A couple of weeks ago, I shared this organizing tip and craft over at my friend, Holly’s blog, The Coconut Head’s Cancer Survival Guide. Holly is one of my favorite people and I admire her fortitude and positive energy. Holly has taught me many things on her blog, but one of the unique insights she’s shared with me is information on dealing with cancer and illness and how to support a loved one going through it. I have learned to deal with the uncertainty of military life and military moves by organizing my life (as much as I can). Many of the same principles apply when you’re dealing with an illness. Keeping track of and organizing medical information that you are told during appointments and treatments is critical. Also, keeping track of the questions you want to ask so you don’t forget them as you may be distracted is important.
When you deal with a long-term illness and medical treatment, keeping track of the doctors, information, appointment, and your questions can be daunting. It’s even more difficult to keep track of all this vital information because you’re not at your best physically and are distracted emotionally. One of the best tools to help you keep track of your medical information and questions is to keep a journal for your medical treatment notes. Keeping a journal helps you keep all your information in one easily transportable spot. If you’re in the situation of wanting to help a loved one or friend facing medical treatment, you can make a journal for their medical treatment notes as a thoughtful gift for them.
I started with a composition notebook. I prefer this type of notebook because the hardcover makes it easy to take notes and write down your thoughts wherever you are. It’s also a compact size and holds up well to lots of appointments and travels. I found this pretty pink paper adhesive paper that made covering the notebook a breeze.
Cut the adhesive paper long enough to cover the notebook from the edge of the black binding and wrap to the inside cover of the notebook. Smooth the decorative paper onto the front cover of the notebook.
Cut squares out of the paper at the corners of the cover. This allows the paper to fold in and lay down smoothly. Keep those squares of paper for a later step. Repeat with the back cover. You can cover the inside cover also to give it a finished look.
To make a matching pen holder, trim one of the corner pieces of paper to about half the length of the longer piece. Adhere the shorter piece to the middle of the longer paper, leaving a small strip of adhesive on either side of the shorter piece of paper.
With one of the sticky ends of the paper, stick the paper to itself just shy of the other sticky end of paper. Use this sticky part to adhere the pen holder to the inside cover of the notebook.
Add a coordinating pen in the pen holder. I like to handwrite the name label. Although I’m not thrilled with my handwriting, it gives the journal a special, handmade touch for a friend. And whether the journal is a gift or for my own use, my not professional handwriting reminds that beauty and thoughtfulness can be found in the imperfect. (an important piece of wisdom to hold onto during a difficult time).
I also like to add repositionable tabs to the journal. This allows the recipient to personalize the journal for their own use. Each person will use their journal differently depending on their personality and their medical situation. The repositionable tabs allow the journal to be set up to be flexible to meet individual needs. Some categories to consider for labeling the tabs are:
- One tab for each doctor
- A tab for appointments
- A tab for medicines
- A tab for questions
- A tab for your thoughts
- A tab for what to pack for your treatment or hospital stay
- A tab for To Do
- A tab for To Get
It’s also wise to have a journal for a loved to one to take to the appointments they attend with you. It’s usually recommended that you have someone you can trust and depend on go to appointments with you to help you process all the information and ask questions. Providing a 2nd journal for the patient’s loved one is a big help for both of them.
I hope that you and your loved ones will never have the need for a medical treatment notes journal, but the reality of life is that you may. I hope that you find this diy journal for your medical treatment notes as helpful as I’ve found it in my experience.
Be sure to read the valuable information Holly shared when she guest posted here about how to organize and keep track of your medical paperwork.
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