Pills, Pills, Pills

When I was younger, I remember observing “old” people and vowing I’d never:  1) fall asleep in front of the TV, and 2) talk about all my health issues.  Well, so much for that thought!!  Now I’m guessing all the “young” people are thinking the same things about me.  Oh well.  They’ll have their turn too.  😉


I was pretty much doomed to have some issues.  We can’t escape what we’re born with.  A lot of what I’ve inherited, especially when it comes to health, is from my dad’s side of the family.  For example, I’ve always had a cholesterol problem, regardless of what I eat or how much I exercise.  It’s just going to be high.  So, I’ve taken some form of statin for many years.  One pill a day – no big deal.

Before vertigo

At some point, I developed high blood pressure.  I always associated it with my job, hoping it might not be a problem once I retired.  So, along with the statin, I started taking something for blood pressure.  Two pills a day.

I took a multi-vitamin every day as well as a calcium supplement.  I’ve also struggled with heartburn/acid reflux, so my doctor finally prescribed something for that.  (Today, I could probably get by with something OTC, but I found that ended up being more expensive (for me) than the prescription I have.)

OK, all that was manageable.  I would take my acid reflux pill (omeprazole) and my blood pressure pill first thing in the morning.  (I have to wait one hour before eating after taking the omeprazole.)  After breakfast, I took the vitamin and calcium pills.  Before bed, I took the statin.  Very simple but still 5 pills a day.

After vertigo

When the vertigo struck me, the doctors tried all sorts of things to help me.  First, I was given a diuretic, thinking that would reduce the fluid in my ear.  Fine.  But a diuretic can also be used to manage blood pressure.  So, after a few months, my blood pressure was almost too low!! 

My doctor then took me off the regular blood pressure med and we now use just the diuretic.  Don’t know if it’s doing anything for the vertigo, but it is controlling my blood pressure.  However, my doctor said my potassium was too low (diuretics can do that), so she prescribed a potassium supplement.

I took the vitamin and calcium sporadically during this time and eventually stopped taking them altogether.  My doctor actually told me the vitamin probably wasn’t providing much anyway.

During the first few months of dealing with the vertigo, I became very anxious and depressed.  My doctor suggested I take something for it to see if that would help.  I started taking sertraline and it has definitely made a difference.  I’ve thought about stopping it, but I kind of hate changing anything when I’ve been feeling so good.  Let’s see, I made some changes but at this point, I’m still at 5 pills a day.

After the chiropractor

I was still having good days and bad days with the vertigo, and then I heard about a certain type of chiropractor that deals with the atlas bone.  Evidently, having that out of alignment can cause a lot of problems, one being vertigo.  I decided to give her a try.  (See my prior post about this.)

She suggested I start taking a magnesium supplement, because my back and neck muscles are SO tight.  She says that is causing some of my issues.  (Still does to this day.)  Well, in order to take the right dosage, I had to take 3 pills a day.  I’ve actually liked taking this supplement.  I don’t know if it’s doing much for my muscles but it does help with regularity!!

If you’re keeping track, this means I was up to 8 pills a day.  I spread out the magnesium so I was taking one after each meal.

After Mayo

As you may remember, I went to the Mayo Clinic last November.  They were unable to definitively diagnose my condition, but offered me a drug that’s been used extensively in Europe with good results.  I started taking it at the end of November.  And I take three pills a day just for this.  

During this time, I decided to begin taking calcium again.  I thought it might be a good idea and it would also help with Vitamin D.  I was wondering if my vertigo was worse in the winter due to a lack of Vitamin D.  Who knows?

Anyway, the supplement I found requires me to take 3 pills a day as well!!  I need to look harder to see if I can find something different, but these are easy to take and I’ve established my “pill routine”.

Around this time, my cholesterol levels began to rise.  I read that the diuretic I take can affect cholesterol.  So, now I’m taking a stronger dose of the statin.  How frustrating that each new thing can affect something else!!

Pills, pills, pills – my routine

OK – I’m up to 14 pills a day.  And you know how easy it is to do something and not remember doing it?  I was starting to get that way with my pills.  I’d wonder if I’d taken my “after breakfast pills”.  I certainly didn’t want to take them again if I had, but I also didn’t want to miss a dose.

I thought about one of those seven day pill boxes, but the box for each day is too small to hold all of these pills (some are large).  And they’re kind of clunky in your purse.

Then I had lunch with a friend of mine who had a back condition and needed to take several pills throughout the day.  He was using these pill pouches or little baggies that hold your pills for that day.  I found some on Amazon and I love them!!  (They don’t seem to have the ones I use but there are many options.)

They easily hold my 14 pills and I can take them in my purse if I will be eating somewhere other than home (because I coordinate all my pill taking with meals, except the one I take before bed).

pill pouch
Pill pouch 

I have it down to a science and now I rarely forget to take the right pill at the right time.  I fill up a week’s worth of pill pouches every Tuesday and grab the right one each day. 

I can stick it in my purse if I’m going out for lunch or dinner and I can pack several days worth if I’m taking a trip.  No need to carry all those pill bottles!!

Tim thinks I shouldn’t have to take so many pills, but what do you do?  I’ve considered stopping the diuretic but what if it’s actually helping with the vertigo?  Do I want to even test it?  I tried cutting back on the omeprazole but found I still needed it every day.

No, I like feeling good and if there’s no harm in taking these things, why mess with my pills anymore?  I guess we may not know about any negative long-term effects until it’s too late.  Everything’s a risk these days.

Do you deal with pills, pills, pills too?

3 thoughts on “Pills, Pills, Pills”

  1. I take my pill bottles with me when I travel. Has all the info on them. Plus, I worry about getting delayed so I take extra with me. I do use a pill container (not pouches). Whatever works! It IS a trial and error. I learned a lot when I managed pills for my parents. Who would have thought we’d be doing this at our YOUNG age. I still feel young…

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