A few weeks ago I gave in. It was getting ridiculous, so very ridiculous and I needed to do something about it. I was tired of doing it every morning when I work up and never having enough room for what I needed. I was also sick of fishing around in my handbag for strays when things went awry and not realising when my supplies were running low…
Any idea what I’m talking about yet?
I’m talking about the bane of my existence (ok maybe not quite that bad but still pretty annoying) having to organise the 30 tablets I take each day into their correct dose times in a pill organiser (or organizer if you’re from the States) that was originally intended to be used for an entire week. 7 compartments is pretty handy but having to do it every day as soon as I woke up, before my brain started functioning properly wasn’t going so well.
I take quite a few tablets every day to keep my body is the best working order it can be, as do many people living with chronic illnesses. Sometimes I think it’s too much and some days I’d really prefer not to but I know that if I don’t take them my blood pressure will drop or my heart rate will get too high thanks to Dysautonomia and then I’ll spend the day on the couch unable to get up for long. If I want to be able to stand up and walk around I have to take them, if I want to prevent daily migraines I have to take them, if I want to have some relief from chronic pain thanks to Endometriosis, Adenomyosis or dodgy hyper mobile joints and muscles due to Ehlers Danlos Syndrome I have to take them. So I guess I have to take them!
Cue a facebook post by my friend Claire, mother of instagram cat celebrity ‘Gremlin The Cat’ (on instagram @Gremlinthecat)! She had purchased a 1 week 7 day spring loaded pill box about a year ago and was still raving about it. I gave in, I had to try it to see if it could turn my life (and my mornings) around!
Hers was blue and purple but I wanted to find out if there were any other colours available, I mean really, I can’t have the exact same medication organiser as my friend – we already share a name so how much more the same do we really want to be, how totally embarrassing would it be if we turned up somewhere with the same pill organiser 😉
Go go google search! I quickly discovered that it was made by Fortuna Healthcare in the UK and available in 4 different colour combinations; blue and purple, just blue, hot pink and rainbow (with a different coloured box for each day). Boy was I excited! Yes I know it could sound a little sad that I got excited over a pill organiser but hey, my life was going to get that much easier so I’m ok with being excited about it! I settled on a pink one from eBay and waited (mostly) patiently for it to arrive from the UK.
When it arrived I eagerly opened the package and yes, the daily pill organiser boxes were as pink as the pictures showed them to be! So after washing it I set it up for the rest of the week – I was like a kid at Christmas marvelling at all the cool features! How the boxes bounced on the springs, how they popped up when I opened their individual lids, how the pill compartments were big enough to hold my larger after breakfast and after dinner pills and how very pretty and pink it was!
After 2 weeks of use I think I can safely say I love it! Here’s what I have found:
- The lids of the daily pill organisers click securely together and the neat, rounded shape means I haven’t had to fish any pills out of my handbag thanks to lids snagging on things and popping undone.
- 4 compartments is a decent size, it does mean having to keep 2 doses in one compartment but that’s ok, I can still see what i haven’t taken and what I have. I still need 2 more compartments for my bed time and first thing in the morning tablets but because I don’t have to carry them around with me all the time I can use my now neglected single strip weekly pill organisers as am and pm boxes for a whole week.
- The wells are a really good size (2cm wide by 1.5cm deep at the base, 1.8cm deep at the widest part where the lid clicks on and 2.2cm high at the top of the curved lid – they can fit quite a few things in there, including larger tablets like vitamins and antibiotics
- The spring loaded compartments for each day make it really easy to pull the boxes out and the springs aren’t too resistant so they can easily be pushed back in again.
- The cap lids on the compartments are easy to close and click closed securely.
- Being able to set up your medications for the week means you know what needs replacing sooner and have more time to get new scripts from your doctor or repeats filled.
- Price – it’s pretty cheap really, I expected it to be about twice the price so was pleasantly surprised and shipping from the UK was a lot lower than I expected.
- Lastly (and this is the thing I am most excited about!) being able to pack up your entire weekly medication collection into one streamlined box means not having to take a huge bag of medication bottled and packets with you on holiday – woohoo!!
- Some reviews on Amazon say the springs get some wear after a while and stop being quite so springy and eventually the lids don’t click in quite as well
- One review said the daily organisers are top heavy and because of the shape they fall over when the lids are open – I say it’s not a huge problem in the scheme of things… You can always prop them against something if you’re concerned about tipping it over or just dole them our one day at a time like I do because I know I’ll knock one over if I have them all lined up at once!
- Having so many boxes to fill takes time – do it while your brain is working properly not after you’ve taken your night time meds that can affect your cognitive function 😉
So, if you don’t want to go down the webster pack avenue (don’t get me wrong, they’re completely awesome but not as transportable as a daily strip organiser) and have to fill a single strip weekly pill organiser every day, this is a fantastic alternative! I’m going to talk to my pharmacist about ordering them in because I think everyone should have this option readily available to them (and no I’m not being paid for this post, I just think they’re quite cool)
Where to get them:
- I expect in the UK where Fortuna Healthcare is based you can get them from your local pharmacy that stocks the brand or they can be ordered in easily enough
- I purchased mine from UK store Mobility Choices on their eBay store, they also have a website if you’re located in the UK – They had pink or blue to choose from and very cheap international shipping or free shipping to the UK from their eBay store – they also stock a tonne of other products and aids in lots of different colours (I’m tempted to upgrade my black folding walking stick for a pretty coloured or patterned one now!).
- Amazon have quite a few listed (including the rainbow ones) but most of them only ship to USA so if you’re outside America you might have to shop around a bit
A lot of people comment on the number of pills I take every day, for people who don’t take any or think 1 tablet a day is hard to do I guess it would seem pretty astonishing – but you get used to it. Of course getting used to it doesn’t mean you have to like it, but given the choice between collapsing in a ball of pain and syncope and actually being able to function – I choose taking pills and functioning. It’s not easy, I do forget sometimes which is why having my doses spread out in the box is great because I can see what I’ve taken and what i haven’t. I also find alarms and alerts on my phone a great way to remember to take them. One lot (Midodrine, a vasoconstrictor very common in the treatment of Dysautonomia and postural Hypotension) have to be taken every 3 hours while I am awake with a maximum of 4 doses per day and there’s no way I’d remember to take them exactly on time without an alarm. I used to have a digital sports watch but it died so now I use my phone.
Having Dysautonomia means that heart rate monitoring is often a fact of life so a watch that can do this is pretty handy – my little sports watch used to have a touch activated heart rate monitor that was pretty accurate and I’ve been trying to find a good HR watch that doesn’t involve having to wear a chest strap, since it stopped working. I was tempted by the fitbit HR but for an incredibly fancy pants HR monitoring and phone connecting watch it surprisingly lacks the basic functions of a digital watch – alarms and timers – in my opinion this is a pretty HUGE design flaw for a digital watch, just saying! I have pretty high hopes for the Apple Watch but of course that is a bit higher on the price scale and not waterproof – it will involve some saving up for!
So I use my trusty phone to remind me. I’ve had the same song set on my phone as my pill reminder timer alarm for several years now and I think I’m ready for a change – must get my thinking cap on and I would be very appreciative of any suggestions! The song I have had until now is Cee Lo Green’s ‘Forget You’ – the PG version of the incredibly popular ‘F**k You’ but more appropriate as a reminder alarm as it has the word forget in there – yes I thought I was being terribly clever with that one 😉
I quite like CeeLo, his music is a lot of fun to bop along to.
Have you got one of these 7 day pill boxes or are you thinking of getting one? I’d love to hear what other people think of them