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I can’t believe I didn’t think of this before. FAO #spoonies

February 7, 2014

So, I have a lot of symptoms to manage on a daily basis. I’ve been completely failing to do it, and any of the solutions I’ve looked at, like android apps, don’t seem to have had the particular things that I wanted to record.

For a while, I used the same app I was using to record my periods to record symptoms, but it was far from ideal. Really, I needed something bespoke, but the thought of putting something together always seemed like such a mountain to climb. It seemed impossible.

And then I had a brainwave, and I can’t believe I didn’t think of this before.

I’ve made myself a form in google drive using their fabulously simple WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) creator. I can fill in the form from my mobile browser and it dumps all the data to a spreadsheet it automatically created while I was making the form. It automatically timestamps all the entries so I don’t even have to fill in the date, and means that should I create another form for specific events such as my dissociative seizures, I would just need to fill them in ASAP after the event and I would have a complete history of the seizures and their timings without having to think about it much.

It may be that other people have already had this brainwave, but I’m putting this up here just in case.

Drive does some pretty basic analytics on its own, but obviously you can do more by digging into the data yourself, or exporting it to a friendly geek who understands the Ways Of The Graph and How To Data.

If you want a bit of an idea about what’s possible, I’ve screen-capped my form here:

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Nerd alert: Because I’ve quite a few things to monitor, and I wanted a way to be able to compare days easily, I’ve worked it so that there are 10 items that measure on a scale of 1-10, and 1 is always best, 10 is always worst. This means that if I want to spot patterns, I can go to my spreadsheet, add up those 10 columns for every day, and then I have a score out of 100 for every day that I completed my form. There are much better ways of using this data, obviously, and I’ll be able to identify trends quite well from this, but the 1-100 scores should be able to very quickly help me see if my gut instincts are right or not, without having to dig through masses of data.

As I said, this may be old news, but it’s something I’d not thought of before. I hope it’s useful to at least someone out there 🙂

Edit: Loads of people have been asking me if they can copy my form or use it as a basis for their own monitoring systems. I didn’t know how to do it, but I had a bit of a poke about, and found a way. Below is a link to a copy of my form, which includes instructions on how to copy it to your own google drive folder. I’m not going to be maintaining it on a regular basis, so try to be careful that you just copy it for yourself, and don’t put any private information on it.

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1OX81Zyzd3XolWxiDTeLJQXPIXppK0QevauR73jZzZlY/edit?usp=sharing

Best of luck, and if you have any issues, give me a shout on twitter, and I’ll see what I can do to help!

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