Monday, May 6, 2013

Medical Records

Husband was recently cleaning out some old paperwork.  He came across my childhood Navy medical records.  My father was a navigator for airplanes in the Navy, and we spent my early childhood moving around.  He later transferred to the Reserves and we settled in Iowa for good.  Anyway, I have often asserted that I did have the small pox vaccine.  People kept telling me that it was impossible, because they had phased them out by 1974.  I kept insisting they were wrong.  Well, it appears we are both right.  I DID have the vaccine, but we were living on a Naval base in Spain when I got it.  I am guessing that while they were phased out in the US, military personnel and families (especially overseas) were still being vaccinated. 

The second discovery was the proof that I am, indeed, allergic to tincture of benzoin.  I can not tell you how many times that I have written this down on medical forms to have doctors look at my like I am crazy.  It is only used in very specific circumstance.  For instance, if you have had an epidural, they sprayed your back with it to help the adhesive work better.  It is interesting to note, in the records, those doctors also thought it was something else until they realized it was an actual allergy.  I was around five and remember this very vividly.  I had had surgery on my neck and it completely swelled up. It was awful and not something I ever want to happen again.

Recently, I had to have a mammogram and ultrasound for a suspicious mass.  Everything is fine.  The technician, though, asked me a bunch of questions regarding any previous issues.  In fact, I have had earlier issues including ultrasounds.  She asked me when.  I completely blanked out.  This is something I should know.  She told me that she advises patients to keep a running journal of all their procedures and major medical issues.  It is amazing what you think will remember, but how much you actually forget. So true.  Moral of the story?  Write it down. You are your best advocate and historian.

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