In my last posting I talked about the reasons for keeping a pain journal and the many ways I have done so in the past. As promised, I’m doing a follow-up to that article focusing on keeping a pain journal on your BlackBerry smartphone. When I was keeping this type of pain journal I found it very convenient to keep track of my daily activities since my phone was with me 24/7. Also, since most of my pain originates in my hands and wrists, I was eager to find a system in which the least amount of writing or typing was necessary. In this, I found that my BlackBerry was perfect. As you can see in the image below (actual screen captures of my phone), I was never more than two clicks away from my pain journal. From my home screen, I was able to access my memo pad by just scrolling. Then once I clicked in a memo pad I was presented with my daily routine.
What makes the system so appealing to me is that I did not actually type everything you see in the picture. In fact, the BlackBerry smartphone allows me to set up shortcuts in which I can type a few letters and upon pressing space or enter will inject a longer phrase or entire sentence. For example, as you can see in the image below, all that I do is type “D1” and press enter to inject “1 Glass of Water @ 12:22:23”. What you might also notice about this image is that the time is automatically entered as well. This is convenient in that it is one thing less for you to do. By setting up your phone correctly, you can keep track of anything you do in your day to the second. By setting up a long list of codes I can keep track of my entire day with a simple letter and number combination. You can see from the image that my three most common drinks during the day are expressed as D1, D2, and D3.
Setting up these phrase substitutions is quite easy. Every BlackBerry device has a menu option for “Word Substitution”. On my particular device (BlackBerry Bold 9700) I enter my options menu, click typing and input, and then enter the word substitution pane. From there I can enter any word, misspelling or phrase to be substituted for any word. The word substitution option on the phone is mostly used for spelling correction. So instead of sending “catn” by accident, my phone will correct it to “can’t”. You can put anything you want into the substitutions since there is no word limit. This is why it is very easy to use as a journal.
As you can see, this type of pain journal can work very well for some. It is easy and quick to access and lessens the pain of writing or typing. I personally even had an option to rate pain based on a scale. For example, “rw8” would type out “Right Wrist Pain is 8/10 @ TIME”. This way my doctor was able to know which wrist was in pain, how much pain it was in, and the time it was at that intensity. This was most useful during our appointments. If you would like to know more about word substitutions on a Blackberry, All About my Blackberry did a great post here.