Gout Attack Again

I had a severe gout attack yesterday afternoon. It was definitely unexpected. I hadn’t had a drop of alcohol in over a month. I hadn’t had beef in months. In fact, I started a vegetarian diet two weeks ago. I consumed mostly vegetables and tofu. Could tofu be the culprit? I had fermented tofu on Monday and my gout started after I had lunch with fermented tofu again yesterday. It had to be tofu. Another type of food to cross off my list.

I am in tremendous pain that even Aleve isn’t helping. I started taking vinegar apple cider by the pill everyday for the last month, yet it didn’t even help prevent the flare up. I am going back to Bragg’s liquid form. I am not going to be able to move around much in the next few days. No more ice skating and no more rollerblading for a week. It’s going to be sucked.

I visited three temples yesterday with my son Xuân and Vương. They enjoyed seeing all the Buddhists. I have three more to go to make eight. My sister will visit two. Together we will visit ten temples for our mom. I am not super religious, but it felt wonderful visiting and making a bit of contribution for each temple. I am coming back to my Buddhist upbringing. I am still picking and choosing what makes the most common sense rather than believing in every superstitions. For instance, going on a meat-free diet for 49 days seems like a good thing to do. Dumping food at the cemetery seems so wrong. I have no problem eating that. Wearing a white band on my head to honor my mother, that doesn’t seem to hurt. Burning incense is fine. Burning fake money so she can use doesn’t make any sense. Having monks praying and chanting for her were an honor. When she was on the ventilator, I called in through video and I played YouTube clips of monks chanting. I was desperately trying to find some spiritual guidance as the days became bleaker and bleaker. Didn’t really matter at the end, but my hope was that she wasn’t dying alone. We were there for her from afar. I prayed for her, but deep down I knew praying couldn’t bring her back. At near the end, I felt like God and Buddha have abandoned us (“Chúa đã bỏ loài người. Phật đã bỏ loài người.”) Then again, death completes the circle of life.

My wife and I had a discussion yesterday on what to do if we were in critical situation. Should we go full codes or should we pull the plug. She would like us to make the decisions. I never want to make another life-and-death decision for another person, especially the closest one to me. She wanted us to make the decision based on the condition she would be in. If I would have to make the decision, I would not give up hope until I know I won’t regret it. I knew my mom was a fighter and she endured pain throughout her life. She fought to the very end. She held on as long as she could until there was nothing left to do for her. Would that be something my wife willing do endure? She is a strong woman who had given birth to four kids. The last one made me blacked out. So I don’t know about cutting a hole through my throat and stick a pipe inside my body. Maybe the ventilator is as far as I would go. No tracheotomy. No resuscitation.

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