Thank you everyone for your kind help. I'm sorry I couldn't get back earlier.
Yes, I will definitely be seeing a rheumatologist and as soon as I can.
I was diagnosed with lupus about 14 years ago. At that stage some relevant blood tests re lupus gave a strong result and I was told at the time I had lupus. The strange thing is that, after these doctors retired and I tried to replace them with others who also understood and offered help (eg, I got given plaquenil originally and it unstiffened me like a charm), I found GPs who either just wouldn't even think about this stuff (how well I got to know the blank GP look as the shutters came down) or made sarcastic remarks such as it is pointless to test for this stuff as positive results come up with people with no problems. I just kinda got my belief in lupus, etc and relevant motivation snuffed out and have been lurching on from symptom to symptom over the years and relying on pain killers and sensible self-managment. But I've reached the end of that road now as my quality of life has sunk too low.
Thank you for that link about pseudogout, sandspoker. It was pretty spot-on except for the bit about joint damage - well, going by what the orthopaedic surgeon said on Friday. I do have damage all over the place but he wasn't concerned. I did wonder if he was a bit too dismissive about this as I have had X-rays of this damage at various points ( upper and lower back, hip, hand) looked at before at various times and it was referred to as osteoarthritis. So something doesn't quite gell here.
When I had really bad pain in my shoulder and later in my elbow (twice), a cortisone injection banished the pain really quickly. And I had been having the awful shoulder pain (with associated problems in sleeping) for a few months and the GP at the time gave me three goes at antibiotics (which improved nothing and ended up giving me a rash) and then tried to get me to go to a very expensive quack who was obviouslt falling off the edge of effective medicine. And I'm not knocking alternative approaches; I rang up and checked costs and what was offered. Both were unreal and you'd have to be either rich or at your wits end to go there. The first proposed "treatment" was non-rebatable as it did not come under a professional category. It consisted of a drop of my blood being shwn up on a screen and analysed to me by one of the doctor's receptionists. The way the procedure was described it sounded like a Rorschack inkblot test for the blood. I was not convinced this would help my excruciatingly painful shoulder so i gave it a miss. It would have cost hundreds of dollars anyway whereas one doctor visit plus a cortisone injection did the trick.
So I went to my now previous GP, who fortunately gave me cortisone injections till we got to my hip episode and then he just minimized the whole thing and said things such as I should have seen how he could hardly walk 20 years ago. Maybe he was a poor communicator. He was also a GP who didn't explain or share information. He didn't even like me to talk much at all. I kept feeling he was ridiculing me. I am glad I've sacked him. Hopefully the new one will be better. He seems promising so far, even if he was wrong about my probably needing surgery. As long as he keeps trying, maybe I'll get somewhere in the end.
Talking about this now, I'm wondering if that orthopaedic surgeon was right about its being my spine that is causing my hip pain. It feels like my hip ! When I walk I don't walk properly and I feel there is a sore spot right in my hip and it is so painful. When I lie in bed it is worse when I lie on that hip, just as it was bad when I lay on the painful shoulder or elbow, or years ago (14) on my back (I had a bad upper back pain episode and it was much worse in bed - I couldn't lie down for more than 5 hours at a stretch) .
And I told the orthopaedic surgeon all that. And I told him I didn't think it was sciatica as I had that after the birth of my first two children and it was quite different. But he later said that bit really definitely about the problem being caused by inflammation in my spine. Maybe he got it wrong? He was looking bored when I tried to explain and dialigue with him. I think I was making sense and was being succinct and clear. I wasn't there that long. But I was charged a lot for the visit !!!