keeping info on you

In Praise of the Diabetes Contact List :: Diabetes Self-Management

keep a list of any possible information I might need—and keep it in an easily accessible place. (I also try to remind myself that the person I’m speaking to on the phone or that the representative I’m e-mailing really has no control over company policy. Therefore, if something seems asinine, it’s not that person’s fault. Being as pleasant as possible, as friendly as possible, gets you a lot farther a lot faster.)

As for what you might want to keep on your list, may I suggest, in no particular order:

* For emergency purposes, obviously you want names and phone numbers (in addition to 911) of who you or those close to you can contact in case something happens. This should of course be in plain sight and easy to find in moments where “calm and collected” do not describe the mood.
* For nonemergency purposes, I keep the names, phone numbers, physical addresses, and (if possible) e-mail addresses of any of the health-care people I work with or related people such as my dietitian. In my e-mail program, I have a “Diabetes” folder with separate subfolders for all of my e-mail correspondence regarding diabetes-related things (and a few other folders, as well). I keep this correspondence as a record of what’s been happening. The folders: (1) certified diabetes educator; (2) endocrinologist; (3) primary care physician; (4) therapist; (5) durable medical equipment supplier; (6) insurance; (7) dentist; (8) ophthalmologist; (9) blog; (10) Family Centered Experience.
* For those of you using an insulin pump, I recommend keeping a sheet, or your most recent invoice, that has the names of every item you need for your pump and, if at all possible, the reference numbers for each item.
* The names of all drugs you’re on and their reference numbers, and who to call to get refills.
* Your health-care card number; your insurance card numbers, group number, and so on…

In short, all of those things that seem easy enough to leave scattered about in various places, but which, with a little forethought, can help prevent serious frustration later on. I’m amazed at how much of a diabetes-related paper trail I’ve amassed in only 10 months.

And know this: How you keep your list doesn’t matter. Do it in whatever way suits you best. Store it on your computer or your PDA. Maybe you use an iPhone or a Blackberry. Or keep a list in your purse or backpack or wallet, or even a manila file folder.

I don’t keep one long list; instead I have a few different files scattered here and there, as well as some sheets with pertinent telephone information tacked up in my office at work. These are where I know I can get to them. I also have a remote file server that I can access from work, home, or wherever, and my wife has a backup of all important numbers on her iPhone.

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