Muddle-headed Kay (mhw) wrote,
Muddle-headed Kay

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The back saga, episode 9317...

I went to a follow up appointment with Richard, my pain guy, this morning. He asked me rather more questions than usual this time, and then we talked, and we've come to some conclusions.

1) The radio lesioning on my right side gave me sufficient pain relief for long enough that it's worth doing the left side as well. I'm booked for that.

2) I'll probably need my left and right sides doing in alternation every six months to a year pretty much forever;

3) Unless we go for something more drastic. But it's better to do a couple of rounds of lesioning before considering that.

4) It's now obvious that the squished disc isn't going to scar over or shrivel naturally. This means surgery. He'll refer me for that. The right foot numbness that I started noticing after the lesioning is almost certainly due to the disc, not the lesioning; it's probable that it was simply being masked by the back pain every time I put my right foot down. Disc surgery may or may not fix it, depending on how much the nerve root has been damaged.

5) I'm going to need another MRI before my disc surgery because it's been so long since my last one.

He admits he has no idea how long it will be before he can treat me again, or before I can have disc surgery. The interesting thing, he told me, is that the six-month magic limit for NHS waiting lists applies only to the first intervention for a condition; in his words, "After your first go, you become effectively invisible." There's also fiddling with the quotas; half his operation slots are internal, and half from GPs and only GP slots count for quota-filling purposes. This means that, effectively, his published 'time to treat' figures actually have to be doubled to give a 'real world' time.

This is what happens when bureaucracies set up quotas and deadlines and other accounting mechanisms; to meet them, people have to fiddle the figures. *sigh*

Still, I'm on track for the next interventions. There's still hope.

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