Hacking myself: How I remember to take my pills

April 11 | Guest post by Helen Jane

Helen Jane is back! She's taught us house to plan meals, make a Thanksgiving budget, and how to throw a cookie party. And now: how she remembers her vitamins.

Lately, I've taken a stronger interest in my health. Step one: Get a baseline blood panel.

Lo and behold, I was super low in Vitamin D and Vitamin B. My blood pressure is high and my sinuses are a wreck. I've been prescribed sprays, allergy meds, vitamins and I am back on the aspirin.

So after a few years of taking nothing but prenatal vitamins, like a lot of Americans, I'm back on the daily pill party.

As I have a lot of other tasks vying for my attention, taking daily pills just isn't something I always remember. But at least I know enough to hack myself.

I set out my trusty Ikea votive holders (also known as our small wine glasses and the perfect pudding cups). On Sunday, I fill them up for the following week. I start the whole thing again the next week.

Easy and pretty.
And good for me too.

    • I love that the iPhone does reminders based on location. Mine is set up to remind me to take my Iron/B12 anytime I "arrive" at home. That means if I forgot to take it before going to class, I'll get a reminder as soon as I get home for lunch. It works much better for me than having a time reminder, because I might not be at home (and therefore near my pills) when it goes off.

      4 agree
  1. That's great that you have found a way to remind you to take your pills.
    My cats would have WAY too much fun with pills in stacked up little glasses, either the pills would be pawed out to chase across the floor or the entire stack of glasses would be knocked off the counter!

    I remember my birth control pill ONLY because I have to physically move it to get to my toothbrush in the mornings.
    But I don't do so well at remembering my vitamins or allergy meds. I need to find a system that works for me!

    1 agrees
  2. I need to find a better reminder system for my vitamins. I've recently started taking a mega multi-vitamin (it's like a horse pill), and vitamin D drops (which are the best thing ever for Canadians). I can't do the glass system because of the drops. I'm thinking I need a checklist on my fridge or something…

    For my birth control, I've set an automatic alarm on my cellphone.

    But I've also recently become I'm lactose intolerant (like SUPER lactose intolerant), and now have to remember to take Lactaid pills before eating anything with dairy in it. I can't tell you how many times I've been halfway through a caesar salad or cheeseburger, and my husband will be like "does that have dairy in it?" Then I'm making a mad-dash through my purse to find my pills.

    0 agree
    • Off Topic, but: My husband is lactose intolerant, and we found that cheddar cheese, hard cheese, and goat cheese is fine for him to eat because of the miniscule or no lactose (goat cheese has no lactose, hard and cheddar each have none or miniscule amounts). Butter and other diary items are problematic, but he cut those out and no problems with lactose since. Also as a bonus, he lost some stubborn weight. :)

      3 agree
      • I found I'm so lactose intolerant that even products with traces of dairy send me running for a bathroom. I had a bowl of chicken noodle soup and was down and out for the evening. I don't know if I'm willing to test the non-goat cheese waters yet without my pills. But if I could eat aged cheddar without pills I would do so many happy dances.

        My doctor recommended I keep eating dairy (not a ton, but a normal amount) to build up my tolerance level to certain things, and for the nutritional benefit (vitamins, minerals, etc).

        0 agree
  3. For me, the combination of the weekly pill boxes (the ones that have compartments from Monday-Friday) and setting alarms on my phone work for me.

    Just to make sure I never get too lazy, I set multiple alarms within say, twenty minutes, because I'll either be too tired to me (lol) or in the middle of something and the ringing will just irritate me.

    2 agree
    • I am all about the pill box too – except I have one that has Sun-Sat and AM & PM spots because I can never remember if I took the morning or evening ones :| and I do not have a smart phone, I have a scheduler on my not so smart phone but it does not work well (hence being a not so smart phone)

      0 agree
      • I don't like those long ones 'cause they're so bulky. For me, it's as conspicuous as carrying my pill bottles around (I have 3 large bottles and they tend to inspire people to ask "WTF are those pills for???"). I have one of those little "AM/PM" carriers, and I generally put two servings of my AM dose in there so I'm ready for two days. I'm generally home in time for my actual PM dose, but sometimes I'll just put it on the same side as my AM dose.

