Category: Tools 4 Taking Life Back

Medical Binder- How & Why We Use One

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All of my life, my mom had a “medical notebook” where she recorded her medications, asthma attacks, allergies and more.  She recorded the time, amount, date, location, everything.  It drove me insane.  Sorry Mom, but it’s true.  As I have gotten older, have had children and battled multiple phantom symptoms, chronic illnesses, uneducated doctors and unique injuries, I have discovered just how valuable a medical binder can be, both for my sanity and for medical personnel reference.

I don’t know about you, but when my 16 year old was laying in the ER unable to talk, swallow, hold up her own head or use her extremities, the date of her last doctor’s appointment seems to completely evade me.  Ideally, now I can open my medical binder and provide exactly the information they ask for.  There have even been times the medical staff have simply taken the binder and gathered the info they needed so that I could stay and support my daughter and answer the truly important questions while someone recorded the information I had ready to go in the binder.

In January 2016, I FINALLY made a haphazard binder with a messy handwritten doctor, allergy, diagnosis and medication list and inserted the ER, doctor’s visit and medicine forms in the back, as we received them.  This is what I was handing the ER staff, and it was rather embarrassing, especially when they would ask if they could just review the binder for more information and to study a bit because they had never treated someone with my daughter’s syndromes.  Very often they would return with more questions, comments and ideas, which to me was great, because it meant they cared and were learning.  On the other hand, it made me feel incompetent because it wasn’t very “organized”, especially the haphazard, hand written notes of her daily problems and issues.

When other parents began asking me how I put my binder together and if I would share it with them, I decided to stop procrastinating and create some fun printables to encourage me and others to fill it out, stick with it and be willing to share it.  I gave myself a January 3rd 2017 deadline, and I am thrilled to say it is ready!

You can find the free download here.  We will send you the pdf printable in an email format.  It’s free, but here is a peek at how they turned out.  They are trimmed in our zebra design, accented with soft blue titles and can be placed in a report port folio or hole punched and placed in an everyday binder.


I have also found it useful for school records, 504/IEPS and for documenting school absences and illnesses.  We even include handwritten doctors notes, hospital bracelets and other small info, by stapling it to a full size sheet and recording important info.  I did this when I found that we would have school absences without a note because we were having a procedure and no one there could write a “absence” letter.  I found my school accepted them as proof of appointments, I mean who can fake a hospital bracelet?, and they help me keep an accurate record of when procedures were run.

I DO NOT include hospital bills, social security numbers or even our insurance numbers; those are kept in my wallet and in a separate binder at home.

NOTE:  I have heard a few individuals mention that they get a funny look when they pull out a binder for appointments or at the hospital.  Thankfully, we have never experienced this, but I usually pull it out and use it as a reference when they ask me a question:  phone number, doctor, fax number, date, diagnosis, etc… and only offer it when it appears it would be helpful to hand it over.  Otherwise, I just refer to it so I don’t have to think so hard when filling out forms and answering questions.  To me, it is more important to have accurate information and everything I need with me, than it is to worry about what some random stranger, whom I will probably only see one time, thinks.  Of course, it helps that our main ERs have a big note, in both her physical and digital files, mentioning she is fragile and that they should have physical contact as little as possible to reduce dislocations and Mast Cell reactions.

I hope this helps you pull together your own binder, whether it be for your personal use, to share with doctors or just to organize it all for later reference.

Please let me know what you think, what we should add and how you have found your medical binder to be helpful.

Remember you can sign up to receive the printable here.

Your friend in this chronic illness journey,

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Spoonsaver Tip #1- Laundry Help

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Spoonsaver Tip #1


for everything (not just laundry)

I can’t believe I haven’t shared this before!!!

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Make your laundry room and supplies work for you!

