Making the most of visits with your healthcare team

Read my personal tips and tricks to help stay on track with MS
Using a phone calendar

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I have lots of questions running through my head every day. Did I turn off my curling iron? Did I take all my vitamins and supplements? It can be hard to remember everything if fatigue kicks in, or when I am inevitably pulled in a million different directions. It’s especially important for me to remember things that may help maximize my time with my healthcare provider. But with limited time, and more often than not limited memory, I often ask myself, “How are people living with MS supposed to keep track of everything?”

Over the 7 years since my diagnosis, I have learned some ways to help me keep track of my medication, diet and nutrition, fatigue, new symptoms, side effects, and anything else I am afraid I may forget.

Here are some of my helpful tips and tricks:

Man making an ms checklist

Checklists help

I use a checklist app to make a list of all the topics I’d like to address with my neurologist. At the beginning of my appointment, I explain that I’ll be looking at my phone for notes, so she doesn’t feel like I’m not paying attention.

My notes help make sure I don’t forget to talk about issues such as medication reactions, increased fatigue, new symptoms, or anything I feel is working well. Thankfully, my neurologist is very understanding. She takes her time during our visits, and because I have my checklist, I am able to remember to talk with her about everything I feel I need to. 

Woman sending a text

Don’t underestimate texts

My husband and I rely on text messages to communicate about all sorts of things throughout the day, so I often text him to remind me to address issues. It might seem silly, but it really does help me. Sometimes it is funny because I will text him and say, “Can you please remind me to ask my doctor about my medicine?” As a joke, he will immediately text me back and “remind” me, knowing full well that I meant for him to text me later in the day! We often end up trading emojis that are lighthearted and funny, and it takes some of the stress of the upcoming appointment off.

Daily planner with a pen

Well-kept calendars add peace of mind

I actually enter ALL appointments into the calendar on my phone before I even leave the appointment. It helps me maximize time with my healthcare team because it means I will remember to show up. When I was first diagnosed, and until I began using the calendar, I accidentally missed some appointments. It was simply because I didn’t have a system of tracking them. By entering them into my phone and setting up multiple alerts—for the day before, several hours before, and an hour before —I rarely, if ever, miss an appointment.

These are the most important tips and tricks I’ve learned through the years, and I hope they can help you too!

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