I had my long-awaited appointment with the orthopedic consultant today. I first hurt my knee in January and spent a few months doing physiotherapy before my physiotherapist told me there was nothing more he could do, and the problems that remained would have to be checked out by a specialist. He said I’d likely need a scan, and that it was possible I’d need knee surgery after that. So, that process started, and I was given an appointment for today (approx. 14 weeks after being referred).
Both my physiotherapist and the consultant today agree that the ligament in my knee has healed well. That’s great. What neither of them can tell me, is why I still can’t extend my leg fully, pull it back completely, or sit for prolonged periods without it getting stiff. They say my knee should be fine for sports, but I know that it’s weak around the area that I hurt it. My physiotherapist suggested there may be cartilage damage, but the consultant today thought it unlikely. In fact, he suggested that I go away and wait for it to get better by itself. When I pointed out that it hadn’t improved one bit over the last few months, he said I could go for an MRI scan to get it checked out. Fine, I thought. Until I discovered there’s a 16 week wait for one of those. And then two weeks after that I go back to the consultant and then, maybe, they do something about it after another long wait.
Now, I know the NHS is under pressure, and I know things were probably worse a few years ago, but it really does look like I’m going to still be feeling the affects of this injury more than a year after it happened. This was meant to be a trivial, everyday kind of injury. So, I want to whine. Why, for example, was I not sent for an MRI scan at the same time as being given the long wait for the consultant? The consultant told me nothing more than my physiotherapist, and my physiotherapist knew I would need a scan.
Yes, in the greater scheme of things, I’m darn lucky and I know that. But here and now, I want my knee back! Anyway, I’m checking out private alternatives, which raises all sorts of ethical, not to mention financial, dilemmas. I don’t want to drain NHS resources, either by taking up time when there’s nothing they can do, or encouraging the private sector which favours those who can pay, rather than those in need. But I also don’t want to end up with a sustained knee injury that affects my lifestyle and my health for years to come. Selfish? Maybe.
People have also suggested I check out alternative therapies. I’m not sure about that, but if it comes to it, I’ll let you know.