Keeping up with med schedule

hi guys, this is an embarrassing question … how do you guys keep yourself on top of your inhaler routine and schedule? I try to take advair every 12 hours at 7:30 am and pm, but it’s hard to stay honest despite propeller reminders and phone alarms. I always feel better after I take them, so I don’t get the mental block and reluctance to go use them. It’s just baffling to me … maybe it’s denial? Maybe it’s medicine fatigue? Maybe I’m just sick of feeding the asthma beast his meds.

Any tips or tricks would be great. Thanks for listening. 



Comments 20

  • Deborah Bartlett

    Hi Em! I write down all my meds on a list, in the order that I use them. I cross each med off as I use it. Every night I write a new list for the next day. Takes 2 minutes. 

    I don't even think about using meds, I just use them. I want to be able to breathe. I know I am managing my health by taking meds as prescribed at the same time each day. I stick to my list every day. 

    Why you sometimes slack off? Hmmmm….could you have a tiny stubborn streak? Maybe you don't care for some of the side effects. 

    I feel that if you are using meds as prescribed, and you have problems, then your doctor has some kind of an idea what to do next. Doc can't know if your meds are helping you if not used on a regular basis. 

  • K8sMom2002

    Em, I lean on technology — I set reminders on my phone.

    If you have one of the new electronic virtual assistants — Alexa, the one from Google — you can ask them to set up a recurring reminder. Or you can make an appointment on your calendar that will pop up on your computer or your laptop or tablet or phone.

    And on the ones during times when I know I'll be busy and not want or be able to stop to do a chore I'm likely to procrastinate about — I set a back-up reminder at a gotta-stop point — "DID YOU TAKE …" and I invite other members of the family to my "meeting." They'll call me and say, "Hey, did you …"

    Another technique for my absent-minded self: When I need to remember to take meds with meals, I turn the bottle upside down until I actually take the pill. 

  • Melissa G

    We are another family that uses technology to remind us to do things, taking meds is one of them. 

  • Shea

    Em, you could talk to your doctor about having this sort of medicine-fatigue and that you think it might be helpful to know the long-term plan of getting off them. They might say, when your pfts are this and you are feeling that, and no big flares for this amount of time, THEN we will move to once a day on this inhaler…. And just knowing and hearing that might help with taking them right now– that has helped me in the past with meds. I need to have an exit strategy or I feel trapped. 

  • dory2005

    Technology user here as well, but it's so much a part of my routine, that I usually have taken my meds before I'm alerted. I think about it like brushing my teeth or putting in my contacts. For my nebs, inhalers, and nose sprays, they are on my night stand, so I do them before I get out of bed. Having them visible, also helps me to remember.  

  • Emelina

    Thank you all for your collective wisdom. I’m continuing with my propeller alarms, adding phone alarms and moving the location of some of the medications. No use beating oneself up over the past; I’m endeavoring to change, starting today. 

    Debbie, all great points. I think there’s a bit of a stubborn streak and a hefty denial streak. I start to feel better then think do I need them? But you make great points about taking them on time to help you and your doctor. 

    Cynthia, I love the idea of reminders, family involvement and the upside down bottle

    Melissa, yep, technology is great. I’m going to try to use my tools more effectively 

    Shea, I love the idea of another doctor check in about long term plan. You bring up great points; this does feel a bit like medicine fatigue and feeling trapped. Chronic illness is tough. I think deep down I still hope for a cure and it’s hard/frustrating to still be riding the rollercoaster. 

    Dory, great idea to put them on the nightstand! 

    Thank you for the help


  • LK

    Em,  Everyone here has such great, helpful suggestions!

    I have found that in the long run, for me, it is basically a case of my just finally admitting to myself that I have a severe lung disease and I HAVE TO TAKE THESE MEDICINES.  PERIOD.  

    When it is a short term injury or illness then almost anyone can take the meds necessary to see him or her through.  When it is a chronic disease it requires a whole new mindset which can take a little while to acquire.  Sorry to be so blunt (My middle of the night writings aren't always the most brilliant ones!       )  

    If you can, try to look at is as several of the other posts above have said.  

