Osteoporosis

Elizabeth - Interview 09

Female
Age at interview: 85
Age at diagnosis: 66

Brief outline: In 1978 Elizabeth fell and broke her femur and an x-ray revealed that she has osteoporosis. She has been on alendronic acid for several years now but she thinks that it is not that effective because while on it she has had several other fractures.

Background: Elizabeth regularly travels abroad to see family and says that osteoporosis hasn't stopped her from having an active life and that she only thinks about her condition when she fractures a bone.

Audio & video

In 1978 Elizabeth fell and broke her femur and an x-ray revealed that she had osteoporosis. She was sixty-six at the time of her diagnosis. Several years ago she was put on alendronic acid once a week and still continues taking that medication. Elizabeth’s mother had a broken hip when she was in her eighties.
 
Elizabeth has had several fractures in the last twenty years and doubts whether the alendronic acid has really helped her bones. In 1993 she fell and again, fractured her femur. Also in two separate falls she has had two wrist fractures. She says that since her diagnosis she has had only one bone density scan (DXA). She saw a consultant once back in 1978 when recovering from her first fracture.
 
At the time of the interview Elizabeth was recovering from another fracture. While in France visiting one of her daughters she slipped and fell on her back fracturing two vertebra. 
 
Elizabeth said that she had a ‘wonderful’ physiotherapist in France who helped her walk after her fracture. In Britain she got a private physiotherapist from the yellow pages and was very disappointed with the outcome. She has kept doing the exercises she learned from her physiotherapist in France.
 
Elizabeth feels that her recovery has been very slow and found it difficult and frustrated to sit around and do nothing. So she forced herself to keep mobile by going everyday for a walk whatever the weather. A friend accompanied her so she could lean on her arm for support
 
Elizabeth lives a very active life travelling several times a year to visit family abroad and she has friends with whom she does regular activities like outings, theatre, etc. Also, she lives in accommodation for independent living after retirement. The place offers a wide range of cultural and other activities and a chance to meet and join her friends on a regular basis. She said that osteoporosis hasn’t stops her from doing the things she wants to do. It is only when she fractures a bone that she thinks about it. She has always been careful of the need to avoid a fall but since her last fracture, she said she is particularly afraid of falling.

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