The Importance of Keeping Track of Symptoms

Jan Gambino Health Guide
  • I should probably call this article, “How I didn’t Follow My Own Advice” or “True Confessions”. Truth be told, I did not follow my own advice this week and it could have affected my health.


    I am really good at keeping track of my kids' reflux symptoms. Month after month, I have filled notebooks with vital information such as:


    • Test results
    • Doctors recommendations
    • Symptoms
    • Food eaten
    • Food refused
    • Spit ups
    • Contents of diapers
    • Medications and doses



    The number of burps and belches per day.


    I used to think my daughter Rebecca’s food diary held clues to a sure-fire weight loss method. She ate and ate yet she kept losing weight. I was going to publish a best seller diet book and get invited to Oprah!

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    Recently I became a frequent flier at the doctor’s office. No Gastroesophageal Reflux but I was back and forth to the doctor for blood work and medication checks. Did I have a notebook detailing my vital test results and medication dosages? Nope. Did I have a record of my symptoms? Well I did write down some notes on little pieces of paper and I wrote down the medication doses on the back of my co-pay receipt. All of the papers were folded neatly into a messy wad and then I lost the hold “record” of my medical care.


    I looked everywhere-on my desk, the kitchen counter mail pile and even the onboard “file”/cup holder in my car. I checked my purse three times and asked the kids. It was gone. On the eve of my follow up visit with the doctor, I became desperate. I re-checked every place I had checked before and finally found the papers in a zippered side pocket of my purse.


    I immediately started a notebook and organized my jumble of papers into an orderly medical record. The next day, my doctor quickly and easily read my notes and I was able to answer her questions accurately because I had my notebook. My treatment was adjusted quickly, efficiently and accurately.


    So I learned my lesson. It is so important to have a notebook to write down notes and keep track of my symptoms and treatments. It doesn’t take a lot of time to write down a date and a blood test level. It does take a long time to find a little piece of paper that is lost-even if it is right where you put it!


Published On: July 26, 2010