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Sydney - Interview 16

Age at interview: 86
Brief Outline: Sidney thinks that he has been on alendronic acid (70 mg tablets once a week) for about ten years. Three years ago he fractured his femur but hasn't had any other fractures. Feels lucky because he manages well on his own and experiences little pain or discomfort.
Background: Sidney is a retired factory worker and feels lucky that he is able to live an independent life. He loves gardening and says that it keep him fit and busy.

More about me...

Sidney can’t remember the exact date of his diagnosis but says that osteoporosis was ‘first mentioned’ by doctors in the 1960’s. At that time, Sidney started having back and neck pain and complained of severe headaches so his GP sent him for x-rays and later physiotherapy sessions. He says “in my neck, you could hear the cracklings on the movement”. He found physiotherapy helped.
 
Sidney thinks that he started drug therapy for osteoporosis around ten years ago and that he has always taken the same drug; alendronic acid, 70 mg once weekly. He has been on Adcal D3 tablets twice a day for longer than that.
 
Until 2005 Sidney used to ride his bicycle everywhere but following his hip fracture he stopped. His fracture wasn’t the result of a fall or any other type of accident, he simply stopped pedaling his bike and as he put his feet down on the ground the femur broke.
 
Sydney thinks that patient care in his local hospital has improved greatly and the only thing he finds fault with was his experience of early discharge after his hip operation. He lives alone and found out that no support was in place after he was sent home. He relied for shopping and other household chores on a friend his age and an elderly neighbour.  
 
Sidney is a very independent eighty-six year old man and he is able to do most housework including cooking, cleaning and shopping. He goes to the city centre twice a week to buy his groceries but avoids going when it is busy with other shoppers. His main social outing is to go to a pub once a week during the day to meet his friends from his working days. Every year during winter he goes on holiday for two months.
 
Sidney’s passion is gardening and says that it helps him keep fit and active. He feels lucky because he has managed to be independent, he is able to walk relatively long distances and experiences little pain or discomfort.
 

Sydney hasn’t looked for any further information in case it causes him to worry.

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Did you know much about Osteoporosis?
 
Nothing at all, I don’t know much now really.
 
No?
 
No.
 
What do you know?
 
Well it no it’s a, I wondered if it was anything to do with me doing the brittle bones or what went by the way I fell on that you see? With this hip, afterwards you begin to think about how that went and I mean I wasn’t even, carrying anything on me bike. I stopped me bike and put me leg out like you would just to, then it just crumbled.
 
Would you like to know about that sort of things or?

 

Not really no because I can hear, [clears throat] it brings more worry on doesn’t it if you’re that way inclined and I, commonsense comes into it, I mean I packed up me bike straightaway because I knew if I went down again I could’ve, well end in a wheelchair, and I was over eighty you see then, well eighty-three I was riding my bike then, three years ago right?
 

Sydney was most impressed with the improvement his local hospital had undergone since the last...

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And how was the after care at that time three years ago?
 
Well it was, it was improvement when I came out of the assessment ward as they called it, went into the trauma ward that was a big improvement but that was, not as it should be you know. Because you had the airbeds in there and it was all modern but it was a big improvement from the assessment ward.

 

And, and they, the change in there was more like a hotel than, than anything else and there’s so much improvement and instead of one big ward with all the machinery going on, you’re, you are in a small department, about four, groups of four something like that or six, you know, kind of, according to the doings andit’s changed no end.
 
And even the staff and that was improved they had more time for you and it was to, at, well you know, and the company you met and the staff you had time for everything, and it was so, such a great improvement and I just went round and thanked them all and I go away, and the changes was unbelievable and believe me, and I told the doctor what I thought you know?
 
Yes it was beautiful and the food was quite good, you know, and I had a quite, I mean I know is not like having a package like you would at home but it was adequate and it, and even those were, they brought it to you it was so different, they had more time and they, and that was it, you know the staff was well more staff as well.
 
More staff and more time?
 
Yes, yes it was yes and the nurses they [eh], they could sit, they had time to come and sit and treat you and sit to have a chat you know like, it, in a normal way, and I appreciated everything that they done for me, and the improvement. 
 

Sydney who lives alone felt he was discharged too soon after his surgery.

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No they did, they sent me out too soon and that was the only thing that they had done. I had three, two, well three trips with the physio on the stairs, well one day give me a stick I think it was and I couldn’t… my legs crossed and I was useless on the first day, because I had a frame you see to start with obviously, and I got nowhere the first day whatsoever, the second day I improved, and then I think it was the third day I went up and down with the aisle, you know, kind of thing so you couldn’t fall, and he took me on the stairs with another nurse, two of them, took me on the nurse.
 
And he said, “You’re ready to go out home it’s a weekend on the Friday”. They got some equipment like little table that I got and the thing to go over the toilet thing and they said, “We can get you home but we can’t get this”. I had two of me nephews, well a nephew and a niece came in at the same time and of course they brought me home and I wasn’t fit, I  got home, got into this chair [laughs] and I was puffing and blowing like and got into the chair, the neighbour, one of the neighbours knew I was going, two doors away an elderly lady, she was banging on the door and I couldn’t get out of the chair [laughs]. I rang the, the nurse and I said, I said to Doctor [name], don’t worry I give you his same word that he gave me and I said, I said, “I had a hell of a job to get out”. He said, “I wasn’t fit to come out but I didn’t realise that you’re on your own, left on your own.”
 

