White Dog and the rest of the White Dog Army rushed to Steve's side when he got home from his late night of teaching...and pulled up short. Dad was limping...severely! The pack moved him to the couch and ran in to get me from the office.
Steve has had a bit of tenderness for several days around his big toe and at first wrote it off to "something he had done on a morning walk" and then when it did not pass on "a little infection around the toenail" which he treated with some antibiotics from a past infection in an attempt to avoid going to the doctor.
The White Ones pushed each other to get a close view and White Dog hopped up next to him on the couch as he took off his shoe and then sock. He sighed at the relief. Quinn sniffed and shook his head. Each of the pack examined the red, now very swollen big toe and the ball of his foot and looked at him. I pressed around to measure the pain factor and he yelped at any pressure. "It feels like I am walking on glass," he whimpered and rubbed his foot. I, too, looked at him.
I felt White Dog think of the Big Question just as I did. "You don't expect to Walk on Sunday with your foot like that, do you?"
With 12 adoring and concerned Eskie eyes and two annoyed wife peepers staring, he said, "I guess it is time to go to the doctor, huh?" He didn't even wait for a response as he picked up the phone (though it was now midnight) and left a message at the doctor's office asking for a morning callback to take any cancellations for the doctor or to make an appointment with the nurse practitioner.
The pain, despite ibuprofin, was enough that Steve got little rest and he was very grateful when morning came. When the office called he had the choice to see our doctor in the late morning or the nurse practitioner first thing; he chose the doctor option even though the White Dogs were anxious for a diagnosis and a prognosis. "All the nosis-es" as Nuka said.
"Dad has gout," we broke the news to the WDA when we returned. Puff started barking in sadness. "It is a mild case and it is easily treatable. And it will go away." I looked at White Dog, "the Doctor says it is a form of arthritis involving uric acid crystals forming and it affects the joints on the coldest parts of the body." "I am becoming an old man," Steve moaned and all of the White Ones hurried over to lend support and to reassure him that this wasn't the end of life as he knows it. (WD has inherited her drama gene from HIS side as you can tell).
He must avoid fatty red meat (which he already does), asparagus and mushrooms (which he loves), alcohol, and high fructose corn syrup (mostly not a part of our diet). He should drink lots of water (WD pushed his glass toward him), enjoy more coffee, eat whole grains and more dairy. And for 5 days he is on a medication. That once the inflammation clears he can go off.
"But what about the Walk?" White Dog demanded. "Will you be able to Walk to End Cancer? Everyone is counting on you!"
"Little One," he said as he subtly reached down to stop his boy, Quinn, who was moving to protect Steve from being pressured by his sister. "All of you, the doctor says I should start feeling better as soon as I start taking the meds and I have already planned to pick them up on my way to work this afternoon. Momma asked him the exact same question as you just did and Dr. Phil told her that he saw no reason that I won't be ready to Walk proudly with my Army on that special day. So fear not."
A giant sigh of relief escaped from all six pups...and then they went into caring mode--making Steve put his foot up and sitting against him and bringing him stuffies and licking the good foot just to keep it healthy. "I'll eat any fatty red meat that comes your way," YoYoMa volunteered. "Just to keep you from having another attack cuz I love you, Dad."