Organizing Theory & Artistry

Ruly Recap and Reader Feedback: Organizing Your Health

Memorial Day Luminaria at Maryes Heights, Fredericksburg National Military Park

It is the last day of May and time to recap this month’s posts and reader feedback on organizing your health!

We started off the month with two Ruly Challenges. The first challenge was to get up to date on any routine medical appointments for annual physicals, dental visits or eye checkups (if you aren’t already).

Amy commented:

“High blood pressure is a silent condition, one where you don’t hear anything from your body until it’s too late…that must be monitored!  Most cancers show no symptoms until too late…keep the check ups going and don’t dismiss anything…”

A recent story on NPR also encourages young people to keep up with their regular physicals.

The second challenge was to make a goal for some small progress item to improve your health. As you may recall, mine was to exercise just 15 minutes a day. I am sad to report that my goal was largely unsuccessful and I was unable to fit even 15 minutes in most days of May! However, May has been quite busy for us. I am continuing the same goal for June and hope to do better.

I reviewed Nicholas Kardaras’ latest book, How Plato and Pythagoras Can Save Your Life.  Its central message that having a core life philosophy to follow promotes physical and mental well-being is one that has given me a lot to think about.

I offered solutions for two extremely common health concerns: getting over the common cold and preventing mosquito and tick bites.  I posted some extra links in the comments on the bug post highlighting other tips from around the web.  This year our family will also be trying a monthly commercial spraying service for mosquitos and ticks to see if it helps make our backyard more usable.

I shared with you the personal health binder solution that I use to keep track of my family’s health.  I was honored to have this link shared by the blog for the American Health Information Management Association as well as on their Twitter Account @my_PHR, which was then retweeted by @BangorBeacon and others.  I also added to this post an “Extra Credit” emergency preparedness summary page based on a comment Lou made on the caregiving post about how it is helpful to have a quick one-page list of contact information, medications, doctors, etc. I will be drawing up these one-pagers to add to each of our health binders.

We discussed how taking medication/following doctor-prescribed therapies is one of the most challenging organizational problems facing our health care system and offered solutions to help.  CNN recently posted an interesting article about the challenges of communicating honestly with your physician:

Number 10 on the list is “You don’t comply with the treatment plan” which is described as “the granddaddy” mistake and the one physicians face the most often. I also found the comments on this article fascinating. Many people took the opportunity to express how frustrated they feel with the medical system and that respect is a two-way street. Patients wanted doctors to be more on time for appointments and to listen to patient suggestions for medical treatments based on patient research or personal preferences. Clearly there is a lot of work to be done on both ends of the spectrum.

I shared with you tips for creating free medical news alerts to stay up to date on the latest medical research.

Ruth commented:

“Whenever I find relevant info. on articles at random about a condition a friend or family member has, I be sure to email that to them since the information is ubiquitous and often an odd search will yield unexpected info. that may be of extreme help to someone else–so pls. share with others what you find!”

Lou commented:

“I endorse Ruth’s idea to pass along relevant information about conditions to friends and family. Some of my best resources have come about this way. . . . I also get the Weekly Digest Bulletin from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration–esp. helpful for recall items (like the sterile alcohol pads I’d been using).”

In case anyone needs it, the link to sign up for e-mail alerts on drug, food and other recalls from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is here.

Finally, Ruly Ruth shared with us tips for organizing your life when you are the primary caregiver for someone else’s medical care as well as tips for friends and family to support the caregiver.

Lou gave some very helpful comments:

“. . . If you can, take your MEDICAL BINDER with the person’s information with you, especially medications, medical history, that way you don’t have to remember it under stress. (This was helpful to the ER personnel upon our arrival.) . . .

Designate ONE person . . . to communicate with medical personnel and s/he would convey/e-mail the information to the rest of us.

Take SNACKS and WATER with you to the hospital that you can keep handy. Sometimes it’s not that easy to get away.

BRING a MEAL to the hospital for the caregiver! It is so appreciated.”

Ruth received comments on her Facebook page also supporting the idea to bring your own snacks to the hospital in case the cafeteria is closed or you can’t leave. Also, to take a sweater in case the rooms are cold.

Thank you so much for reading and commenting this month! I have learned a lot from your feedback.

Hope all my U.S. readers had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend! We experienced a very moving luminaria event at the Fredericksburg National Battlefield put on by the National Park Service and local Boy Scout troops. Thousands of candles marked the graves of Civil War soldiers. Many of these soldiers are unknown and identified only by a number. Taps sounded every half hour.

We also discovered the PBS series, Carrier: Life Aboard the U.S.S. Nimitz. It apparently first aired in 2008 so we are a bit late in this discovery but all of the episodes are available for watching online for free. If you like reality television, you will like this series. It is a documentary about the lives of various people aboard the U.S.S. Nimitz, including information about their military roles and their personal lives. It provides an interesting peek at modern military life.

Healthwise, now that hot weather is upon us here in Virginia, we have a newfound appreciation for fruits and vegetables. This weekend we ate our weight in watermelon, cantaloupe, sweet corn and other fruits and veggies. With enough cold watermelon on hand, we can get through what promises to be a humid summer.

Please check back on Thursday when we start a new month and a new Ruly theme!