"Years of pain, and still no soluition from Royal Orthopaedic Hosp"

About: Royal Orthopaedic Hospital / Trauma and orthopaedics

(as the patient),

I was referred to royal orthopaedic hospital, I believe in appx. February last year, by my GP. This was following 10 years of constant problems with my feet, ankles and my back. The pain is often pretty bad, and over these 10 years it has prevented me from walking very far, doing exercise and indeed, participating in normal life activities which would be expected in a person of my age. I would love to be able to dance with my friends, but the last time I tried this, my feet swelled up so I couldn’t walk on them for 4 days. It also affects my work, and in my present job I have to travel on trains and walk with an overnight bag, briefcase, laptop or data projector quite often, which often causes me a lot of suffering. Standing for any length of time makes the pain dreadful; my feet and ankles swell and my back and hip feel like they are ‘exploding’. I take Ibuprofen to try and get the pain down a bit, but the problems often just trigger themselves for no apparent reason. After 10 years, I pleaded with my GP to send me to you, as a last ditch attempt to get to the bottom of the problems and find a treatment that will give me back my life.

Since that referral, over a year ago, I have been faced with endless bureaucracy and bungles. I waited until June for a letter, to say I could have an appointment. When I called the number, I waited patiently listening to automated messages for over 3 hours – very expensive. Then I decided to call before the switchboard opened, so I was on the phone at 7.58 am. Then I had to wait 15 minutes again, until I was, on this occasion answered. Having negotiated that fiasco, the woman told me ‘there are no appointments left’. I was incredulous. “Till when? 2030?”. When I pressed the point she said:‘They will have to give you one eventually’ (!) I called the complaints department, and was given an appointment for the next day. I was seen eventually by a very nice Irish doctor. However, my consultation was so fast and furious that I came away with a handful of cards to go to X-Ray, Podiatry, etc., and I felt like I had been blindfolded and turned round 100 times. As for remembering what he had said was the diagnosis, I hadn’t a clue. (And I have worked for the NHS for 17 years, so I know the terminology). I really came away feeling addled and bundled about.

I went round to all the relevant departments and eventually had my MRI scan. I was also sent to Podiatry.

He made some shoe inserts. However, when the day of the fitting came, he said that they would have to be re-made, as the ones he had made for me were not right. He said I would be sent another appointment. That was months ago, and I have heard nothing, so I now assume I have been forgotten about, with staff believing that the inserts were correct and my problems are over. I have had inserts for my shoes before, from Dudley Road. I would like to just tell you that those did nothing to help me, but caused me even more pain. However, I will take all the treatment offered, to try and get better.

I was sent an appointment to come back and see you, following my MRI. This was cancelled and re-scheduled. Then the second appointment was cancelled and re-scheduled to a third date (last Friday).

I was incredulous when I was called at appx. 6.00pm on the very night before the THIRD appointment, to be told it had been cancelled AGAIN. I had to take the step of contacting complaints again. I don’t want to complain, but what else can I do? This is why I am writing to plead with you to help me.

I am desperate for help that will enable me to get on with my life. The past 10 years have been pretty desperate and at times I have verged upon disablement through the pain, whilst trying to build my career and run my home. I have an 87 year old mother to care for as well, and the pulling on on my back when my feet go literally flat to the floor is dreadful. I cannot support her weight as well as my own, but I get no help. At one point I was in bed for a week, after trying to lift my father (who died 4 years ago). I am alone in all this, and have no-one to help me, so I simply have to struggle to do everything. All I want is to get an answer from you. Perhaps I have false hopes of resuming a normal level of activity, but whilst I live in this limbo, I cling to the idea that I shall be able to walk normal distances and enjoy normal activities – activities which would help me lose weight and feel better about my life and prospects. Please will you at least disabuse me of this idea, if there is nothing that can be done – I don’t think I can stand another year of waiting to find this out, just because the ‘Computer says no’….

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