My Dysfunctional Way Of Remembering To Take My Medicine

I am 51 years old. I have had this disease all my life. And, yet, I continue to have a dysfunctional system for organizing and remembering to take my medicine as prescribed. I am way better at it now than when I was a kid. But my method remains dysfunctional, or at least I think so.

And I should know, because I am an expert. I am a respiratory therapist. I often find myself teaching asthmatics how to organize their medicine. Yet I STILL continue to have a dysfunctional system for organizing and remembering to take my medicine as prescribed.

What is ideal for remembering to take my asthma medicine?

I know the ideal way of organizing my medicine so that I can remember to take it. As a kid, nurses would sit with me and teach me what to do. When I was fifteen, a nurse at the asthma hospital worked with me every day. She introduced me to the pill organizer. These are containers that have a small box for each day of the week, and you put all the pills for each day in their respective boxes.

So, I do this and do it well for a while. It’s nice, because I grab the organizer in the morning, open today’s box, and take the pills I am prescribed. At the end of the day, if pills are still in the box, I know I did not take them yet. If they are not there, I know I did. This is a very nice system. I like it. I teach it to my patients.

What is not ideal?

Then I get busy, or lazy, or whatever, and I do not spend that one-day putting pills in the organizer. This leaves me with a system that involves opening the random pill containers and taking one pill at a time. It is not the best system, but it is what I do on most days. At the end of the day, sometimes I do not remember if I took my pills, and I go to bed not knowing. And, of course, I cannot take them if I do not remember, because I do not want to take them more than prescribed.

So, this system causes a little, or sometimes a lot, of stress.

My current system has me leaving my seven medicine bottles on the kitchen counter next to the sink. I keep them there so I see them, and I promise myself I will only take my pills at night just before bed. This seems to work for me. I usually do not forget to take them. But, still, sometimes I do. This is not an ideal organizational system, but it works for me. It works for me because all my pills are prescribed once daily.

What about organizing inhalers?

Then we have inhalers. You have rescue inhalers and controller inhalers. Rescue inhalers need to stay with you all day. The ideal is we keep them in our pockets or purse. For this post, I would like to focus on controller inhalers. These inhalers are meant to make it so you rarely need your rescue inhaler.

Most modern controller inhalers need to be taken once or twice daily. And they usually require one or two puffs. So, many of us asthma experts teach that you should keep these inhalers in the bathroom next to your toothbrush and toothpaste. When you go to brush your teeth you will see your controller inhaler. You take your puffs. And then you brush and rinse. That is ideal.

Actually, currently, this is the system I am using. Gosh, I can pat myself on the back for this.

What is not ideal when it comes to inhaler organization?

When you keep your controller inhalers in random locations. You keep them in the kitchen with your other pill bottles. You keep it in your car. You keep it on your desk by your computer. You keep it on your bedside stand.

This is the organizational system I use too often. It usually starts with me being in a rush. I grab my controller inhaler from the bathroom and take one puff. And, without thinking, I still have it in my hand when I am lying in bed. And so it ends up on the bedside table. Or it ends up at any random location.

And so, the next time I am scheduled to use it, I have to go on a search. Kind of like playing scavenger hunt as a kid. Or, perhaps I know it is on the bedside table. So I decide to keep it there and use it as prescribed, until one day, I, without thinking, walk off with it. Hence the cycle continues.

What do you do to remember your medicine?

After I wrote the article above, I searched this site for similar articles. Kerri explains why “Placement Is Key,” and I wholeheartedly agree with her. I see her struggle is similar to mine. Andrea also has some great ideas in “Keeping Track of Medications?” What about you? Do you have an ideal way of organizing your asthma medicine? Or is yours dysfunctional like mine? Please let us know in the comments below.

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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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