“What do you imagine when you’re going to have a consultation with a doctor? A smart outfit and a sterile clinical room? It probably doesn’t involve a sofa, a large cat demanding attention, and a bowl of crisps. However this is exactly what it’s like for me being a doctor on a Daisy Live Chat!
It’s very different to seeing patients in clinic. Firstly I can’t see your face. I get so much from a patient’s body language in clinic that words on a screen will never be able to compensate for. I can’t tell if you’re relaxed and ready for my information, or nervously clutching that horrible scary patient information leaflet from inside the box of your medication. I can’t see if you’ve just had a really crappy night of hot flushes and another Facebook pregnancy announcement and just want me to listen. Secondly, I don’t have your notes. As a doctor I think we all find a lot of comfort in that chunky file of test results and information. I take your question as it is, without the benefit of blood results and a list of your previous medical life from the GP. However I’m always amazed by how good our members are at summarising their really complex stories in to useful bites of information. And gosh, some of you can type fast!
Yes, we look things up! Or at least I certainly do. Marie Gerval, Daisy Co-Chair is a POI expert. She works in a fertility unit and sees patients with fertility related issues every day. I’m a general obstetrician and gynaecologist; my specialist area is actually colposcopy, the place that you go after an abnormal smear test result. General gynaecologists have relatively little training in menopause related issues, and it’s only really after my own POI diagnosis that I’ve started exploring this area of my career. It’s not unusual for a live chat member to ask about a medication that I kind of know but have never prescribed – so I look it up. I think this is a good thing; it means that I can make sure that if you have to go and see a specialist or persuade your GP to prescribe something new you’ve got up to date information. I’ll often provide a link to official guidance too; most healthcare professionals will be more than happy to look at a new bit of NICE guidance and work with it.
Sometimes Marie and I are in the same location whilst we answer your questions. More often though we aren’t – we’ve both answered your questions from ‘real’ work, popping off line to see what’s going on in hospital. What we always try and do though is talk to each other over the phone whilst we do it. We share our skills and try and make sure that we share responding to you between us, but the advice that you get is almost certainly a joint effort. I have learned so much from Marie, she really does know her stuff!
Feedback is so useful. A member commented a few sessions ago that she’d “got more answers in the hour than I have in the last three years of medical appointments” which means so much. So please join us for our next session and see if we can help clear anything up, or perhaps just ‘watch’ and realise that you’re never alone in your POI journey.”
Rebecca, Daisy Volunteer.
Live chats happen twice a month. Members can join at https://www.daisynetwork.org/live-chat