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MedicAlert question

Posted Jan 16 2010 5:25am

I received an excellent question from Emily about MedicAlert bracelets:

“Hey Danielle!
I’ve been reading your blog and Kerri’s for a while, and you two always give great advice. I was reading a back post a while ago, and I noticed that you have a medical alert bracelet. I have asthma too, and I was wondering how you decided to get one, or by what criteria you thought it was necessary. Thanks so much for any help you can provide!

I’ll tell you the story of how I decided to get one, it’s sort of funny. When I was sixteen, I had my tonsils out and reacted badly to the anaesthesia, I had a pretty severe asthma attack. Click here to read my post on that experience. My doctor stressed that it was very important that I let any medical professional know about this reaction if I was in a situation where I might need to be put under general anaesthesia. At this point I thought a medical alert bracelet might be a good idea, but I never got around to it.

Fast forward 2 years. My friend is working up on a roof, falls off and breaks his arm badly, and is rushed into emergency surgery. At the hospital my mom and I sort of looked at each other, thinking the same thing. What if I fell off a roof and needed emergency surgery?
So the next morning we ordered a MedicAlert bracelet. The way it works is you give them your medical info (medical conditions, allergies, medications) and they decide what needs to be on the bracelet and condense it for you. I also have a couple drug allergies (which were mostly discovered during the tonsil episode), and it’s reassuring to have those on there as well. Mine arrived 2 weeks after ordering and I haven’t taken it off since.
The asthma itself probably never would have prompted me to get one. Although, on the MedicAlert site it says that anyone with a medical condition, including asthma, should have one. I tend to agree, because you never know. The anaesthesia thing is the main thing I want medics to know about, but the drug allergies and asthma are quite important as well. It’s also reassuring now that I’m away at university and may not always have someone who knows me accompany me to the hospital.
I didn’t get a fancy bracelet or one that looks like regular jewelry because I want it to be easily recognized in an emergency. That being said, I think it’s ugly as sin and I often feel self-conscious about it, especially if I’m wearing short sleeves. I think you’ll find though, that either people aren’t paying attention or they don’t have the guts to ask about it. Something interesting is that I will get questions about it at times when I “look sick”, like if I’m recovering from an exacerbation and looking tired, pale, and having trouble walking or talking.
My getting a MedicAlert bracelet actually inspired my friend to get one as well; she has type I diabetes and most definitely should have one. So Dave, I’m really sorry about your arm and I know it sucked majorly, but some good came of it and who knows, you may someday save one of our lives!
Posted in Uncategorized Tagged: allergies, anaesthesia, Asthma, asthma attack, MedicAlert, social life and asthma
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