Keeping Track of Medications

Normally, I don’t have a hard time keeping track of my medications. I have my morning and evening routine, so I usually remember what to take and when.

But – there are the times when I get sick and my schedule is off. For me, this is the 3rd time this winter that I have had bronchitis and I am home from work (again.) In fact, I think I have used up all of my sick time and will probably have to use vacation time now. Some vacation, right?

The many medications for asthma

I also get a little fuzzy headed when I’m sick and am taking lots of medications. So, how is the best way to keep track of what medicines you are taking? The other morning, I noticed my bottle of antibiotics on the counter and couldn’t remember if I had taken my morning dose. I must have stood there for a couple of minutes with the bottle in my hand, trying to think. As I said, the brain sort of checks out when I’m not sleeping and I am sick.

So, I gave up trying to remember and decided to see how many pills were in the bottle when I had it filled. The label said, “Take 2 pills a day for 7 days.” Okay, I can do simple math even if I’m fuzzy headed. So 2 x 7 would be 14 pills. I knew I had taken both pills the 1st day, so, I should have 12 pills left. I poured the pills out and counted them, and I had 11.

Okay, now we’re getting somewhere! If I should have 12 pills, and I have 11, that means I took my morning dose! Phew!

I decided I better come up with a better system since I couldn’t rely on my brain when I’m sick. I used to do this with my kids when they were little and sick. Especially since there were usually 2 or 3 of us sick at the same time and we were all taking antibiotics, prednisone and having breathing treatments.

Since I’m not that great with technology (read: I am older….) I use a piece of notebook paper or a sticky note and put it on the fridge. I write a medication, the time I need to take it, and put a check mark after I take it. My list looks something like this:

Morning:

Lunch:

  • Breathing treatment

    Night:

  • Dinner (eat first!)
  • Antibiotic
  • Controller inhaler
  • Breathing treatment
  • Prednisone

It’s also helpful to read the instructions on new prescriptions. So you know if you need to eat BEFORE you take a medicine (so you don’t have stomach upset.)

Other ways people keep track of medicines:

  • Set a timer on your watch
  • Set a timer on the stove
  • Set a reminder on your cellphone
  • Pair taking the medicine with another activity.

Like using your controller inhaler first, then having breakfast, then brushing your teeth. If you use the same pattern every day, it can help you remember.

If you have older family members, (or you take a lot of medications and have a hard time remembering when to take them), there is a genius new idea! (Kind of makes me wish I had thought of it myself.)

Pharmacies can put all of your daily pills into small, single serving packets that are stamped with the date and time you take them. Genius!  I have a family member that gets her medication that way. Hers is from a local pharmacy, but I found an online pharmacy that packages the medication in single serving packets so you can see how it works.

For those of you who take a lot of medicine, what’s the best reminder you use?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Asthma.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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