Leave a comment

Becoming an Empowered Patient: Paperwork

Over the last few years, I have learned a lot about being a good patient. The key to being a good patient is the same as being a good Girl Scout: be prepared. I promise being well-prepared will save you a few headaches and just make life more pleasant. Today we’ll stick to one aspect of being prepared. These tips should be useful for everybody, regardless of your current health situation.

I keep a bright red folder stuffed with all kinds of important papers ready to go at a moment’s notice. Here’s what I have in the folder:

  • list of all medications and supplements, complete with dosage, frequency, and pharmacy information
  • contact information for all my various doctors
  • recent blood and imaging test results
  • brief health history that includes the dates and details of surgeries, procedures, and tests
  • notebook paper, because I doubt you’re going to remember everything the doctors say. I don’t. This is also great for spontaneous bursts of creativity while you wait.

So many nurses and doctors have thanked me for having all that information ready. It makes everything go a lot faster, especially in quirky cases like mine. You probably want to keep the folder somewhere accessible and easy to remember, just in case you have to leave in a hurry, or you have to send friends to get it.

In addition to the red folder, I also have a big binder of reference materials.

  • Prescription information: I can’t keep track of all the side effects and warnings for my medications so I just keep the pamphlets from the pharmacy.
  • Nutrition: articles, recipes, and lists of foods high in various nutrients. This section is handy when I have vitamin deficiencies, so when I’m having trouble eating I can look up foods that will have the most nutritional value.
  • Fitness: magazine and newspaper articles about low impact exercise and stretching
  • Newsletters: publications with articles that you will want to read more than once.

On a personal note, I credit my mother for this bit of organization in my life. She has taught me well. My family is convinced she has everything we could ever possibly need in her purse. Need some Tylenol? She’s always got it. How about a mini pocket knife? She’s got that too. I carry my cute little pocket knife in my ostomy kit. I get the BEST looks from my friends when that comes in handy. I bug every medical professional for hard copies of every test result, including their typed notes. When I see a doctor and have every paper they could possibly need, I get the same looks from them. It never gets old.

Now, off you go! It’s time to prepare for physical malfunctions, which is not so exciting, but at least your next appointment will be slightly less tedious. You’re on your way to becoming a more empowered patient. Hooray!

p.s. If I have any readers who have things to add to this list, please let me know! I am, as always, a work in progress.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

the crohn's diary

A little diary, all about Crohn's and other form of IBD!

The big stoma bucket list

after a life crippled by Crohn's and Colitis my 101 stoma bag lady challenge

Erica's Tummy Blog

A blog of my life colored with the dealings of Crohn's disease and more

Colitis and Crohn's

Sharing and spreading awareness about Colitis and Crohn's disease.


connect ~ inspire ~ support

Crohn's Knows

Taking Time To Talk Crohn's and IBD

Companion Magazine for IBD

Bringing the IBD world together, one story at a time

Tranquil Tummy

Blogging my journey to cure myself of Crohn's Disease

autoimmune barbie

Barbie girl living in an Autoimmune world.

hopefaithcurecd12's Blog

My journey, a way of coping with a chronic illness


4 out of 5 doctors recommend this WordPress.com site


Helping to create happy ostomates.

Crohn's Allogeneic Transplant (Allo HCT)

Allogeneic bone marrow transplant to cure Crohn's disease – also called Allogeneic Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation (Allo HCT)


25 year old Ex- Ostomate, living with Crohn's and writing about it. Advice, Food and IBD Life

The Fight for Health

Journaling my fight with chronic illness through food, fitness, family and a fledgling martial arts journey.

Tree and Leaf: Honesty. Health. Humor.

Let's be real honest about immune/autoimmune diseases for a minute


outrunning Crohn's.. my journey with IBD

My IBD Life

Shit happens, Wipe your ass and get over it


To live is an act of courage.

The Irrefutable Opinion

Assaults on the Casually Mundane by K. Jean King

The Chronic Adventurer

Finding a silver lining from his IBD

shine & Smile

Inspire. Dream. Love. & Keep Smiling Lovlies

Crohnie Man

Everything IBD and Crohn's

Mind Your Body

encouragement and advice for folks with rebellious intestines

spilling my guts

encouragement and advice for folks with rebellious intestines

Whoops! Thaila has moved!

Go to http://thailaskye.me.uk

talkaboutguts.blogspot.com ….

encouragement and advice for folks with rebellious intestines


Living an ostomate's life with humour and inspiration

Living with the Unexpected

There are over 1,000,000 people living with an ostomy in the United States. I am just one.

The FlowryLife

Living mindfully thanks to IBD

Amazing Adventures (ostomy included)

Courage Inspiration Empowerment

The Caged Bird Still Sings

Striving to be content with the life I have been given, instead of the life I had imagined


My disastrous health, weird life and ongoing story of intestinal failure.

Ask Ansley

My Crohn's Story

Tissue Tales

My journey, navigating through life with a Connective Tissue Disorder.

Dr. Abby Caplin's "Permission to Heal"

Practical Loving Ways to Heal through Chronic Illness


Nutrition: a different outlook

Gotta Go: Our IBD Lives

Two Sisters - Two Differnet Lives - One IBD Diagnoses

Hungry Girl Eats

Notes on the care and feeding of body, mind and spirit.

My Cranky Gut

Misadventures with Crohn's Disease and the Specific Carbohydrate Diet

United Ostomy Association of Canada

Live Life to the Fullest!

Evicting My Misbehaving Colon

IBD and J-pouch Adventures


The tales of Ulcerative Colitis, a stoma & J-Pouch

30 Days with Juice

A fine WordPress.com site

Lauryn and Lulu

My journey with Lulu (my stoma) & battling Crohns Colitis


My Journey

%d bloggers like this: