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Well the past few days have really forced me to get organized when it comes to medical records and things a person needs when going to the ER. For most people with a chronic illness, you have stacks and stacks of records, paperwork, insurance claims, appeals, lists of medication, past allergic reactions, it's pretty much your life typed down. It's hard to keep papers organized when you just throw them in a folder and say "I'll deal with it later." What's even worse is when you pick up the folder the wrong way and all the papers come flying out. As if you aren't feeling exasperated in the first place. Seriously, do you want to be sorting papers while sitting in the ER waiting to be seen? I know I don't!

I'm going to go out and get a three ring binder and dividers. I'm going to put the dates in the divider tabs, so every time I have a day full of appointments, it can be filed under than date. That way, if I needed to know the results of blood work from one year ago, it wouldn't be a big deal to find it. Plus with all of my medical records will be hole punched and secure in the binder. No more accidental paper airplanes! I'll probably decorate the binder with stickers. "Why?" you might ask. Let's say you are in a crowded waiting room and you have to leave your stuff in a chair for a minute while you go get a drink of water. When you come back, your stuff has been moved and it's not in your field of vision. Finding a bright blue binder with penguin stickers all over it is a heck of a lot easier than finding a plain black binder which anyone could have.

I also got to thinking it would be much more convenient to keep a small tote bag by the door. I would keep my binder in there, a bottle of hand sanitizer, a pack of sugarless gum, a book, crossword puzzles, a change of comfy clothes, and a couple of bottles of water even though most waiting rooms won't let you have open containers filled with a beverage. But who says you can't sneak around a corner for a sip, especially the person who is sitting there with you. Always check with the nurse to make sure it is okay if you have a little sip. A lot of medical tests have restrictions!

Always call your doctor or have someone call for you to let them know you are going into the hospital especially if it is one of those late night ER visits. I hate inconveniencing someone as much as the next person does but your doctor needs to know. Try to go to the hospital where your doctor has privileges at, luckily mine works at three different hospitals, two of which I can go to. I also like to choose the hospital with the most ER stations, the more stations there are, the quicker you will be seen (most of the time).

Be nice to the nurses too! It's hard to be nice when you feel like death on toast but the nurses are the guards in my opinion. If you aren't nice, they may not be as willing to get you swift treatment (unless your head is hanging on by an artery). They are just as tired as you are and your life is in their hands. Doctors tend to just come by and diagnose while nurses get stuck with all the hard work. Nurses are not there for the sole purpose of serving you, they are not your butler. They are there to help you feel better and possibly save your life. Treat nurses with dignity and respect! Without them you may not have that lovely IV in your arm; getting re-hydrated while being pumped full of lovely pain medicines.

There is a hospital in my area that I love because it's a smaller hospital but there are private rooms. Unfortunately, my doctor doesn't have privileges there (sad, I know). Ahh, private rooms! Here's why I hate sharing a room, it's not that I hate you or that I'm a mean person. But I don't want your visitors in the room talking up a storm. I prefer to be left alone and that fabric curtain is not a soundproof concrete wall. I don't care that your dog misses you and your boss is having a holy hissy fit because you're missing work. It's great that your kid drew you a picture but I don't want to hear about it for two hours. I'm not going to tell you to be quiet either because I do have class. I'll just lay there and try to ignore the family reunion you are having. Maybe if people who had visitors but also had to share a room could be a tad bit more respectful? Not to mention I don't want to be in the same room as someone who may have something infectious while my immune system is already freaking out. Talk about adding fuel to the fire!

My advice is to keep a bag by the door with all the necessities. You are your own secretary. No matter what, be respectful of nurses. Try to keep your patience even when the wait is long and the room is crowded. And remember that your roommate may not want to be a part of the little party you're throwing.

Loverly Lupie Me