Learning Lessons the Hard Way

Nancy Sanker Health Guide
  • It’s a New Year – Create your Personal Medical Record Now! or…… Learn Lessons the Hard Way

    My husband and I parted ways one November afternoon at the airport in Atlanta. He was going to work with one of his reps and I was looking forward to helping my friends (aka The Buffalo Herd) celebrate the significant birthday of a “Herdette.” We spoke in the evening and all was well. I had arrived in a snowless Denver and my husband was in Louisville, Kentucky, with visions of Skyline Chili in his near future.

    My friend and I plotted a day of shopping to rival our “How many T.J.Maxx’s can we visit in a day?” quest eight years earlier. At breakfast my cell phone rang and my breezy, “Hi there and how in the world are you?” was met by my husband’s declaration that he had been better. He explained that the proverbial elephant sitting on his chest had startled him awake that morning and he had tried to walk it off. Nausea and sweating soon followed so he packed his bags, called his rep and headed off to East Baptist Hospital. He should have called 911. First lesson.
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    To say that the hospital staff responded quickly is an understatement. His EKG was abnormal. He entered into a vortex of questions. And this is where you can learn from him again. In the best of situations it is challenging to recall the name of your physician, his phone number and how many milligrams of each medication you take. When you are thrust into a frightening new environment and not feeling well, it’s almost impossible to recall important, potentially life-saving details. He needed a Personal Medical Record or PMR tucked in his wallet.

    Many hospitals, clinics and physician’s offices have credit-card sized accordion cards you can complete with the valuable information my husband tried to retrieve from his challenged brain. You can also access a variety of Personal Medical Record forms online. Or you can make it really easy and simply jot the crucial information on a 3x5 card, reduce it and pop it in your wallet. The point is…the format is inconsequential – just do it.

    I learned that if you stay calm and explain the situation to your airline, they are compassionate. Delta had me out of Denver on my way to Louisville within three hours. I also learned that it’s better to have a wide array of numbers saved in my cell and that those new emergency power sources for cell phones are safety nets. Oh, and I learned that I have incredibly supportive friends, but then, I guess I always knew that.

    Our story has a happy ending. Thanks to the skilled staff at East Baptist my husband is healthy and eager to start a new year. He has his all-important Personal Medical Record filed in his wallet next to his insurance card. Do you?

    There is one more lesson learned – when you come close to losing the person who has been your anchor for over 35 years, you are insanely thankful for each day with him.









Published On: January 19, 2007