Contrary to some peoples’ opinion the British NHS isn’t all an evil death panel. However sometimes it can be a little bit like something broken that has been ‘fixed’ with duct tape – you can still see the break and piling tape on it just isn’t going to make it ok.
Having hated my old doctor – he didn’t believe in illness, I swapped to a new one. His opinion on my knee was similar to the previous chap, “it’s a strain, rest it.”
As my knee wasn’t agonising every single day – although more often than not it didn’t feel ‘right’, so this let’s stick tape on it approach sort of worked for a while. The system for making appointments for doctors in my town is you phone up in the morning to get an appointment that day. You can’t get future appointments; you just ring up and hope you were one of the first to call.
This means there is never a waiting list for the doctor to be judged on – but it does mean you might not get an appointment despite ringing on multiple days in a row.
One day I woke up very cranky as my knee was excruciating, I couldn’t get a doctor’s appointment and fuelled by happy burning anger I made an appointment with a private physiotherapist.
The private physio was expensive, but they could tell me what the problem was within 10 minute – as I had guessed I have a very very grumpy patella femoral joint with added pain! They even seem to have a plan – it does mean coming back weekly and spending £1 per minute or their expertise, but if it gets me a working knee it is money well spent!
However I did end up wondering what exactly I’ve been paying taxes for – so I went to my doctor anyway, got to see the locum and squealed like a stuck piggy (which wasn’t hard with them poking my knee).
They are now going to refer me to an NHS physiotherapist, although they couldn’t give me a wait time – they warned it wouldn’t be short and they can only allow a max of 6 (six) appointments when I do get to see the physio.
What they could do was give me a print out of exercises to try at home; the most appropriate thing they could find on their fancy computer system was on Osteoarthritis (OA) which is also known as degenerative arthritis.
No one thinks that I have this condition or that my problems are linked to it in any way– not even the Doctor who handed me the printout. However the internet tells me that OA has been reported in fossils of the large carnivorous dinosaur Allosaurus, so that is kind of cool. (Apparently pages 337 to 363 in ‘Mesozoic Vertebrate Life’, edited by D. H Tanke and K. Carpenter (Indiana University Press).
The moral of the story is dinosaurs had horrible knee pain too and that I should make more decisions when angry.
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