My health has been my biggest source of joy and my biggest challenge the past couple of years.
In 2015, after a LONG struggle with fatigue, I was diagnosed with sleep apnea, which I consider to be a huge blessing. Finally, I knew what was causing my constant tiredness – and not only that, I had a clear solution for it – CPAP (continuous positive airway presure) therapy!
Initially, I felt GREAT after starting CPAP. I was lighter, happier, and more awake.
But that didn’t last long. After a couple of months, I started to feel the affects of what happens to your body when you don’t sleep or breathe properly for fifteen years. (My sleep study told me that I stopped breathing an average of 29 times per hour!)
I was referred to a wonderful naturopath, who right away identified that sleep apnea had royally screwed with my thyroid. NBD, right? I would get some meds and get on with my life.
Except for that I am the WORST MEDICATION TAKER EVER.
I suck at taking medication. I can never remember when to do it, or I leave it at home. I tried a cool site called PillPack, but then forgot to take my daily pill pouches, and then I had a bunch left over.
I needed a medication taking strategy, and fast.
Here’s what I came up with:
1. Find a pill case that works.
I chose this one because it had a pocket for an alarm (see step two) and space for a weeks worth of pills. For my thyroid meds, I was to have a morning, afternoon and evening dose, along with my regular morning and evening meds.
2. Set an alarm that’s NOT on your phone
Why not on your phone? Because if you’re like me, you’ll just silence it – and then forget to take your pills! Finding an alarm that you can put WITH your pills so that you have to walk and find your pills (and then take them) each time it goes off was very effective for me.
I ended up using an old cell phone as an alarm, since I had one laying around.
3. Make sure you have a pill case that is big enough
One that holds a week’s worth of pills is better, so that you don’t have to address refilling it every day.
And then, just like that (okay, it took a couple of months) – the medication routine that I had worked so hard to perfect changed.
The afternoon thyroid meds were giving me some mad anxiety, so I switched to a morning dose, along with having to take some other medications and supplements at night.
Here’s how that worked:
1. Get a nightstand with a drawer
I haven’t had one of these in years, but I found the perfect set (bonus: they seem to be MADE to hold a CPAP machine!) at Goodwill.
2. Keep meds in the drawer and easily accessible
I have two different thyroid medications, one which I break in half. These go in a little rotating pill case.
My nighttime supplements go in a little tupperware – since there are only three of them and they look so different, I can just grab them before bed each night without having to worry about unscrewing lids. (Yes, it sounds lazy, but I have to eliminate every obstacle or I just won’t take them.
Here’s what I learned in all of this:
You have to do what works for YOU.
People will always always have suggestions for you – which is great! But in the end, you know what YOU need. For example, setting an alarm on my phone is a great idea – but I knew from experience that it didn’t work for me.
Be prepared to change it up.
It always seems that once you have a routine in place, something changes. Get familiar with yourself and go from there – routines are adaptable.
Make sure you have the right tools
I wouldn’t have gotten anywhere without my pill holder that held the alarm. Sometimes spending a little money is the right way to go.
What have you found out about yourself when it comes to medication management?
P.S. To learn more about my experience with sleep apnea and CPAP, head on over to my new blog, www.cpapbabes.com