Are You Compliant With Your Medicine?

I pose this question to you: “Are you compliant with your medicine?” Before you answer, I will give you mine. I will be honest, and that’s what I expect of you. Honesty, as they say, is the best policy. So, here is my honest answer:

“No! Not always.”

There, I said it.

That’s my honest answer. And, yes, I am an expert. Yes, I have lived with this disease for 48 years. I have experienced the downside of not taking medicine as prescribed. I’ve had asthma attacks, some severe because I was noncompliant with medicine. But this was mostly when I was a kid

Today I am almost always compliant with my medicine. But, life happens. There are days I get so busy I just forget. That’s just how it is. Sometimes I forget for one day. But, sometimes I forget for a week or so. When this happens, I start to feel it.

Forgetting to take medication

Now, what medicines do I forget to take? Sometimes it’s Advair. But, I find it pretty easy to stay compliant with this medicine. I keep it next to my recliner. I sit down every night at some point to read or watch Netflix. I look to my right at my end table. I see the purple Advair Discuss. I grab it. I cock the lever. I put it up to my lips. I inhale the powder.

No big deal.

But sometimes I forget that too. I usually start to feel chest tightness at some point — if I go too long without taking it. I think the medicine stays in your system for a few days. So, I can go one or two days without taking it without a problem.

Sometimes, when I go without taking it, I feel weirdly winded. It’s not like horrible, but it’s there and I can’t explain it. That is, until I realize, “Oh Crap! I forgot to take my Advair!”

Or maybe it wasn’t Advair. Maybe it was Singulair. Same thing.

So if I go too long without taking something, I might have issuPrilosecody says, “Take your d*mn medicine, stupid!.”

Same with my prilosec. I have GERD now that I’m an adult. It’s common for adult asthmatics to have this. It can trigger asthma. It can also cause heartburn and stomach upset. So, if I go too many days without taking it, I have symptoms of that too.

I suppose, the same thing for my blood pressure medicine.

My blood pressure medicine and my Singular are harder to remember to take. I keep them in a cabinet in my kitchen. I get busy. I forget to take them. You can’t really feel changes when you forget them.

Your blood pressure goes up, but you can’t feel it. So, your body doesn’t say anything. It leaves no clues behind saying, “Take your d*mn blood pressure medicine, you fool!”

It’s like an ongoing cycle

So, in the past week, I have made sure to leave my medicine bottles on the counter. This is my latest effort to stay compliant. Still, I forget anyway. It’s just so hard to stay compliant. (Since I wrote this, I bought a 7-day pill box. It worked great for a week. Then I forget about that too. Silly me! That is life, I suppose.)

I am making adjustments. I make adjustments all the time. It’s kind of like playing baseball. You start out hitting good. You make a huge impact as soon as you’re brought up to the majors. But then the pitchers catch on to your weaknesses. So, you have to make adjustments. You have to make a tweak here or a tweak there. That’s how you keep hitting well.

Same with taking medicine. You have to keep making adjustments. Put your medicine there. Keep it there. Sometimes I even keep it in my work bag. The idea here is if I’m working I can take my medicine when I think of it. But, the problem there is that you don’t see it in your bag. So you forget.

So, I started keeping it in the kitchen cabinet. But, then I’d forget it because I didn’t see it again. So, now I keep it on the counter. Then I take it two weeks in a row. And I decide I don’t like the medicine on the counter. So, I put it back in the cabinet. I take it as prescribed for a couple days. Then I get busy at work. And I don’t see the medicine. And I forget.

Now it’s back on the counter. Now it’s in the pillbox. But, then I forget. It’s like an ongoing cycle. But, I try. I keep trying.

It’s like a cycle with me. I sometimes think this is abnormal. But, then I think taking medicine is not normal. So, it’s normal to forget what your not normally supposed to do. It’s unusual. Although, I’ve been dealing with having to take medicine all my life. Still, I have to constantly make adjustments in order to stay compliant.

That’s the battle I live with daily. And now I post the question to you. And be honest. Are you compliant with your medicine? Do you ever forget? Do you find yourself making adjustments? Please let me know in the comments below. Please confirm that I’m not alone in being an imperfect asthmatic.

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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