Osteoporosis

James - Interview 36

Male
Age at interview: 82
Age at diagnosis: 81

Brief outline: James is on alendronic acid once weekly and calcium tablets two a day. He also takes Omeprazole and Domperidone for his acid reflux. For a dysfunctional bladder he takes amitriptyline at bedtime. He had vertebroplasty surgery done three times to repair collapsed vertebraes but the last time it was unsuccessful and is waiting to have it done again.

Background: This person is a retired teacher, lives at home with his wife and both are in their eighties. James recommends vertebroplasty to others because he says that he enjoyed, albeit briefly, its benefits.

Audio & video

In 2006, James started having lower back pain and consulted his GP about it. The GP didn’t attach any urgency to his symptoms but referred him to the hospital as a non-urgent case and in November 2007 he was called for an MRI scan. By then, James was experiencing lots of difficulties; getting in and out of bed was difficult, his back would go into spam and getting up from a chair was also a problem. James realised that there was a more serious problem when he saw the consultant and was told that the MRI scan found he had collapsed vertebrae. He was offered vertebroplasty surgery.
 
In April 2008 James went into hospital to have vertebroplasty surgery for his collapsed vertebrae. James says that the procedure did work for a while and he felt comfortable and able to do more because he had no serious back pain or spasm but a couple of months later he was diagnosed with another collapsed vertebra and the same procedure was repeated with equal positive results on his quality of life. But when vertebroplasty was done to repair a third collapsed vertebra, the procedure had to be stop because the paste began to leak. James was made aware that paste leakage into the blood stream is a main risk in such a procedure. Despite this, James recommends vertebroplasty to others because he says that he enjoyed, albeit briefly, its benefits. At the time of the interview he was booked to have his third vertebra done again.
 
James is eighty-three and until two years ago he says that he had the strength and energy to do what he wanted and needed to do but his level of activities and mobility has been gradually and drastically reduced by his back problems. He loves gardening but it is one activity that he can no longer do. He took pottery after retirement but his back no longer has the kind of strength needed for him to pursue this. He is able to walk for no more than ten minutes and able to do short car drives. Consequently, he and his wife have been unable to go on holiday for the last three years. James says that it is difficult to come to terms with physical limitations.
 
Jame’s’ wife is also over eighty and James has been her carer for many years but she does not need any physical-type of assistance. Their daughter used to live close by but recently has moved to live abroad. They have one neighbour that they could call upon and their other two sons live in other parts of the UK.
 
Regarding household organisation; they have two hours of home help each week and therefore they don’t do any heavy housework like changing beds, hovering, etc. They shop once a week in a supermarket that packs and then delivers their groceries straight to their kitchen table. So, James says that it is a question of keeping their home tidy and comfortable and doing the cooking and washing up. James says that they have a well balanced diet but one that is simple and does not require lots of preparation.
 
Pain continues to be a problem but it varies from day to day. He manages it by resting in the afternoons and when it is very bad he has to lie in the mornings as well and takes paracetamol. At the hospital he was told to limit his activities and not to try and push through the pain barrier but he hasn’t received comprehensive advice on this matter. He manages by using common sense.
 
James is on alendronic acid once weekly and calcium tablets two a day. He also takes Omeprazole and Domperidone for his acid reflux. For a dysfunctional bladder he takes amitriptyline at bedtime.
 

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