Was left feeling really angry on Tuesday. I had my hospital appointment at 9.20, just about made it on time - some twit decided to start roadworks in the most congested part of the city! Got booked in and then sat down, glanced at whiteboard that gives all the info of who is doing which clinic, and saw that my consultant wasn't starting his clinic till 9.50! So I'd been given an appointment technically didn't exist. I half expected to be told to go have an x-ray, as the old knee hasn't been x-rayed for 6 weeks. But nope, no x-ray. So it was all about waiting, and waiting... an hour later I was finally called, to an empty room. I waited another 10 minutes and at last a doctor came in, he introduced himself, didn't know who I was, sat down to read my notes, speed reading them and not doing a good job of it. Next thing I know he is being exceptionally patronising towards me, asking why I am still using a walking stick - er cos I need one! Why I can't bend my leg very far - cos I can't! I'd had enough of this and snapped back at him: have you had a broken kneecap? Of course he said no, so I said well look at my x-rays! Which he then did, and immediately changed his tune, as they all have. See I didn't simply snap my kneecap in half, or even in 3 pieces, oooooh nooooo, I went for the biggie and smashed it into smithereens. So having wiped the smile of his face he took me a little more seriously, I told him that the other wires were starting to protrude and cause pain, he then ummed a bit, and said that my kneecap hadn't yet healed so they couldn't take out the wires! At that point I felt like getting up and waking out. It seemed to be a case of: well you've got complications and we don't like complications... he said that they couldn't do much more for me. So write me off - why not. Then he said that I had to push myself, think I made my feelings on that very clear, I have been pushing myself and with no results. I have no quad muscle in my right leg, left leg is much stronger as a result of the exercises I have been doing, so I have been doing them properly. Then this wally of a doctor said that the lack of a reflex wasn't important! What! It was obvious to me by then that he had no idea what he was talking about. If you weren't a text book case then he had no bloody idea what to do next. I wouldn't wish to be operated on by that man, or have him anywhere near me. He was next to useless, he just wanted straightforward stuff. Pity none of them have bothered yet to read my medical records, if they did they may discover something... as in I am loose limbed, have had problems with my knees and back for years. Oh for some lateral thinking. Funny cos that what we were taught to exercise in the ambulance service, we were taught not to assume anything, but think it thru, these silly doctors see a conclusion and grab it.
I did at least pin him down on whether I could go back to my old job, he told me that it wouldn't be advisable. Doc lingo for saying: no. So I left feeling thoroughly fed up. Six months and I've got nowhere. I am still in pain, still hobbling and have a next to useless right leg. And with a mum who is increasingly getting on my nerves.
I seriously think that the NHS needs to invest in some customer care courses for all their staff, from the top docs down. Patients are treated abysmally by some, not all, some staff are very good, the nurses at the clinic know there stuff and they keep an eye on who is in the clinic and who has been waiting too long. For all that they would still benefit from a customer care course. We patients are customers, and we deserve better. The NHS has come a long way from the dark days, but it has a long way to go.