I was browsing the newspaper this morning and I happened to notice the obituary of Dr. Tsai-Fan Yu of New York City. Now I didn’t know Dr. Yu, but apparently I owe her a great deal of gratitude. Dr. Yu was one of the world’s foremost specialists on gout and pioneered the use of most of the medications used for gout today. I have suffered from gout for almost 30 years and so I say, “Thank you Dr. Yu!”

There is no need to go into details about gout except to say that it is extremely painful when it attacks and it is, to my knowledge, one of the only ailments that many in the general public find amusing. Often when I tell someone that I have gout, the response is wisecracks about high and decadent living. Associations are made with Henry VIII gorging himself with fine foods and wine with his leg propped up on a “gout stool.” I remember once seeing an article warning employers that gout is often just an excuse for alcoholism. One of the best ways to alienate yourself with a gout sufferer is to make gout jokes unless, that is, you are so insensitive that you would joke about any condition that causes suffering. Dr. Yu probably got a lot of jokes when she introduced herself as a “gout specialist.”

So, once again, “Thank you Dr. Yu for your work and dedication. You make the lives of millions of gout sufferers around the world more tolerable.”

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