Do you enjoy solving problems? I myself have recently become enamored with the daily jumble and crossword puzzles, like to the point where I get kind of vampire-hissy when someone spills cereal milk on the comics and it bleeds through and now I can’t tell if the clue answer is going to be EMU or ECRU. But anyway I have an actual problem of sorts and I need some smart person to fix it for me, so put your thinking cap on.

I have a medication that needs to be taken with food. There, that’s pretty much the whole problem: because I can’t build in a reminder like “I do this thing right before bed” or “I do this thing when my phone alarm goes off” it’s REALLY hard to remember, and it feels like such a minimal effort on my part — ONE PILL, can I just remember to do this ONE SMALL CAPSULE-SHAPED THING — and it’s frustrating as hell that I keep almost forgetting, day in and day out.

It doesn’t matter when I take it, it just has to go with food, and not, like, a sip of a smoothie or something, it needs to be a chewing-based “standard meal” because … well, I don’t actually know. It’s enzyme activated or something? Look, I don’t make the rules, I just try to follow them, and the food-accompaniment part is what’s tripping me up.

I don’t always eat on the exact same schedule each day so linking it with a point in time doesn’t help. Here are things I have tried:

• I put the bottle on a certain shelf and moved it once I’d taken the dose, so its physical location would prompt me. Then I forgot to look at the shelf.

• I put a little note on the fridge that said “No” on one side and “Yes” on the other, and I would flip it accordingly once I took the pill. Then I stopped seeing the note. Seriously, after a few days it just … didn’t register in my brain. Kind of like if you move into a house with a hideous light fixture and you’re like OH MY GOD I CANNOT LIVE WITH THAT THING ONE MORE DAY and ten years later you’re like, what light fixture?

• I put the bottle right next to my laptop, which is shamefully where I eat the majority of my meals. This only served to belatedly remind me at least an hour after I’d actually eaten, when I’d finally notice it and think: FUCK. Or worse, I’d glance at it and not be able to remember if I’d taken it or not.

So, any ideas? I need a goldfish-brain trick for 1) remembering to take it in the first place (WITH FOOD), and 2) verifying that #1 occurred.

(These are the exciting things you get to worry about in your mid-forties, kids! Don’t touch my goddamned jumble.)


29 Responses to “Daily dose of duh”

  1. Christine on November 28th, 2017 11:10 am

    iPhone reminder? My Fitbit reminds me to get up and move with a specific reminder and time that I can modify.

  2. Laura on November 28th, 2017 11:14 am

    Do you eat the same thing for breakfast every day? Or lunch? Could you put the pill bottle in the cereal box, or on top of your yogurt in the fridge? Or you could use a small pill box, with a compartment for each day, and keep it by your computer so you’ll know if you took it that day or not if the pill slot is empty.
    I feel your pain. I have daily meds too, but don’t have to take with food. But I take them before I have coffee in the morning, and half the time after I’ve had my coffee I can’t remember if I already took them or not.

  3. Dana on November 28th, 2017 11:20 am

    Put it on the coffee maker? Or take out a packet of oatmeal before you go to bed and put it on there?

  4. Melanie on November 28th, 2017 11:23 am

    Take it with the very first thing you eat every day, no matter what it is, whether it’s breakfast, lunch, or that last piece of cake you’re calling breakfast just for today.

  5. tina on November 28th, 2017 11:26 am

    i had to get a pill box – you know the ones that have the S-M-T-W-T-F-S labels. it was the only way i could remember if i took my pills. i put the pill box near the food and check if the day it is is already empty each time i eat.

    just like my nana. #suckstogetold

  6. Meaghan on November 28th, 2017 11:52 am

    I have a little day of the week pill box that I keep in my pocketbook. So it’s with me wherever I am and I can see if I’ve taken it or not. I fill it on Sundays. I used to have a daily alarm on my phone, but I lost it and should start it back up. Since you need food too, i’d keep a box of granola bars in the car and one or two in my bag.

