Update for Current Patients – 2nd April
-Advice (and ridiculous musings)
Visits continue as planned at present but next week I will likely recommend more telephone consultations. I will contact you if I recommend this in your case, or you may call the office and request a telephone consultation if you prefer.
Remember that you will be screened upon entering the hospital.
Please do not bring your partner or anyone else unless you feel your partner’s attendance is necessary. If you do, then I have no problem with that provided they are well (remember if they are not they may be prevented from entering the hospital).
Caesarean sections and inductions of labour are unaffected by the C19 situation.
I will still be recommending waiting in your car in between GTT blood tests, but if you are not well this may not be a good idea. Sometimes the GTT causes women to feel nauseous or faint. That is why I usually recommend it be done at St Vincents on a day you are seeing me. If you are unwell we will care for you.
Traffic is great but parking still a bit tight. Those people going to work are preferring to drive than use public transport so the car parks are still full. I think St Vincent PUBLIC has closed their carpark to visitors (staff only). St Vincents Private car park is still available and so is still busy.
Remember to try to obtain a blood pressure cuff. If you have obtained Uristix that is great. If you have not then we will give you some at the next visit. Take a photo of the legend on the container (and I don’t mean Gary Ablett, I mean the colour labels to tell you how to interpret the result).
I have been unusually busy with actual births, consultations, questions and admin in the last 2 weeks. I have checked all results coming through and received lots of questions. I did not even go home overnight of for 2 nights in the last 2 weeks. Not to mention my sore knee….. (poor me…sob)…so I am a bit behind in chasing up details and making phone calls. I have making my way through all of this. Sorry, not superhuman. I often check through things and make sure there are no serious concerns but then need time to address things in detail. This takes time and I would rather do it carefully and methodically. Sometimes I wonder how my colleagues seem to leave their offices so early. Don’t they have paperwork to do?????
Anyway, I am catching up. So if I have something I need to do for you or you are expecting a call, please know that I make take time to do things, but I never forget. If you have a concern, please just call the office to let us know. I am sorry I did not report last night that the office was closed today but the information was on the answering machine message. It will be more common that the office will be closed once per week.
Urgent calls can still be directed to the birth suite if you are over 20 weeks gestation and/ or you can page me on 9387 1000 if you are under 20 weeks or have a matter to wish to speak to me about directly. Where possible, please leave the paging service calls for urgent medical matters. Non-urgent calls can be made to the office during business hours. Administrative matters – appointments, referrals, certificates, other paperwork etc should be directed to my staff, Erin and Zoe, during business hours.
Couple of resources to remember just FYI:
A great resource for women with diabetes in pregnancy. There is a very good ‘FAQ’ section.
General patient information brochures – obstetric and gynaecological.
There are lots of pregnancy related information pamphlets on this link. Check your USB card – I have downloaded many of them for you.
ADVICE (and ridiculous musings)
I see that the doctors who apparently ‘absquatulated’ (see previous post) when told to self-isolate claim they were instructed they could leave for domestic flights. Upon reflection, I think it would be very unusual for that many doctors to disregard explicit instructions (there is always a few but 27 out of 33??). One of the doctors who remained at the airport I have worked with previously and he is an honourable man and excellent doctor, Professor Shane Hamblin. He supports their claims that the group were told they were allowed to leave. If he says that, I believe him. My statement remains, however, if doctors disregard instructions, how can we expect anyone else to do so.
