My foot hurts. It's been hurting for a while, I don't know why, can't remember quite when it started but it's been weeks and weeks at least. I wait for it to get better and avoid things that make it hurt more, like jumping off rocks on holiday or attempting climbing. After trying running on the treadmill I stop doing that.
Mostly the hurting is a bruised kind of feeling, that hurts most when weight is on the front right of my foot. Sometimes it hurts randomly in an aching and shooting pain kind of way. Just like the rsi pains I get in my wrist occasionally from overuse of the mouse. Sometimes this is really, really painful and requires medicating.
Foot still hurts. People repeatedly tell me to get it checked out so I go to the Dr. It snows. Lots. I turn up for my appointment and see a friendly doctor who pokes and prods, says my diagnosis sounds like it could be right, but wants an x-ray to confirm it's not a fracture.
I go to the hospital and discover the friendly doctor forgot to sign the form for my x-ray. I wait a very long time for a signature to be faxed through, it doesn't come, but a random doctor in the hospital is grabbed and asked to sign it. I get my foot x-rayed.
Just before Christmas a doctor calls me. This is my actual doctor who didn't previously see me because it was snowing. She hasn't read up on the history and tells me all about the arthritis behind my big toe. This is kind of interesting as now I have a name for the clicky crunchy thing it's done since I injured it when I was in my early twenties, but it's got nothing to do with this particular issue. My doctor says oh. And then says she should see me so she can examine it. It is nearly Christmas. There is snow. I put it off until January.
On Boxing day I take all the painkillers available to me without going into overdose territory as my foot REALLY hurts.
I try to get the online booking system working for me. It takes a while. Then there are no appointments with my doctor. Then one day there are, so I book one.
Then I have to cancel it for a meeting where work tell me they're not going to make me redundant, too bad for all those other guys. I rebook my appointment, and have to cancel it again for another work meeting which is completely pointless and dull. I rebook my appointment and finally see my doctor. She is at a bit of a loss, tells me to keep a diary of what's going on and come back later. I refuse. I've looked for stabbing pain patterns and found none, and the underlying pain doesn't go away. She goes hmm a bit. I tell her that I'd take more anti inflammatory if it weren't for the fact that in the past that once gave me gut ache. She suggests giving me stuff to take with ibuprofen that will protect my stomach and digestive system, and I can use it when the foot hurts. I point out it hurts all the time and how about if I just take it regularly along with this stomach protection stuff and see if that helps? She says oh, what a good idea, yes, let's do that. Then she has an idea. Another Dr in the surgery sometimes injects ligaments and joints with steroids, perhaps I should see her to talk things over. She tells me to get an appointment on a day both of them are in so they can discuss the case if necessary.
I get the appointment - it is only a week later. I try taking the big pink ibuprofen all week at regular intervals. It does nothing. I go to talk to the new doctor about my foot. She examines it, believes she can feel swelling as she manipulates my foot. She looks up Morton's Neuroma and rules it out as the symptoms don't really match well. Then she draws on my foot, swabs it with iodine and stabs me with a needle. It hurt a bit but not nearly as much as I expected, and I'd not really expected it to happen there and then. There's anaesthetic and a steroid in the injection, and the anaesthetic seems to help a bit quite quickly. By the next day the pain in my foot is notable by its near absence. It's still there, but only mild and now I realise it was more persistent than I'd thought previously. I'm going to wait and see what happens to it next. Perhaps with the swelling reduce the last bit of the problem will sort itself out. And if not, I can live with it. If it gets worse though, I'll be going back to see if they're willing to stab my foot again.
The NHS is not perfect, however the total cost of all this investigation and the solution was the cost of the stomach-proofing drugs which I got on prescription for about £7.50. I paid for the ibuprofen off-prescription and it cost me about £2.20 for 24 400mg tablets. And although it took a while, they have largely fixed my foot. Hurrah for heavily subsidised, essentially free, healthcare.