Leading Your Team
Now that you've assembled a team, you have to continue serving as its leader. That means staying on top of what's going on. A big part of that job is keeping good medical records. Doctors see hundreds of patients a year, and it can be difficult for them to keep track of which patient takes which medication or when they last saw a certain patient. When it comes time to see you, they'll rely on what you tell them to help them figure out what to do next.
Always keep an updated list of all medications you take, including the dosages and when you take them, along with the names and numbers of your physicians and any drug allergies you have. It's a good idea to keep a copy of this list on your computer so you can update it easily if you need to.
You should also keep a separate list of every medicine you have ever tried for FMS, including the dosage used and why you stopped using it. This can be very helpful to your doctor, since it can guide him away from trying certain families of medications that haven't been helpful or that caused side effects in the past.
Any Doctor Visit
Record all your doctor visits in one place, even dental checkups. Write down the purpose of your visit, any symptoms you were experiencing, and any medications or therapies you were prescribed. Also record your height, weight, and blood pressure.
Consultation Reports from Specialists
Any time you see a specialist, ask for a report of the visit. These typed narrative reports provide comprehensive descriptions of your symptoms, of what happened during the exam, and of any lab findings. The specialist may also offer an analysis of the problem and a plan of action.
Whenever your doctor orders blood work or an X-ray, make sure to ask to get copies, too. Although you can't detect fibromyalgia in these tests, they do give indications about the status of your health. Over time, they can give you clues about how your health is changing. If necessary, give the receptionist a self-addressed stamped envelope to ensure you get the information.
When you have a chronic condition, it's important to keep track of all medical information, even preventive screenings that show you are healthy. Down the road, that information can establish a pattern. For instance, even if your bone density tests are still in the normal range, they can, over time, reveal a decrease in density that may show you to be at risk for osteoporosis. So get in the habit of tracking the results of your preventive screenings — such as mammograms, Pap smears, and bone density tests — by asking the receptionist to send you a copy of the results.
Discharge Summaries for Hospitalizations
If you're hospitalized, the attending physician will write up a summary of your visit, the procedures you underwent, the diagnosis, and your health status. If you have an outpatient procedure, ask for an operative report, which details your visit.