Sad

Hi, I’m Beth and I’m new here. I was eight years old when I was diagnosed eventually with RA. This was in 1948, so a considerable time ago. First of all, they had the diagnosis down as growing pains, and apart from keeping me in hospital for a year, laying on my back, I received no treatment at all. On returning home I was very weak and I was home taught until the age of 15, when I went into remission and spent a year at Secretarial College. I suffered a bit from bullying as I’m barely five feet tall, and have very small deformed hands and feet, but I decided I was not going to hide away and began attending the local dance hall. I was working as a Legal Secretary and my confidence grew gradually. I met my husband at the dance hall, and we have been together now for fifty-three years. He thinks I’m great and has been very supportive. We have three grownup children and nine grandchildren. RA returned in my fifties, and I eventually had two hip replacements. I was fine for quite a few years, then my left shoulder began to hurt and I was booked to have replacement op. However, upon visiting the RA clinic, I fell out with an aggressive consultant, as he wanted to put me on steroid drugs. I refused and without my permission he injected into my thigh, just next to my scar. That was when the problems began. I developed an abscess in that area, which was not diagnosed believe it or not until my leg was so swollen I had to go into hospital to have it removed.
Despite antibiotics and changing the dressing every day, the wound would not heal, and my surgeon decided to remove the prosthetic hip affected.
Unfortunately, during the nine-hour operation my femur was badly broken, so I had to remain in hospital, laying on my back without a hip or a femur, for six weeks to allow the infection to be eradicated. The new prosthetic hip and femur was then inserted and after a lengthy recovery period I was able to get around, though with a walking stick. After a period of time, I began to limp and my left hip and leg were painful when I walked. My GP arranged some X-rays to be carried out and to our astonishment they showed the prosthetic femur to be bent, and so I contacted my surgeon again, who couldn’t believe his eyes. Yet another operation to remove the femur and of course the hip, as they had fused together. After a time and loads of more X-rays, bone was not growing, so another major op including new prosthetics, was carried out to attach a piece of bone to hopefully encourage bone cells to grow. Unfortunately, this did not work, the bone had died. My surgeon was by now striving to find a solution. A further hip and femur fitted and a long bar from the top of my hip to just above my knee was also fitted and some donated bone cells added. This has worked, but I am now registered disabled as I cannot walk or even stand for longer than ten minutes. My lower back has been badly affected by the numerous operations and my left leg is now of not much use, I cannot put any weight on it and because of the cut nerves, it feels numb. I did in fact seek legal advice when the bent prosthetic femur was discovered, and I am now in the process of suing the American firm who supplied the prosthetics. My surgeon has been very good in supporting this claim as he has never come across anything like this in all the years of his career. The bent prosthetic femur is in my possession as I felt that it could “go astray” if parceled to America. It’s my only proof.
The claim is now into its fourth year with Zimmer not replying to my solicitors letters or asking yet more questions, already answered, just avoiding the issue and no doubt hoping I’ll either get so fed up and cancel, or actually die. I have no intention of doing either. They have taken my life away from me, my husband is now my caretaker and without him I would be unable to cope.
I am bright and bubbly when my family visit, or indeed friends, but it’s a mask, as I am depressed and angry, but keep my tears to when I am in bed at night. I will be 77 next month and I take a cocktail of drugs every day to cope with pain and depression. Sorry this is lengthy but it feels good to just share with others. Weather permitting, I sit in my garden every day. I love it, the only place I’m happy. I dress every morning in pretty clothes, put on some makeup and do my hair. Just makes me feel better. My husband bought me an iPad which is my link with everything, I order clothes, presents and send emails. I couldn’t do without it. Anyway, I will now close this ‘novel’. Thank you for reading it. Beth

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Comments

View Comments (5)
  • biddybeth author
    4 months ago

    In June of this year I received a copy letter from my Solicitors to say that my claim had been unsuccessful. Well, not really unexpected, but my case against Zimmer did not go to Court as apparently there was “not enough evidence.” The bent prosthetic femur was sent to Zimmer in America for examination. They contacted my Solicitors to say they could find nothing wrong with it. It was bent for Gods sake!!! All X-rays showing the femur was straight after the operation when it was fitted, were in their possession. How do you fight a massive company like them????? My Solicitors informed me they did not wish to represent me after all these years and so not only am I unable to afford the cost of employing a further firm to fight my case, but I am so brow beaten and tired, not to mention absolutely furious when being told I was “not their priority”. Zimmer know that the prosthetic femur must have been faulty. Why would it become bent inside my body? They chose to ignore the evidence, knowing they are such a large concern and I’m just a little old lady they can’t be bothered to deal with and of no importance. Yes, I’m certainly bitter and I’m wondering how many other people have been let down by this company. I would be interested to know. Just writing this down has helped a bit.

  • biddybeth author
    4 months ago

    Hi again, Here I am more than a year later. Not good news. After a period of eight years fighting a Claim with Zimmer, the American firm who supply prosthetic hips, etc. (Read my previous message re the prosthetic femur which bent inside me), despite sending the said femur to Zimmer for examination, in June of this year they eventually responded to say that they could not find the prosthetic femur to be faulty (this, when it resembled a boomerang) and so there was not enough evidence to take my case to Court. My UK Solicitors decided they did not wish to represent me at this stage and suggested that I had until 30th June to take my case to Court with other Solicitors if I wished to do so. I had neither the finance nor the heart to proceed. Zimmer know perfectly well that the prosthetic femur must have been faulty, why else would it have bent, but they are such a big concern. They actually said at one point I “was not their priority”. I feel completely let down. I am more or less housebound with severe lower back pain due to the numerous operations performed on my left hip. I live on painkillers, I have no quality of life. I’m so depressed and on medication for that.
    Thankfully I have a supportive husband, but he is now eighty with health problems of his own. I’m very bitter that I have ended up so disabled through not fault of my own. Wondering if anyone else has had dealings with Zimmer and the outcome of it.

  • 2mra
    1 year ago

    WOW!!! 1948! I’ve only had my RA since about 1983. I sure feel for you. You have been through so much hardship, disappointment and pain. I can’t even imagine. We all wear a mask sometimes for good reason when around family, friends,etc. I feel down a couple days here and there when the pain is unbearable and I can’t move but thankfully I’m not depressed often. In pain, usually though.

    I recently had a hip replaced but aside from back OA pain for weeks, it went well. I can’t believe how badly yours went. I do hope and pray that you get what you are asking for.
    That’s the least they can do for your inconvenience and suffering. I’m glad that you have a wonderful, caring husband too. They deserve halos. Take Care Beth! Good luck!

  • Tiptoetammy17
    2 years ago

    Thank you for sharing your story I was diagnosed at age 2 in 1992 and need to lose 50 lbs to get my knees replacements. I also deal with depression especially in a flair and during winter because its so cold it hurts So glad u have a wonderful husband that helps you. I also have a great husband. Have a good night

  • DParker
    1 year ago

    Wow is right. You are a trooper! God Bless you, some of those things you have been thru are just horrible. Geeze

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