(And 3 Helpful Tips for You to Do the Same!)
I know it’s not always easy to be compliant with your med regime. You forget a dose or take it later than you intended. One med always makes you dizzy, so you can’t take it right now because you need to drive somewhere. This med’s side effects are so miserable you can barely force yourself to take it; that med is a horse pill that tastes so foul you gag on it.
I get it.
Being compliant is harder than people give us us credit for, but there are some good reasons to put in the effort.
- Applying for SSDI? If you’re listed in your records as non-compliant, expect a big fat denial. You haven’t tried all of the options fully and given them a chance to work, so you get denied.
- Fiddling with doses? You can’t figure out what might actually work if you’re missing doses and never actually getting the full effect. You might even be on too high of a dose and not find out until you become compliant!
- Withdrawal is horrid… and dangerous. It’s nothing to play around with.
- Doctors are more inclined to listen to you telling them something doesn’t work if you have a history of trying it exactly as instructed. Then, they can’t brush it off as you ‘not following their instructions’.
- If you do find something that works, you won’t get to enjoy the reprieve of it actually working if you’re skipping doses and messing up your hard work!
Some good reasons, right? “But how do I get compliant?” you might ask. “It’s so hard to remember every dose.”
I use three tactics to make it work for me:
- Routine. Make it part of a set routine that you do at the same time everyday. This is the easiest for morning and night meds. Brush teeth, floss, meds, glasses off, brush hair, bed, done-for-the-day. Check! Meds taken. I do it the same way every morning, noon, and night and the habit prompts me to remember. I only miss if that habit is interrupted.
- Have spares anywhere you’re likely to get stuck or over-night in a pinch. I have extras at my parents’, and I keep a set in my purse. 24 hours of meds on my person gives me a chance to pick up more if there’s an emergency without the added stress and desperation of getting sick. I used to keep a set at my boyfriend’s (now husband’s) house too for when I stayed over. I do not, however, advise keeping them in the car. Extreme temperatures can have detrimental effects on a lot of medications.
- A pill tray can help too. It can at the very least prompt you to notice that you’ve missed a dose, because hey, it’s Wednesday PM, but my Wednesday AM dose is still in the tray. Whoops! Got to work on that habit forming. *smile* But it only works well if you remember to regularly refill it. AND you have to have a safe place to store it where tiny fingers and paws can’t reach!
- BONUS! Timers! Set alarms. Go wild! If you need that reminder, an alarm going off to prompt you can help you build the habit you need.
How do you remember to take your doses? I have to take mine four times a day, and it can be real nuisance. What tricks do you use? Which ones have worked and which ones have been less than successful?