Illness and Company Life – Gout

How is your health?

Imagine how miserable it would be to catch an illness right in the middle of working hard like always.

I genuinely wish everyone’s illnesses could be healed through this story.

Let us not forget that we *Blockians are special.

*Blockian: a term that refers to the employees of Blocko, created after the term ‘Sherlockian’ by Mr. Choi, who is a big fan of Benedict Cumberbatch and the BBC Sherlock series.


Q. When did the symptoms begin? How long have you been sick?

I think it began around 2~3 months ago. I have been drinking beer (beer is a fermented barley-processed malt liquor, with varying alcohol degrees, ranging from 2 to 18 percent, depending on the type of beer. In other words, beer is made by fermenting barley. There is a view that beer is an anthropological proof of the flourishing of agriculture in ancient civilization. <Source: Korean Wikipedia>) almost every day since the end of last October when I started working here. -_-’’ I guess I have been sick for about a month in total…and lately I’m having a *relapse.  ㅜ.ㅜ

* Relapse: a state where the disease that was being cured or had been cured worsening again.

Q. How did you feel when the symptoms began?

As we all know, people suffering from a gout experience so much pain that they say that gout makes one feel pain even by the slightest breeze of wind. My intuitions were telling me that I have (or cannot possibly have..) gout when I saw my second toe (the point where the toe and the top side of my feet meets, to be exact). I thought to myself, “Oh my, now it’s going to be life and death situations..”


Q. Did you know, immediately, that it was gout when the symptoms began?

I did. Well..I’m not sure how to explain the feeling, but it felt like my foot did not belong to me anymore when I woke up. It was more like the fake foot used in medical experiments…haha (it swelled up really badly)

Q. Did the idea of going to hospital come up to your mind right after you felt the pain?

Yes, it did. I know that people usually postpone going to the hospital when they are sick, but this time it was different. I felt like I may have my foot amputated if I don’t go to the hospital. (It still gives me shivers to recall back then)

Q. Did you get the diagnosis right away at the hospital?

No. The doctor was saying that it may not be gout…I don’t know if I went to the wrong hospital, or met a wrong doctor, or maybe the doctor was in urgent need of money, I don’t know. But to me, the result was obviously from meeting the wrong doctor and the doctor’s urgent need for cash. The doctor recommended that I get an ultrasound therapy, saying that it looks like an infection between my toes!! It was   painful. The fee for getting an ultrasound therapy is also quite expensive. It costs 40,000 to 50,000 won per single therapy. You guys have to keep that in mind.

Q. How do they diagnose that? Do they extract blood?

Usually, gout diagnosis is made by examining blood and urine. By examining, I mean that they examine the uric acid level. If the uric acid level is 7 to 9 or higher, the patient is considered to have a high risk in their health and get diagnosed as gout. Mine was higher than 9 back then. +.+a (I don’t think I’ve ever reached such a high score even on my school exams)

Q. What are the treatments?

From what I know, the treatment for gout usually varies according to the level of pain and numeric results. In my case, I had a sudden increase in my numeric results due to gout seizure, which was really dangerous for me. So I have been prescribed some very strong medicines and had to take in 3 packets of medicine every day. But in the usual case, patients are given about one-month packets of medicine and are asked to take one pill every day.

Q. How much did the disease affect your company life?

The doctor advised not to move as much as possible because even walking, only, is so uncomfortable and painful for a patient with gout. According to him, coming to work as a whole was at risk. Luckily, as long as the work is properly done, Blocko’s policy allowed employees to work wherever I wanted. So I was able to work at my convenience. (Actually, it was really interesting to have a meeting via Hangouts with my team leader….^^;;) 

Q. Do you have to avoid certain types of food? Like no alcohol, or no meat? (ㅇ-ㅇ)

For your reference, you have to avoid food with high levels of purine (purine is a heterocyclic organic compound in the family of nitrogen with a molecular formula C5H4N4. In 1899, Emil Fischer first succeeded in synthesizing purine. Although the purine molecules per se rarely exist in the natural world, the derivatives are abundant in the natural world and are serving very important roles for organisms. <Source: Korean Wikipedia>). The worst examples are pork, beer (I used to be more of a Soju type, but I recommend the beer for daily drinks!!). Among alcohol, I guess wines are the least harmful. Of course, fermented Makgeolli is also quite harmful. Chicken, external blue-colored fish, etc. are also to be avoided. What you could eat is bread, eggs, or milk.

Q. Do you take medicines regularly and avoid those foods as the doctor told you?

Yes, I take medicines regularly and try to avoid harmful types of food as much as possible. I mean, given that it is not too harmful, I can eat little bits of those foods. Of course, I think it would be best to avoid alcohol when you can.

Doctor:  Avoid eating meat if you can.

Q. How did your collegues react?

Hmm…quite surprised?… I don’t remember well. But I guess it could have been somewhat funny to be told I am sick considering that I have a *healthy-looking body…haha. Mr. Jinho (my team leader) strongly approved of my working out-of-office, which made me do so more comfortably. (there’s no one so nice like him..and anyways, how would this affect my evaluation? haha)

*what my healthy-looking body looks like.jpg

Q. Do you have any future resolutions?

I plan to make a more well-functioning body. I think my colleagues immediately think of gout every time they see me at the office, now that I became famous for that. Also, from now on, I want to contribute to making our company a place where employees can communicate freely and focus efficiently on work. I think it is time for me to earn a different reputation. All the best for BLOCKO x AERGO!

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