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More Alike Than Different Podcast
9 minutes | Sep 7, 2021
Preparing for a Doctor Visit
How do you prepare for a doctor visit? When I was new to being a special needs mama, I was in what I like to call the “soak it up phase”. I asked so many questions and had so many thoughts it was hard to keep the doctor visits under an hour. Since then, I have become strategic and think of doctor visits in a different way. I like to have a plan. I don’t mind changing the plan. But, plans keep me centered, at peace and give me a sense of control I often don’t really have in the day to day living world. I make a list before I go with questions/ concerns/ areas I would like doctor input. A list helps me reduce my mental stress and overwhelm.What do I pack?- Diaper bag (diapers, wipes, change of clothes x2, my wallet with ID and insurance cards, medical supplies, feminine protection for me, toy or gadget to keep child entertained)- Travel Medical Binder/ Accordion file (pen, small pad of paper, Child Resume, list of current medication, list of previous surgeries, list of current and past diagnosis, previous specialist after visit summaries and protocols for the past year, list of questions for the current doctor visit) If your stroller does not have a carrying basket, I like to bring a bag or small backpack to carry this binder. At the end of your visit, you will undoubtedly have more papers that are important. I throw them into the front of my travel binder.- Food- If your child has feeding difficulties or you have an infant you have to pack more than most. I usually pack a lunch box with feeding tools like a maroon spoon, bottle, cutaway cup, food and drink needed during visit. If your child is on a feeding tube, you will need to be creative. - Stroller/Wheelchair- 2-3 Mommy hooks, bottle carrier attached to diaper bag, cold water for me, snack for me (in case I get cranky)Things I pack and leave in the car- Blanket, soft toy, a different toy for engagement in the car, extra wipes, sometimes a small cooler for food and drinks for me and extra drinks for the kidWhile I do have my visits down to a science now, I had to figure it out along the way. A little preparation and study of previous trips has allowed me to have a much better, lighter, easier experience when visiting doctors. What are some things you do to prepare and reduce your stress for an upcoming doctor visit? I really like to think about how to monopolize on each visit. I think about if I need updated prescriptions, updated protocols, letters of medical necessity, advice on how to care, what to add, what to delete, what I should focus on before next visit. Doctors also like data. What data do I need to bring to update the doctor from the last visit? This may sound overwhelming. Just the thought of all of this preparation and list making. But, it’s actually easier. You get better outcomes from appointments, reduce your stress, and create some peace in your space. Not to mention, you are already doing most of these steps. We are just organizing and creating intention for your actions. I get a feeling of accomplishment when all my questions are answered, the doctor has given me a plan, and we have already done most of the paperwork I will need to complete future action steps like filling prescriptions, updating protocols, or disseminating information to other members of his care team. Start a basic plan today. Decrease your overwhelm and stress. Do some trial and error and feel more productive and less overwhelmed. You can do it. Just start!
9 minutes | Aug 31, 2021
Reduce the Overwhelm by Making Lists
How do you reduce the Overwhelm? -Daily Habits : You could pray, meditate, journal, do yoga, or any other kind of activity the centers and grounds you. To increase calmness, you have to slow down intentionally. Another way to reduce overwhelm is to organize the stressors. We talked about this in episode 5 (Circus of Thoughts episode). You need to classify, organize, and name your priorities. One of the greatest tools for me is making lists! I have lists upon lists for just about everything. I get so much satisfaction striking through a completed task or using a simple check mark. It’s like a dopamine hit to the brain. It gives me momentum and a sense of peace too. Now, I don’t just use lists for tasks or actions I need to complete. I also use lists to categorize and organize specific bits of information. I would like you to think about making a list of your child’s doctors and specialists with contact information. I have a spreadsheet looking list that has all of the contact information for specialists, pediatrician, pharmacy, durable medical providers, nursing agencies, specific hospitals and departments. I’m telling you there is power and a sense of peace when you have this information categorized in a simple document. Having and making these lists is going to help you in the future. Lists are kind of like packing an extra pair of clothes for your potty-trained child. You might not need it, but it gives you some sense of peace and security knowing it is there. I have a traveling medical binder. It’s more like a small accordion file with pockets on the front where I keep pens and post-it notes. I keep current after visit summaries, doctors/specialist recommendations. Everything is current about medical plans and protocols. I also