I got a lot of nice gifts for my 80th birthday, but this was one I didn’t expect. Or especially like once it was unwrapped. Let me set the background. My wife, Cedar, recently turned 75. Nineteen days later I hit the big eight-oh. To celebrate both birthdays, our kids had invited us to an eight-day extravaganza in a rented beach house (Hale Kimo AKA “The Palace,”) in Kailua, O`ahu.
We got in after midnight on November 15. Later that first day, after an especially long walk on the nearby beach, my left foot began to hurt big time. Uh oh! I thought. My prior 17 years of residence in the 50th state had led me to think that I had stepped on something bad. Yet I had no memory of any kind of sting and could find no trace of a stinger. Well, maybe I had walked too much that first day, or going barefoot on our marble floor might have been the cause. But only one foot was affected. Strange!
So, what did I do? Typical man, I figured I’d wait the malady out. It would go away soon, right? Wrong! With an ankle support, lidocaine cream, and ibuprofen, I got some relief. But it proved only temporary. Sometimes turning over in bed would wake me up. Auwe! The Hawaiians say. My people’s equivalent would be Oy! Finally, eight days later, the king-and-queen-for-a-week act was over, and Cedar and I headed for a final five days in Maui with an old friend and his partner. I was still hurting—and limping. This time my better angels prevailed, and we sought out a nearby urgent care. After filling out four pages of paperwork, I was ushered into an examination room. The exam complete, the young P.A. offered his verdict in no uncertain terms. “Reynold, you have gout!” Having just witnessed a 51-year-old friend die of cancer, I figured gout wasn’t the worst thing I could have at 80. Now moreover I knew what the trouble was. And indeed, after a steroid shot in the okole, Hawaiian for butt, my swelling and accompanying pain soon began to abate. Oh, and I’m eating a lot of organic cilantro. The P.A. said it worked as well as medicine for gout. Plus I’m on an unpronounceable prescription for a sort of supercharged ibuprofen. It seems to be helping too. So, how’s our Hawaiian vacation going? A heckuva lot better than 24 hours ago. Had I been as wise as some of my books make me sound, I would have gone to urgent care on my second day in the Islands. Well, at least I had stuff to write about for this blog. Moral: If you have an owie, don’t wait till you say Auwe!