Routine Disruption

Everyone gets into routines – processes that you do often enough that you don’t think about it when you’re going through the motions. Imagine your morning routine – shower (shampoo, soap, rinse, dry), deodorant, brush hair, etc…  You probably go through that routine without much thought. Occasionally, you forget to check if your shoes match or to pack your underwear to wear after a morning post-work out shower.

If you have children, getting ready for school is probably another routine. Such a routine is only modified by a sleepy, grumpy child who is unsatisfied with their clothing or breakfast options.

One of my routines involves taking medication twice a day to ensure I don’t have seizures. My alarms – mine, my husband’s, and my daughter’s verbal reminders – go off at regular times in the morning and night so that I don’t forget to take these essential medicines. If I have a seizure, I can’t drive for at least 3 months, I end up in the hospital, and if my seizure is not brought under control I could get (further) brain injury or worst case, die.

99% of the time, this routine goes off as planned. IF there’s a lot going on at the designated times (usually non-routine activities), even with all of the alarms, I can forget. My alarm goes off and I get up to take my meds and I get distracted between the family room and the kitchen (where my drugs are stored). I’ll stop to do any variety of things on that short journey from one room to the next and then carry on with another variety of things – sometimes ironically trying to remember . Forgetting the one critical thing I got up to do. My short-term memory issues create some risk with my high level of distractibility. 99% of the time, there’s someone around to remind me. Every once in a while that’s not the case, and I have to ask someone with a better short-term memory to recall whether they saw me swallow my pills.

Occasionally I have to leave the house before the morning drug ingesting hour and alarms. This is where the routine of the drugs takes over. I carefully dispense my handful of drugs to take with me. Then I grab my bottle of water and swallow them…early. The downside of a regular routine. While I still manage to get my drugs morning and night, they’re sometimes a little off in timing. The important thing is that they’re working and I feel pretty great.

But it continues to be a learning process. While the alarm system works very well, sometimes a fail safe is a good idea. This is where pill containers come in handy. I never thought that at 45 years old I’d be looking for the perfect pill container to organize my daily drug regiment. I’m looking for a pill container with a full week of am and pm compartments. There are so many choices, I’ll probably get distracted and walk to another aisle to find some shampoo.

And so the battle to live life with brain cancer continues.