, but has in fact come down with the disease of Kings, Founding Fathers, and Scrooges:


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.


TheCrankyProfessor said...

I have all the sympathy in the world for Mr. By the Brook - and in fact i used the same Gillray print on my blog following my diagnosis!

Don't make fun of us for our diet and social class - the doctor blames mine on the anti-hypertension medication.


LarryD said...

Kit, that is One. Nasty. Picture of gout. If it feels half as bad as that image looks, then I feel really bad for your husband. Ouch

Kit said...

CP, I send you a virtual back-pat. It's still really bad, 36 hours after starting the Indocin.

Larry, it really IS that painful. I have seen this man break toes, gash himself, chuckle, and thumb his nose at the blood while reaching for the duct tape. The chills and couch cocoon of goosedown blankies in August are a first, too.

Gotta say, though, the cheerleader making up G-O-U-T! routines, knowing she cannot be caught if chased is pretty funny.

The Digital Hairshirt said...

No shellfish for the Beloved!