“I’m Henry the VIII I am…”

I’m Henry the eighth I am
Henry the eighth I am, I am
I got married to the widow next door
She’s been married seven times before

Lyrics to Henry VIII I Am, Herman Hermits

(detail of King Henry VIII by Hans Holbien)

(man suffering from gout while his friend enjoys champagne /ranker.com)

So the other night, as I was readying for bed, I noticed how achy my left foot was feeling…
or more precisely, really how achy the area around my big toe felt.
I rubbed on a little arthritis cream and called it a day.

After having spent 31 working years as a teacher, living on my feet,
by the end of each day, I was more than accustomed to having achy feet.
And the older I’ve become, the harder it is to find a good pair of comfortable
“knockabouts” that don’t exacerbate my already achy feet.

It was in the middle of that night that I was woken up by a nagging and persistent pain
in that left foot…more aptly… in that same joint area of the toe.
It actually hurt simply having the sheets touch my foot.

“What the heck????!!!!” I was grousing in a sleepy painfilled head.

At about 5AM, after tossing and trying to find some sort of comfortable position,
I took 3 Motrin.
My go-to pain reliever.
Of which I’m really not to be taking as it does a number on my GI system and liver…
but desperate times always require desperate measures.

When I couldn’t stand it any longer and got on up out of bed, I immediately noticed
that I could not put weight on my foot.
The pain was excruciating.

“What the heck???!!!”

Now you should know, I know pain….physical, bodily pain.

I birthed a baby before they could administer the epidural.
I’ve broken bones.
I’ve had stitches for various slits, slashes, and gashes.
I’ve lived with migraines.
I’ve been stung by both bee and scorpion.
I’ve known cramps from Charlie horses and hamstrings on down the line…
I’ve ruptured discs…
but nothing was like this foot/toe area pain.
Plus I saw how my foot, toe, ball of foot, were way swollen.

What the heck????
(and you should know, by now I wasn’t saying ‘heck’)

And then it dawned on me.

What with my recent autoimmune diagnoses…this pain was not so mysterious but in actuality,
it was freaking gout and this gout was part and parcel of my latest issues.

Henry VIII came immediately to mind.
As in I have turned into Henry VIII!!!

I’d rather be his daughter Elizabeth I but instead, I was like her aging father…
minus the syphilis thank heavens.

For my love of history reminded me of dear ol’ Henry…
because the older he’d gotten, and the more rotund he’d grown, he suffered terribly with gout.

My saving grace is that I am not rotund…
but rather I’m simply living life with a recent diagnosis of Sjögren’s syndrome.
Thank you, Doctor Sjögren.

I also happen to like wine, shellfish and all things salty…all no’s when
dealing with gout.

But a quick google search of the history of the disease seems to drop me down into
the middle of some fine company.
Not only did poor old King Henry suffer but his distant kin, Queen Victoria also anguished
over such.
Leonardo da Vinci and Alexander the Great to name but a few others.

According to the Independent, a UK publication,
“Gout is a type of arthritis caused by a build-up of uric acid in the blood after the
kidneys fail to deal with it.
This results in needle-shaped crystals,
which form in and around joints, particularly the big toe, causing severe pain.”

“Historically, the disease was linked almost exclusively to wealthy people,
who could afford the luxury of a fine lifestyle.
Famous members of the gout sufferers’ club include Henry VIII, Isaac Newton,
the poet Alfred Lord Tennyson and the US founding fathers Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin.
Nowadays, though, the disease is no longer the preserve of the rich,
with an estimated one in 70 UK adults suffering from symptoms.”

I’ve always said misery loves company.

My reason for my said “attack” is due in part because my kidney functions are off–
so says my recent bloodwork, and that is why I have an appointment next week with
the urologist as well as with the GI doc tomorrow.

So my mystery continues but I was prescribed a prednisone pack today which
I trust will bring down the swelling enough for me to be able to put on a pair of shoes
without withering in pain!!

Stay tuned, but until further word, please enjoy this brief interlude
featuring Herman Hermits: