A health log saved my dad’s life…well, maybe that is going a bit too far, but the health log or health record that we maintained during my dad’s illness was very critical to his medical plan. If you are a regular reader you know that one of the reasons I started this blog was because my dad had a devastating stroke about 15 months ago. If this is your first time visiting, now you know. There was a lot of stress, time, details, medical notes and family members involved during the whole horrible situation. None of us could keep a clear head all the time. Keeping a health log was one of the best things my family did to record my dad’s daily struggle.
You can call it a health log, it could be called a diary, whatever…but the main thing is, when a family member is sick or even you are sick..keep one of these! We used google sites to keep track of everything, because of the wide geographical locations between all of us. My brother set up close family members with a google sites password. Each day we would log on privately and post daily news. My brothers, who set up the website, also put in contact numbers, scanned copies of my dad’s doctor’s reports, blood work, his health insurance and medicare card. It is easy to set up a google site, but you could also use email, skype or just paper and pencil.
During the 15 months my dad has been sick (and re-hospitalized too many times) our family re-referred to the log over and over again. During one meeting with the administration of the rehabilitation hospital, I used the log to give dates and instances where my dad’s care was inadequate. Without this log, which help me to pull up exact details of problems at this facility, my argument of inappropriate care would have been inadequate. In addition, every time my dad was transferred from the rehabilitation facility to the hospital or vice versa, his medical chart never went with him or took time before it got there. So, we family members were left re-explaining to the medical staff all the issues related to my dad’s care, the medicines, the allergies, the quirks…the log helped again and again to jar our memory. When we had to fight the health insurance company and appeal decisions on their denial of medical coverage, again we used the health log to pull up details. I cannot stress enough the importance of keeping one of these!
The best thing about google sites is that it is interactive…you can leave comments and issues, plus scan in any important documents relevant to the sick person’s care. Those allowed into the website can start discussions. Plus, we started another google site that was open to extended family and friends who could leave well wishes and post inspirational words. We added pictures, updates and news as it arrived. My brother showed my dad the inspirational messages at his bedside using his blackberry!
The importance of a health log, diary, record during illness is very important..and it is also critical during healthy times. Keeping a record of your doctor’s consultations, blood work, scans etc…in a file at home or on your personal computer is useful for allowing a physician to access your general health, especially if illness strikes. I have posted on this before, check it out! If you haven’t started one, begin one today! And…if you have any other ways to keep a log or diary when illness strikes, please leave me a comment!