Magnets, Meds and Memory

Let’s begin with my memory, especially for the things we do habitually every day and even more especially, the things we do out of habit or automatically in the morning.

Back before they invented coffee makers that shut off on a timer, I can’t tell you how many times I had to leave work to go home because I had convinced myself that I left the coffee maker on. When my job moved further away from home I had a friend who knew how to get into my house for just that reason.

Never – not even once, was the coffee maker found on – I just could not remember shutting it off because it was one of those things we do automatically and do not always remember doing.  If I can’t remember doing it, I begin to convince myself that I forgot to do it.

Morning is the part of the day that I seem most affected by this phenomenon.

The second thing that you need to know about me is that I stink at medication. I have never been on any kind of  medication with the exception of the random round of antibiotics that everyone needs at one time or another. I have a hard time remembering to take them and more than once during the course of the antibiotics, I am dumping them out and counting them to see if I remembered to take one.  I always joke that knowing how bad I am at remembering to take medications (or vitamins for that matter), it is fortunate that I have not ever had to take anything for a serious condition or for a long period of time, because I would most definitely be dead.

DC had never been on any kind of medication either until he was 25 and had to start taking seizure medication.

Knowing what I know about myself, I made sure to set alarms in the morning and the evening – not one alarm, but 3 – in case I was involved in something when one went off (like trying to get ready for work) – there would be another 20 minutes later. DC is also in the habit of shutting off my alarm if I am not right there to do it myself. I usually remember on my own, but I keep them set as a safeguard – just in case. He cannot swallow pills; his medication is in liquid form – I can’t dump them out and take a count if I am questioning myself.

A couple of weeks ago after a rather difficult morning – I was convinced that I had given DC his medication twice. I did not remember giving it to him twice but once I get that idea into my head, I can’t let it go.

I was 98% sure that I had not, but ….. to be safe, I called his doctor and waited for him to call back.

When he called back he said that due to the amount of his regular dose, a second dose would not hurt him at all. He might just be very tired and/or drowsy and I should still give him his evening dose.

He was anything but drowsy when he came home from his day program and there were no notes that he had been tired during the day.

So there’s that.

But……. being the queen of overthinking and over-reaction, I felt I just had to come up with a better system.

His medication is in a bin on the stove (we have to use the stove for something, right?).

We have quite a few refrigerator magnets on the refrigerator so I figured I could put a few to use.

About now you might be thinking/wondering why I can’t just write it down when I give him his meds. Easy enough, right?

Well no, because then I would have to find a pen. All pens, no matter where I put them end up in DC”s “It’s Mine” stash. If I wait until “later” to write it down when I get around to finding a pen – I may not ever write it down and then we are in the same boat.

“I’ll do it later. I’ll remember to do it later” never works for me.

Easy solution…..

I took two of the many magnets from the front of the refrigerator and moved them to the stove hood.

On the side of the refrigerator, that is against the stove, I put two clearly marked labels: “Morning” and “Night”.

They will be right in my face when I go to pour and measure his medicine so I can’t miss them.

I was all set to start my “ingenious” system the following morning.

Ten minutes after setting up the magnets on the hood – I walked into the kitchen and they were gone.

I never explained this system to DC because he already takes it upon himself to shut my alarms off, so I did not want to get him involved in this.

Apparently it did not occur to me that DC would see these magnets out of place and need to put them back on the front of the refrigerator.

“DC, you can’t move the magnets. These are for Mom”.

DC: Okay, Mom!

That night Doug was over and I asked him to give DC his meds while he was in the kitchen. I reminded him to move the magnet.

He did.

The next time I went into the kitchen – the “Night” magnet was gone. Doug had moved it but he moved it back to the front of the refrigerator.


Seriously, there are labels. Even if it hadn’t been explained (it had been); this is pretty much self-explanatory.

Before bed, I moved them back to “start” position. I did. I am 100% POSITIVE that I did. No doubt in my mind.

The next morning I went over to the stove for something to find that the “Morning” magnet was moved as if I gave him his meds.

Someone is “messing” with me ……

(or am I really losing my mind?)

I asked DC. First he said yes and then he said no which is pretty standard for him. If he did move it, why just move one? Why didn’t he put them both back on the refrigerator as he did when he thought they were out of place?

I put them back and again told him not to touch the magnets.

“Okay Mom!”

The following morning after the first alarm went off but before the second ….. the same thing. The morning magnet was moved.

“DC, did you move Mom’s magnet?”

“Nooooooo, I didn’t”

I put them back.  When the alarm went off the second time I saw him anxiously pacing, reaching for the magnet, stopping himself and pacing again in front of the stove.

“Mom. You have to move the ‘mag-let'”

As I had never explained all of this to him, I could not understand how he figured out that this all had to do with his medication or why he was getting anxious about moving the “Morning” magnet. From the pacing I figured out that he must have been moving the magnet as  soon as the first alarm went off in the morning and because I told him not to and moved it back, he did not know what to do except to pace.

So I explained that I would move the magnet AFTER he had his medicine.

Then I decided I would let him move the magnet after he has his medication.

Usually I will bring his medication to him where ever he is in the house, but now he stands in front of the stove with me,  takes it right there and moves the magnet when he is done.

But only in the morning.

He does not seem to care about the night dose, the alarm or anything with the exception of reminding me to “Move the Mag-let”.

I guess I will never have to worry about forgetting ever again.





















2 thoughts on “Magnets, Meds and Memory

  1. I knew there was a reason for our friendship! If you are crazy, I am, too!!! I thought it was my age, but I guess it’s wiring! I put up calendars everywhere plus my phone. Of course, I never have them in sinc, so I still forget things!! We are who we are!!!! Miss you. Hi to DC.


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