Why You Should Keep Your Medical Records

If this is the first post of mine you are reading then, welcome, I have numerous medical issues including Multiple Sclerosis and Meniere’s Disease (neither currently have a cure).

This is my first post in a series for medical documentation, tracking and organizing.

I started having MRIs, EEGs, and other tests done in 1994; when I was diagnosed with MS in 2014 I had wished that my mom (or I) had thought to getting copies of the reports from then, it would have been an excellent baseline.

Why should you have copies of your medical information? If you have to move, or get a second opinion or even for insurance claims having copies of your labs, reports, tests are a whole lot faster than working with a doctor’s office trying to get the needed information to another person.

Thankfully, it is much easier now to get copies of everything than it was 5 years ago. Medical facilities and doctors are only required to keep records for 7 years once you no longer see them, so the sooner you get on it, the better.

Locally, prior to getting my MRIs at the university hospital I now see my doctors at, I got most of my scans at Health Images and Sally Jobe Invision. It may see intimidating at first to go through this process but once you get everything requested, staying on top of it is very easy. You fill out a form allowing release of information to yourself, make sure you get CD copies of your imaging too. They typically don’t charge you if it’s for your own personal use.

This is where the spreadsheet template on my MS Resources page will come in handy as well. I found that if I have more than one doctor in a certain specialty it’s best to sub-group them. At the bottom there is a space for doctors you haven’t seen in more than a year, which is good for people you don’t see regularly but may need to see in the future (for example, a speech pathologist or gastroenterology).

My next post will discuss organizing the medical records. Do you have any questions or concerns you’d like me to address during this series?

So many specialists…

When you have a chronic illness it usually means you have more doctors than your typical patient. I have more than one illness so I have more than 20 doctors and physical therapists in my Rolodex.

Tomorrow I see a spine specialist for the first time. I have had spine pain since I was 16, it has gotten progressively worse over time and as such I just got use to the slow increase of pain.

The reason I’m just now seeing a specialist after more than 20 years is because the pain was completely gone for 15 months after I had stem cell treatment. Once that 25 months was over the pain came back full force, no gradual increase just BAM!

That was the first time in my life I understood the need for heavy pain medication and how someone could come to depend on them.

I had assumed the pain was related to my MS and a lesion near that location on my spinal cord but my neurologist informed me that was not the case. On his referral I get to add yet another doctor to my file.

The takeaway from this that NOT everything is related to the major health issue and if you discuss it you may never know. Also, spreadsheets, because I can tell you for sure one small spreadsheet with doctor’s info is a lot lighter than 25+ business cards.