Friday, 19 April 2013


So it goes like this.  I’m in the car driving back from the builders merchants with a boot full of home improvement requisites (batteries, screws, rubber gloves, a new saw with which to tackle the dead tree, a bucket, escutcheons, door knobs, glue) when the phone goes.  Being ultimately lawful I negotiate the bend and get myself stopped on the kerb before I take it.  With a voice sounding like something direct from Stella it’s the hospital.  Ringing me. Gosh.

It’s  UHW X-Ray here.  We want to get you in for your facet joint injection.


Your facet joint injection I’ve got you down here for one. Mr Finch.  Yes?

Yes, but that request was made months ago when was in real pain.

Oh there’s a three month waiting list see love sorry can we do you Friday?

No.  I mean I was in pain, enough to boil eggs on my back at the time,  but in the nature of this cursed condition that’s passed now and I’m pain free again.  Well, relatively.   I don’t see the point.  Can I defer it?

I’ll put you down as a cancelation then.

No, don’t do that.  I needed that injection when it was the only thing available to me that could alleviate the pain and then it wasn’t available.  I had to wait.  When I rang up your department said they’d get back to me soon.  And it’s been 90 whole long days.  If I’d turned up at A&E after falling down drunk you’d have got me round to X Ray and checked my bones for breaks almost immediately.  But because I suffer from a condition (as opposed to getting pissed which I guess is just part of daily life) I’m slung on an NHS waiting list.  That’s not equitable.  I want the thing deferred so that next time condition strikes I can call down my already done waiting time and have the thing straight away.  Can I do that?

I listen but she’s gone.  It was my use of the word “equitable” I’m sure.  The line is dead.

I check the private medicine website.  Facet Joint Injections.  Available within the week.  £500.  Nye, your great vision has become terribly muddied.  I decide to go to the pub instead.