KEEP YOURSELF IN CARE
How to avoid missing doses and appointments.
Most cell phones have alarms you can set to remind you to take meds and get to appointments. Or use a paper calendar or notebook to record appointments, mark off day and nighttime doses and keep info about meds, clinic contacts, etc. (Mark Rabiner, MD, an HIV doc who works with homeless people in New York City, suggests keeping a small version of this info sheet in your purse or wallet.)
SORT YOUR PILLS.
It’s easier to remember doses if you sort pills once a week, using a container that divvies up day and nighttime doses. You’ll avoid having to sort them when you’re tired, and you won’t forget whether you’ve taken a dose.
This will keep you on track with all those doses and clinic visits. “You want to be alive for something good,” says Allan Rodriguez, MD, of Miami’s Jackson Memorial Hospital. Eric German says he gets his mojo from his mom and nieces. List things that bring you joy and post it by your meds to remind you why you’re swallowing them. If nothing’s raising your spirits, talk to someone—you might be depressed. You can get help for that, too.
REACH OUT FOR HELP.
If you’re feeling hopeless or overwhelmed by life, don’t be afraid or ashamed to call your doctor, clinic, AIDS organization, family or friends to ask for help. Many offices have case managers and social workers so you don’t have to pull off these visits alone. And, Rodriguez says, “if you don’t think you’re being treated fairly [by caregivers], you have the right to change.” So speak up!