Tony Allen: And finally... Painful Advice!

Oct 25 | 2022

I suppose that we all experience pain from time to time. I broke my leg once and obviously that was painful, and I narrowly missed decapitating myself when the automatic garage door collapsed on top of me.

Tony Allen: And finally...Pain is something that we can do without, but in reality it is often nature’s way of warning us of potential problems.  But this was a pain like nothing else I’ve ever experienced before and it came from nowhere.

It was the morning after having spent a very enjoyable evening out with some friends and my right foot was on fire, well not literally, but that’s the way it felt. The pain was especially located in my right big toe which had decided to turn an angry bright tinge of red.

The very thought of anything coming into contact in any way with said big toe was complete anathema to me. Socks and shoes were completely and utterly out of the question. The area around my big toe was a no-go zone. Walking was a painful nightmare. Bravery was something for another day.

To my surprise, and amazingly, I was able to get in touch with my doctor’s surgery and a pleasent but harassed young lady was able to arrange what I understand was a Zoom call for later that morning – although the thought of doing anything that involved Zooming did not really appeal to me at that particular moment.

 Anyway, in due course I received a call from a nice young doctor and very soon an image of my big toe was unceremoniously broadcast over the Ethernet. As you’ve probably already guessed my painful condition was speedily declared to be ‘gout’ and this diagnosis was accompanied not only by anti-inflammatory tablets, but also by a derisory chuckle from my young medical practitioner. Why is it that gout happens to be one of those conditions that always causes a certain degree of amusement? Don’t answer!

According to my nice young doctor, gout can be caused by an over indulgent lifestyle, which I was pleased to mention obviously did not apply in my case.  I later learnt that the famous diarist Samuel Pepys apparently suffered very badly with this condition and undoubtedly this was due to drinking copious bottles of Madeira and as a result he spent much of his later life a bath chair.

So there I was with an extremely painful condition. I really just couldn’t bare the thought of anything getting anywhere near my big toe. “Why the big toe?” I should have asked. No wonder people find it funny. I felt like carrying a placard that declared ‘GOUT SUFFERER. KEEP CLEAR’. The area of my foot seemed to radiate so much potential pain.

By sheer coincidence, my friend Barry phoned and during the conversation he asked after my health so I told him that I had been diagnosed with gout. After indulging in a derisory chuckle, his next reaction was to ask a question as to whether I’d been drinking too much red wine. I had to  explain that I hardly touched the stuff and this was then followed by another derisory chuckle. Well OK – I do have just one glassful with my evening meal but that’s only to be sociable.

Gee whizz, I’ve come to the conclusion that this is a difficult illness to have. Not only is it one of the most excruciatingly painful conditions known to anyone but it can completely ruin your reputation in one fell swoop!

Anyway, the conclusion of this medical saga is that after four rather painful days I awoke in the morning and to my amazement the pain had completely gone - I’m pleased to say - and hopefully never to return. In addition, my big toe has reverted to normal.

I should further add that this painful episode did cause me to question my lifestyle, although according to my doctor it’s much more to do with a build up of uric acid in the body than anything else. We all tend to think that we are doing our best to keep healthy by exercising and keeping an eye on our diet, but do we do enough? According to doctors it doesn’t take too much in order to retain our fitness; a twenty minute walk per day apparently works wonders.

I have also read somewhere that a glass of red wine a day is actually good for our health – but maybe that’s a limp excuse for drinking the stuff!