Every DS post-op should have several things on their person – pretty much at all times. They are:
- A drawing of the DS with a basic description of what it is. You can find that here.
- A print out all vitamins, supplements, and RX’s that you take on a regular basis. You could do that in Microsoft Word – here’s a Medication Listing Template you can feel free to borrow. Or you can keep track of those in a really logical place – with your post-op labs in an Excel spreadsheet – email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send you a great template for that, okay?
- A print out of your bariatric surgeon’s name, address, telephone numbers, email address.
- A print out of your post-op labs. Yes, all of them. Yes, I do have 7 years worth on my print out. Yes, I do take it with me everywhere. You get used to it.
- A print out of any/all allergies you have. Be sure to list the item you’re allergic to, the type of reaction you had to the item, and about the time frame it occurred (i.e., June 1987).
- A print-out of a listing of any significant illnesses, hospitalizations, and surgeries on it – citing the date, attending physician, diagnosis, and specifics related to the event.
Now for practical application. How do you carry all of this tuff around with you all the time? Granted, it’s easier if you’re female and you carry a purse. Go to your local office supply and purchase a poly envelope. Tri-fold your documents, slip them into the poly envelope, and then put that in your purse. Voila! Ready to hit the road. If you’re a guy – at least make sure it’s in the glove box of your car. If you carry a briefcase – put it in there. If you’re married, have your wife put it in her purse for you. Maybe buy a flash drive and store it on there and keep it on your key chain. Or if you have a smart phone, convert the documents to PDF and store them there. Whatever the case – MAKE A PLAN AND CARRY THROUGH!
So WHY pray tell, you ask, is it so stinking basic and imperative that you should have all of this stuff with you all the time? Because life happens. People are injured, in car accidents, have unexpected illnesses, allergic reactions – whatever! Just do it, people! PLEASE! Better yet – if your surgeon provides a DVD of your surgery (as mine does), then make sure you have a couple of copies of it – make sure you’ve got it somewhere that a loved one can put hands on it and bring it to a health care provider if you are not in a position to be able to do so yourself. Okay?
One insider tip that I think is kinda cool is to take a picture of the DS drawing on your cell phone and save it to your phone’s hard drive. I have a PDA phone and have copies of all of these documents there, too.
I feel VERY strongly that EVERY SINGLE DS POST-OP ON THE PLANET should be able to do is: simply, concisely, in plain language be able to explain their surgery, know what their surgical specs are (i.e., sleeve capacity, alimentary limb length, common channel length), and be able to converse concerning these things intelligently. Really, I mean it. It’s as simple as this:
“I’ve had a bilio-pancreatic diversion with duodenal switch. That means I’ve had a subtotal sleeve gastrectomy along the greater curvature of the stomach, leaving me with a 50 cc sleeve capacity and fully intact pyloric function. My intestinal configuration includes a 185 cm alimentary limb, and 65 cm common channel.”
That’s not hard. You can do it. I know you can.