At the end of last year I had a bad attack of gout, and it was so painful this time that I went to my GP. He took blood samples to check my uric acid and blood sugar levels and put me on a course of allopurinol, one week at 100mg per day, a week at 200mg, and then up to the 300mg level, after which I got another blood sample taken. I felt fine on the low dose, but had diarrhoea at 200. But the 300mg level floored me. I had a constant low-level headache, felt tired, lethargic and depressed. And I had begun to have memory problems – my memory is normally excellent, so failing to recall some fact that I know I know was unusual and unsettling. I just lost my mojo. So after getting my second blood sample taken, I took myself off all medication, and waited for the festivities to finish before going back to see my GP for the results.
He told me the medication had cut my uric acid level in half, which was A Good Thing, but I told him I couldn’t tolerate the side-effects. I just didn’t feel my normal self. I’ve now agreed to go back on daily allopurinol, but only on the lowest dose. I’ll try it for three months, but if I’m not happy with the results I’ll come off it again, and try to manage my condition through diet changes, avoiding foods that have large amounts of purines in them. The trouble with that is that most of them are things that I enjoy. One new thing is that I tend to doze off every day now, usually when I’m watching the gogglebox, or when Jane is driving us somewhere. But maybe that’s just an ageing thing rather than a side-effect – I remember my father often had a daily ten minute nap after lunch.
The mood changes affected my writing too; I’ve hardly written any poetry lately, but I have written a couple of short stories and a novella, and I’ve enjoyed writing them, although they are definitely not for publication. I’m treating them as writing exercises in dialogue and action writing. (The novella is now in two parts, is at 45,000 words, and hasn’t got an ending in sight). But that’s been good for me; I used to be scared of sitting down to write extended prose. Not any more. I do want to get back to writing poetry again, but I’m not going to push it. It will come..