Do you dream of appointments?

I do. Quite often actually. Mostly about physio and orthotics, where I have my most common appointments. Last night was one of those nights. I was wandering round and round the hospital looking for the orthotics department but I couldn’t find it, and pictures of various members of staff, (some I knew and some I didn’t), dressed like Tudor royalty lined the walls. It was a strange dream.

Other times I’ve dreamed that I’ve been given new pieces of equipment to try out, and woken up in a panic when I can’t remember where I put it, only to realise moments later that I was never given it in the first place.

More thoughts on remembering appointments

Hands up anyone who remembers the childhood excitement of receiving something in post. I’m talking about the days when all the postman usually brought you was birthday cards and postcards from your Great-Auntie Ethel’s annual holiday to the seaside. There might have been the odd reminder that you were due an eye test, but that just meant that you could go and wear some funny glasses and pretend you were a spaceman for a bit then maybe get to choose a new pair of specs at the end of it. Meanwhile, the grownups got to look forward to opening a new letter almost every day it seemed.

C’mon, I can’t be the only one who remembers these good old days. Raise those hands up high!

Well, I’m an adult now and I’ve decided that getting something in the mail isn’t nearly as exciting as it used to be. I’m very disappointed indeed. I’ve come to realise that post usually means, a letter from the bank, a bill needs paying, or perhaps some junk mail. Hooray…or not. Even those reminders to go to the opticians aren’t fun anymore. Instead of looking forward to playing astronauts, looking at those letters just makes you think about the money you might need to spend on a new pair of glasses.

In addition to delights such as these in my cases there’s the hospital appointment letters too. When I was younger, my parents would stick these to boiler with an assortment of fridge magnets and they would tell me when the day arrived and where I was going. I’m not entirely sure when this happened, but somewhere along the line, they became my responsibility to remember them.

I’ve blogged about some of the tricks I use to help with this briefly before. I know I don’t have as many to remember as a lot of people, but it can still be a challenge sometimes. Here are some more of the ways I try commit them to memory. These work for me, but they might not work for others. They’re just from my personal experience. I’m not a memory expert, nor do I pretend to be.

Keeping all the letters in one place

At the moment, the current ones that I have to try remember are sitting on my printer. Trying to not lose the letter in between doing that and then attending the appointment is a whole other task entirely. As for remembering to take it with me when I go the less said about that the better, I think.

Refreshing my memory constantly

Eventually the appointments will work their way into my phone a bit closer to the time so that my memory gets a little refresher about it.

Remembering the information in small chunks

For me, remembering the dates often tends to be the easier part or I try and get that part in my head before I worry about anything else. I find it harder to remember the times, especially if I have a few quite close together. I have to spend the week before looking at my letters and phone calendar constantly in the hope I can make something sinks in. If I’m really struggling I try to at least remember the month so that I can ring up and double check if I have to.

It seems strange to think that my parents used to have to do all of this stuff for me, and that they used to make it look so easy. I took that for granted at the time. Sorry mum and dad! There were probably more of them to remember back then too.

How do you remember your appointments?

Time for change

So, yesterday I took a trip to the hospital to have a discussion about my callipers and pick up some new boots that it’s hoped will help them stop cutting into me a giving e blisters quite so much. I went in there knowing that we’d also be looking at some of the other options that we could try. More on the new footwear in a minute, I promise.

A couple of weeks back, I went to a clinic appointment where someone suggested that we could try using something called Spring Splints at night instead, which I’ve never had before, but  they said I should discuss that further when I went to pick up my new shoes. I  go to a lot of my appointments on my own these days, (don’t you love being a grown up), but this time I asked my mum if she could come along for the ride to offer some insight into things that had worked well for me when I was a child.

After a bit of a debate, it was decided that we could give these Spring Splints a go when I’m resting, and also cast me for a pair of ridged ankle AFO splints for during the day. I’ve had AFOs before . There’s also discussion of using another course of using another method to help release some of the tightness in my ankles. It’s something that I had done a few times as a child and it worked really well. However, that is only at the discussion stages right now so I’ll mention that later on if it goes ahead.

My callipers
My callipers

Anyway, back to the shoes. They look pretty much the same as the ones in this picture, only with one extra strap, and not worn down, obviously. I’ve hunted high and low for a picture of my old splints, but I can’t find one because I used to wear them under trousers or jeans most of the time. Sorry.

When I got my new pair of boots that the callipers slot into, I found that they had an extra strap on the back that should make a difference to the position of my foot so I’ll keep trying to wear them for now until the new stuff comes through. I tried walking around in them for a bit and it’s so far, so good, minus the usual feelings of having to break in any new gear you get for your feet anyway.

I’m nervous about trying the new splints but I’m excited too. I’m willing to try anything that might help in the long or short term so I’ll just have to keep an open mind and see how it goes.

If you or someone you know has tried any of these types of splints, I’d be really grateful if you could leave me a comment or tweet me.

And so, let’s hope that today’s appointment with the occupational therapist goes as well!

Remembering appointments

When it comes to me and appointments relating to my Cerebral Palsy, they tend to come in spurts. I’ll go months and months without a single one, and then there’ll be a few that seem to be pretty much one after the other.

Lots of these are often made quite far in advance, sometimes  six months to a year before I actually need to attend, so keeping track of them and remembering when they are can be a bit of an interesting task.

I do all the usual tricks of sticking the letters to the fridge door, feeding them all into my phone and telling my family over and over again when they are so that things will hopefully stick it at least one person’s brain so that I won’t only just remember at the last minute and have to scramble to make travel arrangements. Some departments at my local hospital have started sending out SMS messages or phoning me to check that I still want my slot, which is a great help.

Yet, the other day I got one through the post for April 2014, (it seems so strange to type that), that I think I’ll have no problem remembering the date for.

Why? I hear you ask.

Well, the appointment falls in the first week of April, and the same day that my parents had been given as my original due date. As it happens, I came into the world in the first week of January, 14 weeks sooner than anyone expected me to.  So yeah, when I meet someone who actually was born on that day in April, or I have an appointment on that day, it tends to stick in my head quite easily. I gave myself a small smile as I read the letter and went and told my mother.

“Don’t t think I’ll forget that one anytime soon,” I said.

As it happens, my next appointment at the dentist falls the day before this one (see what I mean about them all coming at once?) Okay, so I know this one isn’t related to my disability, but the timing is quite good nonetheless.

I can’t actually remember what time I’m actually meant to be at the hospital, or the dentist for that matter, but I’ll probably start committing that to memory sometime next March.