It started with a tingle on my left big toe. A sensation a bit similar to a subtle throb that is foolish to ignore. In an instant, my buoyant mood changed into a deep soul search that went as far as the last time I felt this pulse that foretells the coming of bad and painful vibes. Last year in Luxembourg.
Oh my gout! It’s coming!
Panic ensued. In my mind, a list of remedies, pills, and prayers started to come up:
• Pure Black Cherry Juice
• Goat’s Milk
• Lemon Water
• Cherry Pills
• Apple Cider Vinegar
• Vick’s Vapor Rub
• White Flower
• The Apostles Creed
• Prayer To St. Jude
• Prayer to all the gods
• Prayer to Eric Clapton
• Prayer to Sheryl
Anything that helped soothe the debilitating pain of a gout attack flawed before my mind’s eye. “I need to get these now,” I thought.
Yet, as I took my first step towards my pursuit of battling what lies ahead, a sharp, surging pain shot from my toe straight into my head. My legs froze. My eyes involuntary closed and then I felt some tears formed from within.
Ouch! I screamed. The gout attack had arrived. I was too late. Now, I am doomed to suffer for days, even weeks.
Gout is in my genes. My dad had it. All my siblings have it. But as far as I know, my only known gout trigger is liver. Whenever I eat chopped liver, pate, or any dish with liver as an ingredient, I get an attack. But I haven’t had liver for a while. The last time was in Luxembourg when I demolished a majestic piece of foie gras en croute. I knew I would get it the moment I took my first bite of the delicacy but I thought it was a risk worth taking. If I was getting a gout attack anyway, it better from an amazing piece of liver and not some spread you get from the canned section of Shoprite.
So the very next day, in Lyon, France, my toe was swollen to the max and it hurt like massive toothache with every step. It was also the day that Sheryl scheduled a 10-mile climb up a hill to visit the Basilica of Notre Dame and the nearby Roman ruins. And when Sheryl says walk, you fucking walk!
I now have a better understanding of The Way of the Cross after that.
But why did I get the attack again? After a few Google searches, I found some information. It’s weight loss.
You see, Sheryl and I have been losing quite a lot of weight since we removed carbohydrates and sugar from our diet back in September. We’ve shed about 40 lbs each and according to my research, rapid weight loss like that can indeed trigger a gout attack if you are genetically predisposed to get it. So there it is. A gout attack caused by eating less instead of eating more.
But it sure was as painful.
It’s strange when you have this condition. You kind of lose control of your affected limb like they have lives of their own. And in my case, my left toe, foot, and leg.
So one time in the West Village, on my way to the office, I was favoring my left leg and putting a lot of pressure on my right to compensate for the lack of control of the other. And then right in front of me, I saw fresh dog poop (fucking dog owner didn’t clean up!)on the ground. I wanted to walk away but it was too late. My left leg was already in advance and about to land on the turd. I had a few split seconds to force my brain to summon my leg back. But gout was on the way, blocked the nerve signals, ignored the commands.
I heard a juicy squish.
Gout is a bitch. But the way I see it, it seems like it comes whenever something amazing happens in my life. Either after stuffing my face with premium goose liver or me losing 40 lbs. It’s like the toothache after a lollipop, the diarrhea after raw oysters, the hangover after wine, and the heartbreak when first love ends. It’s like nature's way of checking and balancing life experiences. Yin and Yang. Good and evil. Trump and Pelosi.