I'll talk about the Austrian-End of the broken arm soon, but today I want to talk about the British-End. Or more to the point the South-West-London-NHS end.
I got back from Austria midnight Saturday 2 weeks ago. I left for SA Monday afternoon. (Side note, dragging 3 bags up stairs with one arm, and ones weaker arm at that is a motherfucking bitch. Girls always get offered helped with bags and stuff. Blokes with broken arms, nothing. Bugger all. I spit on you all)
On the Sunday between the two days, I phone my mate Ruy who is an orthopodic surgeon (or othopod as my Dr friend calls them). Granted he does hip op's but I figured they he would know about the rest too). Ruy says, don't stress, go to SA, and when I get back, phone the fracture clinic and book an appointment. He says there is nothing they could do now anyway and it will have gummed up (hey it's not like I understood the rest of the explanation of what I had broken either, but I know rotator cuff was mentioned a lot). He told me to do some pendalum exercises else a big long list of Latin things in my shoulder would dry up and die. Off I went to SA.
So back from SA, it's a public holiday. I know their is little to no point trying to get a doctors appointment so I wait till today. I look up the fracture clinic online for Charing Cross Hospital (which is in Hammersmith (go figure)) and can't find any number for the fracture clinic. What I do find is information that says I need a referral from my local surgery.
So starting at 9am this morning my attempt to get someone with medical orthopaedics knowledge goes as follows
- 9am: Call local surgery. Get an appointment for 10am. Wow, going quite well at this point
- 10am: Show up for doctors appointment. Check in on fancy computer screen. Tells me my appointment is now 10:30am. Hmmm, I guess that's expected
- 10:30am: Waiting
- 10:40am: Still wating
- 10:50am: So much for 10am appointment
- 10:52am: Screen tells me consulting room 4
- 10:53am: I meet Dr. B. Also know as Doddering old fool. Waffles a lot and tells me "Snowboarding is a dangerous occupation". I tell him, I'm a computer geek. He asks me what I want to do about my arm. I say, I think it should have is scanned and probably need physio. He suggest private health care. I tell him, I'm between jobs and wont have private health care till I start my new job and even then I'm not sure. He looks at me funny. Asks which hospital i want to go to. I say the best one. He says they send most of their patients to Chelsea & Westminster. i say that's fine and he gives me a referral.
- 11:15am I phone Chelsea & Westminster. They say I am in the wrong postcode, and have to go to St George's in Tooting Bec. I say my Dr said they send their patients there. They say they wont see me.
- 11:20am: I call St. George's in Totting Bec. The third person I speak to says I have to come to the walk in Clinic and gives directions
- 12:00pm: I eat lunch and watch an episode of Derren Brown
- 1:15pm I catch the bus to St G's hosipital
- 1:45pm I walk into the Walk-in-Clinic and explain my story. They tell me I have to go to A&E Sigh, does know one know how things fucking work.
- 1:50pm I go to A&E. They tell me I have to go to the fracture clinic (out the doors, left, left, left, through the doors). Seriously, the Walk-in-Clinic and A&E are about 200 yards away from each other. Surely these people should know what each other does
- 1:55pm: I get to the fracture clinic. I wait for someone to come to reception.
- 2:05pm: I explain my story for the 7 billionth time. Nurse says fracture clinic is only open in the morning and I should have called. I explain the website has no number for the fracture clinic and I was told to go to (a)local doctors surgery, (b)Chelsea and Westminster Hospital (c)Walk-in-Clinic St G's Hospital (d)A&E St G's Hospital (e)Fracture Clinic St G's Hospital. Nurse books me for Thursday morning.
- 2:45pm I get home, having seen exactly no-one about my shoulder.
Look, I have no problems with the NHS. I think it's incredible that a country can provide free healthcare for the entire population. An aside from Dr Doddering-Old-Fool, most of the docs are pretty sorted. But surely the people who have been telling me where to go, and the people I have spoken to on the phone should know what the hell is going on in their own business (and the NHS is a business, just state funded).
At the end of the day, I would have been fine had I just listend to Ruy (who does work for the NHS) and phoned the fracture clinic for an appointment. Except they don't post the number of the fracture clinic on the website, and the general appointments number started the shit above.
I'll keep you updated and also fill you in the coming week on
- How I broke the arm
- The Austrian story (as oppose to the British one above)
- The best looking Dr on the planet. Pity he was a guy.
[UPDATE: Two Days Later]
So been and seen the doctors. Been X-Rayed. Been Physioed. Physio said my range was the best he had ever seen. The interest thing was my consultants name was Mr D. Tennant. So my doctor, was the Doctor. I can say i have been seen by Doctor Who. there was also a Mr M D Something. If your first initials are MD, odds are you should be a doctor.