Managing Medications With the Perfect Pill Organizer

Lisa Weber avatar

by Lisa Weber |

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“Did I take my pills?” I wonder as I hold three giant capsules. I stare at them and try to backtrack through my day, but I have no idea. All my mornings collide together. Now I’m faced with the choice between skipping my lifesaving medicine or taking an extra dose, which could prove risky.

No matter how hard I try to be consistent with my routines, this dilemma becomes a recurring scenario. Things happen, especially with young children and the hectic scramble to get everyone out of the house on time for school.

Consistency keeps me alive

I must take my pills regularly because I live with scleroderma, a vicious chronic illness. One medication weakens my immune system so my cells stop attacking and damaging my internal organs. Two other medications keep my blood vessels open to maintain circulation. Without them, I could pass out or lose my fingers and toes. I take many other pills to keep me alive and improve my quality of life.

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There are many serious risks involved when I miss a dose or double up and take more than I should. My prescriptions all come with warning pamphlets that could be reprinted as mini chapter books. Some of the side effects include my heart’s inability to keep up with my body’s demand for oxygen, severe stomach ulcers that could lead to blood loss, and serious brain infections. No, thank you. I have enough problems — I don’t need to deal with more!

Managing medications with a pill organizer

I knew I needed to come up with a foolproof system to manage my medications. So, I began my search for a pill organizer.

First, I purchased colorful weekly pill compartments. Seven boxes stuck together in a row, labeled Sunday through Saturday. Since I have to take medicine three times a day, I bought three for morning, afternoon, and evening. I thought they would work because they closed tightly and wouldn’t accidentally open if I fumbled them.

One time, I dropped a tiny white pill on my kitchen floor. Since my dogs are like food piranhas, I had to dive into recovery mode before one of them snatched it up as a treat. That particular tablet could easily kill one of my 12-pound pups.

After a bruised knee and a near heart attack, I safely recovered the medicine. But I can’t imagine I’d have success if the entire pillbox opened. I’m clumsy thanks to my stiff and awkward claw-like hands, so I’m guaranteed to drop the box!

The problem with this particular organizer is that it was too difficult to open. This box required good muscle strength to loosen the clasps on the latch. By the time I was done filling each box, my fingers were in so much pain.

Additionally, it wasn’t travel-friendly. Even if I would only be gone for a day, I needed to bring a whole week’s worth. The containers were too big to stuff in a purse, and I was afraid of losing that many expensive pills.

Finding the right fit

I began another search for the perfect organizer. It took a few more tries, but I finally found the one that fits my needs and lifestyle perfectly.

Two images of Lisa's weekly rainbow-colored pill organizer. The top image shows the organizer closed up, and the bottom image shows the seven rows open with pills inside.

A week’s worth of medications organized in Lisa’s pill box. (Photo by Lisa Weber)

My organizer holds a week’s worth of pills in a plastic box that has a latch to lock it shut. My favorite part is the daily pill boxes with easy-to-open tabs. This allows me to grab all my Saturday pills when I’ll be gone for the day. Or I can grab the whole case when I’m going away for a week.

(Note: When traveling by plane, check airline guidelines on flying with medication.)

On Sunday mornings, I reload. It takes less than a minute to open all the boxes — and I’m not left with sore fingertips. Like an assembly line, I fill it up for the week and then snap it shut without any issues. Easy to travel, easy to open, and easy to fill. It’s a win for Lisa!

It’s a lifesaver

Now that I have my medications sorted for the week, I don’t have to rely on my memory. “Did I take my morning pills?” Let me check the A.M. box and see. If the pills are in there, the answer is no. If they’re not, I breathe a sigh of relief and know I got the proper daily dosage!

It may take a few tries, but it’s worth finding a system to manage your prescriptions. We have enough to worry about. The little things make a difference!

***

Note: Scleroderma News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Scleroderma News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to scleroderma.

Comments

Sonja Winkelbauer avatar

Sonja Winkelbauer

Hi Lisa, can only agree, these boxes are the best! Kind regards from Austria!

Reply
Colleen Grogan avatar

Colleen Grogan

I love that pill box! Where did you find it? So many times I have gone to empty the morning pills into my hand and the other boxes have opened up spilling all over. So many pills look the same so now I have to figure out what pill is what. So frustrating! Would love to try that one.
Thanks!
Colleen Grogan

Reply
John Stever avatar

John Stever

Thanks for the article about pill containers, it’s been something I’m still working through. I’m a 68 year old guy who was diagnosed 5 1/2 months ago with myositis and systemic scleroderma. So far I’ve been pretty fortunate with not too much in the way of severe side effects; some weight loss, fatigue, muscle weakness, but it could be worse! Methotrexate, hydroxychloroquine, folic acid, cellcept, ivig, prednisone…plus my other supplements and medications I was already taking. Quite the cocktail! Thanks for sharing.

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Elaine Ercolano avatar

Elaine Ercolano

In addition to a good pill organizer, I have found that using my iPhone alarm system to remind me to take the medications at the correct time is a godsend.

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