Biking — But Not Better

After riding last Sunday and feeling much better, I hoped exercise would help my current gout flare up. So, on Tuesday, I got home a little earlier than usual and took the bike out for another quick ride. I felt better after an hour’s pedal, but my foot was still sore. However, two hours later, when I went to take the dogs for a walk, I was walking almost normally.

I felt good going to bed Tuesday night, but when the dogs got me up Wednesday morning, I could barely make it to back door. The gout pain had come back with a vengeance. To get to the class I teach in the afternoon, I have a quarter-mile walk across campus. It felt like an expedition. I couldn’t wait to sit when I got to the classroom.

So, I bit the bullet and called the doctor. He didn’t have any slots open, but he’s part of a physician’s group with offices across the metro area, and one of his colleagues could see me this evening.

The diagnosis and treatment is straightforward. First, the aim is to control the pain. He prescribed the “fire extinguisher” — prednisone. (Luckily, I haven’t had the side effects of Prednisone others have had.) Then, there’s Colcrys. That will lower the uric acid levels in my blood. I’ll be on it for about four months. When I see my regular doc next month for my annual physical, we will be talking about long-term treatments to keep the uric acid level low. That will probably involve a drug like allopurinol or Uloric, but once that’s established, my gout should be under control.

I explained to the doctor about the beneficial effects of cycling on my gout. He was interested, but didn’t give it much credence. He was glad I’m still able to cycle, because it turns out he’s a cyclist, too. I had seen a cycling helmet under a chair in the examination room, and he pulled it out.

“This is what I use to explain to people why they should always wear helmets,” he said, handing it to me.

It had been in a big crash at some point, and had a large crack on its side.

“The helmet broke, but my head didn’t,” he said.

We chatted a bit more about cycling, and I got the impression that he travels at about the same average speed I do. But I had to get moving and pick up my prescriptions. My foot still hurts as I write this, but I’m hoping I’m finally on my way to controlling it. And maybe I’ll run into the doctor on the road sometime, too.

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