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My Parkinson's Journey

In which Terri shares a humorous look at her journey with Parkinson's disease and Dystonia:

For me, illness and health are not opposites but exist together. Everyone has something that is challenging to them. Mine just simply has a recognizable name. My life will take a different path because of this but that's okay. Everyone has changes in their lives that create their path.  I'm learning how to enjoy whatever path I'm on.

Did you take your meds? - a review of the E-Pill Dispenser and Alarm

Terri Reinhart

 Fortunately, in our modern times we have developed ways to make sure we never forget to take our medication. Here are the ways I have found which are effective for me:

Cell phone alarm clock – I can set this to any time during the day and set the particular music for the alarm. This is high tech. I have my phone with me all the time, so I always hear it.

The downside is, sometimes I simply turn it off and forget to go get my meds. Later, as I start to feel wonky, I can't remember. Did I take the pill or not? This is normal, not dementia.

E-Pill Dispenser – This is something new. One of the cool things is it was designed by someone who actually has Parkinson's disease. I assume this person had already tried many of the other methods I listed here.

Cool thing number two: This is a pill organizer and medication alarm all in one. When the alarm goes off, the medications are right there.

Cool thing number three: If I don't turn off the alarm and take my pill, there will be a flashing, “Missed dose” sign on the clock readout.

Since using the E-Pill Dispenser, I haven't missed any doses. This might have something to do with my cell phone alarm still going off, one minute after the E-Pill alarm. It also might have something to do with my spouse coming in and asking, “Have you taken your pill?”, ten minutes later.

Out of the three methods I am currently using, I would say the E-Pill Dispenser is the one I would recommend. It is small enough I can carry it in my purse, yet large enough to hold a week's worth of meds. The alarm isn't nearly as pretty as the cello music which plays on my cell phone alarm, but it certainly gets my attention. The alarm times are very easy to set and easy to read. The alarm will continue for 4 minutes before stopping and activating the “missed dose” sign.

If I were able to make a small improvement, I would ask for an automatic snooze period, after which the alarm would go off again. The “missed dose” readout is easy to miss. I also like the music on my cell phone alarm. When the beeping of the E-Pill goes off in a store or airport, I tend to assume it's just part of all the other background noises. Then my daughter nudges me and says, “Mom, it's your alarm.”

There's nothing wrong with the beeping alarm. I just have to get used to it. For now, I have my cell phone alarm still set as a back-up. Part of the key for me is not to rely soley on one method of remembering.

There will never be a perfect way to ensure we take our meds until someone invents a pill organizer with a GPS and the ability to find us wherever we are and insist we take our meds while they watch.

Oh, right. That's already been done. It's called “The Spouse”.

I'll take the E-Pill.