Talking about medical issues is rarely a fun conversation. People tend to downplay the bad stuff in fear they’ll make others worry. Since we’re here to help you get your life organized, forget about everyone else for a moment and only focus on yourself by creating a Personal Medical Journal, which is a way to keep track of any pressing or persistent medical issues.
Unlike medical records, which are cold, clinical, and filled with lots of difficult to understand jargon, this is a more casual and realistic way to keep others in your life apprised to your current state of health. Get out a pen and paper, or open up a digital document, and let’s get started.
How To Visualize
Think of each condition as an item you’re writing on an index card and then pinning to a 3D rendering of your body.
List out existing or current conditions. Anything you manage on a regular basis, or involves treatments, should rise to the top.
If it’s a chronic condition that flares up from time to time, that sinks to the bottom.
Here’s the template to keep it simple:
Condition: Name of the illness or injury
Appointments & Treatment: Do you have regularly scheduled appointments with a specialist? Do you receive regular treatment in or outside of the house? Are you sharing the name of the doctor or treatment center in your contacts so they can be easily located?
Medication: Are you taking anything for it? If so: What is it, how much, how frequently, and how do you get it?
How I Manage It: This should focus on how it affects your life, if you have any tips or tricks to minimize the pain or discomfort, and other things a person who may need to care for you should know.
Even if you don’t adhere to our exact format, try to include as much as possible and don’t forget about any related medical documents or records (if they can be accessed via online portal, that should be with your passwords) and equipment that would need to be returned to avoid a huge bill from the insurance company (type of device, make/model, and equipment provider).
Voila! You just helped someone easily understand one of your conditions. You can do this for everything like kidney issues (dialysis), high cholesterol (medication/diet), heart conditions (pacemaker and stents), autoimmune diseases (arthritis, multiple sclerosis, lupus), hearing loss (hearing aids), or anything else that comes to mind.
Next up are chronic issues that aren’t life threatening, but something you have to manage. This might include:
- Allergies (unless these are life threatening, in which case they should go among conditions), Migraines
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Past injuries that affect your walking or range of motion
- Eyesight (glasses prescription, cataracts)
- Anything else that would be helpful for your family or doctors to know
This might seem like a lot of work, but the majority of your conditions and the details to help someone understand them are something you can probably recall from memory. Simply start from your head and work your way to your toes. Any details you don’t know offhand you can research later.
This is also a good activity to do for any dependents who rely on you -- children, special needs adults, spouse, etc. -- and your parents, especially if you’re providing care or simply want to help out if they need it.