At 35, I found out I had gout. Imagine having to give up everything you like to eat and drink | Daniel Lavelle

Overnight, a golf ball-sized lump appeared on my toe – and all sorts of delicious things had to disappear from my diet

I wake to searing pain in my right foot, the worst pain I’ve ever felt. Worse than the time I broke my back after plummeting 16ft from a cricket practice net, worse than when a rusty nail, jutting out from a rickety armchair, bored into my soft infant arm and worse than any grief from my teeth over the years. I switch on the light, gently remove the covers and discover an angry red lump, the size and shape of a golf ball, pulsing on the big toe of my right foot. I have no idea how this happened. It’s like I’ve been sucked into a cartoon overnight, and Daffy Duck has whacked me with an Acme hammer.

In my non-expert opinion, the toe looks broken. I think I should go to a hospital, but I reason that the NHS is too busy and what can they do about a broken toe except say “you have a broken toe” and send me on my way with crutches and painkillers. Also, I’m too lazy. In fact, that’s the real reason I don’t go; the NHS bit was to make me look good in your eyes. Soz.

Daniel Lavelle writes on mental health, homelessness and social care

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