Living with peripheral vascular disease: A one-person case study
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This single-person case study, informed by phenomenology, describes the meaning for Tom (the participant) of living with peripheral vascular disease (PVD). Data collection included one face-to-face semistructured conversation and a further brief telephone conversation to seek Tom’s confirmation of the study findings. The data was analysed using Colaizzi’s (1978) phenomenological seven-step descriptive analysis framework. The findings are presented in the form of five narrative themes that best represent Tom’s experience of living with PVD. They include Living in a Mindset, A Male Thing, Facing Reality, A Weird Existence and A Heightened Awareness. They reveal how living with peripheral vascular disease has been incorporated into Tom’s way of life. The themes demonstrate how Tom managed his ulcers, how he accommodated his limitations, his state of vulnerability and how he continued to lead a “weird” yet rewarding life, despite the hardship he endured. The unexplained weirdness of Tom’s story has been presented in a way that aims to facilitate understanding of the phenomenon. Some of the significance of this study therefore lies in the tactful action of the phenomenologically informed approach, which enables the reader to understand the puzzle and weirdness of why Tom delayed treatment and acted as he did. The study facilitates the potential to heighten the awareness and challenge assumptions of nurses and other health professionals as they attempt to interpret a chronic illness experience from the patient’s perspective. A key suggestion made from the study findings is that health professionals should include in their practice routine assessments for patient fears and self-imposed delays to treatment in order to facilitate the provision of timely and suitable interventions. Further research allowing patients’ voices to be heard is necessary to substantiate the extent of this problem and how it can most appropriately be resolved.