“Things don’t have to change the world to be important.”
Five things that have changed my life as a patient:
1. Finding out that there was in fact something definably wrong with me. I had headaches/nausea/light sensitivities for years before I found out I had migraines. It was a big relief to find out that there were things I could do to make them better. Then with my anxiety attacks, I kept feeling like I was going crazy all the time and like I was dying. It was awesome to find out it was just my brain doing the wacky. The RA diagnosis was a real eye opener, though. It was a relief to know what was wrong had a name, but it was also devastating to find out there wasn’t a whole lot I could do to get all fixed up.
2. Finding an attentive, but not overprotective doctor. I didn’t realize how important that was until I started having to see other doctors in my doctors practice while my doctor was out of town or working in the urgent care clinic. The other doctors ranged from uninterested in my plight to overagressive about my RA treatment plan (which really was funny because I wasn’t even in there for anything RA related). I love my doctor because while he’ll take note that I seem more anxious than usual, he won’t bring it up unless I do first. He was really looking for ways that I wouldn’t have to go under the knife for my sinus infections. He’s just lovely.
3. Keeping a health binder. I kept seeing online that people were making binders for information they used a lot, like take-out menus or instruction manuals and I thought ” I go to the doctor A LOT. why not a health binder?” So I made myself one…and then another…and finally just a huge one. I have the first half chronological, then later years separated out by illness instead.
4. Taking in an “appointment sheet” to each appointment that I go to. I got the idea from WarmSocks and use her template as the basis for my own. My doctors love that I keep track of things because that way they know that I’m more likely to be following their instructions.
5. Finding a large community of fellow …hmm… I don’t know what to call them. Sufferers is too negative, Patients is too clinical sounding. Anyway, finding a community of people in a similar boat to mine, that was a wonderful thing. When I first found out I had RA there was not a single blog about it. Nothing but WebMD and a few rheumatology journals. I blogged about my experiences, of course, but not in a dedicated health blog like I have here. Just notes as I went along my not-quite-so-merry way down the road. I’m glad that there’s more people out there talking about their health and what helps them. Makes me feel not so alone.
This post was written as part of NHBPM – 30 health posts in 30 days: http://bit.ly/vU0g9J