86 The Bacon

Romeo - Puyallup, Washington
Entered on December 12, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

I’ve never really been a picky eater. I love all kinds of food. Raw, fried, in a

soup, baked or barbequed ,its all the same to me, delicious. I’ve even eaten foods

that some people will regard as their pets, although I won‘t elaborate much more

on this should the Animal Humane Society ever get a hold of this.

There are many foods I’d love to eat but can’t. A few examples are bacon,

pork chops, hotdogs, ham, bologna, roasted pig, pig feet ( pickled or stewed ),

baby back ribs, breakfast sausages, and pretty much anything with pork

incorporated into the meal. It’s not because of my religion or my choice because

I‘m a Catholic who enjoys his medium rare steak. It’s just that pork products give

me gout.

Gout is actually a form of inflammatory arthritis. Doctors characterize it by

its sudden, severe attacks of pain, heat, redness, and tenderness in joints. It usually

affects the large joint of the big toe but can occur in the feet, ankles, knees, hands,

and wrists lasting up to two weeks. Which I experience first hand should I fall for


Without being too scientific, Pork meat has a high level of a chemical

compound called purine. Now what happens is that my organs can’t properly

digest and excrete the compound purine without creating excess amounts of

unwanted uric acid. Uric acid in small quantities is harmless however with too

much the uric acid travels via my bloodstream collecting in my joints as needle-

like crystals. The crystals will then cause me to have inflammatory arthritis. The

same crystals can also collect in the kidneys creating kidney stones, luckily this

hasn’t happened to me.

However, if I am tempted to munch on pork or a pork product, I wouldn’t

show any gout symptoms until later. When I’d wake up in the middle of the night

and my big toe feels like fire is burning it. It would be hot, swollen and oh so

tender that even the slightest weight of my paper thin blanket sheet would feel like

agony. Then and only then will I know if I got gout.

When I have gout, my life then has to compensate for changes and pain

from hell knowing that it will last for a few weeks. I soon lose the ability of

walking. A distance of ten feet is longer if you can’t use your feet the way you

normally use them. The restroom down the hall might as well be across the street.

Running, walking, and jumping have now been substituted for limping, hopping,

and crawling.

The luxuries of consuming whatever I want such as alcohol, scallops,

oatmeal, asparagus, nuts, and chips are now null as they are full of salt and other

chemicals that were harmless nourishments before but added to gout only prolongs

the durability of the crystals stalling the healing time. So I avoid them altogether

for the time being.

My foot is so swollen it appears to be stung by a bee. Each step slowly

grinds the newly deposited crystal shards deeper and deeper into my joint creating

excruciating pain that can only be described by the tears on my face.( If anyone

were to try to experience gout a methodical way would be for a person to

surgically insert a few grains of glass in between their big toe joints or any joint

will do and continue life in a normal fashion for a two week duration. A pain I

would only wish on the extremely evil.)

My warm showers always start with a balancing act just trying to make into

the tub and end with a cold soak of my joints. Ice cold water works best to keep the

swelling down and numbing the pain.

By nightfall my foot has swollen so much that I am able to feel the blood

pumping to my feet raising my temperature and giving me headaches.

At night I am forced to sleep on my back and alone as I must elevate my

foot on a few pillows to keep the blood circulation to a minimum. My loved one is

separated from me for fear of even the slightest vibration on her behalf, as we

sleep, could jar me awake to the pain that I’ve felt all day. For the next two weeks

I’ve been confined to strict bed rest.

The medical cure for gout is an anti inflammatory medicine like ibuprofen

and elevated foot rest. Nothing really speeds up the healing process but patience.

Within the two week time frame the crystals will have broken down back to liquid

form awaiting excretion. Swelling will have abated as well as the pain and redness.

And a great appreciation for the use of my legs and the return of my nightly

companion will ensue.

Either it being too much consumption of foods containing high levels of

purine, family history of gout, or many others so noted by the National Institute

for Health, there are many factors that contribute to getting gout. Gout is not

prejudice to age, sex, or creed. It will attack when you least expect it. Although I

do miss the occasional honey baked ham all decorated with cloves during

Thanksgiving or a mouth watering barbequed pulled pork sandwich with tangy

flavorful sauce from Applebee‘s . I know that the pain is not worth the savory

flavor of sweet bacon in the morning to accompany my over easy eggs. Oh, how I

do miss pork.