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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
HuwG BS: Quitting drinking (190* d) RE: BS: Quitting drinking 05 Jul 12

Chacun a son gout

I would certainly not regard myself as an alcoholic, but about eight or nine years ago, I was struck down with gout. My GP (General Practitioner) was kind enough to say that the immediate cause was some passing kidney ailment but recommended I cut out the booze. Naturally, I scoffed. This was a period of my life when I was more active and generally fitter than I had been for years. On reflection I had to admit that I had spent years in environments (engineering department at University, HM Forces, rugby club, hanging around folkies) where heavy intake of beer was the norm.

This period coincided with being made redundant from an IT job. I took a job behind the bar in a local pub to make ends meet. The landlord was one of the first micro-brewers, and proudly presented his first batch to the bar staff for tasting. We all pulled faces like lemon-squeezers and suggested it be allowed to breathe. Or preferably, be smothered in its cradle. The next day, I went down with the worst attack of gout I have ever had, and was unable to walk for almost two days. So, what with painful joints and empty wallet, I cut out the drink.

At the time, I was trying to get a date with a girl who was a health visitor. She congratulated me on my willpower. I replied that anyone who has had gout doesn't need willpower, but she regaled me with horror stories of some of her "clients", such as one whose gout was so severe that crystals of uric acid were large enough to penetrate the skin, and others whose fingers had been wrenched into Queen Anne chairlegs by the inflamed joints, but who refused to lay off the alcohol.

The upshot is that I have not drunk for most of the last decade. (A few sips of champagne at my niece's wedding don't really count.) Nor have I suffered more than perhaps two minor twinges in my toes.

A friend, a bass guitar player, recently went down with gout. On the face of it, he is a more likely candidate for the ailment, being over twenty stone and with the build and appetite of Monsieur Mongetout. He refuses to stop drinking. I have given the story of my own experience of the disease, but I won't proselytise.

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