Tuesday, May 18

pillole, pastillas....

...or pills as they are more commonly known, have become
a part of everyday life since my mom came to live with us.
My mom was always proud that she didn't have to take any
prescription medicine until recently, and I am glad to say that
supplements outnumber the pills even now. But I have never
liked the words "pills" (which puts me in mind of Lottie's little
speech in the beginning of Enchanted April about
her last name

"I am Mrs. Wilkins.
"She did not like her name. It was a mean, small name,
with a kind of facetious twist, she thought about its end like
the upward curve of a pugdog's tail. There it was.
-Elizabeth Von Arnim

Even less did I like dispensing all of the pills from their plastic
containers night and morning and having the bottles clutter
up the counter. First I looked at the typical pill dispensers
(plastic and very ugly and more than we needed in the way of safety).
Then I searched the web long and hard for a set of tiny drawers
that could divide up the "servings" of pills morning and night.
I couldn't find anything that suited, but got a wonderful idea
when I spotted a little set of drawers made of
matchboxes on etsy.

We decorate little matchboxes as favors for our Solstice
gathering every December, and I had several left over, so I made
several more...decorated with bits of handmade paper and
decorative bits from catalogues and my old misprints.
Then I printed out a sheet of labels that I cut out with
deckle-edged scissors and pasted to one side of the
matchbox. Perhaps I could figure out how to make the
sheet downloadable here if there is interest?

Once a week I gather all the pill bottles and my pretty
stack of boxes and fill them for the week ahead....usually
while watching the telly. Although, truly, it only takes five
to ten minutes! Then I store the bottles away again for another
week and the little boxes line up nicely in our
herb and spice drawer.

Every morning at breakfast and in the evening after supper
I pull out the appropriate box and place it at my mom's place
at the table. She often comments on a picture she sees on the
box and I can't tell you how pleasant it is to slide open the
little box rather than having to open and close the numerous
bottles morning and night.

And it is so easy to toss one or two in my purse if we are
going to be away from home at pillole time. If things change
for my mom and we have to worry about her access to the pills,
we can easily put a safety latch on the drawer. But that is not an
issue at the moment. And something that used to a bit tedious
and irritating to me is easy and sometimes beautiful.
I intend to make some little boxes for my own
supplements very soon and banish all plastic
bottles from my day-to-day.

P.S. My mom's unusual confusion lasted only the day,
with a little fever coming to her in the evening. I have still
not gotten used to that connection of bodily dis-ease with increased
mental dis-ease and don't think of it at first. It will come to me
more quickly, I know, as I get more accustomed to this
life of caregiving.


Anonymous said...

Hello Lesley, you won't have to worry about answering this comment, because I don't have a blog!
I too find myself in the unexpected position of caregiver, as my husband was diagnosed in January with Stage 4 lung cancer. I am dispensing pills morning and nightly and I love this dispensing idea!!It is much prettier than those plastic pill bottles! IF you ever decide to make and sell these I will be your willing customer! xoxo Kathy L

maryanne said...

Lesley, this is a great idea! We are dealing with exactly this issue at the moment as mum's medications have increased and changed and, though she's ok mentally, she has been getting a bit overwhelmed and the palliative care nurse suggested one of those big plastic packs. This idea is much nicer and less clinical and I will definitely be going for it.

Something not everyone knows is that urinary tract infections often cause mental confusion in the elderly. It can even be the first noticeable symptom, with mild urinary symptoms. When I was nursing, we always used to test the urine of an older person if they suddenly became more confused.

Anonymous said...

What a lovely way to organize all those meds, Lesley, and a much prettier way to present them on the table. Sheets of downloadable labels would be a much appreciated thing.

And Lesley, dear, your care-giving blog is going to be such a comfort to many! {gentle hug}

Lisa said...

Making the pill boxes out of matchboxes is truly inspired! Love these ~ just a little thing but made so much more pleasant!

GiGi said...

I was going to post something similar to Maryann, that urinary tract infections can come out of the blue and with very little warning and can appear to be either something completely different or much worse.

My dad got one, not sure how or why, but his symptoms were shaking and shivering but if you felt his head it was cool but when we took his temperature it was like 101. We thought maybe it was a mini-stroke but turned out to be a UTI.

sarah said...

this is beautiful - expectedly so, coming from you. I love the way you use the word caregiving, because I know that you will live it in the most tender and true sense, giving care. I hope I will have the same kindness if my time for it ever comes.