Owen, 87, has osteoarthritis, and has had it most of his life.
When Owen contacted our Arthritis Educator, he was living in considerable pain, made worse when he pushed his walker as he followed what he understood to be his GP’s advice. He was using Panadol, but it wasn’t touching the pain at all. Since then he’s tried a few different gels and medications but there is always that underlying pain.
So he was greatly “heartened” after talking with the Arthritis Educator who helped show him there was light at the end of the tunnel. He attended one of our educational events and says he is now way more informed about advances on arthritis care, how to manage his pain and meet others facing the same challenges.
One of the things that Owen feels the Arthritis Educator helped him with was by recognising that he would need to be more forthright in his communication with his doctor if he wanted his level of pain to be taken seriously. Initially this was difficult for Owen, as it was natural for him to talk down the pain in his knees and present a stoic front. His rapport with his doctor has started to improve.
He had hurt his knee (broken a bit of bone in it) when he was 13 years old playing rugby, there had been no surgery or x-rays, and he attributes that initial injury and lack of care for his intense pain now. Overcoming a lifetime of thinking that it was something he just had to deal with quietly was not easy.
He also felt empowered to try out different solutions for pain management such as exercise in water, an exercise bike, acupuncture, and to seek out a physio who found that his knees were very worn. Once he was able to communicate the high level of pain to his doctor he was prescribed better pain medication which provided some relief.
Without the help of the Arthritis Educator, Owen would be living in a lot more pain and continuing to feel isolated and without hope.
Owen feels that each of us need to do our bit to draw awareness to arthritis as it affects so many (624,000) of us! While he doesn’t have huge expectations that his pain will magically disappear altogether, he does hold hope that there will be improvements to make life a little easier for people with arthritis – such as easy-to-open packaging, and driverless cars so that he can have his independence again.