At the end of last year, the local quack opined that my suffering was not a figment of the imagination, but could be attributed to a torn cartilage in my right knee. Five months later, I have endured at least four visits to three different GPs, two physiotherapist appointments, a couple of x-rays and a trip to the orthopaedic practitioner. A confirmatory scan is due to be carried out in a fortnight or so, more than five months after the initial diagnosis. The only change to the original conclusion is that it is no longer merely a strong belief; I have had the exact sites of the two cartilage tears shown to me, using a model.
Have I mentioned that it sometimes hurts a bit? The intermittently effective pills prescribed are, apparently, just a shade less powerful than morphine.
Those wonderful people in the NHS have proved themselves astonishingly efficient at collecting and spending my money during the three decades since I first trousered a pay envelope. Am I really an ungrateful wretch, now that I stand - unsteadily - in need of surgery, to ask for some of the NHS billions to be diverted in the direction of my knee?