I wish someone had told me this

I should have known I was in trouble when I turned 50, and started getting all this junk mail saying YOU'RE GOING TO DIE - SAVE FOR YOUR FUNERAL. At that time, feeling as fit as a butcher's dog, all this mail went directly the bin with defiant contempt.

But little was I to know that this was the decade when getting older was going to start hurting. Ligaments and joints suddenly started getting fragile and dying on me. WHY DIDN'T SOMEONE TELL ME THIS WAS GOING TO HAPPEN?? I don't recall anyone anywhere saying "right, now you're in your fifties, you need to stop putting crap in yourself (however nice it feels), keep your weight down, do your stretches and your body might make it through to 60"

The other thing I wish somebody told me was to put a couple of grand aside in your forties for a full body head-to-toe MRI scan when you turn 50. Because I now know after the horse has bolted that you can have osteoarthritis for YEARS asymptomatically before the cartilage disintegrates to the point where it starts to hurt - and who knows what other self destruction is going on inside your body undetected?? If you wait until it hurts, it's already too late!

So I now know I definitely have OA in the left hip and right knee - but it's only the right hip that has no cartilage left. I think it's reasonable to assume that the left knee almost certainly has it as well. With the clock ticking on these joints, at least I know I have to do something NOW to slow down the deterioration. Fab.

I have been suddenly thrown into decrepit old fart world seemingly overnight (that's an illusion of course - hair, 20/20 vision, and virility all went long before I even got to 50). I'm now having to come up against a new foe no one told me about - rigmarole. Wouldn't it be great if you had an arthritis secretary who arranged stuff for you? I wouldn't then have to hobble from pillar to post sorting stuff. Take for example this sequence of events:

Physiotherapist tells me I've got arthritis - he says "you need an X-Ray to confirm it" OK.

Contact surgery - "please can I have an X-Ray"?

Surgery says "we need a note from your Physio." OK - I get a note from the Physio

Surgery says "now you need to book an appointment with the GP" sigh OK - book appointment.

At appointment, GP says "I will refer you for an X-Ray" Great - couldn't you have done that without this appointment? Apparently not - there's a PROCEDURE

A letter from Radiology - "please ring for an appointment" - I book appointment

Have X-Ray. "Book ANOTHER appointment with GP to discuss result" - I book appointment

GP says "yes your hip is screwed" (really - who'd have guessed??) "I will refer you to the orthopedic surgeon" (Finally!) I also need a medical report sent to my employer.

"See reception for that outside of this appointment" - OK - I ring off and call back reception

"You have to fill in a form that you can only collect from here and hand back here in person"

I go down to collect the form - no postal or digital options available.

"Once you've filled it and handed it in, we need £15 in cash, exact amount please, we don't give change" - no electronic options available and I don't carry cash!

I go into town, draw out cash - £20 notes only. I buy some biros I don't need just to get £15 in change. I return to surgery with filled in form and £15 in cash.

"Thank you. It takes 7-10 days" (speedy service - not!) "When it's ready you have to pick it up from here in person" Great. I can't wait to hobble painfully back here again.

Someone should tell us all this stuff when we turn 50 and have no symptoms yet.


  • Jewels
    Jewels Member Posts: 202

    Hi I'm only 46 and need a new hip also struggling with silent migraine which if you've not heard of there's not a headache in sight just extreme tiredness and then being paralysed down my right side for up to 4 hours at a time this has all happened in the last few years so I know exactly where you are coming from I'm just waiting for my steroid injection crapping myself tbh and then hoping it works I was a 100 mile an hour person with 5 kids to look after now the kids have to look out for me which I absolutely hate as I'm really independent but I have to now start realising that I need help sometimes and swallow my pride good luck in your journey mate keep your chin up if not for you for your family 👍😀

  • DaveVW
    DaveVW Member Posts: 15

    I (literally) feel your pain, Damned69.

    It's been one of the most difficult parts of it, being hit with the realization that I'm being physically limited. I'm not used to having to face simply not being able to do something. I guess it's part of the aging process, but it's truly heartbreaking.

    I have worries moving forward, since I live alone. The flat I'm currently in is in the 4th floor, with no lift. So that's a joy. I'm used to being to resolve such things, like renting somewhere else, but I can't work now. I'm not sure what I can do but suffer through it. I can also say my GP isn't very helpful either. I have the usual pain pills, but isn't that simply masking things?

    So yeah, I feel for you, man. I don't have any answers though. You're not alone.

  • Damned69
    Damned69 Member Posts: 55

    Wow that's really young for your hip to die on you. And to develop a neurological condition on top is doubly bad luck. We shall have to both make what difference we still can and delegate the rest. As I stated in a post elsewhere, this is a rotten club to join, but at least there's lots of us in it, and many others who feel like we do.

  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,707

    You are, understandably, still feeling very upset, annoyed and aggrieved about your diagnosis and the fact that your hitherto fit body is now on the wane. I think it's said that it's a bit like grief and we have to work through all the stages. But i do think it's important to get the facts right.

    Our bodies all carry the seeds of their own destruction. When these seeds start to germinate is an individual thing. Some get to 60. Some are still in rude health at 90. Some don't even make double figures.

    It's a bit of a lottery but any sportsman could tell you that the warning signs usually appear long before 50. Recovery takes longer. Preparation demands more time. Look at any village cricket team. The slips are usually aged 40 upwards not because they're the best catchers but because they can't run in the outfield and can no longer throw.

    I don't think it's breaking news that our bodies will serve us better and for longer if we stay off junk food, keep to a good weight and exercise sensibly. My 15yr old grandson has just taken himself off all sugary food for a week judging (probably corrctly) that he was eating too much.

    As you've managed to stay healthy for so long it's not surprising that you were unaware that medical practices and hospitals have their own protocols for procedures such as x-rays and scans. If they didn't, anyone could self-refer and there would be an enormous log jam of the worried well in which those in need waited longer. Most, if not all, health centres will require payment for letters to work places, insurers etc. It's not much but it does take the staff away from more urgent duties. They don't keep cash because they have no use for it.

    Putting money aside for a full body scan? Possibly but then you'd also have needed money for the operation(s).You have been very unfortunate to come to orthopaedics at a time when it, too, was desperately in need of cash, personnel and tlc even before covid whacked it into touch. For that, i think we can only blame successive governments and an electorate which loves its NHS but will not vote for increased taxation to fund it.

    If you are desperate for a new hip you could always try crowd funding. I believe people have had success for less.

    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • Damned69
    Damned69 Member Posts: 55

    The idea of crowd-funding had crossed my mind, but I'm not sure how I'd sell it. I'm not (with a fair wind) going to die soon, and the only person it would help is me. Well OK I'm a carer but Missus doesn't accept that concept so I can't advertise it without upsetting her. I would need to offer something as an incentive - perhaps the surgery being filmed (it's amazing how many people are actually into that!) and regular video updates from pre-op to recovery and rehab. Thanks for the prod, I'm definitely going to ponder it, do some research and ask some questions.