A friend of mine was suddenly taken ill and was on her way to the emergency department of the local hospital, per her doctor’s instructions, after a speedy phone call. She left a note on the kitchen table for her daughter which said – call my doctor’s office and they’ll fill you in.
Which doctor? Well, she didn’t say…
In her haste, she had left her cell phone on the table, too, so the daughter started to browse through all the “D’s” in the phone directory. D for DOCTOR, of course. There was this doctor and that doctor – and lots of phone numbers. She recognized her mother’s dentist and another doctor they both went to, but she had no idea which doctor to call and which doctor did what.
Today, we are in the land of medical specialists. From our big toes to our brains, we have a doctor for everything north to south. So, having doctors names in our phones is a good first step – but nowhere good enough in the case of an emergency.
In Florida, they say the new “bar scene” for seniors is a doctor’s office, and you also know you’re a senior when more people want to see your health insurance cards in a given week than your VISA or American Express. As we age, health becomes more and more of an issue, so it’s important that those around you know all about the people, medications and documents that help maintain your and your loved ones’ good health.
In the case of the woman and her daughter, above? Well, the hospital called the daughter and everything was straightened out. But in the fog of pain pills and panic, not even the mother could remember that gastro doc’s name or which practice group they were under.
So! Plan now – plan today – start to jot down all those names and specialties…Whether a loved one is suddenly taken ill, or you just need that name and number quickly, it’s amazing how many times you just won’t remember off the top of your memory bank.
The list should include the name of the physician or specialist. What group they are with. Where their office is located. Whose doctor is it? What is their contact information?
Then start on that list of medications – especially ones you DON’T take because of allergies or bad reactions. Get down dosages, where the prescriptions are filled, and who prescribed them.
Insurance cards – know where they are – but also have a separate list of cards and numbers. Health – AND – dental. Durable power of attorney & Living will – these go without question. Prescription refill information. And – of course – in our technological times – your own medical records.
This is a lot of information. Granted, that. You don’t need fancy computer programs, just start with a word document. Start filling it out – and print it out, too. Give copies to those appropriate to give it to. Update it frequently.
The key is to start – today. So the next time someone says, call “The Doctor” – you’ll know exactly who that is and how to get through to her or him.