Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Number crunching

I was reading Ginger’s recent post at Joyful Woman where she described the way her numbers oriented husband counted something very mundane. I like to think of myself as rather spontaneous and easy going, far from an obsessive compulsive personality. To be sure, I decided to keep track of the things I counted and the way I used numbers in the course of one day.

1. Get up and weigh myself on digital scale, accurate to 1/10 of a pound.

2. Put on my pedometer, which I have worn daily for the past 3 years, so I can be sure I walk at least 10,000 steps today.

3. Log on to Diet Power, where I record what I eat each day. (I really need to do this and find it easier than attending a support group!) This program counts all kinds of food related things for me.

4. Set my trip odometer on the car so I can count the number of kilometers I travel for my job today.

5. At work, I measure heart rates and oxygen saturations on patients as they exercise. My goniometer is used to measure joint range of motion. I count the number of repetitions as each exercise is done. There are measurements and performance scales galore in the health care setting.

6. The ultimate recording chore at work is accounting for every minute of my day. We have to record the number of minutes spent with each patient, as well as our organizational and meeting times. So far there is no category for washroom breaks.

7. At a boring meeting, I count windows, slats on blinds, ceiling tiles, anything at all to pass the time.

8. On the way home, I count my small change and find I have enough to go into the self serve car wash to get the salt and ice off my vehicle.

Wow, it sounds like I am a wee bit compulsive! It is not just me. Our culture is obsessed with data, numbers, performance ratings, statistics, and measurements. We can measure our value very quickly with variety of objective tools. From the time a toddler is taught to count to ten, his success in life will depend on the ability to handle numbers well.

For the rest of the evening, I am going to put numbers far from my head and listen to some pleasant music while I read a book. (That is if I can keep my hands off the Sudoku puzzle book I got for Christmas.) I will be so relaxed that I will not have to resort to counting sheep in order to get to sleep tonight.


  1. You are one data-collecting gal! We all analyze data each day doing the simplest things, but you have it all figured out in a very organized way. I admire your dedication to staying healthy.

  2. Your blog made me smile. Your statistical mind is also a 'wee bit' genetic. I know your roots. I'm sure you know what I mean. I too admire your dedication to staying healthy.

  3. Mary- My patients motivate me to try and stay healthy. So many of them suffer from preventable life-style related illnesses. I guess my job training just accentuates my tendency to numbers.

    Omalois- I know who you are referring to. My girls use the word "Factoid" to describe the trait. :)


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.