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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Keeping book

I’ve always been drawn to the methods of science - keeping records of observations and collecting numerical data if possible. I even took a stopwatch to the hospital when my second child was about to be born. I timed the periods between contractions, the first stage of ‘labour’, and how long they lasted. I found it not only interesting but it also had the added bonus of distracting me. I discovered that if I think about something else, most pain is actually easier to bear somehow.

When my children were school age I started teaching high school and I loved it. I enjoyed the teenagers and rarely had problems until I was assigned to a special Grade 10 class that had been giving everyone grief. I soon found out that there were two older boys in the class whose whole aim was to ‘get the teacher’ and they were good at it and were obviously enjoying finding creative ways to disrupt the class so it was unteachable.

After a week or so, I checked with the school Principle to find out what I might do in the circumstance. It turned out that one of the school rules was that if a student failed to do their homework three times in a row, they could be suspended for a few days. I gave the class fair warning about this rule, assigned a little homework every night and 'kept book' with dates and circumstances. It didn’t take long before I had enough data and, though I had to insist, it was acted on. It worked, as 'keeping book' usually does. The class was teachable but I always regretted that those boys never came back, especially after learning why they probably acted the way they did and how they might have been helped.

I’ve found that 'keeping book. has helped in lots of different circumstances and I can hear myself giving advice to those who I found are always complaining about unfair or abusive situations at work or elsewhere but never really did anything about it. Try stopping defusing your anger by venting and 'keep book'.

When I visit my Doctor, the ‘white coat’ effect usually has an influence on how much I can remember when I am asked to describe my health problem and how long I’ve had it. Now, that I ‘keep book’, recording symptoms and when they occur, it is much more helpful and impressive to present to the Doctor and she has a better chance to come up with a correct diagnosis. An example for me is when my blood pressure is measured. It is always higher when it is recorded in the Doctor’s office so I bought a cuff and recorder and now use at home during the day and pass recorded results over so she can prescribe more accurately how much medication to prescribe to keep it in a good range. We are the only ones who can actually describe what our bodies are experiencing and Doctors need our health information divulged as succinctly as possible in order to keep us in topnotch health.

Try being creative in ‘keeping book’ – it works surprisingly well! Rie

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