Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Tracking Medication

Once upon a time I didn't need a pill box or any sort of planner sheet to track my medication.  I opened my sinus medication every night, took my pill and that was it.  There was a time that I didn't even need that - oh, those were the days!

Twenty-two years, two babies, kidney failure, 15 months of dialysis and a transplant later, I have a variable laundry list of medication that I take on a daily basis.

At first it was rather simple to keep it all organized.  When I got low on a medication I would call in a refill and then pick it up.  Later, I purchased a smartphone and soon began using my pharmacy's app.  This app made ordering refills a breeze!  But then there came changes in insurance and new guidelines (I'll spare you all of that) and things weren't so simple anymore.

All of a sudden I needed to get medication at two different pharmacies and I had to keep up with how many prescriptions my insurance would pay for in a month and then there were certain medications they would cover that didn't count toward against my limit but they were 90 day prescriptions and if I didn't order every 30 days...well, it was a jumbled mess in my head.

So, that's where my planner and simple tracking came in.  On graph paper I listed my medications 3 different times down the side of the page, skipping a couple of lines between each instance.  I number columns 1-12 across the top for the months of the year.  In the first section when I refilled a medication, I would right in the appropriate date under the correct month so that at a glance I could see when I last refilled.

In the second section I made 5 rows and listed the 5 medications that  my insurance pays for each month, making sure I list them in order of price (anti-rejection medications are costly).  I do this to make sure that I don't  fill a $20 prescription and  accidentally bump a $700 medication our of my top five.  It also shows me when I have an empty slot that I might need in the future

The last set of medications are my maintenance drugs, or my 90 day medications.  I list the dates last ordered and then use my highlighter to mark 3 months ahead so that I will know when to order again.  Some medications I don't need to be reminded to refill as I can see when I'm low.  My insulin usage amount varies so I don't run out as quickly but I still need to order it to keep it at maintenance status.  I hope that is not confusing - probably none of you need to know how I do that - the point is, a sheet of graph paper and a list of medications is all you need to oversee the many different areas of tracking medication.

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