The health scares and events of the past couple of years, COVID, Delta, Omicron, really made me to stop to think about how important it is to advocate for your health and how organizing plays a big role in that. This is especially true now, more than ever, as our loved ones are not allowed to escort us into most medical facilities these days due to Covid.

I don’t like to throw around the “should” word but when your health is involved, you really SHOULD be organized. The following is a list of things you “should” have in place prior to undergoing a medical/surgical procedure. Note*: These are not listed in any particular order.

1.Make sure that you have an up-to-date and legally sound Health Care Directive.
• Give a copy of your Health Care Directive to:
• Your primary care physician
• The physician performing the procedure
• The person who has the authority to make decisions on your behalf if you’re not able to.
• Make sure that the person you designate to make decisions for you in case you are not able, knows and agrees to taking on that responsibility.

2.If you don’t already have a Health Care Directive, you can download one from the internet or ask your attorney for one.

3.Make sure that you bring all necessary paperwork with you on the day of the procedure (ie: insurance card, identification, checkbook and/or credit card).

4.Know your medical history and provide this information to your Primary Care Physician and the physician performing the procedure.

5.Make a plan, in advance, to have someone drive you to the appointment and pick you up.
• Most medical facilities will require that you have someone pick you up if you’re undergoing anesthesia of any kind.

6.Ask your physician’s office, before the procedure, to call in your prescriptions to your pharmacy.
• Pick them up before the procedure. The less you have to do after a procedure, the better.

7.Go to the market before the procedure and get whatever you might need for at least a couple of days.
• Again, the less you have to do after a procedure, the better. You may not be able to drive or do much walking afterward and, even if you can, you may not want to.

8.Ask your doctor before the procedure to give you the After Care Instructions.
• It’s best to review them prior to the procedure when you are more able to comprehend them.

9.Don’t be afraid to ask questions both before and after a medical procedure. It is important to be your own advocate!
• Remember to write down any questions and/or concerns so that you don’t forget them when you’re with the doctor.
• Don’t forget to always ask: “ is there something I haven’t asked about that I should have.”

10.Dress comfortably on the day of the procedure!
• Don’t wear restrictive clothing or shoes that need to be tied.
• Leave your jewelry and other items that you don’t want to lose at home.

11.Check the Medical Board to make sure that the physician you choose is in good standing.
• You might also want to check Yelp to see reviews from other patients.

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