Wednesday, December 10, 2008


a couple of weeks ago — maybe a little more — i turned to Misty and said, "i just want one pain-free day. just one more."

the story: i have gout, which is an excess of uric acid in your blood. as i understand it, the acid crystallizes, and the crystals are heavier than blood, so they follow the path of gravity downward. most gout sufferers get an attack in the big toe. but because i've had so much damage over the years to my ankles and knees, that's where the crystals often settle. left unchecked, gout can cause bone damage and weakness — and it's painful as hell, to boot. during an acute attack, it's nearly unbearable. with no hyperbole, an acute attack can be worse than a broken bone. my legs and feet have been bothering me, off and on, for nearly all of this past year. i have probably limped more this year than ever before. it's been nagging like an overachieving mother-in-law. i've been concerned that it's basically getting worse, because the pain and inflammation has lingered so long. i've stopped playing tennis and basketball. i could still get out on the court, but it would take me days — perhaps even a week — to recover from just a little effort.

it last attacked my right knee, and i could barely walk. it was bad enough that i went to the doctor. for me, a trip to the ER or doctor really means i think i'm in bad shape. i thought they'd have to drain my knee, but instead it was the usual cocktail of painkillers, muscle relaxers, steroids ... and now i'm taking a daily dose of allopurinol, which should regulate some of the excess uric acid.

today was the day: pain-free. no limping. no swelling in my ankles or knees. no trouble navigating the stairs at Misty's place. this is what being pain-free is like. i want it to continue.