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12:49pm on Monday, 15th June, 2009:

The World in 2011


Today was the follow-up appointment about my frozen shoulder — the one that I was assured at shoulder class that I wouldn't need.

The physiotherapist was not helpful. He denied having told me at the last shoulder class to go easy on my shoulder, and said I should have been doing some light exercises. I put him straight on that. He then said I should go away and it would get better in two years. I expressed disappointment.

I explained that physiotherapy had worked for my right shoulder, and there was no reason it shouldn't for my left if he'd paid any attention to what was actually going on with it. I told him his constant reference to "research" was not going to wash as he was treating it as a hammer in need of a nail — really, what are the chances he was taught the solution to my problem ("wait") that very week? His attempts to bamboozle me with science failed (saying there was no inflamation for a condition that he gave a name ending in "-itis" for didn't go down well). He was offering treatments for a generic frozen shoulder, not my actual shoulder, and didn't seem to think there was any way that the specifics of how my shoulder was working could suggest attempts at a solution.

I told him that the problem with my right shoulder was fixed through physiotherapy, that a possible future problem with a frozen left shoulder was at the time identified by my previous physiotherapist (because these things often come in pairs) and that I saw no reason that if he actually looked at my shoulder and identified which exercises were working and which weren't, he might be able to come up with a programme that sorted it out.

Hmm, well it was clear that he wasn't used to being told by angry patients that he was over-confident and was too swift to treat theory as if it were practice. He also wasn't used to its going on for 20 minutes in a loud voice where eight or ten other physiotherapists could hear him, and for his every defence to be systematically dismantled. I don't suppose he'll change his ways overnight, but if he's still a physiotherapist 20 years from now (rather than the manager type he seems destined to become) then he'll maybe look back on this and think "oops".

Anyway, he said I'll be fine in 2 years if I do nothing except the occasional stretch if I "think it might help". Great. If by this time in 2011 I still have a stiff shoulder, I'll have to go through the referral system again and probably wind up being told to wait another 2 years.

I'm pretty sure my shoulder is fixable, but I don't think he's the person to fix it. I guess I'll just have to wait, then, and hope it doesn't start hurting again...

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Copyright © 2009 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).