keep updated Child Resumes to hand out at visits. (Check out episode 4 on how to create a Child Resume). I like to keep a list with all of the answers to usual questions of these medical forms. This not only saves time filling out documents. But in most cases I write- "see attached list". So, I am able to focus on the needs of my child. If you live a bit of a distance from your local children’s hospital, you will understand you develop a routine of bathrooming, eating, and all of that when you go to visits. I don’t have to worry about remembering when he went to what visit, when this happened, what all of the current medications are with dosages. I can actually focus on the task at hand. This can help with in home visits from your local early intervention case manager, nursing companies, and many other interactions that you may need that information. The medical field is getting better at cataloging and sharing medical information between your child’s medical team. But, if you go to different hospitals, there is still a delay in access to information. Lists reduce your mental load. They give you a visual that instills peace and calmness. Lists help you get focused and make better decisions. Remember there are many kinds of lists. There are informational lists, to do lists, step by step lists, or inventory lists. Basically, the lists go on and on. Take the time today to make 1 list. What is one of your categories that would bring some peace just by making a list? It doesn’t have to be fancy. You can hand write one, put it in your phone, or type it up digitally. Whatever works for you! Do it and reduce your overwhelm and bring a bit more peace to your life. https://gailhamblin.com
13 minutes | Aug 24, 2021
Circus of Thoughts
If you are a new mama to the special needs community, you probably have a circus of thoughts floating in your mind all day long! · When will this kid sleep through the night?· What other “extras” are going to pop up that I have to deal with for a long time?· Will they walk, talk, understand me, or eat solid table food? The list goes on.Every child is different. Therefore, your thoughts will be different than my crazy experiences. So, how have I calmed the constant problem solving, future problem solving, and stopping thoughts that I don’t even need to solve from claiming most of my time? It seems like a circus of thoughts the size of a mountain. It is so overwhelming that you feel crushed just trying to take a deep breath. First thing I think about is why are these thoughts circling me? Is it important? Yup! I try very hard to think about priorities. What are these circus of thoughts making me feel or what is the underlining emotion? Fear, worry, dread, the feeling of loss of control, loneliness, jealousy, or exhaustion - what really is it?Alright- I have identified if it’s important or not and the feeling associated with it. Next, I name it. I do this by writing it down on paper. There is a power in naming something. Sometimes just the awareness of whatever it is takes away it’s massive feeling of weight or grandness. Next, I list the items as priorities. What is the biggest issue in my thoughts? And, what is the most important to handle? They are not always the same answer. Just making a list, quiets the circus! https://gailhamblin.com
13 minutes | Aug 15, 2021
Back to School/ Developing a Child Resume or Vision Statement
It is Back to School time! Are you ready? I like to send a one-page document with some brief information about my child the first day of school. In this child resume or vision statement document, I list 5 distinct areas. I give a one to two sentence(s) vision for the progress or focus for the upcoming school year. I call that my vision statement. Then, I focus on listing some of my strengths. I try to use bullet points to keep the information easy to digest. Next, I list a few challenges my child has. The following section focuses on tips, techniques or strategies that do work for my child. These could be giving wait time, using a timer before transitioning activities, using a first/then picture board. I try to keep these bullets to about 3-5 items. I also list a few bullets of “things that do not work”. These could range from yelling, socially isolating, or any other action that does not help.Why do you write a resume? You want others to see your value and your skills. That is why I think it is so important to create a resume for your child. This builds a road map for your team to see where we are and where we would like to go in the future.http://gailhamblin.com
13 minutes | Jul 3, 2020
Ep:3 Finding Your Medical Village
Gail discusses the journey of finding a good pediatrician and other medical professionals when her baby with Down syndrome was born.
16 minutes | Jun 24, 2020
Ep 2: The Dreaded Question
Gail describes a brief retelling of her pregnancy, labor, and delivery with her child who happens to have Down syndrome. She explores the dreaded question every parent is asked frequently.
25 minutes | Jun 18, 2020
Ep 1: Emergency Preparedness During COVID-19
Meet Gail with this first episode! She gives some background on how she became an advocate for those with special needs. Tips and ideas to make your own hospital and vehicle bag for emergencies. Planning takes on a whole new level when you have children with special needs!
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