Note: This post was originally published January 11, 2018.
As I get more and more used to taking more medications, I become more aware of the need to take all of them, and to take them at the right time. Different medications stay in the body for varying amounts of time, and if you go too long without them you’re at much greater risk for seizures. Sometimes, even going only one hour past the appropriate medication time can lead someone to have a seizure.
In my case, I have one medication that needs to be taken once a day. It’s what’s called an extended-release tablet. It dissolves in your body but only releases the medication very slowly. Then there’s a medication I have to take twice a day, and another one three times a day. Plus, there are calcium and vitamin D, which I have to take twice a day with meals. (And orange juice, according to my genius nurse sister.)
This makes taking medications a really complicated process. I have my morning meds (3 pills) at 6 AM. Then my morning vitamins (2 pills) at 7, with breakfast. Then my afternoon meds (1 pill) at 3. Then my vitamins again at dinnertime. And finally meds once more at bedtime (3 more pills). Scheduling it all, and remembering it, is annoying.
I do it though. There have been times when I’ve forgotten, or got preoccupied, or what have you. There have been times when I didn’t keep track of how many pills I had left, and I ran out. Even when nothing happened, I was stressed. Was I going to have a seizure? Would I manage for the next hour? The next day? Would it be OK if I took a dose of my emergency medication? Could I take an extra pill of one of my other medications? I was on tenterhooks until I could get that pill in me. And when I did have a seizure, I felt guilty. I knew it was completely my fault.
So now I obsess over it. I have a gigantic weekly medication box. I check every week to see if I have less than a week of any of my meds. I have alarms on my cell phone. I have a medication tracker app on the phone. Anything and everything I can think of to make sure that I take all my medications, on time, every day.
For you guys who have been diagnosed with epilepsy for a while, what do you do to track your meds? For those who are new to it, or anyone with questions: Make sure you take care of this. It may be the most important thing in your new life.
Be well, be strong, own your epilepsy.