Gout and the Ungainly Bastard

Lee Foote
4 min readDec 10, 2021


It rhymes with “lout”, “pout”, and “stout”. The only redeeming rhyme is the last, and with alcohol off the menu, all are ugly.

Last week I had to eat a little crow. I was so pious over breaking the third metatarsal on my right foot. It happened on a 2-hour hike with the dog as part of my healthy active aging program. The pain was intense and I soldiered up, eventually went to the doctor when household sympathies for my trauma started to wane. Funny thing, X-rays could not find the obvious break and I really needed that proof. The humble young doctor said “This is not a break, this is gout”. Ummmm . . . I went from being on the cover of Outside magazine to just another overweight slothful middle-aged man on a bad diet. So much for piety. Unusual for me but I will not put any photos in this story.

Thankfully, the athlete/sluggard distinction was lost on Dearest Wife, a congenital empath. It seems the sheer ugliness of the word “gout” triggered another round of sympathies. I love DW endlessly and she is a wonderful nurse maid, cooking healthy meals, cooing platitudes “I KNOW that must hurt honey!”, and delivering ice packs to her sissy-assed husband gasping in bed with his foot elevated on a pillow and remote control in hand. I toss in a few deep sighs and moans whenever she is in earshot. She is a far better caregiver than I would ever be. “Git yerseff up and walk it off Buttercup!” just doesn’t cut it for compassionate commiseration.

The wonders of modern medicine means I can simply take 30 mg of a steroid (Prednisone) and the pain and swelling should abate shortly. I know this drug. My Labrador retriever Roxy is on 0.5 mg daily for her Addison’s condition. From Roxy’s behavioral changes I have learned that Pred (a nickname I have cottoned on to) also creates a ravenous appetite, a tendency to chew large sticks into little nubs and an urge to defecate on the neighbor’s lawn. This could be interesting if I am taking 60X her dosage. I might become either a beaver or a neighborhood honeywagon!

But really now, it is only a 3-day run of Pred. I must confess, I was looking forward to an excuse for ‘roid rage and developing the moon-face typical of long-term Pred use. The only other animal I know of that develops the facial disc, called a “flange” is the adult male Orangutan (and maybe Billy Bob Thornton in Slingblade).

As I researched this gorgeous facial adornment, this quote popped out:

“Our understanding is they (the facial discs) start growing once its convenient for them socially. Once the development starts, it will take about a year for the flange to fully grow in. This flange also comes with muscles around the throat, longer hair, and a musty odor.”

So, aside from my simian-lariaty of appearance with a [formerly] reddish beard, I guess I will have to be content with the chicken neck, long wispy hair and my usual odor — no facial disc for me (insert ‘roid rage tantrum here).

The Pred is indeed working wonders though and in just12 hours the pain has halved, sleep seems an afterthought and I sense super-human decisiveness and industry taking root. If I only had cheek pouches I would be a hamster! Appetite is doubled and guess what? Conveniently, we are having a Christmas party tonight with 18 of DW’s office staff coming over, each bearing special homemade dishes of food — pyrogies, deviled eggs, bacon-wrapped scallops, creamy green beans with toasted almonds, butter tarts, pecan pie- good god I am salivating — none of which I am supposed to eat . . . yeah, right (that double positive that means the opposite). My only worry is that there will be enough food for both 18 guests and me.

In my agitated state, I am helping with party prep -sorta. I get to vacuum and sweep, move furniture, and run errands. I clean in the same way that Bugs Bunny’s Tasmanian Devil cleans up the desert.- thrash up a big dust fog and trust that half settles outside and in places unseen. I find I am driving like a pissed off Chicago cabbie and moving furniture with the same alacrity and decisiveness of a Rubiks cube expert on crack. Actually, DW and the beleaguered vacuum cleaner both appreciate that the computer is distracting me for a while though it is now starting to smoke and I sense a blue screen of death coming on from my 350 words per minute typing.

This new chemical reality is a trip and I am not sure I can last until the supper potluck. Somebody gimme a stick to chew!

OOOOhhhh AAAAHHHAAAA I am fully SFRN (swinging from rafter now). Time to go defile the neighbor’s lawn.



Lee Foote

Southerner by birth, Northerner by choice, Casual person by nature.