Be Prepared. Where is Your Stash?


Most of us have them and some of us even forget where they are due to the lovely fog that comes with Fibromyalgia and other conditions! I currently have five different locations that I stash emergency Spoonie supplies.

1. My nightstand is the primary place where I keep all of my medicines. I normally keep a weeks’ worth made up in my pill organizer, which gives me enough time to go to the pharmacy for refills. I have two drawers filled with medicines, vitamins, supplements and braces. It’s sad, really, but a reality for so many of us.

2. I use three different purses or shoulder bags depending on the day and my pain threshold. Each of these has a small container of my pain medicine for breakthrough pain. Pain can unexpectedly come on, and it’s not a good idea to be stuck somewhere without being able to take necessary medicine. I also have an extra day worth of medicine, in case I forget to take it with me, or in case of emergency.

3. I use forearm crutches for stability, but right now I’ve been fortunate to use only one, more like a cane function. Where is my other crutch? In my husband’s truck of course!

4. The kitchen. I live in a Loft, with the master bedroom being upstairs. Once I’m either up or downstairs, that’s where I stay for the majority of the time since stairs can be incredibly difficult for me. Thus, I have extra medicine downstairs in the kitchen so I don’t have to hike upstairs to my nightstand next to the bed.

5. My desk at work. I’m currently on short-term disability (with an unknown return to work date), but on my first day at my desk I brought an extra two sets of daily medicine, in case I forgot to take my daily pill container with me, as well as pain medicine, ace bandages, pain patches, Tylenol, band aids and other general first aid supplies. There is also makeup to cover up any Lupus rashes because I break out with them randomly!

I’ve had acquaintances ask me if this is really necessary, because to some it may seem extreme. Unfortunately, this is the reality for most of us. Whenever I go out of town, I don’t want to take all of my pill bottles, so I normally take what I need PLUS an extra few days.


Article written by staff writer, Ashley Morgan

Ashley has been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia since 2005 after spending five years undiagnosed and many misdiagnoses. Other secondary diagnoses include: Lupus, Hyper-mobility Syndrome, and Sjögren’s Syndrome. Originally from Glendale, California, she now calls San Antonio, Texas home. In her spare time she enjoys volunteering with youth at her Church and spending time with her husband and step-sons. She can be found on Twitter at @Ashiemorgan

  • Lorraine9491

    Pain is another issue I take prescription pain meds. I did not realize sugar made pain worse. I am going to work on my sugar intake. Thank you for all the info on essential oils, and natural approaches to getting rid of problems.
    Very informative chat. Thank you everyone.

  • Lorraine9492

    Thank I learned a lot about the natural approach to our problems. My readiness approach is daily alarm schedule on my phone I can check it off when the pill is taken. Nausea and headaches zofran IV if home or instant dissolvable tablet when out with relplax. Headache approach as well ice dark quiet room medicine and sleep.

  • Chrise

    My nickname for one of my office desk drawers is my Pharmacopia. I keep it stocked so I don’t have to carry that much in my bag. My daily travel bag contains a smaller single or double dose of any meds I take. At home I have a Mom’s medicine drawer in the master bath high enough that I don’t have to bend or stretch to reach it. The extra is stored in a shelf box over the toilet. Glad to hear I’m not the only one.

  • Kt

    My medicine cabinet is like a pharmacy, as my medications change I just keep putting the olds when a big bag… It sucks that my cabinet at 35 is filled with more medication then my grandmother’s:(…  I do keep a stash in my purse at all times, but other than that they stay in my pharmacy cabinet in my kitchen.

  • Christie

    I have to tell you, the best thing I can think of for you is a cash box or a small gun box to keep your meds in near your bed or in your bedside table.
    Gun boxes are great for keeping injections and narcotics in, when there are small children in the house.
    Small cash boxes are great for injections that need to be stored in the fridge when there are small children in the house.

    As for the pill sorters, organizers and “emergency” supplies… I keep all meds in a giant canvas basket now that we are “empty nesters” and I keep my weekly sorters filled. But, I also keep a stacker with pain killers, anti-inflammatories, steroids, stomach meds and muscle relaxers in them in case of “trouble” and I keep pain patches in my bag and my car.

