Tag Archives: Pills

A Day of Arguing with Myself


It’s only midday, and already I’m sick of arguing with myself. I just had to look up the rules for capitalization in titles because I couldn’t remember if I should capitalize “with” or not, and it was looking like something else I could spin my head around indefinitely. Thank goodness for Google.

My major arguments this morning have been on two subjects. First, I woke up feeling not-great and not-miserable.

[Side Note: If you don’t have chronic pain, and you woke up feeling like I woke up feeling this morning, you would probably call in to work and/or get a loved one to take you to the hospital, but my definitions of not-miserable have undergone a radical shift in the past few years. You’d be amazed at what a person can be happy to live with after enough practice. I don’t say this to make you feel sorry for me, or bad for complaining about your own stuff. I actually feel–I guess you could say that I feel reluctantly honored that the universe has bestowed this lesson of what I am capable of getting out of life upon me. I’ve been able to pare away some of the fluff of existence and get down to some of the more important things, and learn to not get as worked up about some of the less important things. I can’t say that I’m any happier than I used to be, although perhaps that will come. I can say I’m not as unhappy and I feel like my life has more reality to it, even if I do struggle with my sense of purpose at times. Get back to me in a few more years and perhaps I’ll be able to make more sense out of this than I can at the moment. =-)]

So my day began with what has become The Consuming Question lately–how much pain medicine should I take? As you may remember, I recently tapered off of morphine, started taking vicodin as a maintenance painreliever instead of a breakthrough painreliever in order to cope with the pain of coming off the morphine, and then began to taper off of the vicodin. This is not a function of addiction, by the way, just a function of the way one’s body adapts to having high levels of opioid medications in one’s system, and while I am blessed to not feel the need that an addict feels without his or her substance, the pain of being deficient in opioids when one’s body has added too many opioid receptors (also known as withdrawal) is bad enough. Honestly, I have no idea how an addict ever manages to quit.

Anyway, I had agonizingly inched my pain reliever levels down to four half-pills (of an extra-strength dosage) by the end

English: Vicodin tablets Italiano: Pillole di ...

of the MLK 3-day weekend. Since I had gotten stuck at five whole pills for about five weeks, this is encouraging, but I really want to have a chance for my body to get accustomed to ZERO added opioids–that way, when I do have a pain flare or a bad day, taking a vicodin will help a lot instead of barely at all. So this morning when I felt not-miserable, I thought, “Hey, maybe I can just stop taking all my pills and be done with this in about 3 days!”

Of course, I’ve tried that before, and it’s never worked–inevitably, if I drop my dosage too much, I end up getting a CRPS full-body flare from the withdrawal pain, and having to bounce back to an increased dosage just to manage the flare, generally always settling back to exactly where I was before. But it’s just so tempting to try and get it all done with so I don’t have to keep inching down the dose, dealing with the withdrawal pain for 3-5 days, not being up to do much of anything for quite some time after that, and then doing it again. I’ve been at this for about 4 months now. It sucks. I am ready to get to the part where I get to have some good days, and can effectively treat the bad days. I’m past ready.

So the morning was spent getting more and more painful, until midday when I was about to be down two halves instead of just the first one and I decided if I skipped the second as well, I’d never make it to my early evening appointment. So–I may be able to get down to three halves without too much trouble, or I may have to bounce back to four, but no cold turkeys–or even moderately chilled turkeys–for this cat today, and possibly a wasted morning. Ah, well.

The other subject on my mind for debate this morning was this Coursera class I’m signed up for. It’s on fantasy and science fiction and looks really interesting, but it requires a novel worth of reading and an essay every week. I went for it in the first place because even if I quit or decide not to do the homework or whatever, there won’t be any negative consequences–the courses are free, and if you don’t pass you just don’t get the Certificate of Completion (which doesn’t count for a whole lot anyway–it isn’t college credit or anything). But not having much to lose, while it did make it easy for me sign up for the course, also makes it easier to quit, and I think about quitting daily. I’d like to prove to myself that I can still accomplish something like this, despite my disability. But I also know that this might not be the right time to do it, or the right level at which to start (there are lighter-workload classes on the site). At the moment, I haven’t quit yet. But I feel like it’s going to be up in the air for the 11 weeks of the course, and all the deliberating whether I should give up or not is already a bit exhausting.

