Who is the goutcho, amigo?

Restaurant sign featuring charcter for luck

It’s not fair that actions should have consequences.

Less than two months after my first episode of gout, here I am again. I awoke yesterday morning with an all-too-familiar feeling in the joint of the big toe. I hadn’t done anything in particular to bring this on, apart from four consecutive evenings of drinking without a rest day.

Getting out of bed, I could feel it wasn’t as bad this time around. But still, having it come again meant I would really have to do something about it. The weather’s not looking good for the weekend, but I do want to get some time in on the bike whenever the opportunity arises. I discussed the situation with my partner (once she got out of bed), and we agreed I’d see the doctor on Saturday. I had things to do at the office, and we were meeting friends for dinner.

This morning, Saturday, I awoke feeling somewhat better. But I knew it was best to see the doc. We’d spoken about gout with our friends over dinner, and the other fellow said he’s taking medication which keeps him in check. We’ve discovered as a result of this that a lot of our friends were on the medication. So I got dressed and headed out for breakfast and the doctor’s office, not really limping so much.

“I can see from the concentration in your face that you’re being careful how you walk,” the doctor said when I entered his office. He quickly agreed this is another flare-up, and asked about my drinking.

I sheepishly told him about the four nights in a row. “You don’t have to worry, I’m not a policeman,” he joked. “Now, last night, after this flared up again, were you drinking?”


“What were you drinking?”


“OK, wine,” he said in a tone of voice that suggested, “At least that’s better than beer!” “And how much did you drink? Half a bottle?”

“Um … a full bottle.” In fact, between the four of us we’d done three whites and a red.

The doctor ordered an X-ray of my foot, to make sure there was nothing else contributing to the swelling, and a urine sample. The radiologist was a bit impatient with me for having to repeat a couple of the instructions as he guided me into position, but he got the job done.

The results were all good. There’s no accumulation of deposits around my joints; my blood sugar is normal, and my kidneys aren’t hemorrhaging white or red blood cells.

The doctor explained to me that he can’t put me on the medication while I’m in the middle of a flare-up. “Drink more water. You can take the anti-inflammatories three times a day if that helps. Use ice to reduce the swelling. And then come back and see me again in a week or two.” All fine.

Then this parting shot, as I rose for the door: “And give the alcohol a rest.”

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