  • Michelle

    Hey Ron
    I know what you mean about british hospitals i live there they forget to give you your meds or take sooooo long to get around to giving you yours that its time for the next lot….not great i have to agree i didint know you could have a “right to take your own meds in hospital” law that just brilliant thanks so much michelle survivor of a brain hem and a fellow spoony.
    Keep up the good work and YES i keep my meds as you do but with so many bags!!!

  • I have non controlled substance filled at a pharmacy that delivers my meds in a meid kit weekly with morning noon and eve and bed in a box but each day comes out of the whole “box” so you can bring it in your purse if you have to come out. I dont’ travel internationally or drive but when I go to visit I take my PRn’s in the orginal bottle and keep them in a zip up case. i add my exedrin, simethicon, and other over the conter drugs I may need to this travel kit. I usually bring a does of my muscle relaxants and pain meds with me when I go out for the day in case I start to have pain. I also take the day’s med in the mediset if I am not sure If I will be out till lunch or evening. I take a medicab and sometimes they take a long time to get you home. I never thought about the law and controlled substances. I wonder if they could give you a small bottle with the info on it to take your controlled substance in your purse. Not all of it but a day or two depending if you get stuck. My pill bottle would be to large and I don’t want to carry all of my controlled substance in my purse. I am going to ask the pharmacy about a small bottle in case I go out or travel. Unfortuantely Ny made a law that pharmacies can’t put your supplements and vitamins in unless they are bought form them or your insurance covers and of them. you can’t give them vitiams and supplements you bought somewhere else because it is illegal now for them to add to your weekly mediset. mine is delvered and so are all my meds. I keep my break thourh pain meds by my bed and my mediset on the kitchen table with my vitamins and supplements. Of course if I was having someone stay over or I had a different aide then I do I would but my contolled substance away because I have had my ex’s family member steal my anxiety med the whole bottle out of my purse once when I visited them. What a mess. I actually was able to get another script for my Clonazepam but it was hard so I don’t ever do this anymore. I may but one day in but not carry an entire bottle. I don’t drive or have car so It nice to find a place that delivers to my apartment. Is sucks now that i have to remember to but all my supplements and vitamin in cause that what I would have trouble remembering taking but I have been good by doing it when my mediset is delivered I add these in for everyday for a week. This help me know when I am running low and if I do all at one time I am usually pretty consistant at taking my meds. The delivered medi set has in someways saved my sanity. The only problem is that the pharmacy doesn’t keep track of my PRN’s which I keep at home because I don’t trust them not to get lost or put the max does I can have in my mediset. I don’t take a narcotic pain med but I still don’t want them having them. My Ultram is not working that well and I trying to get something stronger for flare ups but I will need to find another doctor which I am still searching for. I am doing much better taking all the meds i should since getting my mediset. I don’t know what I will do If I have to go on vacation for more than a week. Will see when it happens. Hopefully they can put together another mediset if I need if I am gone over a week. If you have kids, lock them up and I wouldn’t put them in the medicine cabinet cause sometimes it doesn’t keep a regular temp and I am sorry most people are snoops and even if you know them well and they use the bathroom they will look. This makes me leery of putting anything dangerous in my medicine cabinet. I don’t want to give an adult or child the ability to get my meds. I am single and have no children but when I have my nieces and nephews over I put stuff away even though they are all ten or over it still doesn’t matter. I don’t trust anyone. I already had someone in my ex’s family steal my meds right out of my purse so people you think wouldn’t do those things do. You never know. Can I have a plan for the Us if I go into the hospital to have my meds given when I want them cause I had to suffer before because they would n’t give me the amount i usually take or at the time i wanted or did take them. I was so angry about that. I have a max on bottle and sometimes I have to take the maxium amount of muscle relaxants or Ultram that is allowed and they won’t let me. Anyone know what to do about that. Someone mentioned it but they lived in the U.k. Can I get in trouble for have an uncontrollled substance a little amount in my purse even if I don’t drive. I don’t want to get in trouble. I hope to drive someday and of course I wouldn’t do it when taking a controlled substance if it made if difficult to drive but even having a few unbottle pills while driving in NY state even if you are in control of your vehicle can get you in hot water? YOu know fined or jailed?

