September 1, 2020
By Dr Antje Theilhaber
My glasses broke and won’t stay on my head. Now I can’t read, can’t look through patient files, can’t do anything, really. But it’s Lockdown II, stage 4 and you can only go out for essential groceries and emergencies. Not really an emergency, is it? So here I am, fixing my glasses with super glue. No biggie. But I start wondering whether some of my patients might be taking a similar approach with their health. Superglue for your health? A truly frightening thought.
We have been worried about this for a while. My colleagues and I have all heard about cases where patients found a lump, or a new mole, had chest pain or suffered from severe anxiety but decided to delay making an appointment with their doctor. Their fear about potentially exposing themselves to a higher risk of COVID-19, it appears, pushed aside all valid concerns about the real health emergency they may be facing – and should be addressing.
Can I suggest something? Call your GP and arrange a Telehealth appointment. Then we can identify the health issue and plan the next required steps together to tackle your medical issue. This may mostly be manageable via Telehealth. For some issues that may include us recommending to see you in person to make sure we can avoid your health issue deteriorating. We will only advise this if truly necessary but rest assured Eleanor Clinic has highly diligent COVID precautions in place. This includes full PPE for all staff, diligent hand hygiene and full room sanitisation after each patient.
True: Telehealth is not the same as face-to-face consultations. We do miss seeing you in person.
We love sitting down with you in our room, listening to you and being able to examining you properly. We miss cuddling babies, clowning around with toddlers and showing them they can trust us so they let us examine them. Walking with our seniors slowly into our room, watching how they carefully make one step after another.
So yes: Telehealth doesn’t offer it all. But it allows us to get to the core of issues and address them for many of our patients. We can take a good history, assess rashes using photos you send us, write referral letters, organise blood tests, x-rays and ultrasounds. Eleanor Clinic also supports electronic prescribing of your medicines where you simply present a bar-code to your chemist that we sent you electronically. And for those chemists that don’t yet support this we can fax your script.
If I made my optician’s skills sound like a success story, I’m afraid I spoke too soon. My glasses kept falling apart besides my super glue hack. So, I have actually made an appointment to get them fixed by a professional today. Turns out this is still allowed if you rely on your glasses.
So, take it from me: it’s worth having a professional help with the important things in life. So: please book an appointment with your GP to look after yourself. And I’ll be off having my glasses fixed professionally – promise!