I’m very fortunate when it comes to my health. I’ve reached my mid-forties without ever having been seriously ill or badly injured. I’ve never been hospitalized and have only one chronic health concern. I have polycystic kidney disease (PKD), a genetic kidney condition that causes progressive deterioration of the kidneys leading to eventual kidney failure. I was born with it, of course, but I’ve known I’ve had it for about twenty years. PKD can cause pain and other symptoms, but in my case there are none that I would notice. My doctor noticed that my blood pressure was starting to rise, which is a symptom of PKD and very important to control because high blood pressure itself can cause kidney damage and accelerate the progression of the disease.
To control the high blood pressure my doctor put me on medication. It’s a very easy medication to take, just one pill every day. I don’t have to take it with food, or without food. It doesn’t interact badly with any foods I like. I don’t even need a glass of water to wash the pill down. There were some side effects when I first started taking it, but they don’t bother me anymore as I’ve been on it for a decade, and my body has long since adjusted itself. The only problem I have with my medication is remembering to take it.
I don’t know why, but that little pill is very hard to remember even though I’ve been taking it for a long time. I know it won’t help me if don’t take it, but it’s not uncommon for me to realize halfway through the day that I haven’t taken my medication. If I have it on hand when I realize I’ve forgotten it I take it then, but, if I don’t, the dose gets skipped. Sometimes I don’t remember the pill for days at a time. Once or twice I’ve forgotten to take the pills with me when I went on vacation.
I’ve tried lots of things to help me remember the pill. I’ve tried to establish a routine that makes taking my medication a habit but haven’t had much success with that. I’ve put the pill on calendars and to-do lists, but that doesn’t help me that much, either. I’ve set an alarm on my phone to remind me to take the pill every morning, which helps sometimes but fails if I’m not awake and ready to take the pill when it goes off. Nothing I’ve done really makes a difference, until recently. If I’m rushed, tired, or preoccupied with something else, I forget my pill.
A few weeks ago I realized what I could do that would really help me to not forget the pill. I changed where I keep the pill bottle. I moved it from the pantry in the kitchen to my laptop bag. I usually log on to my computer for the first time in the morning long before I leave the house and when I do my pills are right there at arms reach, where I can see them. Even if I go to work early and don’t log on until I get there my pills are still in front of me when I open the bag. If I suddenly realize at lunch time that I haven’t taken my pill yet, they’re in the bag. I usually even take my computer when I go away for a weekend, and I’ll certainly take it with me if I go away on business. Since I moved the bottle, I think I’ve only forgotten them once, which is much better than I’d been doing before.
If I had had Curi™ I think I would have solved this problem long ago. I would have asked my wife to be a minder for me. I imagine I’d get a few phone calls from her when she got a notification that I’d failed to take it, but I wouldn’t forget to take my pill. Curi™ might do more for me than just make sure I got a reminder to take my medication, one way or the other. By making it easier to recognize the patterns in my failures, it might very well have helped me find a real solution sooner.