Elwood 5566

Gout Attack – Wednesday, December 6th 2000 (Korean Accounts 2000-2001)

Posted in Health care, Korean Accounts Part 1 by 노강호 on December 6, 2000

I’ve had an attack of gout for about a week. The last attack I had been four years ago but of course, it always comes at an inconvenient time. Last time was when I was on holiday in Asia and it quite ruined things for me. Now I’ve started training and the day after I took my yellow belt I get an attack and it can really be very painful. It’s a horrid pain that niggles and niggles and ruins your outlook on the day by sucking away all your energy. All I can equate it to is having a hot knife prized into the joint of your big toe. In the UK doctors usually prescribe Allopurinol which takes six months to take effect. In my case the gout is hereditary and is caused by the body’s inefficiency to remove uric acid from the blood which then crystallizes at a point where the blood is cooler – such as the big toe. Gout has been such an integral part of my life that I’ve learnt a lot about it and have tried most of the alternative remedies to alleviate it – eating cherries, charcoal, allo vera juice and so forth. In Germany it is called ‘gicht’ and now it has become one of the first words I can say and even write in Korean – dong poong (동풍). This is derived from Chinese and means something like pain of wind which perhaps refers to the waves of pain for which it is associated. One moment the pain has gone and the next it swoons upon you to the extent you could almost cry. I always remember my dad having gout attacks and sometimes he couldn’t even bear to have a cotton sheet draped over his foot whilst in bed.

On Tuesday, the gout wasn’t feeling too bad so I went training. We had another session of Korean Tai chi which pleased me as I didn’t have to put too much stress on my foot. However, next morning it was back with a vengeance. I was depressed as Korea is becoming nothing but a trip in pain of various types. I haven’t done anything at the weekends since I have been here as I am constantly nursing injuries or aches and pains. Everything that could go wrong with my body has. My skin is dry and my nose is dry and sore both caused by the ondol heating system of Korean houses – this is basically heating built into the floors and which you cannot escape from. I have a tooth that has a sore gum and keeps bleeding this being caused by a new toothbrush which I have since replaced by an electric one. My heels are sore and cracked and I have a small septic spot on the corner of a finger. I decided to go to the doctor about the gout but as yet I don’t have the medical insurance which was part of my contract. There wasn’t time to ask Koreans or Nana about procedures, he is working so I hobbled down the road to a health center which I have often passed.

I have come to realise that Song-so is slightly up market and the health center was fantastic – six floors of specialist of every type, eye doctors, renal specialists and so forth. My doctor (who I still use 16 years later) had prior experience of gout. In the waiting room I only had to wait fifteen minutes and it was equipped with a TV, plants, big sofas and luxurious carpets. The medical equipment looked modern and the blood pressure machine was automatic and not that antediluvian sphymometer thing. The doctor spoke English and was really helpful, further, he didn’t waste time checking whether or not I had gout. In the UK you’d think gout pills were hallucinogenic because of the barriers they put in place to stop you getting them. There have been numerous times when gout has messed my plans up, especially my training. Even going on a diet or taking protein supplements can evoke an attack. The doctor gave me some drugs, I have no idea which ones but 24 hours later and the attack had subsided. The cost of my visit was eight pounds. The pain and swelling has gone but I decided to rest from training for the next week.

Creative Commons License
©努江虎 – 노강호 2012  Creative Commons Licence.
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