Technology Can Fail You
Last updated: June 2023
A horrible title to start this post but I unfortunately have suffered this situation and felt the need to share my experience.
I have lost almost the entire month of January to migraines – our weather has been maddening to the Nth degree – extreme cold, winter storms (the two that hit the East Coast was still building over my head when they moved through) and then this very week – a major warm-up that will throw us back into mid-spring weather with a chance of thunderstorms when the next cold front moves through. Frustration doesn’t even touch the tip of the iceberg of emotions I’ve gone through the last three weeks and even though spring time does bring our more violent thunderstorms, I am already begging Mother Nature to hurry the hell up and change already.
I have a two prong approach when it comes to documenting my attacks, I use a handwritten journal but I also use an app called Dosecast – which I use daily to track my medications. If I am in the beginning stages of an attack and take my meds, I simply input it into the app then use that record later to handwrite it with greater detail. I’ve been doing this since the beginning of my migraines and up until recently, it has never failed me.
I had a particularly bad attack the beginning of this week – starting Sunday afternoon and moving all the way through until Monday evening. I hadn’t slept well at all starting Friday so I was expecting something to hit and when it did, I went through my normal routine; take my meds, input it into the app, shut the house down and stayed in bed until I was able to finally emerge back into the world Tuesday morning. I waited until late Tuesday afternoon before I felt that I could write out the attack in my journal so I slipped into my office with a cup of coffee (decaf), sat down with my phone and opened my journal. What I saw startled me, I had not documented any attack since January 6th but I wasn’t that worried, I had my trusty app that would tell me when I took my meds - this had happened before if I had a rough month. What I saw next though sent me straight into a panic attack that I would spend several minutes trying to stop and brought on a wicked headache.
Every last record of my medication intake was wrong and by wrong – I mean W-R-O-N-G. The archive showed I had days where it showed I took up to twelve doses of Sumatriptan, showed that I never took my Promethazine and one day I had taken my entire prescription of Trazodone. What makes this worse is that I had no indications that anything was wrong and each my prescriptions has a refill warning attached so I can get them refilled before I run completely out and I never received such a warning for any of the prescriptions. Even worse, the archives showed that I took all of this on days that I did not have an attack.
After I calmed down and got rid of the headache, I buckled down – got my handwritten journal up to speed (easy to do when most of my attacks are weather triggered – I just got on Weather Underground’s website and pulled up the archived weather for my area), fixed the Dosecast archive to show the correct information, emailed the archive to myself then uninstalled it. I am very disappointed that I had to do that, I paid for the full app, kept it updated and did not have a single issue with it until this month.
As much as a pain as it was to fix this issue, I’m glad I found out this way and not when I go to my neurologist next month and he wants to see my dosing schedule – it would have been very embarrassing not to mention alarm him needlessly if he thought I had actually overdosed. Or if I had gone to the emergency room unable to communicate and the app was accessed by medical personnel – the treatment would have been delayed and if they thought I had overdosed, it would have been wrong.
We rely so heavily on technology more and more as the days go by because we believe that it’s accurate, easier and more reliable than anything else we do. I journal by hand because I was never able to really find a good migraine app that would track the way I felt I needed to. Since my neurology appointment is weeks away, I want to be as prepared as I can – the more detailed and accurate information I can give him, the better chance he has to correctly diagnose me and begin a treatment regimen. Relying on my Dosecast app was a sound decision but I started to rely on it too much without verifying it was working correctly and it came back to bite me. I am in the process now of downloading another medication reminder app and will be getting in contact with the developers of Dosecast to let them know what happened.
Moral of the story – if you rely on technology for your reminders or tracking your migraines, have a backup – then have a backup for your backup, you just never know when any of them will glitch out on you.
Are the family and friends you will be seeing this holiday season understanding about migraine?