  • I have a weekly pill case.
    I keep all of my daily Rx meds and supplements on a bookshelf where they’re easy to get to and in a fairly stable temp/humidity setting.
    All of my “as needed” meds live in an old purse (easy to grab in a hurry) – pain meds, anxiety, allergy, etc.
    I have a resealable sandwich bag filled with as-needed meds that I’m likely to need in the course of a day – pain meds, migraine meds, eye drops, allergy meds, topical pain relief, etc. One is klonopin – I keep one whole tablet and a few half tablets in an older Rx bottle so I don’t have a random controlled substance just floating around in my bag with no evidence of an Rx.

    I usually carry a backpack, as it’s easier on me for maintaining stability and balance and doesn’t put extra strain on one or the other arm.

  • Tendai

    Since I have a curious 4 yr old that can break into any childproofing within minutes I have to keep my stash of meds up high on top of the fridge in my kitchen. He isn’t a climber. Yet.

    So if I wake up in pain, I have to go all the way downstairs and get my medicines while in agony. I am going to have to think of a new way to have access to my pain meds when I need it and keep my child safe. It would be interesting to hear how other parents keep their stash and their children safe.

  • Sari

    I hear you, Kelly. I’m in NY and my pain care doctor has his patients sign the exact same document, even though his office deals only with chronic pain from illness and nothing else. I too have to fight when I go into the ER (at least until my pain care doctor gets there) for them to give me the dose of the one pain medication left that works for me. Even being a “frequent flyer” there and having specific nurses and ER doctors recognize me, and therefore remember the extent of my illnesses, I still get “The Look” and arguments over the dose I need and the specific medication I need. It’s sad that even in the medical field, which should be filled with open-minded professionals, chronic pain is still so misunderstood.

    As fo my pills, I have the giant-sized weekly pill box that I carry with me EVERYWHERE. It starts and ends each day on my nightstand, and during the day is in my purse (which goes everywhere I do). I switch purses often (different sizes for the different types of day I’ll have– being out all day, just for a few hours, or mostly staying home and just running out for a quick errand), but I switch everything in them all together, so it’s easy to remember my meds. As for things like pain meds, muscle relaxers and anti-migraine meds, I carry the smallest sized vial from my pharmacy that has all the drug info on it, even if it’s an older bottle. It’s just the perfect size to fit three or four into my bag as well as all the other stuff I need, and it has all the important dosage info someone in authority who searches would need.

  • dora

    I get a med set pharmacy make up all of my meds, they only do a week at a time so every week they have to be got, but I always have extra just in case I can’t make it to the next week. I always take diaper and meds and wipes with me everywhere. my purse is a weapon in it’s self. food, bandaids, pills, viscous lidocane gel, clove oil, tens unit, and so on. I never go out unless someone is with me so it is always carried:), between that and my walker it rocks. this enables me to do what I need when I have to.
    thanks for all the great advise that everyone has given!

  • kelly

    i am still trying after a year to figure away to organize my meds,ive got my routine down at home but,its hard when we take a trip,also here in california i dont know the laws about carring meds on you so if i go somewhere i just take my pain meds with me,i keep a current list of all meds printed up in case we go to the ER but do not take my meds with me because twice ive been admitted and they have been “lost” it really sucks when im in the hospital because not only do they take one look at my list and almost always say”wow thats a lot of narcotics” while giving me a look like im being scolded ,but they never give me my meds as perscribed,when guest come we take my meds from the medicine cabinet and hide them out of fear that people being nosey will see all the meds im on and even knowing that i have lupus they think im a drug addict,it so sad how misunderstood people with chronic pain are,i do keep a couple of pain pills in a pill box in the glovebox if where gonna be out all day,cant afford to have extra stash because the dr. here give you exactly one month at a time,they even make you sign a paper stating that if your meds are lost or stolen they will not be replaced,so again even my own dr. makes me feel like a drug addict.wish i didnt have to take or stash anything

  • Karen Vasquez

    Thanks for a great account of life with a “stash” and having to BYO first aid kit everywhere you go. I too have to carry a 1st aid kit for ulcerations or impromtu infections- Surprise!

