Some days, you think you have it all together...and you don't. It's more important to be prepared in certain places, like when you are going to get a license in a new state, it's important to bring the correct documentation. But, if you forget, you can always go home and get it. Probably one of the worst places NOT to be prepared is the doctor's office. Ultimately, the information you give your doctor could...maybe...save your life one day-or, at the very least, aid the doctor in making a correct diagnosis or decision.
For someone with dementia-for anyone, in fact-it is important to know your family history. The normally functioning patient shouldn't have any problem with this-if they know their family history at all, that is. For me, though, someone with dementia, I have large holes in my memory. At a recent first doctor appointment, I was blindsided by the question. I had prepared for the visit in every way I could think, writing down my medications and taking my list of blood sugars. And then he asked me the questions about my mother and father... My mother died fourteen years ago; I could remember her illnesses like they happened yesterday. My dad? He died less than three years ago, and I couldn't remember why. I felt really bad about not knowing for he was very important to me...
I really don't like this thing called DEMENTIA. It robs me of precious moments and memories. It steals of me precious times.
As a result of this doctor's appointment, I have devised a list of information I will keep in a folder-and on my computer-to be taken to my future appointments, especially FIRST-TIME appointments:
• A list of prescribed medications I am taking, including dosage information and number of times it is taken each day (and WHEN because some medication needs to be taken in the morning or evening-and the doctor can check on whether I am taking it at the correct time.)
• A list of my doctors, their specialty, and phone numbers (including FAX)
• A list of my diagnosed health problems and WHEN they were diagnosed
• A family history, especially my mother's, father's, and siblings'. Also to be included any health diagnoses of other members which could be important, to include grandparents, aunts, and uncles.
• Information about any current concerns; keeping dates/times of incidents or problems will be helpful. Also, listing symptoms will be useful.
I may have forgotten something. If so, just comment and tell me so others can see what else should be included. The list I made is good for anyone, but especially for those of us who are highly functioning people with dementia: those of us who do not always have a caregiver with us, who may be able to supply information when we draw a blank.
Published On: August 10, 2011