Actually, no don’t.
In a weird, weird situation a couple of weeks ago, I found myself at the end of the phone – my phone – and on the other end was someone who had called to make an appointment with me. They had diabetes. And apparently, I was going to help them ‘fix’ their diabetes and be their new doctor.
Now, there were a few flaws in this premise. Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, I am not a doctor. I am not a health professional of any kind. I do not feel this to be a deficiency in any way, because I am not employed as such. Secondly, I cannot help anyone fix their diabetes because, well, a) diabetes can’t be ‘fixed’ and b) if it could, I’d be starting with my own.
It took me five minutes to convince the person on the other end of the line that I was not who or what they were looking for (seriously, the ‘Huh? You want me to do what?’ which was pretty much the first sentence I uttered should have given away that I was not the sharpest tool in the shed and definitely not the person to be looking towards for diabetes expertise).
When the person didn’t believe that I couldn’t help them ‘fix’ their diabetes, I took a different tact and offered my services in things I could help them with. I offered cupcake recipes, book recommendations, ways to get out of exercising (expert level here!), my opinion on the best film of all time, dinner suggestions.
Once I had convinced the person that I really was not a doctor (but may be able to help them connect with one) I asked why they thought I was.
‘I see you on Twitter. You seem to know what you are talking about.’
I was reminded again of just how easy it is for people to take on the moniker of ‘expert’ or ‘guru’.
My Twitter feed is, admittedly, predominantly diabetes-related. I link to my blog or live tweet conferences. There are links to journal articles and diabetes events. But none of these suggest that I have anything offer other than the ability to include a link and a brief description of what is at the other end if you click.
But there are also photos of food and recipes and Harry Potter references and links to gigs and movies and other random things. Things that under no circumstances do not give the illusion of me being a diabetes expert.
My new friend and I chatted for a while longer and I mentioned a few things they might want to look into – support groups in the area, online groups and some upcoming events. I let them know they could call me again (for a chat, cupcake recipes, book recommendations etc…anything as long as not medical advice).
I finished the call and opened Twitter, skimming through things I had posted recently. Diabetes expert? Nope. Not at all.