He takes 200mg of Tramadol plus some paracetamol every day for the pain. Doctors had to reduce his dose because the kidneys started to fail three months ago.
For bad days when he's "really desperate" there are 8mg of morphine.
A hip replacement could provide relief.
Jack – a 73-year-old man from Whangārei who did not want to be identified – is one of more than 3500 Northland patients who as of May this year are waiting for their elective surgery.
Twenty-six per cent of those patients need an orthopaedic operation like a hip replacement.
Jack has been on the waiting list for 18 months now after an MRI scan showed that he needed a new hip.
Initially he was told he would have to wait six months for an appointment, then another four months.
Now Jack hasn't even been given an estimate of when it might be his turn, even though the anaesthetist already assessed him for surgery.
Jack had previously undergone surgery on his arm under the Northland District Health Board's care, which he described as far better than health care he received elsewhere.
"It's the getting there that's so difficult. Once you're in, it's brilliant."
His GP has made several inquiries with the Northland DHB on Jack's behalf, and thanks to that the department is currently reviewing his case.
Mark McGinley, Northland DHB's general manager for surgical and support services, said elective surgery had been reduced to manage the negative impact on staffing from Covid-19 and the demand for inpatient beds.
"We have also reassigned staff to support inpatient admissions to Whangārei and Kaitaia hospitals.
"Other than acute surgery, this has resulted in faster cancer treatment, high suspicion cancer, urgent elective and some elective day case surgery still being provided," McGinley said.
GPs are advised to contact the specialty service medical team if they have concerns about the acute deterioration of their patient.
"They may also contact the department through the electronic referral system noting the change in the patient's condition and asking that the patient be reprioritised if they consider that there has been a material level of deterioration in the condition since the patient was accepted onto the surgical booking list."
The Northland DHB is currently working with the private provider to access more operating capacity, and is also consulting with the other three Northern Region DHBs to trial a range of initiatives.
While Northland health staff and the Government are working on solutions to reduce surgical waiting lists, Jack is pain.
"I'm in pain all the time. My life is restricted to my home. I can't sit in a car to go anywhere. I'm dependent on others."
Yet Jack maintains a positive outlook. He cooks dinners, paints with his water colours and maintains his equilibrium in the rural setting of his home.
Jack's wife Tracy, who also wanted to remain unidentified, says Jack remained upbeat despite the pain but she has watched his quality of life deteriorate.
"He is going through it with extreme stoicism but you can just see the pain in his eyes."
Tracy said Jack was a highly regarded phlebotomist at the pathology lab at Rust Ave – he has a knack with kids and enjoyed his job. If it wasn't for the hip, he'd still be working, Tracy said.
"My biggest worry is that he falls. He had a number of falls, so I always make sure someone is at home with him."
Tracy said she was "beyond angry" and felt let down by the Government and the health system.
"We know [Jack] isn't the only one – there are possibly people with life-threatening conditions waiting for surgery. It's an indictment of the system."