Never too young to feel too old.
Thanks to an unfortunate case of arthritis that has left the use of my right leg temporarily disabled, I have been spending the past two days in strict bed rest. Bed rest, of course, meaning the hammock in my backyard that hangs by my mother’s orchid garden and my father’s grapevines. Not bad for being bed-ridden and immobile. The fact remains, however, that arthritis sucks. My arthritis occurs at the joints of my right foot just before the heel, otherwise known as “Gout.” It becomes painfully inflamed and overly-sensitive to pressure, leaving my mobility extremely limited, even through the use of crutches.
What is perhaps most unfortunate about my arthritis is how extremely stacked the odds were for me having it in the first place. I’m 24 years old and I’ve been suffering from gout since at least the age of 19. Approximately .2% of adults in the US suffer from gout, and within that group, only 10% are under the age of 40. That places me in the .02% statistic of US adults who suffer from gout. Talk about luck.
I guess I can’t be too surprised by the fact that I have gout; all the men on my father’s side and most of the men on my mother’s side have gout. It’s just a shame that I had to start it so early in life. I’m sharing arthritis meds with my father, a man who is 40 years my senior, who has been suffering from gout not much longer than I have. I’m gonna chalk this one up to heredity; I can’t imagine too much contribution on my part to arthritis. I lead a considerably active lifestyle: I’m an avid rock climber, hiker, and a yogic practitioner. Diet-wise, I am a weekday vegetarian, only allowing myself seafood on weekends, mostly when I go out to restaurants a.k.a sushi bars. I’m at the gym at least four days a week and on weekends I find myself outdoors either hiking, climbing, or both. Sure, I do imbibe on more than one occasion weekly but they are only nightcaps and I practice moderation enough. Other than that, you’d think that I could have at least staved off my seemingly inevitable case of arthritis ‘til I was at least 30, if not 40 years old, the minimum age for 90% of gout suffers. I guess with my family history, the odds were stacked against me there. Such is life.
I suppose there’s nothing more to do for myself other than what I have been doing already. I’d adjust my diet, but seriously, what’s left out there for me not to eat? Should I expect myself to give up sushi, the one and only culinary pleasure I allow myself to have on weekends if I have it at all? Or I guess I could become more physically active, perhaps go to the gym five days a week instead of just four. I could give up drinking, but then I’d just be letting the arthritis win. I’d be letting the arthritis win.
Tomorrow, I pray, will be the last day I spend reluctantly recuperating my bum leg. I’m hoping it will be well enough to walk around on, sans the crutches. If not, I suppose I could spend one more day in bed rest. Bed rest, of course, meaning the hammock in my backyard that hangs by my mother’s orchid garden and my father’s grapevines. O’ woe is me.