3/21/2013 2:19 PM
By Jennifer Gooden
Many people at some point in their life forget something. It might be something as simple as lunch at home, a deadline for a project, or an item at the grocery store. But as an adult congenital heart patient, forgetting to take medication can have pretty serious consequences.
I have been working the day shift (7 a.m. – 7 p.m.) at work for the last six weeks, which is the longest I have worked days in years. It really threw my body, memory and schedule for a loop! I think that there was about a week where I just forgot to take my meds. Oops!
Not only did my body feel like crap because of the schedule switch, but also I felt like crap because I didn’t take my meds. I had swollen legs and “thick” blood because I had not taken my Coumadin—overall a terrible, and for me, a dangerous situation. So to help me remember for the rest of my day shift time, I started putting my pillbox out on my bathroom counter, and even put a Post-it note on my mirror saying “MEDS!”
Since I was an ER nurse for two years I would often get patients who were unconscious and unable to give us their medical history. Medical alert bracelets or cards in wallets with medical information often saved people’s lives. In my purse I always have my ACHA Personal Health Passport. I also have a Follow My Heart card and CD in my purse. My CD is very similar to the Passport, which has my congenital heart diagnosis, my allergies and the number to my cardiologist, but it also has a 12-lead EKG saved on it, detailed medical records from each one of my surgeries, and my cardiac catheterization diagram so that people can get a real picture of what my heart looks like.
These are small safety nets that I have put in place in my life so that I will feel better, have to think a little less, and will always have my medical information close by. What safety nets have you put in place to make yourself a little safer?
Jennifer Gooden is an emergency department nurse who was born with transposition of the great arteries, as well as other congenital heart defects. She and her husband Ziggy are working on transitioning to a more healthy lifestyle. Read more about their adventures in and out of the kitchen at their blog.
Copyright ©2013 ACHA
3 comment(s) so far...
By Lauren Smith on
3/22/2013 9:42 AM
Re: Safety First
Everyone who is near and dear to my heart (pun intended) has all of my meds, dosages and doctor's phone numbers programmed in their phones under my contact info. So if you have my number and know my story, you have the health "index" too!
I will sheepishly admit to not constantly wearing my medic-alert device, be it a necklace or a bracelet.
Thanks for your blog post, Jennifer, and for reminding us to remind ourselves. Now, go take your coumadin, missy....a week without is BAD news!!!!
By Christy on
3/29/2013 8:01 AM
Re: Safety First
Oh I did this one day at work. It was also the first day with the student I precepted for a semester. Hahaha, she must have thought I was crazy! I have a weekly/daily organizer and its been SO helpful in taking my meds. Unfortunately I've taken the pm pills in the am on accident a few times - the lesson there is don't Facebook while taking your pills. Lol.
It's so hard for us nurses to remember to take care our ourselves, but we do our patients no good if we suddenly have to become a patient. Hope you find a good balance, it took me quite some time find it but I'm glad I did. (8hr day shifts helped a lot too!!!)
By Teresa on
4/15/2013 7:56 AM
Re: Safety First
We cannot avoid that there are some cases we commit mistakes, though we might say is it natural and okay to commit mistakes as we can learn form it but we must do out best not to do it again and will not commit the same mistake. We can say our safety is in our hands, quite true but sometimes we forgot what are the basic things to do to have a safety not only to our selves but to other people, but we can eventually cope up with it.