Gout, the “old man’s disease”

The Daily Reader

September 19, 2023

Out of nowhere and when I least expected, I got attacked by gout—which really really hurts.

I call gout the “old man’s disease.” Cause everyone I told—and I couldn’t stop talking about it—sort of told me sort of the same thing. 

Which is: they never had it, but . . .

“My uncle did.”

Or . . .

“My father did.”

Or . . .

“My grandfather did.”

You get the idea.

I had a two-fer attack. First in my big toe, then, just as that pain subsided, near my ankle.

There’s really nothing you can do about gout once it attacks. Except sit around feeling sorry for yourself. 

Well, enough of that pity party! Let me concentrate on the bright side of getting gout. Hmm, let’s see . . .

Gout proves that Bernie Sanders was right, when it comes to our abysmal state of for-profit health care. For instance . . .

One day, the pain was so bad that I limped over to my local urgent care facility. Got there at 1:00 PM, only to have the receptionist tell me I’m too late.

“But your website says you’re open until 4:00,” I said.

Turns out it should have been called a non-urgent, no-care facility. It’s like one of those restaurants that brags about being open until 10:00 even though the cook leaves at 9:30.

The receptionist told me that I could see a nurse.

After about an hour, a nurse called me into an examination room. She looked at my swollen foot and said that there was nothing she could do for me, because she was not technically a “caregiver”—even though she was a nurse. But she would tell the “caregiver” about my case, even though the “caregiver” couldn’t see me.

Like I said: Bernie was right!

The only helpfulness at the urgent care facility came from the security guard, who met me as I was limping out the front door.

“What are you taking for the pain?” he asked.


“Take Aleve. It’s better.”

Interesting twist on the whole “Treatment Not Trauma” thing. In this case, the only “treatment” I got for my trauma came from a cop.

Another good thing about gout is that it helps me appreciate the Chicago Bears.

For the last two Sundays I’ve limped to my easy chair, propped up my foot, and watched some of the worst football I’ve seen in almost 60 years of watching football.

The Bears just aren’t bad. They’re creatively bad. They are continually finding new and interesting ways to be bad. As each game proceeded, I entertained myself by texting friends who were also watching the games, about how bad the Bears are.

We’re all running low on words to describe what we’re watching. Having run through: terrible, awful, miserable, wretched, vomitrocious, “Can you believe this shit,” and so on.

On the bright side, the Bears are so bad they temporarily made me forget about my gout.

Hey, urgent care security guard! I found a pain-reliever better than Aleve.


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Sept. 7 – 20, 2023 
Vol. 52, No. 24


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