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Rosemary

Age at interview: 62
Brief Outline: Rosemary had restricted movement and pain in her shoulder, and was told that surgery was the best option. The operation went well but her recovery took a lot longer than she’d expected. Since surgery, she has had lots of bruising on her shoulder and chest.
Background: Rosemary is widowed with four adult children. She works full-time as a textile teacher. Ethnic background: White British.

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Rosemary had pain in her shoulder and restricted movement so went to see a doctor, who referred her to a specialist. She was given an injection in her shoulder for pain relief, but it was short lived. Her specialist advised that surgery was the best option. She was able to get booked in for surgery three weeks later, which she was pleased about. 

When Rosemary went for her pre-surgery assessment, she said that everything was well explained and it made her feel relaxed. She was given a booklet about her surgery, which she found very helpful. She was also given the name of a website address for Technology Enhanced Patient Information (TEPI) to look at, but she couldn’t access it. Rosemary felt that she got all the information she needed from the booklet. 

Rosemary’s operation went well. However, having had surgery before, she requested not to be given the same type of pain relief used previously, as it had made her nauseous. Unfortunately, she was given it again, and it made her feel dizzy and nauseous. The doctor offered her the option of staying in hospital overnight, but she felt that the nurse was very keen for her to be discharged. She now questions her own decision of leaving hospital so soon after surgery and when feeling unwell. In hindsight, she thinks it was not such a good idea.

Recovery took a lot longer than Rosemary had expected and she has had a lot of bruising after her surgery. However, she feels the overall medical care she received has been good. On returning home after surgery, she also felt well supported by her children and sister. Because she often uses her hands for work as a textile teacher, she feels that her recovery has somewhat been affected by her work, but she hasn’t let it stop her from working.
 

Rosemary isn’t ‘computer minded’ and prefers booklets to the internet. She watched the operation online and felt relaxed knowing what was going to happen.

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My generation, younger people are more computer minded, my generation okay we are but we’re not, I personally am not so hooked on a computer as the younger generations, so therefore it makes, I think that makes a difference. A young person would want everything on there but when we’ve been brought up without them you sort of.....

Okay, younger people just sort of look at websites for information now. So saying that, in that sense it’s not, do you have any thoughts about improving it or?

No, I think it was good.

Okay. Any particular thing that you didn’t like or?

No it was no problems at all, no I think the whole thing was good.

Okay, did you think that they gave you enough information?

Oh yeah.

Okay, okay. What do you think is the best way to give information to patients having this kind of surgery?

Well I think you’ll find this type of surgery, I mean I don’t know what the numbers are but I would imagine this sort of surgery is more in my age group and older. And therefore people are older than me, I still think they would prefer a book to the internet because it’s just the way they’ve always been.

Yes, did you look for, ever for more information elsewhere?

Yes, I went onto the net and watched a video of the operation.

Ah okay. So which site, do you remember the site you went to?

I might have got it in here, oh it’s a website I got onto. Oh MedlinePlus. MedlinePlus.

Did anyone suggest it for you to look at that website?

No, no, no, I’ve done it for other operations.

Okay, okay. It’s MedlinePlus yes, okay would you recommend, would you recommend it to others?

Yes, well it depends on their makeup, to me, my mother was a nurse and I’ve always sort of got a bit of nursing blood in me, therefore watching an operation doesn't worry me. But if some people, some other people could, it could upset them to watch it.

Yes okay, so not you, okay. Okay. What mattered, what was most important to you in terms of having the information?

Well I think it makes you more relaxed, you know what’s going to happen.
 

Rosemary thought she’d recover in 6 weeks. Nine weeks after surgery, her arm muscle feels bruised. The physio strapped her shoulder up and wants to see her again.

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I’ve struggled with the pain. It just wasn’t as good as it was the first week and I’m going to have to admit that my shoulder operation, because I’d had my hip replaced two years previously, and it has taken me longer to get over my shoulder operation than it did my hip.
 
And to this day I, because I bruised badly after my shoulder operation, my chest, I was black across my chest and up my neck had all gone black and my arm had all gone black. But even now my arm, the muscle feels very bruised still and I’m what, about nine, ten weeks down the line.

Okay, did they explain sort of side effects or how long this was going to take? Did they say anything about the recovery time following the surgery?

Well they did warn you, you know, it would take time but I never expected it to take as long as this. I mean I, you know, I was expecting six weeks but I’m not sure how many weeks I am now.

Did they say six weeks that you will recover?

I think they sort of indicated it could take up to six weeks and that’s what I was expecting. But I must admit it’s, even now to do the indicators and that, it still hurts the arm to lift it up to do the indicators on the car. But I know the muscle is still very bruised and I went for a check-up, my six week check-up, I went back and saw the nurse, well the physiotherapist, and she said my shoulder was very dropped on the one side, so she strapped it up with elastoplast. She strapped it all up to help get it, because she admitted it was very, very low down position to what it should be. So she strapped it all up and I have an appointment to go back and see her in two months from when I saw her.
 

Rosemary would have liked to stay in hospital overnight but felt the nurse wanted her to go home. She was feeling dizzy and didn’t feel safe to go back home.

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I’m not a nurse, I’m not a doctor, but if somebody’s dizzy and lightheaded, and obviously I was bleeding quite a lot internally because I had such extensive bruising, and actually that’s another, because she had to change the dressing because it was, the dressing on the shoulder was, I was bleeding quite badly out of the wound. So she did have to put extra, well she just, she didn’t, she just put extra dressings on top. Which didn’t, I even wondered if the steri strip or something had come off. But she just put extra dressings on top because it was, well it was just wet and I was bleeding. The dressing they’d put on in the theatre was wet.

Did you see the doctor that, afterwards, after the operation?

Yes, yes, he said to me ‘look if you don’t feel right, you should stay overnight’ but, then obviously the nurses have the last say don’t they. I mean if I’d pushed, you know, I could have stayed, but she was more keen for me to go. And when somebody, if somebody’s wanting you to go, it’s a horrible feeling, you know. So you think, well just go. You’re sensitive aren’t you.

How did you feel about that, what did you think about her attitude?

Well I thought it was wrong, but I would have thought if somebody can’t walk very far, are they safe to go home, but there we are.
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