  7. Carmen on November 28th, 2017 12:00 pm

    I have the opposite problem in that I have to take medication on a completely empty stomach, so I wake up every morning at 6 am to do that. Then I sometimes go back to sleep and wouldn’t remember if I’d taken it or not. I refused to get the days of the week pill boxes because I feel like I’m not an old fogey yet, so I got a little metal decorative fancy one, sort of like this one It stays on my bedside table, looking all fancy and shit.

    Every Sunday night I put 7 pills in it, so that when I can’t remember on Wednesday whether I took it that morning, I can look and know that there should be 4 pills left.

    As for remembering to take it when you can’t set an alarm for a specific time of day…I got nothin’. Hopefully someone here will have a great idea.

  8. honeybecke on November 28th, 2017 12:01 pm

    If you have anything password protected, like your laptop or whatever you log into daily then make it your password. TAKEYOURPILL and then um, take it like right when you type in your password.
    With food. :P

  9. Lori on November 28th, 2017 12:10 pm

    The only way I can remember things like this is with an iPhone calendar alert. So in this case, I would set it for a time I might eat lunch (like 11:00). When it dings, if I’m not eating, I would delay the reminder until I know I will be (say, 11:45). If I am eating when it dings and I take the pill, then I would not change the reminder time. That way, I won’t wonder later if I took it or not.

  10. Stephanie M on November 28th, 2017 12:37 pm

    Can you see if maybe a protein bar is enough food to qualify? Maybe then you could set an alarm for a specific time.

  11. Kelly on November 28th, 2017 12:54 pm

    I set a silent alarm on my phone and keep snoozing it until I take my med. No noise to annoy my coworkers but annoying enough to be to have it pop on my screen that I can’t ignore it. I have a pill box for my old lady pills but for my cat that takes 1 med a day I just flip the bottle upside down after I’ve given it to him. Bottle right side up? Then he hasn’t had his medicine yet. Upside down? We’re all good.

  12. anne nahm on November 28th, 2017 2:17 pm

    1) Get the 7 days pill box
    2) Put it on the kitchen counter in front of everyone and completely in the way
    3) Check with doc if a swig of milk counts as food. If so, take it first thing with a cup of milk
    4) Slide it into a drawer after you took your pill

    This is how my roommate learned how to take her birth control, minus the 7 day pill box.

    Great fun, as there is nothing more annoying than someone’s pills lying around where you want to put stuff, like dishes or food.

    Plus, all your housemates yelling at you to “Take your pills and get them off the g-d counter!” is a pretty effective reminder.

  13. Mirren on November 28th, 2017 3:08 pm

    The (free!) medisafe app for iPhone is almost certainly what you’re looking for. Each day I have to balance taking 3 medications on an empty stomach (at different times) and 1 with food – and my mind would have exploded long ago without the app.

  14. Andrea on November 28th, 2017 3:28 pm

    Am a nurse. Am also a forgetful pill-taker.

    If you ate an hour ago but it was a full meal that is likely still taking up space in your stomach, go ahead and take the pill. Exact timing is no biggie. I’m an RN, and in the hospital you get a 2 hour leeway window to administer drugs because, well, life happens.

    I have to take various things 3-4 times per day. What I ended up doing was doling everything out each morning, and filling up a small dish with that day’s pills. This container is in the kitchen near the coffee and peanut butter cabinet so I basically have to lay eyes on it several times a day (am pregnant) and when I do see it, I’m like, “Oh, yeah, right, gotta take these.” For example, I ate lunch 1.5 hours ago but I know it’s still in there, so I’m going to go swallow the handful of prenatal vitamins and supplements that have the “take with food” label right now. Cause I KNOW my stomach is still full.

    Some prescriptions can give you more leeway on timing and your present digestive status. Feel free to email me privately – I’d be happy to help you figure it out. There are very few medications that I’m strict about giving to patients with actual food in their hands. For most patients, in most situations, it’s not too important.

    TL;DR If you have your face in the peanut butter jar or coffee maker or both multiple times per day set your medication there.

  15. Gigi on November 28th, 2017 4:11 pm

    Sorry, no ideas to help with remembering to take your meds when you eat…but I AM a puzzle junkie. So much so that it’s the only reason I continue to subscribe to our little newspaper and then get in a snit when it’s not delivered consistently.

