Tuesday, September 14, 2010

When Milk Turns Bad.

I'm having a service tomorrow morning.

I don't mean my car. No, it's me who is having a service tomorrow morning and believe me, getting this service has taken several months to set up and it could have taken a few more if I'd not helped things along.

It all started last January when I was getting milk out of the fridge. In America, cows produce milk in gallon containers and as they weigh about 8.5lbs each (the containers, not the cow), trying to get one out from the back of a full fridge is no mean feat. The shelf was on the same level as my arm so when I went to manoeuvre the container out, something 'gave' in my left shoulder and even if I'd been alone in a forest, my brave and almost heroic cry of pain would've definitely been heard by someone.

"Oh my goodness but that hurt a bit"

Anyway, as it only hurt when doing something similar, I switched to orange juice on my Cap'n Crunch, put up with the pain and hoped my shoulder would heal itself with time.

"Shoulder, heal thyself" was my maxim but as time went on, my shoulder, close as it was to my ear, just wasn't listening.

Forward space to early May by which time I was back in UK and able to go see my own doctor. After exhaustive tests and using his x-ray vision, he said I'd need to have a scan to show what was what.

Forward space again to early July when I finally went for my scan. The nice scan man smeared some gel on my shoulder, moved his scanny thing over it and announced with some conviction that I wasn't pregnant after all but that I'd torn...ah....something or somethings important. I can't remember exactly what he said now as I was still in shock from not being pregnant !

He said, in his opinion, there were 3 options.

1) Do nothing and it might repair itself. An unlikely option to be fair.

2) Have physiotherapy and it might heal itself. Only slightly less likely than option 1.

3) Have surgery and let a nice man from India on work experience fix it for me. I think I'd get double Nectar points too with that option.

Two days later my doctor rang me. He never writes, he never calls but oh yes, ringing is fine it seems ! Pah !!

He'd been sent my scan results and we discussed my options. He felt a visit with a shoulder specialist might help me make the right decision. I agreed and asked him to make it so. But as he wasn't a Patrick Stewart fan, he hadn't a clue what I meant. Where do they find these people ?!

That was on 7th July and 8 weeks later when I'd heard nothing, I visited the surgery (doc's office for Americans) to get the scoop. The receptionist checked my records, threw out all the Michael Jackson ones (everyone's a critic) and told me the request for an appointment HAD been made but he'd ring the hospital to check the reason for the hold up.

The reason for the hold up was - the hospital said it had never received any request !

This was on a Thursday and the receptionist said they'd put in another request - the following Tuesday when the person in the office who was responsible for such things came back from the bank holiday !

Does anyone want to buy our NHS ? Going cheap as it not really very good !

A week later I got a letter from the hospital and this brings me back to the very beginning, a very good place to........and so on, and so forth.

I'm having a service. An orthopaedic triage service to be precise.

To quote the letter, I've been.......referred to the orthopaedic triage service of Chapel Allerton Hospital with an appointment to see an extended scope practitioner of musculoskeletal services in the physiotherapy department.

What now ?

I put that statement into my phone's Google Universal Bullshit Translator app and it came back with the following : 18 weeks after first mentioning this to your GP, your shoulder will be poked and prodded by a 3rd year foreign medical student to see if he might have actually picked the right career path or if he would be better suited well away from the general public and their limbs. Have a nice day.

I'll take my phone with me and if I'm still able to use my arm after this service, I'll let you know the outcome.

Right now, I'm pretty sure I'll be rejecting option 3 as the thought of surgery freaks me out. As for option 2, I can't imagine any sort of physiotherapy that would help with a tear, like what I have. Given that I can still pick my nose and play golf without any pain whatsoever, I'm favouring option 1 myself and I'm hoping Mr. Triage will agree.

Being a medical chap he'll probably recommend surgery but I'm not having it. Oh no I'm not.

Not even if he twists my arm !


Debby said...

Milk comes in 1/2 gallon containers, quarts, or even half pints if need be.

Daphne said...

Your post made me laugh out loud but the way that referrals can get lost infuriates me.
I do hope that the appointment goes well.

rhymeswithplague said...

It took from January to September (so far) and Mr. Obama wants us to have your wonderful healthcare system? I think not.

Words to live by: Never trust anyone who puts orange juice on his Cap'n Crunch. (just kidding)

Mrs. RWP had a torn rotator cuff repaired by surgery a couple of years ago, and though the pain of the three months of post-op therapy was almost as bad as the pain of the tear, all has turned out for the best; her shoulder is as good as new now. Perhaps you can get faster attention by just emigrating to the U.S. and letting one of our doctors "service" you.

Jennyta said...

Hmm, good luck with that, Ian!

Katherine said...

I often think surgeons are the worst people to look at you, because they have a vested interested in getting you on the table... however in this case, it may be the better option.

Or get your body checked by the equivalent of the NZ VTS (Vehicle Testing Stations).

It's a pity there are no BTS - Body Testing stations...

jay said...

Aaaah, you poor thing. You've torn your rotator cuff, so you have! And that's exactly how I did my right shoulder, picking up a bag containing jugs of milk. Damn that milk, it's a danger to shoulders everywhere!

Anyway. I had that one repaired, but it's no better than the one which subsequently tore but which hasn't been repaired, so guess who isn't taking the surgery option on the second one?

Physio CAN help, because they aim to build other muscles to compensate for the torn ones and as soon as I have the courage, I'm going back to my shoulder man to ask him to refer me for that instead of letting him slice me open again.

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