I live in Japan where the summers are ridiculously hot and humid. One day we had a BBQ out in the garden. I spent the day tending the BBQ, drinking beer, eating red meat and basically dehydrating under the sun. Maybe a couple of days later, my toe started hurting. I'd stiffness in my big toe before and had wondered about it, but it had always gone away so I never bothered to look into it. This time though was different. The pain was like nothing I had experienced before and I was limping. I went to the dentist. I had an appointment for some drill work and hobbled in, thinking I should get this toe checked out afterwards. The dentist gave me some local anaesthetic and I started feeling woozey. Then nauseous. I went to the bathroom and almost fainted. The dentist said "Shall we give the drilling a miss today?" (or words to that effect). I went to the doctor's after that. I said to him I think I may have broken my toe. He touched it here and there asking if it hurt.
"Here?" "No." "Here?" "Aghhhhh!" He looked up the English in the dictionary, "Gout." My reaction was "But I'm only 33!" He laughed and said it can occur to young men too. That was the first time I had gout and actually knew it was gout. I reckon I had had it mildly before but it went away without too much suffering. This year (I will be 36 yrs), it came back. We went back to England for a couple of weeks in the summer vacation. I had a fair bit of traditional ale (which has a lot of brewer's yeast) and I guess that may have been the trigger (along with a richer diet than usual). To be honest though, I didn't drink more than 2 pints a day and most days just the one. But the gout came on so I stopped drinking alcohol. I came back to Japan and it had gone away. Then I cracked my little toe on the same foot (left). I kicked the wall as I turned. It swelled, turned purple and I thought it was broken. I had it X-rayed the next day and the doctor (he knows me quite well now, with wrist tendonitis and shoulder trouble - I practice Japanese taiko drumming) said it was not broken. A few days later the gout came back. Yesterday I was in agony and had to leave work early. I took a taxi to the station as I couldn't face the walk. The doctor was surprised to see me again so soon. He prescribed me some medicine, which has brought the pain and swelling down. Today I am taking the day off as I walk a lot in my job and I feel a day's rest would be better than risking it flaring up again. The one thing I do find frustrating is people's reaction when you say you have gout. "Too much beer and wine hey?!" My grandfather had it and it seems I have it. It doesn't do much for one's social standing when everyone thinks you are a boozer and gorger. And I work in Japanese elementary schools... So that is my story. Not very exciting but I am sure others will empathise with the experience.