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Posted by Bill McCuistion ( on October 06, 1999 at 20:28:04:

During my 1990-91 bout I started a journal or CH diary, just to track CH-related events. Actually more of a laboratory book than a "feelings" journal, although it contains both type of entries. I got one of the composition books with the stitched spines so that I would be disinclined to tear pages out. I keep it next to my meds, or rather, in the meds bag. I force myself to open the journal, write down the exact time, pain level, and other observations which seem relevant to my condition at the time. This usually takes less than a minute with practice, especially when I put it before taking the meds. Then, I record the meds for this attack. As the meds kick-in I try to focus on the pen and scratch something down. Usually, the anticipatory relief helps to relieve the stress-induced pain while the Imitrex does its wonders. By tracking the CH-attack with the meds and the effects I can somewhat tune the meds to the attacks. If I'm going to be a lab-rat, I expect the mad-scientist to do his job properly, too. I have never tried to do any real analyitics with the data, just kind of eyeball it for general trends as this does not seem to be an exact science, yet.

I showed the journal to my physician and he thought it was anal-retentive, but it helped me so he did not discourage me from continuing. The journal is really for me anyway. I don't like to look at it when I'm in between bouts as it stirs up some pretty powerful emotions and memories.

There have been bouts when I did not journal. This bout, I only resumed the journal when I became desparate and needed it to get a fix on sanity. It seems to me that when I, and this only my experience, that when I journal these things out, and review them the fear lessens somehow. Some of that (my) fear is related to the (my) short-term memory loss, discussed earlier, associated with CH-pain.

Another reason that I decided to journal this time was that I live alone (no, I'm not depressed and lonely, very often) and wanted to let the EMT folks have something to work from if I were not able to tell them what I had taken. I thought it might save some time for someone else trying to help me as things got pretty dicey for a while.

Anyway, these little notebooks cost next to nothing, don't require backup, are easy to use, and have a long shelf-life. Thought I'd throw the idea out to the group as one of the ways I have found to cope with CH.

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