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Safety First

Thursday, March 21, 2013

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?

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Disclaimer

The opinions expressed by ACHA bloggers and those providing comments on the ACHA Blog are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of the Adult Congenital Heart Association or any employee thereof. ACHA is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the ACHA bloggers.

The contents of this blog are presented for informational purposes only, and should not be substituted for professional advice. Always consult your physicians with your questions and concerns.

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