Despite having osteoarthritis which made going up and down stairs difficult, Samia, aged 77 from El Agizy, Tanta, Egypt, led a very active life. She enjoyed helping her daughter as well as looking after and playing with her grandchildren.
Following a hip fracture, she was shocked to discover she had osteoporosis as she had no parental history of hip fractures. Here, she tells her story:
“One day everything changed for me.
I had been feeling a bit off balance, then I fell over in the bathroom. Straightaway, I had a feeling something had broken in my left leg. I was in severe pain, could not move or stand up and had to call for help. My daughter came to help, but I still couldn’t stand as the pain was very bad. She had to call for an ambulance. I had to have X-rays and scans and was told I had fractured my left hip. I was advised I need surgery urgently. I was in severe pain and was unable to move, had to stay in bed for quite a long time. I could not even use the toilet. I needed a catheter and was told I could only lay on my back. I felt very worried, but I needed to have the operation.
After the surgery, the pain was more manageable with pain killers, but I was still bedridden and only allowed to lay on my back. I had to stick to laying down on my back for 12-weeks. This was very difficult for me as I had gone from a very active life to this bedridden state.
Physiotherapy helped me to start walking again. At that time, I realized I would have to restrict my activities and think before moving around. I was having trouble getting dressed and had to sit down to put trousers on. I could not cut my own toenails, sit in low chairs or sofas and had to be careful getting in and out of the car. I was upset as I could not look after or play with my grandchildren. I discovered that I had to stop and think twice before any move. All of this made me feel insecure and having to restrict my activities made me feel dependent and a burden to my family.
I gradually learnt to deal with my limitations and started to manage my life. I thought of my children and grandchildren. I wanted to help them avoid having a similar experience to mine. I started to find out more about osteoporosis and what could help prevent it.
Now I encourage my grandchildren to drink milk, as I realize how important calcium is to help build up healthy bones. I also started to speak to my relatives and neighbours to encourage them to be assessed for the risk of having thin bones. I started to repeat the phrase of “ علشان ما تتكسري ش “ (“so that you won’t have a fracture”), so that they pay attention to the issue and consider ways to prevent osteoporosis.
I have started medical treatment to help protect my bones and help to prevent the occurrence of another fracture. Walking regularly has become a routine daily activity. This has helped me to regain my self-confidence and to think positively about my life.”