I’ve had similar thoughts about this blog, to be honest. I’m kind of an expert at starting projects and then wandering off to something else without finishing them. But the other bloggers on my reading list and the bloggers and non-bloggers who read Attempting Perfection are really important to me. My blog makes me feel like I’m making a contribution to the world, and while I may not be able to be as consistent about posting as I would prefer, this is something that is flexible enough that I can do it, disabled or not. And I still have things to get out there about pain, life with pain, and what we can do about it.

So the blog, I’m sticking with for this year. My little pipeline into the bigger world. And the rest I’ll just have to take one day at a time–just like the rest of my life. Keep on keeping on, my friends! See you soon.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Keeping Track of All These Pills


As someone with CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome), I take a LOT of prescriptions. Some I take twice a day. Others, three times a day. Certain pills, if I don’t take them within 15-20 minutes of when I’m supposed to, will make me throw up all day or other bizarre punishments. On top of all my prescribed meds, there are some vitamins and other supplements, like fish oil and GABA,that I’ve added in as well to help me feel as good as I possibly can.  If you were to measure my pills by daily volume, you’d fill about a 1/4 c measuring cup. That’s a lot of pills.

Another Month or Two

Now, CRPS and Pain are not great on the short-term memory, and they also inhibit the mind’s ability to manage complex tasks. Certain of the medications I take, (gabapentin and opiod painrelievers, I’m looking at you) also contribute to these mental difficulties.  Making sure I take the right medications at the right times, and remembering if I already took this or that pill, definitely qualifies as a complex task requiring short-term memory. And I just don’t have it.

I tried several systems before I developed my current one. I tried turning bottles upside down after taking a pill, labeling the pill bottle caps with the time of day and number of pills to take, creating complicated positioning systems to leave clues for myself as to where I was in the day’s routine, and even giving up entirely and making my sweetie responsible for my pills. I bought special pill bottle caps with built-in timers that told you how long it has been since you last opened the bottle–the batteries all died in a week or two. I resisted pill organizers for a long time, because I didn’t want to be the classic old lady with the giant pill organizer in my early 30’s. I also still had trouble with a lot of organizers because they either weren’t big enough or didn’t have the right number of categories.  I found one at the $2 store (inflation bites) that sort of helped, at least for the twice a day ones, but only could handle 3 days of pills before refilling. And then finally, at that same $2 store, I hit the jackpot. Eureka!


These lovely little modular pill boxes that came in sets of three and could fit together, a bit like legos, in infinite numbers and combinations. I bought them all–10 sets, 30 boxes. I made half of them AM and half PM, and I had 15 days of the twice-a-day pills–I only had to sort pills twice a month!I grab one PM and one AM every night for my 9pm pill time. I know I’ve taken it that night already if there is a full AM on the bedside. And in the morning, either it’s there full to take, or I already took it. If I worry that I may have forgotten, all I need to do is look. If I’m going to be out late, I put the AM next to the bed before I leave and the PM in my purse. It doesn’t take up a lot of room and my phone alarm goes off to remind me to take my pills every time I have one. If I leave in the morning before 9, I can pop that pill case in my purse and will have it when the 9am alarm sounds. So that’s perfect for my twice-a-days.

The ones I have the worst trouble with are the 3-times-a-day pills. I don’t have a work schedule and often feel nauseated due to some of my meds, so my meal times are not on any regular schedule, and these work best if they are taken precisely every 8 hours. I tried a few confgurations, but I found that the most convenient times were 5am (I wake up to the alarm, take the pills, and have the easiest time getting back to sleep at that hour), 1pm, and then 9pm with the rest of the pills. That 1pm was always getting missed or delayed because I happened to be out away from my pill bottles, or other inconveniences, and I was still having trouble remembering if I’d taken that dose or not–and I wouldn’t want to take them twice!


Finally, I ordered a bunch of these metal capsules online–you’ve probably seen them; they are shaped like a pill, with an o-ring where they screw apart, and usually have a keyring on the cap. I got enough I can fill 15 of them with my daily midday pills, and then just clip the tiny little case to my mobile phone–I take my phone everywhere anyway, and as long as it’s around, I get my pills right then and there when the alarm goes off. I can swap the case out in the evening when I get my other organizers out of the fridge.



So that’s my system! Anyone else have a pill system that works well for them? I’d love to hear about it!


If you liked this post, you may also like: