Sunday, May 2, 2010

Making A List, Checking It Twice

My husband always demands that I cut to the chase when telling him something. He wants the endgame, then the story. Here's this post's purpose:

Medical History + Medical Jacket = First Class Health Treatment
Now for the story.

Some things just do not need a time of year to be in season. Still, this 1934 Coots and Gillespie carol, Santa Claus is Coming to Town evokes childhood memories. I once believed that Santa Claus could (and did, but only one year) bring coal to little girls who did not listen to their parents. In that vein of yesteryear, I offer to anyone who is a physician's patient, whether you have cancer or the common cold, to make a list, check it twice (at least), and update it regularly (once every 1-2 months).

The list I recommend creating is a medical resume`, better known as your Medical History. This is the first item that should meet and greet your attending physician, whether your appointment concerns an annual physical, an occasional illness, or a critical care issue. You do not offer this history every time you visit your physician, just the first time you make an appointment with a new doctor or return to a favorite practitioner who never received one. I update my history as needed, but usually not more than once every few years, unless something dramatic occurs.

For me, the drama was my cancer diagnosis, and that prompted me to some serious revision because I added a fleet of physicians and specialists. Since they all collaborate with one another, it makes sense to provide them with your personal medical history (and it saves so much labor intensiveness in form filling for a first visit; just hand them your form instead).

There are many online resources for how to complete a personal medical history form or how to keep a personal medical record file. What I did, however, is pattern mine after the forms I was asked to fill, and by examining how my physicians and surgeons created their own. I knew this formula because I am copied in on all my doctors' individual and collective correspondence, meaning what they create on their small digital recorders for their records, as well as inter-doctor correspondence. I also have a full Medical Jacket, or copies of my scans, x-rays, and medical tests. In a word, everything. I will admit that it took me several days to get to a finished product I liked. Then I checked it, and twice I found errors (typos, omissions that were critical). So I recommend that you finish your history, then step away from it. Proofread it several days later, and then print it. I put the final version on card stock so that my doctors could easily access my information in a thick folder. Here's what I created, and I can tell you that my physicians were really impressed with my thoroughness.

Creating a Medical History: The Data

Creating a Medical History

Creating a Medical History: The Reasons

If and/or when you have your next appointment, especially if you are dealing with cancer or any other pernicious illness that requires constant critical care, arrive with your medical history and your medical jacket. I can guarantee you will have a much better visit and better treatment because you took responsibility for your own health status. And you made it easier for your physicians and surgeons to treat you. All of that equals first class treatment, and that is always my endgame.

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1 comment:

  1. Very interesting, and a lot to digest.

    On your blackboard(actually green,) I believe you meant "you're" instead of "your."

    Also, in one sentence, the period comes after the endquote.

    Minor, but I thought you'd want to know.

    Buddy Gruss