Medical History & Personal Health Records

This is part of my on-going series of posts on Health Care for Christian Scientists & Former Christian Scientists.


When you visit a doctor, dentist, optometrist, OBGYN, or any other medical/healthcare related professional they’re likely going to ask you for your medical history, and ask about your family medical history – childhood illnesses, family illnesses, ages, births, deaths (and their causes), surgeries, etc. To streamline this process you may want to start a personal health record (PHR).

In the end, your health information is likely going to be scattered across many different providers and facilities (dental offices, optometrists, primary care physicians, assorted specialists depending on your needs). Keeping your own complete, updated and easily accessible health record means you can keep track of everything and

  • Knowledgeably discuss your health with healthcare providers
  • Provide information to new caregivers
  • Have easy access to your health information while traveling
  • Access your information when your doctor’s office is closed
  • Record your progress toward specific health-related goals
  • Refer to physician instructions, prescriptions, allergies, medications, insurance claims, etc.
  • Track appointments, vaccinations, and numerous other wellness healthcare services

from: http://www.myphr.com/resources/faqs.aspx

It could also be useful in case of an emergency where they turn to your spouse, or next of kin, or roommate and ask for some idea of your medical history, allergies, etc.

Of course, having been a “good” Christian Scientist for so many years it is quite likely you don’t have any immunization records, or any medical records of any sort. Talking to your parents often yields nothing, they’re good Christian Scientist as well, things like illness, age and death are totally unreal, so why keep track of any of it? If you’re lucky you might be able to find a non-CS relative to ask about family medical history, but that can be tricky.

The American Medical Association has a collection of forms and advice on how to gather Family Medical History, and the Mayo Clinic has a helpful article about compiling your medical family tree.

If you have any questions about their questions, ask. Be upfront about your Christian Science upbringing and (possible) lack of medical history, and family medical history. The most common questions usually include:

  • Date of birth
  • Ethnicity
  • Medical conditions
  • Allergies
  • Injuries
  • Surgeries
  • Vaccinations
  • Current medications
  • Mental health conditions, including alcoholism or other substance abuse
  • Pregnancy complications, including miscarriage, stillbirth, birth defects or infertility
  • Age when each condition was diagnosed
  • Lifestyle habits, including diet, exercise and tobacco use
  • For deceased relatives, age at the time of death and cause of death

The list may vary a little depending on what sort of doctor you are seeing. They may also ask if you’ve ever had a long list of symptoms, and are also likely to ask about siblings, parents and other relatives (usually grandparents) health as well. The more you can tell them, the better.

Modern medicine has come a long way since the early 1900s (when our grandparents were born) and some of the terms used then are no longer in use, and are open to interpretation. Some things were simply Not Talked About, so that can be a hindrance as well (this isn’t just a Christian Science problem, although we add our own unique level of denial to it all). Do yourself (and your family) a favor and start keeping track.

More information about keeping track of your medical history and personal medical records can be found at MedlinePlus, and MyPHR.com


Please remember, this is intended to offer people support, ideas, and resources. It is not in any way intended to be a substitute for medical advice or care. Please see a health care professional if you have concerns, especially if your concern is serious!

If there are any topics or information I’m missing, or that you would like me to address, please leave a comment, or e-mail me at: kat (dot) at (dot) kindism (at) gmail (dot) com

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