It’s late winter and it’s time once again for my annual ritual.
I am embarrassed for my friends to see me on crutches again, but here I am. Again, in this context, means eight years running.
Every spring for the last eight I have had gout. Makes me want to choke just saying the word. This year I was determined not to have my yearly collision with pain, but it happened anyway. In spite of my best efforts. I had kind of a break down when I realized my failure on Tuesday night.
I have been on a very strict diet, apparently to little avail. I eat mostly vegetables, fruits, berries and nuts. I have had, like, three servings of chicken in the last year. No beef or turkey. Almost no dairy. Minimal sweets. Extremely minimal. Even with very few dietary sins—small ones at that—I have not won the epic battle I had hoped to win this spring.
At the doctor’s office today, the nurse practitioner said, “You’re an unusual case.” Everyone likes to be special, but, I can think of other ways I’d like to be described as “unusual.”
As I relearned in a talk I heard last Sunday, the Lord asks us to “give thanks in all things” (Mosiah 26:38-39). This means we need to be thankful for our trials. I am thankful for them because of what I learn from them, and for the many blessings that come my way because of them.
One of the blessings I see clearly today is the ability to walk. Some I have known—my mother among them—have been deprived of this gift for life. Shouldn’t I be grateful that my illness is temporary?
I am grateful that I didn’t have to go to the ER this year. I am grateful that I didn’t get rid of my crutches. I am grateful for paid time off work which allowed me time to recover and time to get a small but important repair done on our truck. I am grateful for the time I had to fix one of my web sites that had been hacked. And I am grateful for the rest. I am grateful to have found the time to finish reading the Book of Mormon. I am grateful for a chance to ponder and reevaluate. I am very grateful for a wife who understands how to tenderly care for a sick husband. I am grateful for an illness that forces me to lose weight, which drastically reduces my high blood pressure and chance of heart attack, which has probably saved life (we have a history of heart trouble on my paternal side).
I am grateful, but still ashamed.
Tonight I volunteered to help make one of my favorite salads, cutting vegetables on cutting board on our bed. It was a welcome diversion, and a welcome treat. I had hoped to go to our state’s caucus meeting tonight, but alas, it won’t happen this year.
A few weeks ago, I had an idea. I think it was a bit of inspiration. When I realized that this flare usually happens to me in late winter, “Vitamin D” came to mind. T-cells, which have Vitamin D receptors, turn into killer cells, killers of viruses, bacteria and other invaders, when Vitamin D is present in the body. Most of our Vitamin D comes from exposure to the sun which is of course sorely lacking in the winter. I have felt some improvement when taking Vitamin D with Vitamin K (which helps the Vitamin D to be assimilated).
Next year, to be sure, I need to take a good quality Vitamin D supplement with K through the winter. And be ready for whatever comes next spring.