Thursday, February 19, 2015

Organizing to Make Diabetes Easier

We all know that eating in a healthy way and exercising are an important part of diabetes care. But are there other things that can impact our care?

Of course our mental state and thoughts about the disease made a difference. It is felt that one of the things that can help is to have our physical space set up so that we can easily find supplies and remember to use them.

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I probably should not admit that my desk looks this messy

This month in Diabetes Forecast, the magazine of the American Diabetes Association, there is an article on de-cluttering and organizing to make your home a bit more diabetes friendly. It just so happened that I have been thinking about cleaning out and de-cluttering my work space. I am beginning to think that perhaps some of my occasional dread and unproductiveness could be due to the amount of stuff I seem to have collected on my work desk. It all starts innocently enough. I have several piles around the desk. One pile is bills that need to be paid, one pile is either correspondence that I have not responded to yet or articles that I want to read. There is yet another pile that is special offers that have come in the mail. (Hate to miss those specials, right?) Along with the other things that can just accumulate on my desk, it means that I end up working in a smaller and smaller area. This does affect my attitude toward my work. The more that accumulates, the less I want to work and the quicker I am distracted from my work. So, I will have to take time to clean off my desk. And let me add the word “AGAIN”. I seem to be able to conquer the clutter beast only to be faced with it again in a few months. While it is disheartening, it just seems to be the way it goes.

Silent Sam      Medical            Info

But is there a way to de-clutter or organize to make dealing with diabetes easier? Yes, it seem that there are things that you can do to help yourself. One of the first things that the author talks about is having a binder where you keep all your medical/emergency information. I think that having such a binder is a great idea. First of all when you are going to the doctor, you can just grab the binder and take it with you so that you have all the information on hand to give the doctor. Also, if you have to go to the hospital, you have all the current information right at hand.

One section of the binder can be a contact list all your doctors, pharmacy, and any other members of your diabetes team.  You will want the name, specialty, and phone number included.  You might even include a copy of your insurance card. 

Silent Sam

There could also be a section that has a list of all your current medications. Depending upon the type of organizer you are, you might want to keep the receipt from the pharmacy that gives the name of the medication, the prescriber, and the date you had it filled in the binder. If you don’t want to have the receipts there, you could just have a list but you will need to update the list each time you refill or get new medications. (This is a moment where I would suggest to you to use the KISS* method.  Make it as easy as possible to keep up as possible.  If you are thinking of keeping a list, do a bit of soul searching as to whether or not you will really keep the list up.) With the pharmacy that we use, you can go on line and print out a list of your prescription records. You can just print and insert into the binder whenever you get a new or refill prescription. 

Silent Sam List of Medicines

I would also keep a general calendar of when you have doctor’s appointments. By this I mean a page that has all 12 months on it and you note what months you are due to see part of your diabetes team. You could then put actual appointments in the correct month. When you go to the doctor and are asked when you are due to see another one of the team, you can look in your binder and it will be all mapped out.  Also, one look at the first of the month and you can tell if you need to make an appointment to see one of your doctors.

You might want to have a section that indicates where to find your medications in the house.

Also, a section with some general information about how to recognize and treat diabetes related problems like hypoglycemia.

I think that having such a binder is a great idea. How easy to just grab the binder on the way to the doctor's or the hospital. (Think of how impressed they will be with your organizational skills!)

The most important thing is to keep up the information. Part of being able to keep the information current is to have it in a convenient place. You need to think about where to keep the binder. The location would depend upon how you do things in your house. I know that when we pick up a prescription, it ends up on the dining room table and then the medicine is removed from the bag and put in the bathroom or on the dining room table (so we will remember to take the medicine). For us, getting the receipt in the binder would be best if it was in the dining room but we don’t really have a place to put it there. So the next best place is in the kitchen. It could go by the cookbooks. As long as where you keep it makes keeping it up to date as easy as possible for you.

Next week some other organizational ideas!

Thanks for reading!

*KISS method – Keep It Simple Stupid an acronym used by the U. S. Navy.