One thing I hear often is, “You must take a lot of meds!” Well… yes and no! It’s really a matter of perspective. To some people, what I take is a lot. To others, it’s not much at all! Personally, I don’t feel like it’s a burden. I’m a lifelong asthmatic, so I’ve been taking daily meds of some kind for as long as I can remember. It’s just what I do!
Yes, it’s annoying sometimes.
Yes, I get grumpy about it and don’t feel like doing it some days.
But I still try to be a good patient and stay on top of my meds. So, without further ado, here’s my med box!
1. Meds I take multiple times a day
2. Morning meds
3. Evening meds
4. Blood pressure cuff and pens/highlighters. Thermometer should also be here, but it’s off on an adventure somewhere
5. As needed meds and chewable supplements
6. Symptom and vital stats logs, functionality tracker, pill cutter, and daily routine cards (keep an eye out for a blog series on that later!)
One thing that is super important with a lot of meds is taking them consistently. For some of my meds, that means taking them around the same time every day. I also have to space some of my meds apart from each other, even though I need to take them around the same time of day.
How do I do that? My watch!
I strongly prefer using my watch instead of my phone for alarms. I used to use my phone, but there were a few drawbacks.
1. If I’m on my phone reading, texting, writing, or on Facebook, the alarm interrupts and blocks what I’m doing. Know what happens next? I reflexively swipe the alarm out of the way! Then I forget about the alarm and I forget about my meds. Oops. With the alarm on my watch, it’s buzzing on my wrist. I can finish typing a thought, reading a line, or whatever while the alarm is still going!
2. If I set my phone down somewhere, I won’t always hear the alarm. My phone would automatically snooze the alarm after a while. Not the end of the world, but with the timing of some of my meds, there would be a bit of a domino effect. With my alarm on my watch, it goes with me everywhere!
3. There’s something about the physical buzzing of the watch on my wrist that gets me moving better than my phone alarm. It’s not annoying, but there’s definitely something to it.
4. I also use my watch for as needed meds that have time specifications like, “Every 6 hours.” As soon as I take those meds, I set a timer on my watch for 6 hours. I might not need a second dose, but if I do, I’ll know when it’s okay to take it.
Bonus tip: With my watch alarms, I don’t let myself turn the alarm off until I’ve actually taken my meds. I have a habit of filling my medicine cup and leaving it on the table for hours! The alarm keeps ringing until the meds are down the hatch.
So… a day in the life of me taking my meds!
Round 1: Morning med mix. This does include two “as needed” medications. One of my regular daily meds is Protonix, which is a proton pump inhibitor. My instructions are to take this first thing in the morning, 30 minutes before eating. Not everyone has to do it this way, but my GERD is pretty bad and Protonix is more effective if you time it that way.
I also take my supplements in the morning. I could take them any time of the day, but one of them is Coenzyme Q10 and that will keep me awake if I take it later in the day. And if I’m doing one gummy vitamin, I might as well do the other!
Round 2: Because of the Protonix being a proton pump inhibitor, my pharmacist told me to wait 30 minutes after taking it before I take my Plaquenil. This one is for my lupus and it has a super cool history! Maybe I’ll write a blog post getting into how cool Plaquenil is sometime. It has the added benefit of potentially helping my rheumatoid arthritis, too!
Round 3: Midday steroids. With steroids, it doesn’t matter as much when you take them. I take 3 pills a day. I could take them all at once. I could take two in the morning and one in the evening. I personally choose to space them out over the whole day. I feel a slight difference in my symptoms when I do that.
Round 4: Evening med mix. Again, there are some “as needed” meds mixed in here. Protonix in the mix again, so this is at least 30 minutes before dinner and 30 minutes before Plaquenil.
Round 5: Second dose of Plaquenil.
And that’s usually it for my daily meds! I do have weekly and biweekly medications I do by injection. I have methotrexate which is a once a week shot and Actemra which I do every other week.
One thing that’s important with injections is tracking where you’re injecting and rotating injection sites. That’s not too hard for me right now since I’m just doing the methotrexate once a week and Actemra every other week. But when I was doing two shots every week, I found an injection tracker very helpful! Here’s what I did:
Each X marks where I injected, and the date is when I injected. That helps me keep rotating injection sites! It’s important to keep moving around with injection sites so callouses don’t build up.
And… that’s it!
That might seem like a lot to some people, but there have been times that I’ve been on even more meds with more complicated schedules, so this doesn’t feel like a lot to me. It feels pretty manageable. Of course, no meds would be nice! But honestly, this really isn’t bad at all, and using my watch alarms has been super helpful!
Love and gentle hugs ❤
PS – Bonus points to anyone who noticed the puppy toes in one of the watch alarm pictures! Freckles was alerting me to an impending migraine. Good girl, Freckles!