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Make Your Laundry Room Work For You FB

I realize that several of you may be in tight financial situations and can afford neither expensive or difficult renovations, so that’s why we decided to share a variety of inexpensive and simple ideas on how to make your laundry room work for you.  Please keep in mind that we try to suggest things that will work for a variety of people and there is no way to actually meet the needs of each individual every single time but we still appreciate your feedback.


Lets start with the simple things.

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Kitchen Tricks To Make Things Easier

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Kitchen Tricks to Make Things Easier

Who would like to spend a little less time in the kitchen OR use the time you have in there just a little better?

As I have said before one of my biggest everyday struggles is the kitchen.

I love to cook, organize and clean but very often just a few movements in the kitchen can send my pain level skyrocketing and my productivity plummeting.

I have all shared some tips in our previous posts.

Here are just a few more I couldn’t live without.Continue Reading the full Article…

Tools For Prepping Food In the Kitchen With a Physical Challenge

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I am certain we all have special “tools” we use in our kitchen to make cooking easier.

One of the most common questions I hear is “How can you….?”

This is the first in a short series of kitchen adaptations and tools I use to enable my time and energy to stretch just a little farther

My top tools for prepping

1.  Counter height bar stool

I do not use it every time I cook but it is extremely handy when my legs, ankles, hips or lower back will not let me stand.   I use it when cooking, prepping, doing dishes, etc…

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12 Kitchen Cleaning – Time & “Spoon” Savers

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12 Simple Kitchen CLeaning Spponsavers for the Chronically Ill

I don’t know about you, but cleaning and maintaining my house is one of the hardest things I do, and kitchen cleaning seems to need done every.single. day.

As a mom of three with EDS I have a very limited amount of spoons to use each day, and kitchen cleaning and cooking uses most of them.  Over time I have found shortcuts, tools and adaptations to help me work smarter and not harder, which is much easier for my body and spoons.

Not sure what I mean when I refer to my “spoons“?  Read the article that explains it all here.

Today I want to share my 12 favorite “spoonsavers” for kitchen cleaning.

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How To Help Your EDS Child At Home (Part-6)

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How To Help Your EDS Child (Part 6)

How To Help Your EDS Child At Home

These are just a few ideas to help make schoolwork a little less painful at home.

If you have any other ideas or suggestions please leave them in the comment section below or e-mail them to Reading the full Article…

My Top 10 “SpoonSavers” from The Pampered Chef

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My Top Ten Spoonsavers From The Pampered Chef


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Spoonsavers for Writing

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Spoonsavers For Writing

Part 3- Helping Your EDS Child

Or anyone with writing challenges.

Spoonsavers For Writing

One of the biggest challenges our children face everyday is the amount of writing required for school.  We have tried multiple “spoonsavers” and are looking into trying others.  None of them remove all the pain, but some of them seem to help.  I can’t guarantee which options will work best for you, but we would like to share as many as possible.  Starting with the least expensive and building up.

This post contains affiliate links at no additional cost to you.  After we began the Zippy (and this article was first written) we added a program to help offset the cost of running a blog.  This does not affect our content or the free reading and info; it just allows us to help pay for a few of the things we need to stay running efficiently.

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30+ Things to Do when Stuck On Your Bum (a.k.a. Bed rest)

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30+ Things to Do WHen Stuck On Your Bum AKA Bed rest FB

30+ Things to Do When Stuck on Your Bum aka Bed Rest

How many of you have been knocked off your feet because you ran out of spoons, over did it, had surgery, dislocated a joint, had a complicated pregnancy or suffered some other set back?

Being stuck off your feet, unable to work and take care of yourself, your house and your family can leave you feeling very depressed.

It gives you lots of time to think about the pain and problems in your life.

This post has been created to help combat those feelings.

I actually have a list and small basket of items I allow to accumulate to work on whenever I am forced off my feet (which happens a lot).  The last few years I have learned to save my sanity by doing physical things first and setting aside the less pressing/easy to do/sitting things at the end of the day or when I am required to bed rest.

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