Realizing that wait lists are long and only start once you see the specialist (which in BC could be a year or more), I went early. I did not go as soon as I was in pain however; I lived with moderate pain (about a two or three out of ten, on the pain scale) for about three years before I told the doctor that the pain level had moved to about a six on the scale. When I finally let him know the pain was so high he arranged for the X-rays and other tests needed and put out a call to the specialist.
I was lucky; I saw a specialist in about seven months, which was in November of last year. After the initial examination, which showed the specialist that I was a candidate for both hip, and knee replacement I was asked which hurt more. I said my knee, and I was told that I might get knee replacement in February.
When we returned from Australia, I was told by the receptionist at the Doctors office that the Dr. did not have a clue about scheduling patients but that he was just trying to be positive when he told me I would get an operation in Feb. She told me I would more likely have my knee replaced in April (if I was lucky). She was very nice and very apologetic, I understand now that I should have confirmed with her rather than rely on the Dr.
Now I do not mind the wait, as I have good pain control medication, which I take most of the time, which keeps the pain level about seven out of ten. I have great admiration for those of you who live with chronic pain and still have a wonderful bright outlook on life. I still look on life as wonderful, fun and exciting, but I sometimes get cross with people I love when the pain gets too intense. I also find that I am limited in my mobility but I am learning to use a cane and hope to get around more and April is only two months away.