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A Health Information Management professional, I survived a life-threatening emergency with information that only a person of my professional experience would know. And I’m sharing it!

Friday, October 24, 2014


29/30 Tishrei, 5775

My schedule's been a bit unpredictable this week, and full of interesting happenings. Last night I was part of the security detail at a city-wide event. While patrolling the perimeter, a participant called out to me (in Hebrew) "We need an ambulance!"

Someone in the crowd had passed out while standing up and chatting with her friends. 

The pre-arranged and on-site ambulance crew took care of her, and I'm pleased to have been part of the effort. Part of the patient's problem seems to have been dehydration despite our cool weather. Be sure to sip water throughout your day, no matter the temperature. The human body needs fluids 365 days of the year!

 I'm ending the work-week with the 5th and final part of the "Talk About Your Medicines" month blogpost.

You're invited to comment about any of the blogposts. I tend to respond quickly and I look forward to interacting with you.

Here's an FYI about the sponsor of this week's blogpost series:

The American Recall Center, which promotes the Talk About Your Medicines month blogging effort, is concerned about the drug Xarelto. Click the link to learn about that medication.

OK, here's the wrap-up for this week (the highlighted text focuses on medication specifically), another excerpt from the EMPOWER Yourself to Cope with a Medical Challenge book:


Doctors appointments, insurance papers, calls to make, child care issues, nosy neighbors, relatives who just don’t "Get it," have you seen the baby, meals to prepare, pills and potions to swallow or shots to inject, omigawd we need a really BIG bank account, where are my keys, did anyone see the remote and why is the dog making noise like that?

Ever feel as if your inner PC and its memory banks just went and shut down on you? Read on and find some solutions to the problem.

Many people facing medical crises have so much to remember that their inner filing cabinets overflow. They reach a point where they wonder if they’re losing their minds! Know the feeling? You forget almost everything? Even how old you are?

As you read earlier, I experienced no less than five benign brain tumors and their surgical removal. A human head does not have much space for tolerating all that intrusion and banging around upon soft brains. People who’ve experienced brain injury often suffer memory problems. So can anyone facing any type medical crisis. Stress hurts. And medical intervention messes up the insides of your body even more! I lost some memorization ability after my treatments. I benefited from a rehabilitation program for the brain injured. Students of every age in my program learned many tips for vastly improving our memory power. Here are a few tips I'll share with you:

Keep a reasonably sized notebook or day-planner with you all the time. Record upcoming: appointments, social events, PTA meetings and other important scheduled stuff as soon as you commit to it or even hear of it.

Keep repeating a person's name in the conversation as normally as possible when you first meet.

Collect business cards when offered to you. On the back, make notes of where you met and what they look like, your 1st impressions of the person, anything remarkable they said, e.g., Redhead, skinny, laughs a lot. Met at Joe's celebration dinner

Put your stuff away in the same place all the time. NO LAZY SHORTCUTS! Shoes and clothes go in closets, not in chairs, the wrong room or atop doors.

Kitchenware gets washed, dried and immediately put away. When you're cooking, ALWAYS use a timer to alert you to shut off the heat.

Me, I keep my keys in the front door once I lock it from inside. I wear them on a cloth strap, a key strip around my neck, when I leave home. I never lose keys anymore.

Ever seen the funky new chains for holding your glasses around your neck? Use the one of your affordable choice. No need to feel like a moth-eaten relic. The new styles are super-trendy. And you won't lose your glasses.

Using the above techniques jogs the memory cells. Watch. You'll end up teaching folks who never had tumors, brain injuries or any sort of medical stress how improve THEIR memories!

The human body is full of quirky surprises. Some of them are quite interesting and not life-threatening. Follow the suggestions above and good advice from your therapists and medical team. Not every forgotten thought is a danger sign. Now, on to some techniques for straightening out that mother lode of medical and insurance paperwork…

As you make your way through your medical crisis or that of your loved one, the pile of papers with important phone numbers, addresses and other information will grow. If you fail to organize it, the mess can make a wreck of your get-well efforts.

If you're the sort of person who hasn't yet succeeded at organizing your life, I offer sweet solace with simple advice:

“Habit is habit, and not to be flung out the window but coaxed downstairs one step at a time.” – Mark Twain

Here's my Five-Step Plan to Organization: Some simple suggestions for keeping your papers and yourself organized:

STEP ONE: First: Sort out the papers that you have. Place test results in one pile, with newer results on top and older results at the bottom.

Do this for every health care provider organization and insurance company, prescription, referral, medical payment approval etc. with newer paper work on top and older results at the bottom (I highly recommend photocopying each medical payment, insurance or medical approval and prescription. Do this before a medical or insurance person takes it from you when you receive the relevant medical service or buy your medication).

Second: Separate anything written by your Primary Care Physician from the pile of health care provider organization stuff.

Set aside all papers from the hospital.

Keep all discs of MRIs, CT scans and other tests in a pile of their own.

Third: If you do not own a day-planner, buy one with ample space for recording upcoming appointments, tasks to be accomplished, questions for your doctors, and a contact information area (names, addresses, phone and Fax numbers, E-mail addresses, medical specialty). I recommend filling in each day's updates in pencil rather than in pen. Appointments change and scratch-outs make the pages harder to read. Cleanly erased obsolete notes are a big improvement over jagged lines crossing out stuff you no longer need to remember.

IMPORTANT: Select a blank page in your day planner on which you can record all the medicines you take, how often you take them and WHY. Many people forget (especially when they feel stressed) why they take some pills or potions. De-stress your life with good record keeping. And do take time to list all the questions that you want your doctors to answer. I like to note those questions in the blank space under noted appointments or on a page designated for that purpose.

Decide where it will be smartest for you to record new symptoms that you want to discuss with medical professionals. That way, you won't slap your head and ask out loud to nobody in particular "Oh #@@!, why didn't I bring that up during my appointment with Dr. So and So?"

Your preparations can improve the chances that you will select the right doctor to treat you. You will be prepared to ask relevant questions. Focused discussions will reveal if a particular medical professional A) treats your concerns seriously and 2) has the expertise to deal with your medical situation.

Have you enjoyed this series of informative blogposts?

Imagine what the rest of the book is like, as it addresses moods, self-esteem, packing for hospital stays, how to deal with rude medical professionals, in-laws and outlaws.

Click the title in this sentence, or the book cover above, to buy the E-book or print edition of EMPOWER Yourself to Cope with a Medical Challenge

Face Your Medical Problems with Dignity. Face Your Future with Optimism. 

Feel better again, even if you have an on-going medical or mental health issue.


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