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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Eighty Gouty Patients


A man’s foot began hurting one evening. By the following morning pain was excruciating. That sounded like gout, one of my favorite diseases. The diagnosis is easy, and I can quickly make it better. What’s not to like?

I carry a treatment for gout, but once I hand it over, I have to remember to restock my bag. So I went to my drug closet, made up another bottle of pills, and threw it in my pocket. 

Sometimes I’m surprised when I arrive at the hotel but not this time. He had gout. I gave him the pills, and everyone was satisfied.

It occurs to me that I’ve seen so many victims – this was my 80th – that I can check the experts. They claim that it attacks men overwhelmingly. Sure enough, only seven of my patients were women. They say it’s a disease of older people. 67 cases were over 40, none under 30.

Until a few years ago, treatment was a powerful anti-inflammatory drug such as indomethacin which produced unpleasant side-effects. Then experts decided a large dose of cortisone for a short period worked as well with less unpleasantness. I already carry an identical course to treat severe poison ivy. Patients feel better within a day.

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