Well, in a word - No.
Gout is a disease associated with decrepit old booze hounds decaying in exclusive gentlemen’s clubs for the well-bred (in-bred?). It is the disease of the alcoholic seafarer, yellow of eye and bad of breath, with leprosy and scurvy. And Pirates! Isn’t it?
The topic arose during talk of the festive season. It was with some surprise that I discovered my cousin suffered from Gout. Big, burly and midthirties, a landlubber and reasonably healthy, I would never have guessed. He takes a drink; of course, as most of my extended family does, and I suppose that on occasion we may, as a group, over imbibe.
Ok, that is something of an understatement, but I don’t want to get into that right now, as I am only one glass into a bottle and...Well, the rugby is on and it’s a Saturday. Don’t look at me like that! Anyway, my cousin said he was dreading the looming festivities. I agreed, assuming he meant the gluttony, tears, family in-fighting; present regifting, and jealousy - but no, what he meant was all the drinking and eating set off his Gout.
‘Gout!’ I exclaimed - ‘Don’t you have to be, like, a 60 year old alcoholic to have Gout?’ He set about explaining the affliction to me, trying to jazz it up by pointing out that some famous writers, artists and womanisers suffered from Gout. Apparently, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Henry VIII and Kublai Khan were all in the club. Then he said the pain was so bad sometimes, that he had to drag his foot. ‘What...like a club foot?’ I asked. Oh, we laughed and laughed. Well, I did.
I googled Gout -‘In Australia, the individual most commonly affected by gout is an overweight man who drinks large amounts of alcohol, is a regular meat-eater with high cholesterol and/or high blood pressure.’ So, pretty much anyone that isn’t a chick, then. Expat South African males must be right up there as well – I mean, based on these criteria, it might be an idea to sell Gout medication at Loftus on game days.
Gout is staging a comeback in affluent western (overweight) countries. Living well in the modern world has downsides. The stress, the pressures, the TV! Depression, anxiety, obesity, heart problems – all on the up. The festive season is the time to forget our troubles, help one another, to spread the love and goodwill…but the credit card bills! And did I mention TV? Oh yes, I did, but I mean really…
Of course, the fact that the Christmases of my childhood have morphed from magical, gift filled cake fests; into marathon, guilt filled regret sessions isn’t helping... Ok, I will stop all this negativity. It really is not all that bad. I have my family, my health (that nasty rash seems to have cleared up), and I am doing well on my new meds.
On another positive note, I read the Resveratrol in red wine is a wonder anti-oxidant, able to extend your life, reduce stress and protect your heart. Couple that with the fact that wine makes me clever, attractive and sophisticated; and I think it’s time to crack the second bottle.
As for 25th, and Boxing Day - at least I will have club foot the gouty alcoholic to sulk with! Merry Christmas!