Why You Should Look Through Your Medical Records

There are many good reasons you should have a copy of your records, your child’s records and your spouse’s records. The most basic reason is if you move, you would need to find a new doctor and having complete copies of your medical records make this important. Not only do you not have to wait for doctors to request and receive records but you get to look through them and make sure everything is accurate. Doctors see multiple patients every day and that means they are busy.

When I was younger I had a heart issue that was caused by my brain, they had told me if medication did not work I would need a pace maker. Thankfully no pace maker was required. However, when seeing doctors I disclose the heart condition, a hand specialist I saw in 2011 noted in my records that I have a stent in my heart. Nope, that is 100% incorrect, if I hadn’t looked through my medical records though I would have never know about this error that could be passed on to other doctors.

Keeping your child’s medical records is a great idea because you never know where they may end up as an adult. As a parent you have to keep updated copies of vaccination records for school, but most people stop keeping track after the school no longer requires them. If your child travels abroad they will need copies of all vaccinations, if they end up going to college across the country or moving out and leaving town, they will need to find a doctor and having that information at hand makes everything much easier.

I believe in advocacy for yourself and those you care for so much that each of my children, my husband, myself and my dogs all have folders with their health information. This probably seems weird to most people, once I received a service dog I had a folder with all of his information in it from the tests and shots they had given him so it just seemed natural to continue. Now, we have 3 big dogs and I have all of their information too, including blood tests since these most often show you the first time there’s a problem.

 

Sometimes Being a Mom is Hard.

So during my oldest son’s year in the 7th grade he was bullied several times. This happens apparently when you start your kid in Kindergarten at the age of 5 because he’s bored and other parents sons don’t start until the age of 6. Being a year younger than his peers he had not yet hit his growth spurt (thank goodness that appears to be kicking in now).

Usually I am of the belief that bullies are not getting the attention and or discipline they should be getting from home. When it’s my kid on the receiving end I don’t give a shit why they are doing it I just want them to stop. After an incident where my son was pinned against a wall (thank goodness for security cameras in school I guess) I showed him three ways to defend himself. With this knowledge I also advised him that he should NEVER be the aggressor nor should he defend himself physically if it’s a verbal altercation.

There was one incident that stood out more than others last year though. One that I never thought I would have to deal with, especially with all the violence in schools these days you’d think I would be prepared. I was not. A student my son knew well enough to have conversations with threatened him with a knife. Thankfully threats were as far as it went.

The school took quick action and police were involved but I don’t think any mother can really be prepared for this type of situation. Kids going through puberty are not that smart, they make bad choices because their frontal lobe is still developing and hormones… good grief the hormones. Months later I am getting letters and calls from law enforcement regarding the situation, the charges and the process.

My kids should be enjoying summer, playing in pools, hanging out with friends, goofing off and driving me crazy but not thinking about victim statements and court orders of no contact. So today, after another reminder of this event I find being a mom difficult, but I am sure the mom of the kid who made bad choices is also finding being a mom difficult and that is what I am trying to remember.

Organizing Your Medical Records

Second in being your own advocate series.

So, what do you do now that you have all your medical documentation, reports and CDs? Everyone will have a preference on what works for them and the way their brain works. For me, I found that a binder works best. My binder is set up with dividers and only has the current year and the year previous, all other years are kept in tonged portfolio type folders and separated by year (in some cases one year may take two folders), I find this is easiest because you can keep them in a fire safe, filing cabinet or book case.

Binder Organization:

  • The first thing in my binder is a copy of my insurance card, this is handy if you want to take your binder to an appointment with you.
  • Secondly, I have a printed copy of my spreadsheet with my doctors information first and then all my medications. Keeping a current list of medications is helpful when you see the doctor, if you are on a lot of different ones like me it’s hard to remember the names and dosages of everything.
  • Third, I have a print out of my google calendar that shows my appointments. This is good to have a snapshot of your month but also if you are scheduling appointments you have a copy of your calendar in front of you. Yes, you can use your phone but sometimes it’s nice to have a printed copy, I color coordinate mine so one color is my medical appointments, one color is for my kids and a different color for the family.
  • For me personally number 4 is lab work, I have printed copies of all my blood test results. I do extra on this because I like looking at my blood work and seeing if it’s changing so I have a spreadsheet that has all of my lab results for 10 + years, anything that flags high is red and low is green. This makes doctors appointments faster when they are discussing previous labs. When doctors use their portals they have to pull them up one at a time, this way it’s all right there and we can see a snapshot of what the last few months were.
  • Fifth is blank sheets (or you can probably find forms) to make notes at appointments. On these I write the date, who the appointment is with, questions I want to ask at the appointment and then notes I take away from it.
  • After that I have all my radiology reports and other tests that I have had done (EKG, hearing, eyes). These are separated by binder dividers and then the previous year information in the same order is after that.
  • The last thing in the binder is CD copies of all of my imaging. Not only fun, if you have a computer and want to see your body but helpful when seeing a new doctor or following up with an appointment where the doctor may not have the images yet.

Let me know if you have any questions and I will happily address them if I can.