January 1, 2011

A simple answer to the old question "Did I take my medication?"

charter maldriverna

Like many of us with Parkinson's, I'm taking my meds four times a day - first thing in the morning, before lunch, before supper, and last thing at night.  My short term memory has always been lousy and aging hasn't helped it.  As a result, I often can't remember whether I'd taken my pills at the designated time.

I've tried various ways of dealing with this.  Most recently  I bought a small tabletop clock that announces in a loud voice that it's time to take the meds.  I've found this an irritating interruption and it drives my housemate crazy when I'm not at home to turn the thing off. I keep the clock on my desk and if  I'm deeply involved in a project, I can shut the alarm off and forget I did it.

Last week inspiration struck.  I now keep in the bathroom near the cabinet with the pills four post-em notes, each of which designates a pill time.  When I get up in the morning, I see a note posted under the cabinet that says "wake-up pill." I take the pill, take down the note, and put up the note that says "11 a.m. pill."

So far this works great.  It of course doesn't cover the occasions when I'm out of the house at a  pill-taking time.  But usually I'm fairly good about remembering to take my pocket-size pill box with me.  Since I keep it in the same pocket with my car keys and handkerchief, I'm usually reminded that it's there.

Just to show that no system is fool proof with this fool, this morning I took advantage of the unusually mild weather for January 1 in Washington, and spent a couple of hours in the late morning cleaning up the garden.
I then had lunch, after which I went to the bathroom and saw the "11 a.m." note. In my meeting with my neurologist last week, I asked what I should do in this situation -- just skip the bill or take it after the meal.  He said I should take the pill but wait 45 minutes to an hour after the meal.

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