Getting Old – The Gout

I have been struggling with whether to mention it or not. Last week, starting on Tuesday, my left foot began to hurt. By the weekend, it was agonizing.

I thought it was a torn ligament or something, possibly even a plantar fasciitis flare up. A couple of years ago, I had something similar in Chandler, and the podiatrist gave me some super Aleve. I figured this was the same thing.

How wrong I was.

Monday, I begged and wheedled to get an appointment with the on call Podiatrist. At 4:00 they were able to give me a time slot.

The left large toe was super sensitive, about as much pain as plantar fasciitis, and it was swollen. 3 vitamin I’s (ibuprofen, 200mg) would take the edge off the pain, but not really relieve it.

It took about 10 seconds for the initial diagnosis. Gout. In the left great toe.

To get a definitive diagnosis, he aspirated the fluid in the joint, looking for uric acid crystals. Also, I had a blood test to check uric acid levels in my blood, and to check for kidney function.

Results: Crystals visible in the fluid in the joint, uric acid was high, but my kidneys were working OK.

Being that I eat beef or red meat once a month, and can’t eat shellfish due to an allergy, it is most likely a genetic predisposition. Lovely.

Industrial strength anti inflammatory drugs, and a special regimen to use if I get a twinge in the future has helped. I also got an injection of cortisone into the joint.

The next day I was much better, although the injection site was sore. Add my anti coagulants, and I have a nice bruise, but I am able to wear shoes, and walking is pain free.

I feel old, having the Gout.

Getting Old – uh, what was I talking about…

There is plenty of evidence of getting old. Having a heart attack. Finding out that you have arthritis in your hands. Chronic pain in various parts of your body that just don’t go away.

A few weeks ago, someone mentioned that they were ignoring the advice of their physicians and abusing their bodies. I of course had to weigh in.

As I approach the magic five oh, I am falling apart. Early in my life I had a similar belief. As a teen, I got heavily into motorcycles. Starting with off road, it was an every weekend practice. I was young, I was invincible. I would ride any trail, I would do anything. Hills, jumps, gnarly tree-filled trails. Absolutely bulletproof.

Then at the ripe old age of 16, I got the first life lesson. Riding at Hollister Hills on the TT track, I was riding a friends bike. It was a 1979 Yamaha TT 500. Big single thumper. A natural slider. Not a lot of suspension travel, but a natural slider. I was flat tracking it that day like Mert Lawill at the San Jose Mile.

Then in one corner, I got nailed. A rider on a Yamaha YZ400 hit me while I was sliding. Off, on the high side. Massive dislocated shoulder.

Groan. 3 years later, it is popping out while I am sleeping. Right after I graduated high school, I get it repaired. A Bristow repair of my shoulder.

Fast forward to today. Somewhere at age 26, it re-dislocated. Not worth describing how, but it was painful. Today, I have a constant ache. It isn’t agony. But it is getting worse. Since my heart attack, I have been on medicine that preclude taking NSAID’s, and oh boy, that causes pain.

Have a heart attack (age 44), dislocate a shoulder (age 16, repaired at 18, re-dislocated at 26), have plantar fascitis at age 45, jam you knee badly (again off road motorcycling) at 38, and at 49 you are in a pretty constant state of pain.

I wouldn’t recommend getting old.

Living with Arthritis

Alas, getting old sucks. A lot of things begin to degrade, and just stop working. Mid last year my left thumb started to become painful. At first, I assumed it was just a physical damage like I jammed my thumb. When after a month or so, it didn’t get better, so off to a doctor I went.

Long story short, the prognosis was osteo arthritis. The usual treatments were tried, spica brace (OTS and custom made), NSAIDs, and finally a cortisone shot into the joint.

I also tried the alternative solutions. Glucosamine and MSM. Alas, they seemed to be a big heaping pile of placebo, even in high dosages, for several months, no noticeable relief.

All that happened was a temporary respite. The only thing that helped was massive doses of NSAIDs. 800 mg Ibuprofen 2x a day did a pretty good job of keeping the sharp pain at bay. But that is not good, as I also take statins, beta blockers, ace inhibitors, and anti coagulants (don’t ask), adding 800mg of Vitamin I made me bleed in interesting areas. So I am off the NSAIDs.

There is surgery, but it is not a good option, as mobility will be greatly curtailed. The hand specialist told me that they don’t do that surgery in people my age (too young). Gulp.

Now, I am in a constant low grade pain. I can’t play guitar. I can hold on to a bicycle, but not sure for how much longer.

Getting old sucks. I fear that from now until the long goodnight, it is just a series of disappointments as I have more and more things I can’t do.


The hand update

I have been battling with what I originally thought was an injured thumb. A couple weeks ago, I went to my GP, and alas, the tendons seem fine, but the x-rays show that there is a bone spur, and what is likely the beginning of arthritis. Groan. Heavy anti inflammatories and a brace to immobilize the thumb.

A week later, the brace was not helping (if anything, it was beginning to damage the nerves, numbing my thumb). So I call a hand specialist.

FFS, what is it with these specialists? They are all booked through November. I can get in on Oct 28th to see a PA.  Sigh. I guess I will take it.

It still hurts (even with 800mg ibuprofen twice a day), cycling is not good for it (but it isn’t going to stop me), and it hurts to play guitar. Sigh, getting old sucks.