While J was in the hospital, we started a notebook to keep track of all the important information and instructions we were given by each nurse, doctor, care-person and specialist. Not just for his heart condition but also managing his diabetes and health in general. We used his notebook to not only track his blood pressure and his heart rate (for our curiosity) , but also helped us remember the names of the people that came to see him. There were SO MANY different people! Plus medication names and dosages and what the medications did or why he was given a particular medication at a particular time. It was all very overwhelming.
When he was discharged from the hospital he was given handfuls of papers – all sorts of new information, even a DVD. Some of the paperwork explained the steps he needed to take – booklets and programs and some paperwork related to the medications he needed. There was a lot of “stuff” that he now needed to manage and being organized is extremely important – now more than ever in order to successful manage the recovery. When we got home we put everything into a plastic ‘sleeve’, to keep everything together and kept the file on his nightstand for easy access. A year later, we are still going through the file to refer to the information in it.
There are many different styles that you can find in the office supply stores or office supply sections of the major big box stores. Here’s a sample of the folder:
But it is not just paperwork you now have to keep track of so one of the first things I did when he was home was to go to the hardware store and buy him a toolbox. One like this one:
On the top ‘shelf’ he keeps the master list of his medications and dosages because some medications are taken once as day, some twice, some three and some – like nitrogylcerin – are for emergencies. Nothing can be forgotten or missed. Since the toolbox is metal, you can use magnets to secure the list to the lid.
In the bottom section he keeps his blood pressure monitor, cuff and cord all together. For the first six months, he also kept his glucose meter plus all the strips and parts that go with it. Larger containers of medication and emergency glucose tablets (in case he got too low) were also kept here.
Once a week, he sits down with his toolbox and his pill organizer and measures out all his medications. He uses a pill organizer like the one below, because it allows him to fill up the whole week at once and then just take a single day’s medications with him as needed.
Like everything on this whole blog, these are just suggestions of things that worked for us with the hopes of being helpful to you in this time of recovery when so many things are overwhelming.
If you have any suggestions of things you do better, or other comments, please let us know. We’d love to hear your input.