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Friday, January 31, 2014

Keeping it Together (in a 3-Ring Binder)

We had a medical appointment every week in January. Last week we had Henry's therapy evaluation the same day as his sleep study! This week we had Calvin's cardiology check up. In February and March we have upcoming appointments with: speech & language pathology (Calvin), ENT (Henry), neurology (Henry), and our pediatrician (Henry). I am waiting to hear back to schedule appointments with a feeding specialist (Henry), a physical therapist (Henry), nephrology (Calvin), and endocrinology (Calvin).

I know, right?

Keeping up with the scheduling is crazy. Keeping up with the info from all of our specialists is even more crazy. At every medical appointment, the doctor/nurse/therapist asks questions about the other specialists and past appointments. It's important for me to have information on hand about both boys' medical histories including their (long) list of doctors and scheduled appointments. It's way too much to keep straight in my brain!

To keep all this crap everything organized, I took the advice I read in the Special Needs Parent Handbook and I put together a binder.

I made one binder for both boys and I divided into these 5 sections:
1. Calendar & Contacts
2. Calvin Medical
3. Calvin Services
4. Henry Medical
5. Henry Services

Under Calendar & Contacts, I have:
- Calendar pages for the whole year so that I can easily jot down future appointments. James and I keep shared Google calendars for both boys, but it is nice to have a paper copy to look at and to keep with the rest of our paperwork. So I make sure to keep both the online and paper calendars updated. It's not that big of a deal, and it's handy to have both.
- Two pages of contact information. The first page lists caregivers and social workers: name, relationship or organization, and phone number. Since our boys have sooooo many doctors, the second page has spreadsheets of contact info for all our doctors: one table for Calvin's doctors and a second table for Henry's on the same page. The tables include each doctor's name, specialty, medical center affiliation, as well as the phone and fax numbers for their departments. Here's what a contact info sheet might look like  for a kid with fewer doctors than mine :)

Under the Medical tabs I keep:
- A copy of the test results indicating their diagnoses (22Q Deletion and Dup15q)
- A table listing important events in their medical histories along with date and location. This includes things like their births, procedures, surgery, tests and diagnoses.
- Immunization records
- Growth charts
- Prescription info
- Handouts from the doctors
- Blank paper for taking notes during appointments
- My own notes from past appointments

Under the Services tabs I keep/would keep*:
- Paperwork from/about our regional center
- Paperwork from/about insurance to cover therapy
- Notes from therapy evaluations
- Notes and handouts from therapists*
- Info about classes and groups that might be beneficial

*I say would keep because neither of the boys is currently receiving therapy.

Lastly, I have a pocket in the back that holds the boys' insurance cards and some sticky notes.

In the future, I can transfer papers from the binder into our family filing cabinet as they become outdated. It may eventually become necessary to have a binder for each kid (I hope not!). If I was keeping a binder for each kid, I might make a section for each specialty. Or do something like this:

1. Schedule & Calendar
2. Contacts
3. Medical History
4. Recent Appointments
5. Services (classes/groups/therapy)

The Binder is definitely helping me keep it all together - literally and figuratively :)

It keeps the sheer number of doctors and appointments from overwhelming me. It gives me a place to stick all the paperwork I don't know what to do with, but think I might need again. It has been so helpful at all our appointments since I put it together.

When I brought it to our first appointment with the new pediatrician, her secretary made a photocopy of the page with the spreadsheets of contact info for our doctors. They were impressed. The doctor even literally said that I was very impressive. Not that the binder was very impressive, but that I was. And I thought, thank God I at least look like I've got it together! But I felt really proud of myself. I'm proud of that dang binder! I feel like it is concrete evidence that I've got something together, even if I don't have everything together. And some days, that's a really nice reminder!


  1. Thanks for sharing. I am still trying to find a system that keeps me organized. I am goin to try this type of binder and stay organized.

    1. Hope this was helpful! Good luck :)

  2. this looks like a good system to keep it organized. for my daughters medical info i keep it all in a folder type thing that has like 6 slots to keep it all organized

    1. One of those expandable files? Those are nice since you don't have to hole-punch everything!

  3. Wow! And I thought I was organized! Great ideas here. Thanks for sharing. (Visiting from Love That Max LinkUp...a little delayed.)

    1. Thank you, and thanks for reading! I follow Brielle and Me so reading your comment here makes me feel like a celebrity has read my blog!