One of the most challenging parts of being diagnosed with a chronic condition is managing your medications. How do you remember to take them? What should you do if you miss a dose? In this post, I’ll share what I use to keep track of my medications every day. You really don’t need anything fancy or expensive to keep track of your medications. You can manage your medicine like a professional with some simple tools.
Pill boxes that have room for a week’s worth of pills are a lifesaver in managing your medications. These come in various sizes. I use two 7 day boxes. One for my evening pills and supplements, and another for my morning pills and supplements. I use a basket on my dresser to corral all of my daily medication needs. Find a place for your medication and always return your pill box to that place.
My daytime pill box is brown. The nasal spray and inhaler next to it in the basket are my morning medications. There is a pale blue pill box in the plastic bag. That is my night time pill box. I use the nasal spray in the plastic bag at night too. The inhaler gets used in the morning and at bedtime. Having the night time medications in the plastic bag helps me reach for the correct pill box at night. The plastic bag also contains my nighttime pill bottles.
When I need to go to the emergency room. I grab the medicines in the basket and the zipper bag that holds my morning pill bottles and I take these with me. That makes it super easy to remember what I take. I keep the zipper bag on the top shelf of my closet unless I’m refilling my pill box.
With these pill boxes, I can tell at a glance if I remembered to take my medication that day.
If you take medication that needs to be kept in the refrigerator, you can place it into a plastic container, so it doesn’t get jostled around.
Remembering Medicine You Don’t Take Every Day
I have an immune deficiency that needs an infusion of immunoglobulins every 10 days. My son takes an injection for migraines once a month. So how do we remember to take these medications when we’re supposed to?
In an earlier post, I talked about creating a planner from a composition notebook. I divide each page into 7 sections, one for each day of the week. Usually, I’m writing in my planner with pen or pencil, but for my infusion days, I use a colorful crayon to write SCIG in the space for the day I have to do the infusion. I have to be diligent to update my planner as soon as my infusion is running. Otherwise I have been a day or two late for a dose. (Please forgive the shaky photo. I cannot hold my hands steady no matter what.)
My son uses his phone to set alarms for when his medication is due. This is a great tip because we usually have our phones with us all the time.
Temporary Medications & Those That Taper Doses
This section discusses how I manage medicines like antibiotics and prednisone. Usually I will read the instructions and add the dose to my pill containers. However, my mom likes to write out the dosing on a piece of paper and draw a line through each dose as it’s taken. For example:
For an antibiotic to be taken every 12 hours for 7 days, this means 14 tablets in total.
Saturday 8am 8pm
Sunday 8am 8pm
Monday 8am 8pm
Tuesday 8am 8pm
Wednesday 8am 8pm
Thursday 8am 8pm
This method works really well with liquid medications since you cannot pour them out into a pill box. It also works really well for someone who doesn’t use pill boxes. I used this method a lot when my children were young and taking liquid medicine.
Now you have your medication organized, but what do you do if you miss a dose? In the United States, prescription drugs come with an information sheet from your pharmacy. These information sheets will tell you what to do if you miss a dose. Your pharmacist can help you with the same information, if you don’t have an information sheet handy. These sheets also tell you about how your medication works, what other drugs should not be taken while on that medicine, and any side effects to tell your doctor about.
If worse comes to worse you can always look your medication up online and get this information there. Drugs.com is a reliable source of facts about the medication you’re taking.
Wrap-Up of Managing Medication
Lastly, these are the things I do to manage my medications well. I hope you have gotten some ideas to help you with this ongoing project. While managing your medication is a very important task, don’t forget to have some fun with it. Decorate your pill boxes. Use a pretty box, or basket that reflects your style. Even a tackle box will work. Use a fun glass or cup to take your medicine. Or use crayons in your planner to remember that infrequent medication.
If you have little children in your home, please remember to keep all medications out of reach and or locked up.
For more tips on managing your medications check out this post: https://www.upbeatliving.net/be-medicine-savvy-essential-tips-you-need-to-know-free-e-book/
Till next time, Kathy
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