Don’t Forget Your Medicine!
“I felt so good I just flat out forgot my medicine!” said a COPD patient of mine from out of town. He was referring to his nebulizer and rescue inhaler. He forgot both of them on his vacation to my hometown.
Small town on Lake Michigan
I live in a small town. It has about 10,000 or so residents. It’s sort of out of the way on the west shore of Lake Michigan. You don’t just accidentally drive through my town. You literally have to go out of your way to get here and what drives out of towners here is the Lake. Although, we also have many other reasons for visiting us, such as our many other lakes, streams, and rivers that are ideal for fishing.
So, there are times we get vacationers in our emergency room. Or, sometimes it’s a person who has two homes: one in sunny Florida and one in my town. They usually go to Florida in the winter and here in the summer. Sometimes they forget things, like their COPD medicine. Or, they forget their rescue inhaler or nebulizer.
I mean, it’s not like you come here to see me. It just so happens that we are here to help you if you need it, and we are here to help you if you forgot your nebulizer. This happens more than once during the course of a year. So, if you’ve done this, you are not alone.
Easier said than done
You plan ahead. You pack everything you need and take off on your trip. It's time for a vacation. You are going to stay at your summer home and you are excited and eager. In such situations, you may forget a thing or two. You may forget your so important medicine. You may forget your nebulizer. It happens.
So, how do you prevent this? Well, as an asthmatic who has lots of medicine, including inhalers and a nebulizer, I know what it’s like. My strategy involves making a list of what I need to take and I keep this list in my top desk drawer. Whenever I’m going somewhere for the night or longer, I take out my list. As I’m packing, I check off things when I pack them.
The night before, I go over this list again. I make doubly sure everything on this list is packed. Sometimes I find that I checked something off and still didn’t have it packed. Or, I forgot where I put it. This is sort of a nice little system I have developed.
I always make sure I take more than one inhaler. I pack one and the other I make sure is in my pocket. Or I put one in the console between the two front seats. Even though I don’t use it very often, I pack my nebulizer and I pack the medicine I use with the nebulizer. You might have a different system that works for you.
One of my COPD patients said he has three nebulizers. He has a tabletop at his home in Florida and a tabletop at his home in my town. He also has a portable nebulizer he keeps in his car. This way he has one no matter where he goes or where he is. It works for him.
If you've forgotten your medicine, you are not alone. If you've had a flare-up after forgetting your medicine, you are not alone there either. If you have a story about forgetting your medicine, I would love to hear it. Please share it in the comments below.
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