Wednesday, October 28, 2015

This will set things back...

Background info....last Thursday I had a doctor's appointment to follow up on my blood work from last month.  Last month my blood work shows some numbers that indicated my kidneys were not working as well as they should.  As a result my doctor took me off all my meds excepts my cholesterol medication and a pain killer if I needed it.  This meant that I would not be taking anything for my arthritis.

I've had arthritis since my teens and for most of my adult years I have taken some sort of medication to ease the inflammation in my joints.  Since I knew I would start feeling stiff and achy I wasn't surprised that my feet were achy on Thursday night.  Going up and down a ladder isn't the best thing for my feet but you have to do what you have to do to get things done.

Friday my feet were killing me.  I told R that I would probably have to make another appointment because the pain med the doctor gave me was doing absolutely nothing.  By the end of the day on Friday, I was limping and could hardly walk.

I was unable to sleep Friday night and when I moved the sheets and blanket around my foot I about leaped out of bed.  I could not touch my big toe or the top of my right foot.  It was hot, red, swollen, and the area at the base of my big toe had a lump. Right away I thought it was a bone spur because it was in the exact area where I dropped a metal bar clamp onto the top of my top while wearing flip flops about 5 years ago.

Saturday was bad.  I was in bed all day only getting up to use the bathroom.  I used a cane and since my other foot was achy too, it was very difficult to move.  I soaked my foot in ice water and then when it was numb enough placed a bag of ice on my foot.

Sunday morning I woke up to the identical condition in my left foot.  What in the world was going on?  I hit the Internet and was shocked.  I had gout.  Yes, gout.  An ancient disease that mostly afflict overweight men.

After reading up on what to do to ease the pain, I continued to ice the joints on both feet and to drink a lot of water to help flush the uric acid crystals from my blood and the joints.  This added to my bathroom use problem but my right foot was a little better.

Monday morning I made an appointment for that afternoon.  My doctor confirmed I had gout and the first thing he asked me was "did I recently eat a large steak and drink beer?"  I eat very little red meat and have never been a steak eater.  I might eat one rib eye a year and I haven't drank beer since college.

I'm on steroids and will go back to the doctor on Monday to assess the progress of the steroids and to get the maintenance meds to control gout.

What is gout?  It's a type of arthritis caused by uric acid crystals that are deposited by the blood in the joints.  Usually the lower extremities but also hands and elbows.  Big toes are a common site of attack.

Middle aged men with poor diets high in protein and who are over weight are the usual suspects when it comes to gout.  I do not eat a high protein diet, if anything it is carb loaded.

Prevention consists of a maintenance med to control the uric acid levels in the blood but also diet modification.  No seafood.....damn I love me some shrimp.  No red meat.....that's not a biggie because I'm a white meat person.

My sister's husband has gout that he controls with meds.  He found that olives are one of his trigger foods.  Damn....I love me some olives.  But after some thought and research I found that fructose is a trigger and should be avoided.  This might be my trigger.  In an attempt to be healthier, I quit drinking diet soda because I thought the aspartame was unhealthy.  Instead of diet soda I was drinking grape ade, fruit drinks, and such.  Today I hauled out the old reading glasses and read the fine print on all the empties.  Second ingredient on all the drinks was FRUCTOSE.  I swear I was healthier when I ate junk food and didn't sleep.

The only good news is that my brother in law drinks tart cherry juice or takes the capsules.  My doctor agreed.  I'll probably add it to 7 UP (not diet) or carbonated water.  Stoylie would be best but there is that no alcohol thing.  Grrrrrrrrrrrr

Today was my first day of walking around without too much pain.  No ladder work for me, so I raked leaves and moved rocks until I felt my big toes start to hurt.  There is still plenty of non ladder work to do like putting away flower pots, rain barrel, etc which we need to do before everything freezes.

Patio slabs for the meter reader to walk on when he reads the gas meter
The window guy is coming back next Friday for a final measurement and is bringing his installer. I can see that we will have to shingle in December.  The front wall will take about 2 hours to finish after the windows are installed BUT the other wall has that tall peak.  The only good news is that it is the south side of the house and we should be protected from any cold wind blowing from the north. We will be very lucky if we get the south side shingled before winter fully kicks in.

The barn paint removal is on hold.  I'm the scraper in the family and there is no way I can climb a ladder.  So close.