Lessons from Cecil

Personal Medical Records
This segment is to give an example, as well as explain the benefits, of keeping personal medical records on a daily or weekly basis as desired or required by your own medical advisor or personal wishes. I maintain one on a daily basis and use it for my medical visits.Doctors may use it as a reference to track a persistent but elusive problem that can't be readily identified. They may also be used to give readily accessible history for emergency room visits or emergency hospitalization.

There are several examples that I can readily reference for organization and/or procedure for organizing such a record. One in particular that I used as a basic example is at
                            COPD Advocate
This is the Bill Horden website maintained by COPD-International.

I initially started with a standard small width notebook, the type designed for student use. I stenciled a "Red Cross" on the front cover and then "Medical Records" in one inch letters. I keep it by my bed side at all times and never leave town or go to medical visits without it.

I also informed my local ambulance service of its existence and where it is located.
I gave specific instructions that if I was alone and unable to tell them they would insure that it accompanied me until my admission into ER or the hospital. I also informed my doctor to insure that when he was notified he would insure that it was accounted for.

It is arranged in the following manner:

1. First Page: Listing of tabs and the title of each 

2. Tab A: POWER OF ATTORNEY: NEXT OF KIN NOTIFICATION:
MEDICALSUPPORT INFO:
This is a copy of my living will/durable power of attorney.
List of persons to notify in case of emergency and phone numbers.
My medical support staff including the pharmacy and pharmacist name.

3. Tab B:  MEDICATION RECORDS:
This is a listing of all my medications with dosing instrutions such as twice daily, times taken, prescription number, doctor's name that prescribed the medication and the prescription number.
Example:
Aspirin 81mg    1Xbedtime   DR Sharp RX#123456       

4. Tab C:  DAILY READINGS:
Daily record of medical situation:
Example:
Each 8"X11" sheet will hold approximately 10 days of entries.
DATE:         
PULSE:
BLOOD PRESSURE:
BLOOD SUGAR: 
PULSOX:       
WGT:    

5. Tab D:  DAILY PEAK FLOW READINGS:
I use a simple sheet of large print graph paper for this. I record the date in the respective squares along the bottom of the sheet. I then use my normal daily peak flow reading as a basic top figure and use a base number of the lowest number of my red zone:

                 Example:       
                                     250
                                      ^
                                      v
                                     130
                                     125
                 25 26 27 28 29 30 31             


6. Tab E: DAILY EXERCISE RECORD
This can be organized however you desire. I use mine to record any thing that I do that reflects toward exercise. Some examples are: 10 min treadmill, mowing the yard, repairing sink drains. If doctors desire they can use this to gauge your level of activity for assessing your physical state.

7. Tab F: FAMILY HISTORY: SMOKING HISTORY:
I record how long I smoked and how many packs per day. I also record a family history of illnesses and causes of death.

8. Tab G: NOTES AND TEST RESULTS:
Each time I go to the doctor I make a list of questions and a list of problems for him to read and then he can ask me questions after he reads the notes. This keeps me from forgetting to mention things and also a reminder to follow up on any tests or procedures he was going to schedule later. I also keep a copy of all my tests and procedure results so that if needed they have the exact dates and results of any tests that were done and at what time.

SUMMARY:
As I stated in the beginning this is a comprehensive record and is good for me personally to maintain my ups and downs. It also is a good indicator that your doctor can use to check progress or digression. It also lets them know that you are keeping your own records and that they are being tracked by yourself to insure that they follow up and answer questions in a timely knowledgable manner.