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Signing off with the quack

Gerald Ingolby reports from the downward path

Yesterday, some six months after my previous visit, I attended an appointment with my consultant at a London hospital in order to assess my progress since being diagnosed with osteoarthritis of the right hip.

On the last occasion we met, as part of the experience, I had a second x-ray and a steroid jab. Since then I have failed dismally to do the physio exercises I had been recommended and only latterly begun to exercise at all, partly through lack of motivation and partly because of worries over what would happen pain-wise if I did.

As I have mentioned before, my hip problem manifests itself firstly with a permanent feeling of having a pulled muscle at the top of my right thigh. Every time I turn to my left, I ‘pull’ on it – this occurs whether I just look to my left, or try to swing a golf club beyond the down swing and through the stationary ball.

Secondly, as subsidiaries (as I would describe them), I possess ‘referred pains’ in my right thigh. Sometimes they’re there when I wake up, sometimes they only come on during the day. Sometimes they’re sharp jabbing pains that come on when I’m walking, so that my thigh ‘collapses’ and I fear I’m going to lose my balance and fall. Sometimes they’re just dull aches that begin in the knee and/or anywhere on the outside or inside of my thigh.

Two other issues are that (1) when I go to bed, to avoid discomfort, I have to either lie on my left side and bring my right leg (bent) up towards my hip … or else turn on my left side and find a comfortable position – this is slightly less attractive as a proposition because it means my head is turned away from the radio beside my bed which (being nearly deaf in my left ear) it means I cannot listen to it; and (2) I cannot bend down, or pull my right leg up far enough, to put on my right sock – as a result I have to ‘lasso’ it over my toes and then, with difficulty, pull it onto my foot … the same problem makes it almost impossible for me to tie my right shoelace on the rare occasions I bother to wear shoes containing them.

That’s the background.

Yesterday I was shown into my consultants’ office almost exactly on time, which was unusual in itself.

He asked me how things were. Broadly speaking, in response, I outlined to him what I have written for my readers above. He made some notes, asked me to stand on my left foot and then bend my right leg and lift it out sideways, and then said that everything seemed pretty much as he expected it to be so, if I was content, he may as well discharge me.

I asked a couple of questions, he told me to exercise as much as I felt comfortable with and then confirmed that – in due course, at some point – a hip replacement operation was inevitable. With that, armed with a small pamphlet about hip replacement operations, I was shown out – all over in twenty minutes from my arrival at the clinic.

gymLater, about 4.45pm, fuelled by a desire to maintain my exercise regime, I went up to the gym.

My hip began protesting within two minutes of mounting the stepping machine, so I got off it.

Deflated, I then went to the weight room and did half my normal circuit with half my normal diligence, then changed and went for a 15-minute sauna. Then went home.

After a spot of food and watching the television news, I became bored with what was on offer in the television schedule and went to bed at 7.38pm feeling totally exhausted.



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About Gerald Ingolby

Formerly a consumer journalist on radio and television, in 2002 Gerald published a thriller novel featuring a campaigning editor who was wrongly accused and jailed for fraud. He now runs a website devoted to consumer news. More Posts