Balancing doctor appointments, dosing schedules, and household responsibilities can feel like a full-time job. If you are able to do so, make the most of your time with the doctor or nurse by coming prepared.
Things you should bring to the doctor's office include:
- Contact information for all physicians, specialists, and therapists
- Insurance information and any financial issues
- List of allergies
- Notes on how the patient is feeling or changes in how they feel
- Schedules of other appointments
- List of other medicines, dosing schedules, and side effects
- List of questions
As a caregiver, you may be involved in someone's medical care. It's important to work together with the healthcare team. Some questions you may want to ask about the practice are:
- When is the office open?
- Who do I contact after office hours or if there is an emergency?
- When and how should I contact the office?
- Who can I go to with questions when the doctor is not around?
You may have specific questions for the healthcare team at any point in a patient's journey. It's important that you feel confident reaching out when you need information. Some points that you might want to know more about are:
- A change in the patient's health
- A concern about a new symptom
- A new medication or changing medication
- Possible side effects
- The results of lab tests
Taking care of yourself can make it easier to take care of someone else. It's important for you to stay healthy and positive so that you can do your best job as a caregiver. Here are some ways you can take care of yourself:
- Allow time for yourself by taking breaks to walk outside, watch television, read, or take part in a hobby
- Balance your schedule with that of the patient by keeping a planner or calendar to make a list of tasks that you need to do each day
- Express yourself by being open and honest with others about your emotions, or by joining a caregiver support group
- Stay healthy by making sure to visit your doctor for routine check-ups; watch for depression or other stress-related symptoms
- Maintain a balanced diet, exercise regularly, and get 8 hours of sleep a night
You may be the only caregiver in a patient's life or there may be others. If you are the primary caregiver, you may feel like you are handling everything yourself. There may be more to do than you can handle on your own. Here are some tips to help you share caregiving activities:
- Be honest with yourself about what you can do, and learn how to pass on responsibilities
- If someone does offer to help, be willing to accept it no matter how much or how little the offer is
- Let people know what they can do, as they might not know what's involved in caregiving
- Make a plan with friends and family of what needs to get done now or later
- Let go of tasks that aren't important at the time, because you can always pick them up again
As a caregiver, you are not alone in taking care of someone with a chronic illness. There are several organizations that offer help and guidance to caregivers:
- National Alliance for Caregiving
- Caregiver Action Network
- Well Spouse® Association
This list of independent organizations is provided as an additional resource for obtaining information related to multiple myeloma. Inclusion on this list does not indicate endorsement by Celgene Corporation of an organization or its communications.