    Look at it this way.  You are doing this for you BUT you are also doing this for your DH and your family.   Right?  You are taking your meds on schedule so that you can live your life to the fullest with them.  If you stay on track with your meds you have a much better chance of enjoying more time with them.

    I have to put my meds on the same list in my mind as every other daily chore.  Sounds simple enough doesn't it?  Yeah, not really but you will get the hang of it!!   

    I slip up from time to time of course but I try my best to not think of them as meds.  More like just another thing on the list for today.  I do rejoice when I have several hours of no meds though!!   

  • Emelina

    Lisa, thank you for your insight. I do appreciate your wisdom and upfront bluntness. I have started telling myself “ignoring it or denial” have never ever been proven to be a good treatment for anything … so stop it! You make great points. It’s about symptom control so one can get back to life, in this case, enjoying my three little turkeys. Thanks Lisa 

    so far so good, first 24hrs of ontime adherence down!

  • Melissa G

    Em, I am proud of you for noticing that there is a problem with compliance! That is hard to realize, accept and a great first step! 

    I totally agree with Lisa, you not only need to do this for you but your family! 

    You got this! We are here to cheer you on! 

  • StephM

    Yes, the grief/acceptance sorts of thing with these conditions is harder than society tends to talk about!  Often, it's Chicken Soup inspiration instead of being sad you couldn't blah-blah-blah because of xyz.

    Practically, I have to find the balance of recognizing and accepting enough to properly care for yourself without having it take over your thoughts and time.  For me, learning to script things into my routine so I don't have to actively think about them is essential.  Breakfast, inhaler, rinse.  Bedtime snack, pills, inhaler, rinse.  The brain space needed declines dramatically over time.(Caveat: I'm pretty good about other things.  But… Asthma is new to me and I'm finding myself struggling to take albuterol when I'm actively coughing… and I'm hacking away in a corner, trying to be quiet!  But, based on experiences with other conditions, I know it's a learning curve. I will get better with practice, which unfortunately, it seem I will get.)

  • Deborah Bartlett

    This is the way I see it. It is what it is what it isn't. I have COPD…a progressive lung disease and the severe asthma…plus many other small ailments. Denying all of the facts and hoping it will all go away is NOT going to cure non-curable diseases. Managing in the proper way, and being positive and enjoying life IS the best way. I help people who have COPD, to feel better about daily life. If we don't follow our med schedule…how is that going to help us? As I say to COPD patients- Be strong. Stay calm. Carry on. 💪

  • LK
    StephM posted:

    Yes, the grief/acceptance sorts of thing with these conditions is harder than society tends to talk about!  Often, it's Chicken Soup inspiration instead of being sad you couldn't blah-blah-blah because of xyz.

    StephM,  Agreed.  Interesting how this was in my devotional yesterday!

  • Shea

    I love that Lisa. I too found it was best for me not to try to put on the fake smile all the time, or try and push myself over my limit, and just be okay with not being okay. It was freeing and empowering when I did that. Not pessimistic, just not okay with the way things are and not happy… But okay with the fact that I am not happy. I am not trying to pretend I dont hurt, or pretend that there is an easy answer out there. I am not even searching to my wits end for new treatments anymore. To me it is about compassion for myself. When I feel bad, I ask myself what will make me feel better… And I do that. And it is usually going to lay down. I cannot tell you how many times I take breaks to lay down throughout the day. And it really helps me. Like a small recharge. Sometimes I wish I was a bear and could hibernate in a cave for a whole season. But I have daily things that need to be done… The bare necessities… And so today Baloo the Bear is my spirit animal:

  • Deborah Bartlett

    I believe that if you have children, you have a responsibility to take care of yourself. Why? Because you love your children and they need you. That is reason enough to keep on going! 😊

  • Shea

    Yes for sure. I feel like those things really go hand-in-hand: I take care of myself and it allows me to take care of my child, and he watches and learns from that and also looks out for me and himself, so we are a good team.