Finally it came my turn to participate in the patient support group discussion. My topic was to facilitate the discussion in a small group in Malay medium. Yes, finding the right terms and pitching your message at the right level can be tricky at times. You don’t want to appear too overbearing, but at the same time you want to move the audience forward in terms of their understanding of their disease. The fact that some of the participants were newly diagnosed, compared to some who had been coming to these events for the past few years, finding the happy medium was a challenge. But there was where the fun lies.
The session started very early for a Sunday morning. So kudos to all the participants. We kicked off with an overview of how best to take their medications - we were talking about Glivec here. It was ably delivered by our own UMMC’s Clinical Pharmacist, Ms Tan Pei Lin. She has only been dealing Glivec for me in the last couple of months, but has been with us for a lot longer. The talk was very easy to follow, and judging from the response from the crowd, it was very well received. My only comment to the organiser was we should have had the Q&A session straight after the talk rather than pushing on with the next talk. By allowing some questions, things would have been still fresh and discussion could’ve been more focus. If we wait until later, the momentum may have been lost.
The next talk was by Dr Xavier Sim from Ampang Hospital. His talk was more clinical-based, mainly about the molecular side of the disease and the importance of compliance to Glivec. Some of the points were quite technical for the audience but he took them to task to explain those points in details and in laymen’s term. Yes, it was way above the head of some audience, while for others it may have been merely a revision, stressing the point of the difficulty in finding the right pitch. I was pretty sure however that there were many messages for the audience to take home. It will at least stimulate some curiosity in them for the next session, when the group were broken into smaller ones, mainly into Malay, English and Mandarin medium.
It took a while for the discussion to get going but when it did, oh boy! Pei Lin, the Pharmacist had to move between the three group to take on some more direct question concerning drug interaction and similar issues. Before we knew it, it was already mid day. We then had the customary photo session and the obligatory handing over of souvenir. I had to start my journey back home after lunch, and it was already raining heavily then. The rest of participants from KL wold be taking a bus at 2pm. I made it to KL by 5pm, stuck in the jam after Seremban. I wonder how the rest of the group got on.