By Abbie Cornett
When I moved to California a year ago, I thought I had everything planned. I had read all the articles on how to make moving less stressful. One in particular listed the top-five tips to make your move easier, including creating a budget, reserving a truck and movers, purging unneeded items, and packing and transferring addresses and utilities.
While that article was great, it didn’t help me as a patient with a chronic illness. Most people settle in and life returns to normal within a year after moving. That wasn’t the case for me when it came to my medical care. In retrospect, there are a lot of things I could have done differently to make the transition easier. So, I made a checklist for patients and their families of the things I learned to make the transition easier.
Step 1: Insurance
Many times, people relocate due to a change in employment, which frequently means a change in insurance coverage. If this is the case, make sure you read the new policy careful. Surprises in insurance are never a good thing! Know what your out-of-pocket expenses are going to be so you can budget for your medication. Get pre-approved for treatments as soon possible so there is no lapse in your care.
Step 2: Find a doctor
People with chronic illness frequently need multiple specialists to treat their medical needs. To make the move easier and ensure a continuum of care, speak with your current doctors to get referrals. Your current physician(s)’ know you and your medical needs the best and can help you find new doctors that practice in the area you are moving to.
Step 3: Transfer medical records
Before you move, get copies of all of your relevant medical records; your new doctors are going to want copies of them. These records can be downloaded on either a disk or thumb drive for ease of transportation.
Step 4: Ask for help
This is a very important step. The last thing you want to do when moving is overdue it. Many chronic illnesses can cause fatigue; if you overdo it or get stressed, it can put you in bed for days. To help reduce your fatigue, ask friends and family for help packing and running errands. You will be happy that you did!
Step 5: Prepare for feelings of anxiety
Moving is one of the most stressful things anyone can do, let alone for someone with chronic illness. Prepare yourself to feel anxiety; it’s normal. You can reduce this stress by treating yourself. Take breaks from packing from time to time to meet friends for coffee or diner to say goodbye. Go with the flow! Understand it’s not all going to go smoothly. Things will get broken or lost or, in my case, the moving truck won’t show up.
Step 6: Have fun and enjoy the adventure
One of the biggest mistakes I made was to get too caught up in the details and miss the big picture. I was starting a whole new chapter in my life; I should have enjoyed it more. Take time to investigate your new city. Those boxes will be waiting for you to unpack tomorrow!
Tell us about your moving experiences.