I am currently on vacation for the holidays. I’ve been able to see all my close family. Exchanged presents. Ate a damn good ham. That is all fine and good, but what about my routine? What about my medication management? Keeping on top of your medication regiment can be difficult when you are away from home or in a different time zone. Here are some tips I’ve learned along the way. I hope they can help make your life a bit easier.
1. Bring more than enough meds
Sure, you are supposed to be gone from your home for 4 days. What happens when you get snowed in for an extra 3 days? You will still need your medication. You will still be beautifully bipolar whether it snows or not, so bring along extra medication. I usually bring at least 5 days worth of pills in addition to what I KNOW I will need.
2. Choose a national pharmacy
I use CVS. I am not saying they are the best, they are just the ones to dole out my medication. If you work with a pharmacy that is a national chain, you can get your medication from say another CVS in a different city or state. I actually had to do that since I’ve been here because my refill date fell during this trip.
3. Try to stick to your regular schedule
This one can be hard, but seriously try to take your meds at the same time you do at home, even if you are hours out of your time zone. Some medications can be taken at different times without effect, but others you may need to stick to.
4. Set alarms
Set alarms on your phone to remind you to take your pills. I take a particular medication that I must allow 4 hours to pass before taking the second dose. I use an alarm to remind me when it is time to take that second dose. When you are busy with family or friends it is really easy to lose track of time.
5. Ask people in your support system to remind you to take your meds
It is totally okay (and often a good idea) to ask people in your support system to remind you or ask if you have taken your medication.
6. Don’t be afraid to call your doctor
I actually had to do this a few days ago. As you may know, I am going through a major med change. Everything is pretty cool except I can’t stay asleep, thus, I am very tired. It is never a good idea for me to lose too much sleep. It can spur mania in my beautiful brain. As a responsible patient with a mental illness, I called my doc. Left a message and waited for him to call back – which he did. We discussed dosages and adjustments and it made me feel better. If you have a medication problem, your first two resources are your doctor and your pharmacist. Please don’t be afraid to ask questions, no matter how far away from home you are.
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