I am used to pain. I am also very tough and can withstand prolonged periods of pain. I have had a broken back and recovering from that is pretty painful. I have been injured many times and now suffer chronic pain from these injuries as well as the pain from just getting old. Most blokes my age or thereabouts are similar.
But nothing. NOTHING comes close to the excruciating torture of gout. It is not only debilitating it is ‘being stung by a stonefish’ level of painful where you seriously contemplate sawing off your limb with a hacksaw to make that pain stop. It starts maybe in a toe. For a lot of people it stops there and they complain about it being sore. YOU ARE AMATEURS! For me, I go to bed one night seemingly in good condition and wake up with a sprained ankle. What!? Did I sleepwalk to the Seven 11 for a slushy and trip over. Then it occurs to me. Gout. It’s back. The sprained ankle doesn’t go away and I hobble off to work. Next day all my toes and my instep are throbbing in agony and it’s not easing. Another day and can’t bend over to put my pants on. Seventy (it seems) Panadol later and I am drugged enough to eat tea and have a shower. In the morning my wife helps me get dressed and puts my socks on my feet. I can’t get my work boot on without crying like a baby. There are violent stabbing pains coursing through my body and my leg is bright red and stiff as a post.
A week after this the pain is still there but easing a little. A week after that I can walk a little better then one morning my kneecap is sore. Shit! It is in my knee now. I go through another two weeks of repeat agony from the knee down. The Allopurinol doesn’t do much and I’ve run out of Panadol and am hitting the Feldene pretty hard. Finally, after a month of excruciating torment the pain subsides and I am back to normal. This is what gout is all about. It is a rich man’s disease. So ‘SHOW ME THE MONEY!”
For the uninitiated, gout is a condition where the body creates more Uric acid than it can expel and it crystallizes and grabs hold of connective tissue in the joints. These crystals are razor sharp shards of glass-like horror that get inside the joint so in effect you are walking around on smashed glass all the time. It is called the rich man’s disease because it is linked to lifestyle. Too much alcohol and Fructose are the main causes and I have been a soft drink addict and an enthusiast for wine and beer. I also have chronic kidney disease which doesn’t help. Now, the thought of soft drinks (sodas) frightens me and I am mostly off the wine and beer. I even drank some water.
Do not get gout. Do anything to avoid it. Since the average age of kayakers is pretty high, most are in the zone for this disease. Learn what it is and do what it takes to avoid getting it. Your kayaking will be a distant memory while you have this.