Feb 24, 2015

The Most Important Notebook You'll Ever Keep

Long ago when my 3 girls were very young, my Mom and I were having a discussion about health related issues.  My mom suggested I start keeping a health notebook. 

Mom shared with me how she wrote down everything about her and my dad regarding symptoms they were having, doctor's appointments, medications and even notes about each day that may be helpful to remember.

Honestly, it sounded a little too time consuming so I began jotting things down on my wall calendar.  Doctor's appointments were already being written there so I began adding when the children would get sick, have a fever or other illnesses.

This worked OK until I needed to find something related to an
illness, an appointment or an injury.  I decided to try out the notebook idea and so I bought a large spiral notebook that had 5 dividers.  Each section was devoted to each person in our home. 

I began our individual sections with writing our name, birth date, and allergies at the top.  For the children I included birth information like the hospital they were born in, their weight and length along with any other pertinent information.  Each section has a pocket which is where I store lab results, the children's vaccination records and reminder notices for upcoming appointments.

I then wrote the year at the top of the page and subsequently added the month and date as needed for each entry.  In this section I began to write down every doctor appointment, every fever, every cold, and even when the kids fell off their bikes or hit their head. 

This proved to be very helpful when my daughter began having knee pain and I was able to look back and see that her pain was not in the knee she fell on.  It was also extremely helpful when we became sick with Lyme.  I took my notebook to our Lyme doctor for her to review. 

Because of my diligence to keep these notes she was able to pinpoint an approximate date of infection based on when the ticks were found (only on two of my children) and when symptoms began to appear for the rest of us.

Once we began seeing a Lyme doctor my spiral notebook didn't work too well.  There were just too many things to keep track of.  While I still keep regular medical information in my spiral I had to move on to 3-ring binders for our Lyme records because of the mass amounts of labs and other medical documentation. 

I then decided to keep our symptoms log in an Excel document with a worksheet for each family member. Here I listed the dates and marked the symptoms and severity for each day along with any helpful notes.  

medication flow sheet, Lyme disease
Medication Flow Sheet

My doctor really liked this log because she could see the big picture of how we were doing.  I also created a medication flow chart and placed that in the front of each of our binders.  This was so helpful for me when my doctor would discuss whether or not one of us should be put on a certain medication.  I could look at my chart quickly and remind her if we had already taken that medication and if there were any adverse reactions.

With the addition of the iPhone to my life, I thought I'd give it a whirl and start adding symptoms to my Gmail Calendar.  I created a separate calendar called Lyme that I could access from anywhere.

This didn't work out so well because it was difficult to get a big picture view, there were limitations on how far back in the calendar I could review and I just felt like it was too much work to try to get it organized enough to print out.

Most recently we've made the transition to homeopathics and I've found it even more necessary to be organized.  I just so happened to find a classification folder for .25 cents at the local thrift store and decided that would be perfect for my needs. 

In the very front I placed a chart of all the homeopathic remedies
homeopathic chart, lyme disease
Homeopathic Chart
we're taking, listing the remedies in the first column and in the columns following I listed each of our names along with a column for the date I purchased the remedy or refilled it.

Right next to this chart I have a yearly calendar so that while I'm checking out at the doctor's office I can write down our next appointments.  (I found that at Donna Young's site.)  I also add those appointments to the calendar on my phone.  I keep a little stick-on pocket folder underneath the calender for receipts.  In the sections following the calendar I designated a panel for each family member.  These sections have our individual diagnostic sheets listing which remedies we need to take and how often.

When organizing medical needs for a family of 6 I have found that I need to be incredibly organized in order to keep from losing my ever lovin' mind (as they say in the south) and wasting a lot of time.

I have to admit that when we began using homeopathics my head was spinning.  It was all so new to me; the names of the remedies, how to take them and who needed what and when.  It just wasn't as simple as filling prescription bottles labeled with everyone's names on them.  Once I organized my flow-sheet and my folder, keeping track of everything has been much easier.

This may sound complicated and while I do have a background in administration, it doesn't have to be hard or time consuming to keep track of your medical history.   Just start with a simple notebook and I can assure you, you will be glad you did.


  1. Great information Tricia. I wish I would have started this with my kids. Too late now.
    But I really wish I would have done this for myself. I have lost track of all the medicines and combos that I have been on and how they worked. (Except the 2 that 'bout killed me). I guess it's not too late, but I'm always sure this is the 'magic' combo and I won't have to change hahaha

    1. I'm glad this was helpful. I don't think it's ever too late to start a medical notebook. In fact, the older we get the more important it probably is. :) As for your kids, if they're adults now or even young adults you might just suggest, like my mom did, that they jot down important information. I bet they could even find an App for that!

  2. I'm in the same "boat" copygirl but I'm going to buy a notebook while at the store today and give it a try. I'm not sure I have Lyme or what but I definitely have chronic issues that aren't being properly taken care of by my doctor. Maybe this will help :)

    1. Great, I'm sure you will find this an invaluable tool for your health care. Who knows, maybe with the notes you keep your doctor can pinpoint something that wasn't thought of before.


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