The Disease of Kings

No, I’m not talking about kidney disease this time, but another ailment that is often associated with it: Gout. It was called the disease of kings or the rich man’s disease because historically gout was associated with the consumption of alcohol, red meat and seafood. And here I thought I had reduced my whisky consumption sufficiently to avoid this problem (people who know me will also know that this overconsumption of alcohol is not really a problem for me)!

During the last few days, I’ve been feeling the “wonderful” symptoms of gout in the first joints of both my big toes. In the worst cases, I can’t even have a bed sheet touching the affected part while I attempt to sleep. It hasn’t stopped me from my daily walk yet, so I guess I’ll call it a minor flare-up this time, but it still isn’t pleasant, and I can feel the pain slowly and steadily ramping up.

What to do? Drugs! I take allopurinol daily to keep gout at bay most of the time, but that particular drug apparently works less well with those who have advanced kidney disease. When gout does flare up, I turn to what is sometimes referred to as a “miracle drug”: prednisone. It has a remarkable ability to reduce inflammation, but prednisone is not without its side effects, so I will be tapering off of it pretty quickly. Prednisone is also one of the cocktail of drugs that I will be taking routinely if/when I get a kidney transplant.

Call this “a day in the life” piece for someone with end-stage renal disease.


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