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.)

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A few weeks ago I was at a Halloween school event, one of those evening activities that’s absolutely jammed with parents and kids, and as I made my way through the cafeteria I spotted someone I knew so I held up my hand in a friendly fashion as I walked towards him. You know, sort of an elongated wave, like “I am both saying hello and acknowledging our collective presence but I’m on my way to find my kids and there’s no need to stop for an exchange of pleasantries so instead of waving once then breaking eye contact I’ll just kind of do a continual howdy as I cruise on by.” Just as I was going by him, though, something terrible happened: he looked briefly startled, then raised his own hand. FOR A HIGH FIVE. I laughed awkwardly and went for it — of course I sort of missed, so we did that weird heel-of-the-hand brush instead of a solid palm slap — then left the room and immediately googled “FASHION A CYANIDE TOOTH OUT OF HOUSEHOLD CHEMICALS HOW TO.”

Maybe a bungled greeting isn’t the sort of thing that takes up residence in your brain for approximately the entire remainder of your life, but I have naturally been thinking of it ever since. I am traumatized by the fact that he clearly thought I was the one initiating a high five, which, what? No! This fellow parent and I are not on high five levels of familiarity (although I guess we are now), and even if I had categorized him as such it was definitely not a high five situation. Like, dude this Spooktacular is going to rock so hard I can’t wait to be asphyxiated by 500 8-year-olds wearing unicorn onesies GIMME FIVE.

As much as I desperately wish I could clarify my intent I am at least mentally stable enough to realize there’s no good way to do it now. Even if there was an occasion to bring it up during our next round of polite small talk (“YUP SURE IS RAINING A LOT LATELY AND SPEAKING OF WATER WHICH REMINDS ME OF WAVES WHICH IS DEFINITELY WHAT I WAS DOING ON OCTOBER THE TWENTY-SEVENTH AT SIX FIFTEEN PM…”) the only outcome is one in which I make everything about a thousand times weirder, and so I will simply have to carry on under my new identity as Inappropriate High Fiving Lady. She seems like a jovial, carefree kind of person, busy doling out celebratory hand gestures along with a total lack of fucks. In fact, I could probably learn a thing or two from her.

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