Coming to see a Doctor can be difficult. We try our best to make it as straight forward and relaxed as we can, but there can still be an edge of feeling like it’s pressurised in some way. Everyone knows that time is short in these settings and people can feel pressurised. Often patients can come away feeling like they’ve not got their problem across fully or didn’t represent it adequately. It can be very frustrating to feel like you’ve waited weeks to see the specialist and then come away from your appointment feeling like you’ve not stated your case well.
Below I’ve put across some questions to ask yourself before you come for your appointment.
I would suggest writing your answers down – skimming an answer in your head is easy but writing it down means you definitely know what the answer is. It can also act as a crib sheet if you feel you’ve missed something. Personally I like people to come with lists (that we can get through in the time available!) as it sets an agenda for what we need to discuss and also means we cover all the points that are important to you.
- What have you been told it is?
- What are you worried it might be?
- Would you ever consider surgery for your problem if it had the possibility of helping your problem? *Remember just because this may be a no, doesn’t mean we and our team have things to help your problem.
- List your symptoms in order of trouble they give you (eg pain, clicking, clunking, weakness, how it looks, numbness, pins and needles etc.)
- What does it stop you doing?
- What would you still like to be able to do now that you can’t?
- What would you like to happen from this consultation (not this treatment)?
- What thoughts have you had already about what you might want to happen as a result of today?
I often have people that when I ask them what the problem is, recount the multiple consultations that they have had with other doctors, specialists, physios and all the tests and diagnoses that they have had elsewhere. Normally the referring specialist/your GP will have included that with the referral which I’ll have read before you come to see me. The most important thing (and the thing that will give us the diagnosis) is you telling me what has been happening with your hand, the symptoms and problems it’s causing you.
Anaesthetic for Hand and Wrist Surgery
For people that feel they can’t have a general anaesthetic for reasons of medical problems, previous reactions or worry, 97% of our hand surgery is done under something called a regional block. This is generally much kinder to the heart and lungs and means that you are awake throughout the surgery. Sedation may be available if you want to snooze your way through surgery. The other 3% are often in young children or in patients where we need to operate away from the arm (for example bone graft from the hip or borrowing a tendon from the leg).