‘I’m in agony all the time, ’ says woman on waiting list for double-hip replacement

Elaine Davis is 15 months awaiting surgery

 Elaine Davis: “It’s hard, sometimes I feel like a failure as a mother.”

Elaine Davis: “It’s hard, sometimes I feel like a failure as a mother.”


Elaine Davis, a 42-year-old mother of two young children, has been waiting more than a year for double-hip replacement surgery and has been told she could be waiting for up to two years.

She was diagnosed, at the age of 39, with adult-onset Still’s disease, a rare type of inflammatory arthritis. She says she feels like a 90-year-old.

“I can barely walk, I find it hard to sit, drive or do anything normal. I’m in agony all the time. It’s chronic pain, 24/7, and no matter what medication or steroid injections I take, nothing gives me relief.”

She has two young children, Conor aged five and Ben aged eight. And she finds it hard to manage family life.

“It’s hard, sometimes I feel like a failure as a mother,” she says. “It feels like I’m all the time saying no to them, I can’t do this and I can’t do that. As a mother, you’re meant to be wonder woman.”


She admits that sometimes her husband gets the short end of the stick. “I just can’t help it. I’m in pain, I’m tired, I’m frustrated, and he is there to bear the brunt of it,” she says.

Her husband is in college and she works in a local pharmacy, where they understand sickness and never put pressure on her. She also has a medical card, but there are other costs for things such as swimming, recommended by her physiotherapist, and supportive shoes. “ All these extra-costs add up. Being sick is expensive.”

She says the operation would cost €8,200 if she was treated privately, but it is money the family just do not have. And while it might be possible to raise it through a credit union loan, if there were complications and follow-up was needed, the money would not be there. “It’s a financial chance we just can’t take.”


She is grateful for the support she receives from charity, Arthritis Ireland, but says she has no quality of life. “My life is passing me by, and there is nothing I can do about it. The pain is horrific, and I can’t do anything about it. I have to put up with it until the HSE decide I am important enough to be operated on. How can they stand-by and do this to people?”

Arthritis Ireland can be contacted on arthritisireland.ie or on its helpline, 1890 252 846.