I woke up Friday morning with all the toes in my right foot having that pre-gout feeling. For me, it feels much that same as a toe feels a day or two after you stub it really bad. It’s not really hurting, but tender and stiff. Except it’s in all five toes at once.
I’ve experienced this enough that I know the drill. I make an effort to drink about twice as much water over the course of the day as usual. In the evening, I elevate it and put a heating pad on it for a while. I get out a pair of my extra long fuzzy socks and wear those to keep my feet and ankles warm. About two-thirds of the time, doing this entire routine for a few days prevents a full-fledged gout attack hitting.
This time? Well…
Saturday morning I woke with the big toe on that foot swollen, hurting a lot, and with the classic red ring around the last joint. And I couldn’t get my foot into regular shoes, so I had to go with my stealth sandals that pass for shoes if I wear dark socks.
Also, for the last few weeks (started a few days before I posted all the mushroom pictures), I’ve been having moderately-severe to very-severe hay fever symptoms all the time, thanks to all those fungus spores in the air.
We had an editorial work party Saturday afternoon scheduled. And my sinus headache was bad enough on it’s own to make me a cranky guy all day, without the #$@%! gouty foot. We also had a Corporate Board meeting in the evening. So we had a lot of people over. I managed to control the worst of the symptoms with over-the-counter meds, and I don’t think I was horrifically cranky to anyone.
I did the heating pad again that night, and had tried to keep drinking extra water and black cherry juice all day. Sunday morning I woke up feeling no better, but also no worse, that Saturday. I really enjoyed the football game. I usually have a couple of beers or ciders while watching the game, but alcohol can make gout attacks worse, so I kept drinking water.
When I woke up Monday morning, the gout wasn’t completely gone, but the swelling had decreased a lot, it was only a little sore, and my sinuses were a little clearer, with no headache. I felt a bit run-down, but since I’d been in pain all weekend and hadn’t slept really soundly, I figured it was a result of that. So I got ready for work.
For about half a minute before I went out the door, I hesitated about whether I should grab my cane and take it with me. I decided against it. Four blocks later I was starting to think I should have grabbed the cane. It wasn’t just that my foot was a bit more tender than I realized, it was also that it was cold enough outside that the cold was making the gout worse.
(Side bar for those unfamiliar with gout: gout is the result of uric acid in the joints forming solid crystals, so you literally have little grains of sand inside you joint. It tends to happen in toes and ankles more than any other joint because the melting point of solid uric acid is in the mid-90s, Fahrenheit. So, if you’re healthy, the core of your body should be too warm for the uric acid that runs throughout your body to crystalize. Your extremities are colder. And if you let the extremities that are already having gout get cold, the gout tends to get worse.)
But, I was nearly to the bus stop, and there was a drug store right there, so I was leaning toward ducking in, buying an inexpensive cane, then waiting for the bus. Except that a bus was right there when I arrived. So I just hopped on.
I was reading work e-mail on my phone during the ride in, so I was thinking about my deadlines and bugs I needed to fix when the bus got downtown. It wasn’t until I was nearly to the office, and at the bottom of a very steep two-hill part of the walk from the bus stop that it occurred to me that there was a drug store right at the spot where I exited the bus, and I could have gotten a cane there, too.
Once I got settled into work, had some water and some coffee, that was when the rumblings started in my intestines. And the rumblings soon became cramps and pain, with the occasional feeling of nausea. I realized, when I went to refill my water bottle, that I was sweating like crazy, while several of my co-workers were wearing sweaters.
And my foot was not getting any better.
I was also having a hard time following compound sentences in a document I was trying to edit. The worst part was, I was the original author of most of the sentences.
I told my boss I wasn’t feeling well, was going to head home, and would try to get some work done remotely. Just getting back outside, into the fresh air actually made the gastro-intestinal things feel less severe. I certainly didn’t feel nauseated any longer.
Getting home, getting into comfy clothes, making some tea, bundling up with the heating pad and the blanket helped a lot. I worked for a few more hours, until my husband got home from work. He turned some leftovers into the most delicious smelling soup. But I had to take a nap for a few hours. By the time I woke up, the chicken and rice soup wasn’t just good smelling, it was incredibly good tasting. I got 1800 words of NaNoWriMo writing done. I conked out again.
And woke up, wide awake for absolutely no discernible reason.
Tuesday I managed to get a full day’s worth of work in, but I’ve got waxing and waning symptoms. I’ll feel mostly okay, other than the sore feet (the left foot is now getting gouty), for about an hour. Then my sinuses will swell, my eyes will get itchy, my brain will get sluggish for about an hour. And so on. Also, how much each foot is swollen and sore is varying by some random fashion.
And taking a break when my hubby got home to run out to the store to pick up a few things during one of my almost normal-feeling periods completely exhausted me.
I think I need to take another nap.