        0 agree
  4. When I was taking meds on a daily basis, I set a daily alert up in Google Calendar – it would email every morning at 10AM and inquire politely if I'd taken my meds yet. Since I have a computer job, 99% of the time I'd be sitting at my computer at 10AM to see it. And because I had Google Calendar hooked up to my phone's calendar, it would also beep an alert to remind me on the weekends and other days I wasn't at the computer at that time.

    0 agree
  5. This seems like it could be a real solution to my problem. My only concern is my six year old stepdaughter. She is very smart, and I think that a conversation about how taking another person's medicine is very dangerous would be enough. However, I think I would still be nervous. Once, she had an allergic reaction, and we gave her a Benadryl capsule. For some reason, she really liked that and from time to time she'll say "You remember those pills? I think I need one."

    0 agree
    • I keep this stack of pills at the top of a locked cabinet. I have some medicine-happy littles as well.

      0 agree
  6. I take a lot of vitamins, they are pretty important for my daily functioning and I'd be pretty useless if I didn't take them. The fact that I can't sleep without some of my pills (melatonin & valerian root), its been pretty easy to remember to take my pills at night. I do have problems remembering to take my morning vitamins, so I keep extras in my purse for in case I forget to take them. I usually remember as I'm driving to work, but by about mid-morning I start feeling pretty slugish if I haven't taken them. I just feel lucky that I'm able to manage my condition with just vitamins and supplements.

    0 agree
  7. I have had to take daily allergy and asthma medications for years, we are talking 20 years or so. I finally gave in, and I have a multi-day pill box that sits next to my bed and has a bottle of water next to it. Every night before bed I take them before turning my alarm clock on. Also is great when traveling! I lucked out and can scheduled most of my medicines for bed time. However, my inhaler that I take morning and night sits with my tooth brush, so when I brush my teeth I take my inhaler. So far so good.

    I was just told today that I'm going to have to add a nose spray. I hope I can find a way to add that to my routine *crosses my fingers*

    0 agree
    • do you put makeup on eavery day?
      maybe storing your nasal spray with your makeup might be a solution because then when you're doing your face you will remember to spray it?

      2 agree
      • Not a makeup person, but it is a good idea. I think I'm going to put it with my inhaler I take twice a day. The nasal spray should be taken twice a day too, so hopefully I can merge them.

        0 agree
    • I can't remember to brush my teeth twice a day or sometimes once. Maybe if I had medicine with it I would remember! :)

      0 agree
  8. Jane – Great Cup idea!
    Vitamins don't fit into a pill case easily.

    0 agree
  9. Great idea! Thanks! I think I might try this. My vitamins are too big for the pill organizer too. We have the cat problem like others so maybe I'll put the stack in the cupboard, right next to my favorite coffee cups. That way I'll be sure to see it every day.

    0 agree
  10. I keep a water bottle and the pills on my bedside so I see them first thing when I wake up. Been taking pregnancy vitamins plus a few others for nine months now and haven't forgotten them once.

    1 agrees
  11. I take a daily antidepressant (Zoloft, 100mg) but my sleeping patterns are so messed up I can't take it at the same time every day. Would it be OK to take it in the evening, do you think? I'm usually awake at 8pm, say.

    I think I might have to use the phone alarm method :S

    0 agree
    • My doctor asked me to take my blood pressure pill in the evening to help with having it in my system all day — ask your doctor! Who knows?

      0 agree
    • It just depends on how it affects you; I take my Z usually mid-afternoon, but often at all times of the day. It doesn't keep me up OR put me to sleep, so it's not a big deal when I take it.

      0 agree
  12. Ok everyone, any ideas for attractive pill boxes? I can't do the glasses because they'd be too easy for my toddler to get at. But I hate the way my plastic pill case looks. I've even done online searches for 'modern pill box,' but to no avail….

    0 agree
  13. How cool would it be to have a pill box hat that actually was a pill box?! Would be awesome for fancy occasions

    1 agrees

Join the conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

No-drama comment policy

Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. Make sure you're familiar with our no-drama comment policy.

Biz owners & wedding bloggers

Please just use your real name in your comment, not your business name or blog title. Our comments are not the place to pimp your website. If you want to promote your stuff on Offbeat Bride, join us as an advertiser instead.