A to Z Challenge: Letter K for Keeping Records

Do you trust your memory for a lot of things? Do you ever forget if something happened a week ago or two weeks ago? Do you ever complete a routine task without concentrating on it and later wonder if you did it? I have been in all these places at one time or another. Sometimes the person I’m caring for can help me out. Other times my person has been too young, too sick, struggling with dementia, or maybe just as distracted as I am. Learning to keep records would save me in these situations, and I admit I haven’t got this down perfectly. But, there are a few things I’ve found helpful.

I have started the habit of writing things down, and keep paper and pencil in multiple places. Even the things I think I’m going to remember may get clouded with other facts and happenings. My aunt and uncle keep a calendar close to their phone and write down their appointments when they get a reminder call. I use a datebook for appointments but also to record significant events, like a fall, the start of a new symptom or a medication side effect. Doctors often ask about these things so the datebook always goes along to appointments.

Another good use for your notebook is to record blood pressure readings if your “person” has hypertension and is on medication for that. Ideally, the doctor will want to have BP taken each day, at the same time of day and with the same monitor, until he knows the medication is working well. If you are buying a blood pressure monitor, get one that records date, time and pressure and stores the information for later reference.

See the little button bottom left? It keeps record of past readings.

Monitoring medications is one of the more serious tasks of caregiving, and it does require keeping records. A helpful website for this is Drugs.com. It keeps track of all the medications and their possible interactions for anyone who cares to make a free account and input their information. It’s almost like having your own personal pharmacist.

I love to make use of online apps that help me connect with doctors and clinics. Our rural clinic gives access to primary care and specialty docs through a health app that keeps track of all appointments, visit summaries, and medication lists. As a caretaker I had to set up my family members’ accounts and sign the necessary legal papers (proxies) to have access to their records. All four of the people I help through the app are linked to my own account and I only need one password. I can ask questions and get answers for them, change appointments when necessary, and see test results. This has been especially helpful during this pandemic time.

Portraits of our vitamin friends.

Don’t forget that if you have a smart phone, you have a valuable helper. I took pictures of all my husband’s supplements and medications, which can be referenced any time someone asks me about dosages. I also put my family members birth dates, addresses, and doctor’s names in the notes section of their contact record on my phone. It really helps to have that information handy when filling out forms at doctor’s offices.

And do you have a file cabinet? I do. I have folders for our medical, dental and vision visits and bills. I also have files for those papers from insurance companies that tell you what they’ve been billed. I’ve heard so much about insurance fraud and if I see procedures that I don’t recognize, I ask questions. I don’t always understand what I’m seeing, but I’m afraid to throw them away (most of the time.)

Start your stash of records now and keep them up to date.

Oh WordPress…

by going outside, I mean working outside...
by going outside, I mean working outside…

Today, having survived the  A to Z Challenge, I decided to ignore all my tech gadgets and go outside – for the whole day.  There was no checking the email every 10 minutes on the phone, no looking for likes and follows, no reading and commenting. It was a nice break.  Until a few minutes ago at the dinner table when the husband said “what happened to your Z post?” Blank look from me.  “It wasn’t on your site so I went to facebook and saw it, clicked, it came up for a moment and then disappeared, so what happened to it?” More blank look from me.  

I know I published the post yesterday, but sure enough, there it was back in draft form on WordPress. Now how did that happen?  I’m not going to cry much but when I decide I’m going to do something on time, it had better happen on time.  After making myself crazy getting 25 posts done and up on the exact day they are due, the last one comes in a day late? Nooooooo……. 

I’m ok, really. I had a great day. I got to play with fire. In fact I’m still burning brush at 7:30 pm and I started at 3. Living in an oak grove produces LOTS of downed branches which I have to clear off the lawn every week before I mow.  The pile was getting a little out of hand so I’m writing while keeping an eye on the blaze (we don’t want to burn down the neighborhood tonight…).

I am really good at starting fires, probably a little prideful about it even.  If I were on the reality show “Naked and Afraid” I would be the one to start the fire and keep it burning. Of course I would never be on the show because it’s a bit freaky and a really bad idea to be naked in places like the Amazon jungle.  What people will do to be on TV… 

I started this fire with papers that I got tired of trying to put through the shredder yesterday. I was cleaning old files and it was taking forever to shred things that I randomly decided should be shredded. I knew it would be quicker to burn them and it was.  However it was odd to look at the papers as I lit them up and see “keep for your records” in big type across the top.  My paranoid self said “wait, don’t do it!” and my other real self said “calm down, they’re from 1999, nobody has needed them yet – pretend they’re still back in the file.”  Paranoid self “but it says KEEP, it doesn’t say how long.”  Real self “shut up”. 

I used to be diligent about throwing away old records and keeping only ones 7 years back but lately I’ve just forgotten to do it.  No, actually I avoid doing it because I am paranoid that the husband someone is going to ask for something the day after I throw it away.  And the other reason I keep stuff is for necessary balance in the world. I’m balancing out my friend Karyn who throws it all out. She’s a financial adviser, for pete’s sake, and she says it’s all online when you need it. Well, I know what happens when I try to find something online at the last minute – forget that. Karyn also has a garage with nothing in it except her car and a row of steel shelves with labeled, see-through plastic bins. That’s just not right. My garage also balances out Karyn’s garage.

As I said, with all this great burning going on I’ve had a really good day and the brush pile is nearly gone. Hmmm… I think I need to go turn on the hose, ‘scuse me.    

 

now don't you go getting out of hand...
now don’t you go getting out of hand…