Medication Regimes as a Natural Clock

By Brian Giedd

Many things in our everyday lives can be used to keep time. They may vary in accuracy and the period over which they keep time, but they can all be used to serve a similar purpose. One such thing in our lives that we can use to help us keep track of time is the medicine that we consume to keep us healthy. We can measure many events and keep time over different periods based upon the counting of pills. To understand how this works as a clock, we must look at how time is kept in this fashion, what events are dated by pill consumption, what timeframe it is useful for, and how reliable this clock is.First of all, we must look at how pill counting keeps time. A bottle of pills comes with a specified number of pills in it, and often these pills are to be taken at a regular and clearly defined interval. This is when the pills make an accurate clock. Since we begin with the knowledge of the number of pills and the rate at which they are to be consumed, we can tell the time span that has elapsed by simply measuring the number of pills that are remaining.

The next aspect of pill counting as a natural clock that we must examine is the events that are dated by it. Depending on the type of medication that is present in the pills, we can date several different events. The lowering level of pills in the bottle may indicate that it is almost time to see the doctor again or that it is almost time to revisit the pharmacy in order to acquire more pills. An empty bottle of pills may also indicate that the reason for consuming the pills in the first place may no longer be present, such as with a course of antibiotics.

Now we must also look at the time span that can be covered by this natural clock. This aspect of the pill counting clock can be highly variable. The high variability, however, does not mean that the clock will be any less accurate. The variability comes from the fact that it depends upon what type of pill we are considering and the rate at which the pills are being consumed. One bottle of pills may contain 300 pills while another bottle only contains 100 pills. These two could still measure the same period of time, however. If the first bottle was consumed at a rate of three pills per day and the second bottle at a rate of one pill per day, they would both be useful for measuring one hundred days. If, however, both bottles are being consumed at a rate of one pill per day, then they would measure different total timeframes.

The last aspect of this clock that must be discussed is the reliability that it can offer us in keeping time. The main problem that may arise in the accuracy of this clock comes from human error. The consumption of pills requires that the people are taking them at the specified rate. If the patient does not consume the pills as often as they should, then the ability of pill counting to be used as a natural clock will be lessened (the clock will run slower than expected). This problem can be lessened, however, by supplying patients with memory problems with a pill organizer that will help them to take their medications on schedule. Overall this method should prove to be fairly useful in everyday life in order to date the events previously listed.

pill calendar

Here is an example of a birth control pill chart that can be used to eliminate mistakes in timely consumption of the pills.

Pill counting as a natural clock is certainly not very useful over periods of time longer than a few months. This is not necessarily a downfall, however, for there are very few natural clocks that are capable of being used over varying periods of time. They all have their specific uses and limitations. Overall, pill counting is able to suffice as a clock that we can use to help us in our everyday lives.