Voice, video chat & enquiries
I am retired, my availability is unpredictable: you cannot rely on me for any kind of urgent advice or response. I do not make ‘appointments’ — it is a case of ‘catch me when you can’. Good times are 7 am-10 am, and 4 pm to 7 pm, including weekends (I am UTC +9, or AEST, Mackay, Tropical N Queensland).
Remember to follow the ‘Pre-call’ checklist below, before you try to ring me.
My difficulty typing makes it easier for me to explain via VoIP apps like Skype (voice calls). There are various other platforms available, Skype works best for me but Zoom, WhatsApp, FaceTime, or Viber, are possible. But if you are working through an institutional network those systems may block VoIP, so you may need to use your personal device, or ring from home.
For those who struggle to understand the rest of the globe (Americans, that’s you, take that on the chin, it is true), here is an example of one of various websites that does the time-zone maths for you (if you try to ring me in the middle of the night you may be blocked!).
If you do not understand how to use these platforms do not write to me about it, get some help somehow. It may be best to do a test call with somebody else first, so you do not waste the time I am able to give you.
Here is one starters guide to skype, there are many others:
and Dr Google will help
The signature on my emails contains my contact details, and Heidi has even inserted a Skype icon that you can just click on to get me, like this.
Make sure you are in a quiet room with minimal background noise and do not talk to me whilst walking around with a mobile device; if you are going to use the camera (you do not have to), place it securely at face height, I do not want to be looking up your nose, or getting sea-sick as you wave it around. Ensure there is not a bright light behind you.
Check if your question is already addressed in material that is on my website, use the search facility to search for particular words, text strings, et cetera.
You can email me here, it is best to send background information via email, properly identified with your name — emails get seen, Skype text messages may be missed (unless they are sent during a call). Make information concise, I have limited time to read through numerous long emails.
Make sure your emails have a name and signature, so I know who’s who, and which Skype name corresponds to which email address, and what time zone. I may decline to respond to messages from individuals who do not adequately identify themselves.
Skype helps me avoid typing, long emails are a problem for me.
If you do not want sound or vision you can use Skype just like texting — those with depression may be disinclined to interact — but it allows me to talk and explain things that are sometimes complex.
I do not charge for information, but most people offer a donation of around $100 dollars to help with Heidi’s wages and the other costs associated with hardware and software that drives the website (more wealthy individuals may consider larger donations).
Note: if I am busy, which I sometimes am, it is only fair that I give preference to people who have donated.
Depending on the level of your background knowledge you may have difficulty understanding or interpreting some of the material, which is sometimes complex, so be careful not to make unjustified assumptions. You can usually ‘right-click’ on something and learn more about it, whether that is the definition of a word or term, or explanation in some source such as Wikipedia. Explanations and elaborations are usually only a click away, so do not complain I use big words you cannot understand.
In many cases the most valuable information I will need is what different drugs have you taken, in what dose and for how long, and which of them did or didn’t do you harm or good.
I do not keep notes and records of conversations, therefore if you contact me subsequently it may be useful for you to keep a record of any previous discussion.
Obviously, I cannot undertake to be available at short notice, you should always have a healthcare provider locally to whom you can refer to for emergencies or urgent advice.
Have you checked with the time zone to make sure you’re ringing at an appropriate time,
Check the Skype availability Icon (available or not).
Available Not Available
If I do not answer quickly it means I am busy, so there is no point in leaving it ringing for a long time — if I do not answer within a few rings, hang up and send a skype text message saying how much longer you will be available for, so that I know whether ring you back once I am free. If I decline the call it means I am on another call.
Make sure you identify yourself in a way which enables me to know which email correspondence matches which Skype call.
Make sure you know how to open the messaging window and that you know how to accept files sent via Skype etc.
Are you clear in your mind as to exactly what you want to ask me? Consider making a list of your questions before you speak with me. Bear in mind I can only answer specific questions about medication, I cannot make a diagnosis over the Internet.
Make sure you know the names and doses of the drugs you are currently taking and for how long you have been taking them, it may be a good idea to have those written down so you can send them as a Skype message quickly and easily to avoid any misunderstandings