We’re a family that has the good fortune of traveling often. It’s not always a grand journey — most trips are just a few miles from home. One constant during our travels is a set of tiny traveling notebooks — one in my purse and one in my husband’s pocket.
At least a decade ago, I read an article about a woman and her child who were involved in a car crash. When medics began rapidly asking her a multitude of questions, she produced a purse-sized notebook that contained all the needed answers. Her theory for carrying this small notebook was simple: In a crisis, it’s nearly impossible to remember all the details of your condition or that of a loved one.
Using notebooks to store and organize medical information was not new to me, but a tiny book that I could easily toss in my bag was a lightbulb idea. Because I’m a notebook aficionado, this idea also had a creative appeal to me: In addition to its practicality, I could shop for the perfect book, use my favorite pen, detail crucial information about our conditions, and carry it around with me easily. As we’re in the midst of holiday travel to visit friends and family near and far, this seemed an ideal time to share.
The quest for the perfectly sized notebook was not too time-consuming, thanks to my local Target store, where I chose Moleskine’s Volant. It measures just 2.5 inches by 4.25 inches, and has 28 perforated, lined, acid-free pages.
For fans of dot journaling, what I set out to do next was a beginner-level project. As a multiple rare disease family, my main goal for the tiny notebook was twofold: a quick reference to the hemophilia and other specialty treatment centers at our travel destination and essential information on our conditions, including contact information for at-home providers.
First, I numbered all the pages to create my index, then I color-coded with a quick swipe of a highlighter five pages for each family member, five pages for hemophilia treatment center (HTC) locations, and five pages for other specialists. In the HTC section of our tiny books, I placed our regular center and hematologist info on the first page with a star; when we made travel plans, I created an entry on a subsequent page (with the city’s name at the top of the page for ease) for the HTC at our destination. If we have an issue or emergency, I would just need to flip to that city’s page.
One crucial detail I included in the book was the location of our extra medication — our home address, our kitchen, our fridge, which door of the refrigerator — all of which may seem obvious to us. But if I ever needed a friend to run to our home in an emergency, nothing was left to chance or their stressed short-term memory.
Our original set of tiny notebooks is now worn and torn, and I’m working on a new set this week. Our tiny notebooks serve as great reminders of the places we’ve been, the places we plan to go, and all the details we have been able to offload from active memory. The notebook is a simple way to provide another level of comfort when we travel, and unlike our devices, no password is needed.
Note: Hemophilia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Hemophilia News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.