  16. Laura on November 28th, 2017 4:25 pm

    The pill container with the days of the week on it. Keep it with your coffee maker, toaster, or whatever breakfast-related implement you gravitate to in the mornings. You’ll know you’ve taken it because the Wednesday section will be empty (or it won’t).

    Why yes, I have a child with ADHD who needs to take meds every morning. My hard-won knowledge is yours for the using!

  17. Rachel Newton on November 28th, 2017 6:00 pm

    No help with pills though the ideas of the upside down pill container, the app, and the snoozed computer reminder all sound promising. Instead, I give you 7littlewords, my latest puzzle obsession.

  18. Kelly on November 28th, 2017 6:39 pm

    I absolutely would put it on/in the coffee maker or coffee cup. I have the opposite problem…I need to take my medicine first thing in the morning, at least 20 minutes before I eat anything. I’m good about it at home, but the moment I go out of town, I forget and eat breakfast before I remember it.

  19. Kathleen on November 28th, 2017 7:00 pm

    I have an app called Round that reminds me to take my pills. I set time frames on it. It has the most annoying reminders that keep coming and don’t clear until I tap that I took it.

    It is annoying as fuck but damn does it get the job done.

  20. Hillary on November 29th, 2017 6:34 am

    I am also here to say try using a pill box. I take a ridiculous amount of medication for someone in her 40s and the only way I keep it all straight is by putting the pills in a 7 day box. Then, when I wonder if I have taken my medicine or not, I can check the box.

  21. Anne on November 29th, 2017 7:32 am

    I use a small old-lady style pill box with a spot for each day. Then I set alarms on my phone (in the app Alarmed which I like better than the iPhone reminders) for a time I’m likely to eat, and if I’m not eating then I snooze it in 15min increments until I do eat.

  22. Taylor on November 29th, 2017 10:38 am

    What if you had to wear something that was a little uncomfortable (like a rubber band on your wrist that is a little too tight or a plastic headband that kind of hurts) until you took your pill? Not enough to hurt you but enough that you wouldn’t forget it.

  23. Sonja R on November 29th, 2017 2:34 pm

    I don’t have anything on the pills, but if you’re a crossword junkie (like me) you can buy Merl Reagle crosswords by the book online. This allowed me to *finally* quit my Seattle Times subscription several years ago and stop feeling badly about all the waste of paper that went in the trash.

  24. jodie on November 29th, 2017 3:32 pm

    Could you put it in the silverware or plates areas? Pain for everyone to have to move it but good for you to remember?

  25. Sian on November 29th, 2017 4:02 pm

    There is an iOS app called Due where you can set reminders for a specific day and time. When the reminder goes off, you can push it back 1 hour, 3 hours, or 1 day. But if you do nothing, it will remind you every 5 minutes until you tell it not to. It’s annoying, but when the baby was born especially I found it useful because I never knew when I’d have a minute so it would keep reminding me until I did.

    I do also like the app Productive where you can track streaks and tell it simply what part of the day you want to do something. It’s less useful in that it doesn’t remind you in the same way, but I did find it satisfying to build a streak. It’s how I started flossing again every day.

  26. Annie on November 30th, 2017 6:14 am

    Check with the doctor or pharmacist about the “why” of with food. Could it be that it upsets a stomach? If you have an iron stomach, maybe you can skip that direction. I like the RN’s advice too. Because RN’s really do run hospitals !!

  27. April on November 30th, 2017 10:09 am

    I have a pill box for my dailies so I can see for myself that I took it, and a phone reminder at 8am (10am on weekends, JIC) and a follow up alarm at 11:00am to make sure I took it and wasn’t sidetracked by something else.

  28. Sarah on November 30th, 2017 1:01 pm

    Put the pill bottle near the front door of your house, or on the seat of your car, so that you physically cannot leave the house or get in the car without noticing it. I do this more with stuff I need to take with me, but it could work with pills!

  29. Erin Morgan on December 19th, 2017 1:22 pm

    I am sorry this comment is way after the fact but I was searching for Christmas gifts under $30 and found this:

    It might just be the solution to your problem!

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