Sydney takes the bus to go shopping for groceries but he always goes at less busy times so that...

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But, I’m lucky now because this chap still goes round and gets me some odds and ends, you know, he’s not very, a fit chap himself you know? He comes in Tuesdays as well.
 
So he brings you your, some of your groceries?
 
He will, bread and milk and, you know, the essentials because I can only manage a certain amount of, to carry you know? Yeah. I carry more than I should really but I just put the bag down and I have a rest on the way [laughs] because it’s [supermarket] as well is quite a walk, the bus stop.
 
Yeah so you go
 
Go home.
 
to town?
 
I go, Saturday morning is the best time to go I catch the nine… because your pass don’t start, nine o’clock you see? So I go at nine and I can be back home at ten, which is very good, into [supermarket] and get what I want, I did Saturday morning see? Within an hour that’s the, that’s the best time to go before the people are about shopping because it’s comfortable, you know, and the people that are there they will be stacking up by then, you know, and they’ve only just opened and stacking up so.
 
There’s less people, there’s less people around?
 
Yes it’s lovely yes and they’re not, not crowded but, people don’t go into the town before ten much anyway and the buses, coming home it’s dead easy but, four o’clock there’s the queues all down the town hall you know, if you leave it late in the afternoon in particular. Market day is a bad day really, but I go up market and get me vegetables, you know, the, what I can carry.
 
You go to the Wednesday market?
 
Wednesday market yes.
 
Ah, so what time do you go?
 
Well I go, I go two o’clock time and three, you know, I try to miss four o’clock because at four o’clock onwards the office people are coming out and the business people start going down and, the buses get very busy then.
 
So you avoid sort of crowds?
 
Big crowds, yes as much as I can yeah.
 
Yes it’s so much more comfortable isn’t it? I mean you can’t with, Saturday morning you can’t, you have to walk through the town at peak time, I expect you’ve seen it on a Saturday it’s terrible, when you’ve got the buskers and, and all sorts in, in [street] [laughs] taking up half the pavement and things, bands playing and all sorts.
 
Do you feel safer to walk when there is less people around?
 
Yes I do yes.  
 
 

Sydney said that he was discharged from hospital too soon after his operation and had no support...

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And he said, “You’re ready to go out home it’s a weekend on the Friday”. They got some equipment like little table that I got and the, the thing to go over the toilet thing and they said, “We can get you home but we can’t get this”. I had two, two of me nephews, well a nephew and a niece came in at the same time and of course they brought me home and I wasn’t fit, I got, I got, I got home, got into this chair [laughs] and I was puffing and blowing like and got into the chair, the neighbour, one of the neighbours knew I was going, two doors away an elderly lady, she was banging on the door and I couldn’t get out of the chair [laughs]. I rang the nurse and I said, I said to Doctor [name], don’t worry I, I give you his same word that he gave me and I said, “I”. I said, “I had a hell of a job to get out”. I said, “I wasn’t fit to come out but I didn’t realise that you’re on your own, left on your own I got”.
 
And I couldn’t have, I don’t know how I struggled out and I got to the door because I guessed who it was and she’d got a malt loaf for me, you know, which was nice because I got no preparation, I hadn’t got no, when I went in I got nothing, me mate that still comes in, he got me address book and that sort of thing because I couldn’t let any of me relatives know, and he came in, got me address book and well he brought me some pyjamas and that sort of thing because I was, well, in the first instance on me bike you know.
 
And then as I said coming home, I got into this chair and, I’d only been up the hall twice on the hospital and then down the stairs with handrails and their help kind of thing, and he let me out like that and I rang the doctor and he said, “What do you want to go back?”. A senior doctor said that to me, “What do you want to go back in?” And I said, “No that I don’t”. You know? But I’ve got an elbow, what they give me an elbow, one of my elbow was up here, still there, I couldn’t use it you see until they give me a shorter stick and that was a big help. With a shorter stick you know you could, I couldn’t get up and on to it [laughs].
 
Did you have a nurse coming to see you at that time?
 
Came about doing a bit of therapy, but the weather was so bad they wouldn’t, I didn’t go out, I went out once I think because the weather was so bad and he said, “We can’t take a risk because of you slipping”. And, I, well I went up and down the garden path a bit then and, eventually I got to the bus stop, you know, with him when the weather was a bit better and to do the, yeah about to the bus stop and he said, “Well let’s see if you get on the bus alright”. I said, “Well I should be all right now” [Laughs].
 
Who was helping you around that time? Were you having meals on wheels?
 
Only what me mate got, they had no plans for me, no, no me mate used to get me prepared meals from Marks & Spencer.
 
Okay someone was coming to help you around the house, housework…?
 
Only a pal of mine, that was all yeah, a pal of mine and he still comes in, probably be in tomorrow and he’s been ill himself now since, so, I mean that’s a long time ago, he still comes in, he’s been poorly himself, in fact he had a fortnight in hospital, well I was in Tenerife you see? Because I go to Tenerife Christmas.
 
Were you put in touch with the Social Services?
 
The nurse came in a few times an
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