Story of a Gouty Finger

Mr. Adams was admitted yesterday to my floor. He had gone to see the surgeon for a biopsy on the middle finger of  his right hand.  The surgeon also noted that Mr. Adams had swelling of his legs which has been progressing over 2 weeks. Further questioning revealed there is liquid seeping out of his legs and there is a water puddle wherever he sits for a long time. He was admitted to the hospital with the diagnosis of congestive heart failure.

Mr. Adams is 99 years old. He has the far fetched look in his eyes as if these eyes understand the mysteries of this world, and the world far away.

I go to meet him. He has a gentle smile on his face and he speaks in the slow manner of a man who understands that time is a fleeting concept. I look at his legs, they are swollen and the skin has peeled off from one of the legs. They have water seeping out of the skin. His knee joints are deformed and the skin is dry as an old tree trunk.

Mr. Adams used to work for an ad agency. He worked in the PR department and worked in the calligraphy department. He worked on teaching penmanship before the advent of computers. And today, his fingers are swollen. The joints are deformed, the fingers can barely hold a spoon. The gouty protuberances are jutting out from the finger joints.

I look at his far fetched eyes and he has the understanding that nothing in life is permanent. The time is all-powerful and the ever-turning needles on the time clock will steal a lot from us.

 

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