GET THE RIGHT MEDICAL CARE FOR YOUR CONDITION
- Seek out the right doctor for you, preferably someone who is experienced in dealing with your condition.
- Investigate whether you might be best served by a specialist as your primary caregiver, and understand which specialist is best for your you (for example, a neurologist specializing in stroke may be more appropriate for managing stroke than a general neurologist).
- Ask about specialized recovery programs,such as stroke rehabilitation to recover lost function or physical therapy to increase mobility or reduce pain. Remember that some head and neck or brain cancer patients can and many do loose neurological function very similar to stroke patients.
- Be prepared for doctors visits.Write down your questions and keep a health journal (see below) so you can answer the doctor's questions accurately, and make relevant questions specific to you.
- If you are seeing more than one doctor be sure they all know what medications or other therapies the other doctors have prescribed and why. It is useful to keep a copy of the lab results from one doctor to show the next with you during your visit so that you don't undergo repeat tests before time but also for your overall care.
- Finally, follow your doctor's orders carefully, including how and when to take medications and what to do if you miss a dose.
Continuously Monitor Your Health
This is not a useless lethany of "worry-wart" complaints or defeated "pity-party". It is a partnership with your doctor for health care managment that will help you both better communicate and help each other decide what's next. Use a health journal, booklet, calendar or notebook devoted exclusively to medical notes and information to:
- Record symptons: including when they occur, their severity and what activities might be triggering them;
- Keep track of doctors visitsand take notes about impotant comments or suggestions during a visit; and
- List your medications and any other therapies, and make note of any side effects.
- Remember to bring the health journal to your medical appointments, and share any relevant information from your journal with your doctor and/or nurse.