A.J. Walker

Multiple Sclerosis etc

November 2023

Arthritis Jab, Taps, and Communication

Early in the year I discovered I had Arthritis. It wasn't exactly difficult. I mean out of nowhere I suddenly began to have very sore knees—and pretty swollen too. The way it came on suddenly I found strange. The GP had a look at them and sent me for X-rays to confirm: it did. In May I went into the GP and discussed and then hydrocortisone was offered to me, which I took on the spot. The jab was put into my knee, where the injection gets put in behind the patella. Didn't hurt much at all at the time ('just a sharp scratch') and didn't really hurt later either (despite being told 'I'd probably be swearing about it later'). Recently the pain in the left knee in particular had got really bad again. After weeks of struggling up stairs and walking like an old man I returned to the practice at the weekend in the hope I'd get another injection.

It was a different GP this time and as we walked in I got told there would be two student nurses in with us. Eek! I signed some paperwork to say I was happy to get an injection. The GP seemed a little reticent about giving cortisone in general, he suggested that damage to the knees can result from the wear and tear in the joint after using them—'
Sometimes a new knee may be better.' Eek (again). I'm not really a fan of surgery in general and a new knee sounds like not a good thing at all. I mean I'd only had ONE injection to that point. It seems a big jump to surgery from that. Mind you with my knees everything seems like a big jump. Anyway, he said the waiting list to see someone from orthopaedics is long and suggested that if I was in for another jab again (which I guess is quite probable) he'd put me forward to orthopaedics at that point—therefore with the waiting list being that long (i'd probably still not see them by then) best go on the list now. I agreed to that.

Then we got around to the injection. There was a lot of fluid around my knee—which he illustrated by pressing the swelling down and watching the fluid wash back in—and he suggested taking some of that out at the same time. He took out a big syringe full of fluid from my knee. It was good to do. The hydrocortisone doesn't begin to do its stuff for a while, but I was finding walking easier on the day of the injection. Think the removal of all that liquid was a damn good thing.

Maybe next time I'll get them to drain my knee instead of (rather than as well as) the injection. Or perhaps I can get a small tap installed to save going into the medical centre. We shall see.


Just before I was about to go I remembered that I hadn't heard from the practice since my blood tests earlier in the year. The practice asks everyone over fifty (or maybe even younger) to get an Annual Health Check, which is largely done through blood tests. I don't do it every year, but I did this one. I went for a test and a week later was asked to go again, then they asked me to go for a third one. Repeat tests over the space of a month, and I'd never been spoken to about them (i.e. whether the results had revealed a problem, or why I had to get three lots). I'd forgotten about it to be honest—so remembering at this point must have been seeing the syringe.

Thankfully it turned out to be okay. One of the tests from the first batch wasn't undertaken (maybe a lost or damaged vial; or some other lab issue). When they did do that test there was a slightly low blood result and the third one was therefore to check that out. The third one was fine.

So a) I found the reason for there being three tests and not one, and b) everything was fine. They didn't confirm the ABV though. Communication, communication.