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Jacky

Age at interview: 57
Brief Outline: In 2004 Jacky fell and hurt her knees. She persevered with the pain but was later referred to hospital, and had a partial knee replacement in 2010. Later, when she had increasing pain in her right knee, she had another partial knee replacement in 2014.
Background: Jacky is a professional carer. She is married and has 3 adult children. Ethnic background / nationality: White British.

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On a dark morning in 2004 Jacky tripped and fell, landing on both knees. A few months later she started getting pain in her right knee. She persevered with the pain for some time before seeking help from her GP. The GP sent her for an x-ray and later confirmed that she had osteoarthritis. She was later referred to a specialist and had a partial knee replacement in May 2010. Jacky found recovering from her first operation quite difficult as she had to care for her mum and children. Not long after her first operation, Jacky started having increasing pain in her left knee and was referred to a specialist hospital after another x-ray. The x-ray confirmed that Jacky had no gap between the bones in her left knee and she had another partial knee replacement in April 2014.

Because of a minor complication with her wound, Jacky had to stay in hospital for an extra day as a precaution. When she was discharged she was given painkillers, a contact telephone number, crutches, an exercise leaflet and 12 days’ supply of injections. The injections were to thin her blood and help prevent blood clots. Jacky felt a bit anxious about injecting herself to start with but said that the nurse was fantastic and encouraged her to do it, making her feel more at ease. 

The first couple of weeks after surgery were very tiring and Jacky believes that she tried doing too much too soon. She advises other people to take it easy and not to be afraid of asking questions. For Jacky the most annoying part of recovery was not being able to drive. Over time, she has noticed a change in the pain that she feels and has slowly been able to reduce the amount of painkillers that she takes.

Jacky describes the care that she had in hospital as ‘brilliant’ and said that all the staff were ‘fantastic’. She was given lots of information about the operation and said that the information videos she was shown before surgery were a good way of informing patients about the procedure. She feels that patients need to understand what is going on, and why there may be uncertainty about which operation they will have until the surgeon has had a look inside the knee. Jacky remembers feeling anxious before both operations but feels that she was more prepared for the second one because she knew what to expect and had been given plenty of information. 

Jacky has never regretted having the two operations. She would encourage anyone who is eligible for a partial knee replacement to consider having it, but also suggests that it is important to talk it over with family and friends first. She is now looking forward to the future and to being able to take her dogs out for long walks.
 

The TEPI videos weren’t made the first time Jacky had knee surgery. They were good, encouraging and reassuring. Her son helped her access them when she had problems.

The TEPI videos weren’t made the first time Jacky had knee surgery. They were good, encouraging and reassuring. Her son helped her access them when she had problems.

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The physio took me to one side during the pre-op while there was a gap and she showed me the video.

And you had the leaflets anyway – leaflets about the operation – but you also saw this video. What did you think of the video, did it tell you more?

I thought it was very good because it showed you the bits before and what they were going to do in the pre-op, and all this, that and the other and what they would be doing. Then you obviously had the op and they would, if I remember rightly they did a little diagram showing what would happen, and after the physio bits as well. It was very good; I found it very encourageable. 

So even though you kind of knew what to expect because you'd had one [partial knee replacement], it just reinforced that.

It reinforced it and it was very good. Because with the first one I'm thinking, 'Ooh what are they going to do?' And I think that would have been more encourageable if I'd seen that before. I would have known what was going on.

So it prepares you. Was it reassuring or did it just give you the information that you needed?

A bit of both, yeah. It was reassuring and knowing what was going to happen.

But you mentioned when you came home you had the web address and you tried to look online?

Yeah, we tried to look on it. But then I had a letter from the lady from the physio saying that everybody was having trouble with it and she sent me another one. I did manage to get on it but then I got confused because me and computers don’t go together.

So did you watch it again?

I did in the end. [Son’s name] helped me; my son helped me. But yeah, it was encourageable and people have said to me, "Would you look at it?" If they asked me, “should I look at it?” I'd say, “Yes because you'd get a good idea then.”

So you would recommend it?

I would recommend them to look at the video, yeah.
 

Jacky couldn’t fault the professionals who cared for her. They were encouraging and helpful. She advises people to ask them questions.

Jacky couldn’t fault the professionals who cared for her. They were encouraging and helpful. She advises people to ask them questions.

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Is there any message you would want to give to health professionals there at all?

No, because I can't fault them. They're encouraging everybody to do what they need to do. They're there if you need the extra painkillers or extra advice; they're there for you and I'd just say, "Don’t be frightened to ask. Make sure you ask – if you're not sure, ask them because if they can't find out for you, or if they don’t know the answer, they’ll go and find it out for you. And then they’ll encourage you to do what you're supposed to do."
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