Monday, 23 June 2014


Apparently we have 206 bones in our adult bodies and several of mine don't work properly . It all started with a total knee replacement last year and since then, things have been going downhill fast ..... or rather not particularly fast as the prospect of running, let along walking downhill would be a physical impossibility at the moment.

This may be due to getting older , lousy childhood diet ( although I thought I ate enough packets of Butterscotch Angel Delight to ward off any calcium deficiency for life - clearly not ) or my absolute favourite - a sporting accident . I'm happy to pretend that my creaking skeleton is more to do with over-zealous downhill skiing ( incidentally why do we say downhill - can you ski uphill ? ) , a few too many netball matches in the upper sixth or my addiction to running. Those who know me will appreciate how big those whoppers are but it sounds so much better than identifying the cause as osteo-arthritis, which merely serves to make me feel about 80.

So, today I found myself in an NHS waiting room , choc full of the walking wounded , jostling for position amongst the zimmer frames and crutches. After a slow trawl around the M25, a wait for the car-park , and an even longer wait for my name to be called , I finally found myself seated opposite a green coated junior doctor ( not the consultant I'd been promised but presumably that would have taken another 2 years ) who looked as if he was about to whip out my tonsils. I tried not to notice that his lab coat was blood-stained. I should also say at this point that I'd waited several months for this appointment and so expectations were running high. The interview got off to a bad start . He didn't have my X-ray , had never heard of the clinic where I'd had it done, read from some clearly inaccurate notes and then informed me that the procedure I was enquiring about for my shoulder which my GP had advised ( yes , we've gone from knee to shoulders - it's a long story but involves crutches ) wasn't available at that hospital.

He grimaced when I mentioned that I'd just completed some treatment with a chiropractor for Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction , was being X-rayed tomorrow for signs of Scoliosis and was about to succumb to the knife for a second knee operation in two weeks time. He clearly thought I must be either a write-off , a hypochondriac or in the final stage of Munchausen's.

Either way he went off to consult with the consultant I was supposed to have been seeing in the first place who was hiding in an adjoining room. When she emerged from her hiding place, she asked Mr Blood-Stained lab coat if he would give me a steroid injection. What then followed was at best farcical and at worst alarming. He made a sort of face. I've trawled the internet to see if I can find a picture of the sort of face he made but can't find anything that comes close. Let's just say that it resembled the sort of face you might make if you'd just been asked to amputate a leg with a plastic picnic fork, blindfolded.

This was not good and so I ran for the hills, or in this case the car park where I was fleeced a whopping £5 for the privilege of leaving but at least my shoulder was intact , not a drop of blood was shed and I deemed this to be a lucky escape.

I'm left wondering if this is normal . I guess if you read the Daily Mail then yes , this is what they'd like you to believe about the NHS.  I have to say , although I'm not about to subscribe to that tabloid , I think maybe they have a point and I never ever thought I'd see myself write that.

So, in two weeks time I'll be off to have my second knackered knee replaced with a Robo-cop style metal version and I'll be checking the surgical instruments tray in the operating theatre for any signs of picnic forks.            


  1. that sounds like a fairly awful experience but you added some humour to your story and it was so well written. Good luck for the knee op and I hope it means lots of time for scrapping as you recover xxx

  2. I can understand exactly what happened from your graphic description - poor you. Hope the next op goes well.

  3. And i thought lousy hospitals and doctors only happened in the US. Seems like the problem is so wide spread...... My daughter has had the opportunity to go to the doctor a few times this year and she always comes home upset and angry at the lack of service she received . Such a sad state of affairs.