Old man’s disease

So it’s official… it’s been medically confirmed: I’m getting old. And I’m a bit of a lush.

No surprise to many, I know.

After blood tests this week it’s been confirmed that the pain I’ve had in my foot is gout. My doctor’s first reaction was that I shouldn’t have gout at my age: it’s an old man’s disease. And despite the intense pain (I’ve read medical papers that describe it as one of the most painful forms of arthritis, and comparing the pain to that of breaking a major bone), it’s still something of a joke disease: something a soap opera or sitcom grandad mumbles about from the corner of the living room.

So I’m sitting in the corner of the living room, mumbling about it. Gout.

It’s often a genetic thing, but I don’t think it’s in my family. It’s often an age thing, but I’m not that old! It’s often associated with things like diabetes, but that doesn’t seem to apply either. It’s often related to being overweight, but even though I put on a stone after I did my marathon last May, I’m not really that chubby.

Two remaining causes do apply, though. I tend to eat a pretty rich diet, and I drink. I don’t get slaughtered every night, but I do drink far more than I should. I like it, though. I like a good bottle of wine; I love those evenings when you get a bunch of different single malts out and have a glass of each, savouring the differences between each one. I love real ale, although I shouldn’t really drink it as I’m gluten-intolerant.

And that phrase is going to crop up more and more: “I shouldn’t really…”

I need to cut down on the booze. I need to eat more healthily (I don’t eat junk food – I eat good food, but I just need to eat some different good food); and I need to cut down drastically on some foods altogether. I need to get back on track with my exercise, too, which I dropped drastically last summer when post-marathon slump coincided with having to work ridiculous hours in my day-job.

Lifestyle changes, they call it.

Diagnosis is good: undiagnosed and untreated, gout can be associated with all kinds of nasty problems with kidneys, liver, joints and so on. Now it’s a known quantity. And I feel vaguely reassured that the pain in my foot is actually as bad as it feels (remember that comparison with a major bone-break? I get that every day at the moment).

So really: it’s not an old man’s disease. It’s not a comedy condition.

It’s real, and it’s bloody sore, and I need to do something about it.

Lifestyle changes.

Yes, I’m still trying to convince myself, but at least it’s a start. Just no tittering at the back there, okay?

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About Keith Brooke and infinity plus

Keith Brooke is a writer of science fiction, fantasy and other strange stuff, and editor and reviewer of same. He is also the publisher at infinity plus, an independent imprint publishing books by leading genre fiction authors. View all posts by Keith Brooke and infinity plus

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