You may see that I have been busy in the last couple of weeks recording childbirth education classes for the hospital. Some of you will have been sent the link and, hopefully, have seen them. On Tuesday night I participated in a live stream to the antenatal childbirth class patients with Fiona Hamilton. Fiona and I are getting the hang of it a bit more now and we are planning a career in television…goodbye obstetrics!!!! Only joking! I will be delivering babies until my knobbled arthritic fingers are too crooked to fit into the birth canal (!). Unless I get lots of patients with abnormally shaped birth canals….* Fiona and I have been rather stressed but had lots of fun. It is SUCH a joy to share an experience with a long-standing colleague. Fiona worked in the birth suite for many years and was a gifted midwife. It has been such a loss to women that she is no longer actively doing deliveries. She is, however, now making a much greater contribution to even more women in the important field of childbirth education. She is calm, experienced, informed, caring, intelligent and bloody funny. Working to make the videos was a joy for me and I hope the respect that Fiona and I have for each other and our respective fields comes across in the videos.** We are all after the same thing and it is really simple. Healthy mum. Healthy baby. Caring for women in pregnancy and childbirth has been a rather political issue at times. As a feminist, I have often felt the pull between promoting and empowering women to birth naturally and without intervention. As an obstetrician, I feel the overwhelming need to inform women of risks and protect them from the harm that can come from the natural process if complications occur and medical care is not provided. Over the years, this push and pull (no pun intended…) has relaxed and I now simply support the choice of women to give birth whichever way they want. No pain relief, minimal intervention, elective analgesia, home birth, elective caesarean section. Whatever. Being a grown-up also means taking some responsibility for your own health, so whichever path is chosen, it is crucial that women ask questions and arm themselves with information. They must also be flexible to adapt to a changing circumstance that might require a deviation from the plan. Planned low intervention vaginal births sometimes require intervention, women choosing elective caesarean section sometimes go into labour. Be informed. Be determined. Be flexible. Take advice.
*My husband thinks it is better for everybody if I just keep working until I drop. He thinks I am dangerous when I don’t have enough to do. He is probably correct. OK. He is correct. (However, clearly a TV career could change things…). The only likelihood of me retiring is if I win Tattslotto. Then his opinion won’t matter. The tickets are registered in my name and he will have to work out where I have gone first…
**If I look like I am looking at her intently during the videos and on the verge of laughing it will be because we were in hysterics off-camera just before that segment.
Excitingly, I have activated my Instagram account. It is fledgling and this old bird is just working out how to use it. Even did my first ‘tag’. So be patient with me if I muck it up. It will be largely for fun and a complete waste of your time (let alone mine… Sonya, look away….it is just another social media drug). I am fascinated to see what my colleagues are posting. Some are great, some are completely mind-numbing, some are completely self-indulgent. Of course, mine will be probably also be self-indulgent but more likely just silly and immature (sorry guys, that is me. Still laugh at poo jokes. A university education does not make you immune to that).
I love love love newborns and infants, however, I will not be posting photos and details as some of my colleagues do. Frankly, I have a bit of an issue with the exposure of a child and family’s privacy. Publishing the date of birth, gender, parents names etc is not wise in my opinion. Certainly not for a doctor. What parents choose to do is their business. I will not, however, expose a patient’s or baby’s details for the purpose of self-promotion. It is not difficult for someone with evil intentions to obtain a lot of personal information with a view to identity theft or some other nefarious purpose. I know that my colleagues certainly mean no harm and they are celebrating with the family. However, I also do not want my patients to feel pressured to have a photo taken with me for my benefit. So I will not be doing that. If you want to have a photo with me I will be delighted but I will not publish it myself (you can). That is your business. I may ask to have a photo of your baby with me. I am happy to publish that on FB or Intragram, but ONLY if you request it or freely agree. I figure that babies change so rapidly that an unidentified photo of them cannot be used for evil purposes. Hence, my many silly obstetrician-baby selfies. I may put them on Instagram. If you have the slightest issue I will not post it. No questions asked. If you WANT me to post a super-cute photo of your baby (ideally with me in it for the purposes of my account but not necessarily with me. It might be with someone else). I have an enormous library of cute babies and quirky work photos from over the years. Send me one if you want to see in on Instagram!
A big thank-you to my patient’s partner (you know who you are..), who recently told me a story (after the birth of the baby) about one of his own medical experiences. I have been chuckling to myself all day and couldn’t stop laughing when I was trying to tell my husband. I will never hear the word ‘uvula’ without thinking of you and laughing. (it is a pretty silly word anyway).
Re volde-virus (AKA C19):
I attach a photo of the face mask my husband had delivered the other day. He opened one of the several packages that had been delivered. He put it on. I looked on curiously. “Did you buy that for me to use at work to protect me from volde-virus?” I was both impressed at his forward planning and endeared by his concern to protect me and our family. “No”, he said matter-of-factly, “it is a snorkel mask with an inbuilt mouth piece. I have been trying to clean the pool filter and need to be underwater to do it properly. This means I can see and breathe easily while I am doing it. Cool huh!?!”***
***apparently since then there are surgeons who are looking at adapting these kinds of masks against C19. Maybe hubby is ahead of his time.