    Spoonie love,

  • Nann

    how true! We just returned from a 4 day trip out west. My husband took our small carry-on suitcase. I could have made it with the same size suitcase if not for my meds, my braces & the shakes that are a big part of my Crohn’s diet. It’s no big deal to my husband that I need more packing space but you KNOW it annoys me!

  • JUDY


  • Suzanne

    Hi Ashley, from the DFW area. I also keep all my meds and supplements in several large 7 day pill boxes. When I travel, they’re always with me.
    A word of caution, though. When I’m a) driving, or b) traveling internationally, I pull out the controlled substances and put them in their original containers, with the current script on it. TSA doesn’t seem to care what’s in my 7 day containers, but foreign customs does. Some countries might send you back home, or worse, even if you have the empty bottle with you as proof. Likewise, when I lived in Colorado, the police never asked to search anything at a checkpoint. When we had to move to Georgia a few years ago, they saw my wristbraces and compression gloves at a checkpoint, and asked me to consent to a search! They only looked in my purse, but I was glad I didn’t have my usual assortment of meds with me ( I had run out to pick up one of my teens = 10 min trip).
    We just moved to Texas, so I don’t know how aggressive law enforcement is, but I’d rather be safe. If someone crashed into me, my car/purse might be searched, especially with all the braces and canes that would come flying out!

  • Brilliant article. I have a stash of sorts in the family car, in my handbag, and by my bed. I had not thought of using the different handbags though. I must do that since most of my Fibro pain is in my shoulders! Thanks so much!

  • Jen Martin

    My bag I carry around, carries around everything…I do have a smaller purse in there for running into the store and needing to carry something (depending on what I’m doing), etc. I also have my wallet key chain for even simpler. In this bag, I have a huge bag which carries my meds, epipen, etc…everything really so if I do get stranded or extreme pain hits. I’m prepared. I leave this in the car if I’m running into the store, etc. It comes in with me to work everyday. I do not trust to keep a stash at work. People are just like OMG when they see the bags within a bag. At home, they are lined up in my bathroom cabinet. Morning & night meds. Ones off to the side are morning & night and in between. It’s just insane. Why is it that we are made to feel like druggies? When we need it and it’s necessary. I’d love to come to dream to say….I’d love to be a point in my life that I will not need medication daily. My rheumo NP snapped her fingers, Jen it’s not going to happen. Hmmmmm…..I’m too stubborn. But in all reality, she’s right. But I won’t let it define me. Go girls!! Much love!

  • Perhaps I should clarify that, in my above comment, I’m referring to hospitals in Britain.

  • My day-to-day and weekly (injectable) meds live in a lock-box (preparing to live with kids), I keep a week worth in pill boxes in my bedside table (or traveling with me – if longer then a week, everything goes in zippable bags in my carry-on), two days in my purse and one morning in my desk at work.

    The ‘in-between’ meds, those needed on-demand live in a zippered bag that goes in my travel bag if I’m going anywhere longer than a day, and two doses of each lives in my purse. Epi-pen and inhalers in purse, desk, most used travel bags and stashed in other spots. Oh, and suppositories in the fridge. I think that’s everything.

    It’s a lot to keep up with – heck, laying out a week of daily meds is a challenge, last week I forgot one and only noticed after a few days when things started to be more painful than usual.

  • When I was young, I always carried several days worth of meds in case I got lucky and didn’t get home! These days it’s in case I get carted off to hospital and I don’t get home… Ah well.

    I keep all my meds in one place – a repurposed toolbox on a desk in the living-room, right by the kitchen door. The base of the box holds my stock, the top tray meds currently in use. So it’s just a few paces to the box then to the tap – challenge enough some days. And if I am hauled away to hospital it’s a simple matter to close up the box and take it along. My dozen or so supplements live in a kitchen cupboard.

    Also in the box are several copies of my “declaration of intent,” asserting my right to take my own meds while in hospital, to my timetable, not theirs A right every patient has and which the nursing staff would deprive you of given half a chance.

    Ward drug rounds are no good for someone, like me, whose meds start a six in the morning and go through to midnight. This right, by the way, has been verified by the complaints department at my local hospital.