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On road, at the airport, around the corner, consider getting a medic alert bracelet

Posted Aug 26 2011 8:44am

In March of 2009 I wondered for the first time whether to get a medic alert bracelet. Except for when I was first diagnosed almost 40 years ago, I haven’t given it a thought. The bracelets I’d seen back then were ugly and no one, including no HCP I’ve ever seen, has ever advised me to wear one.

Then I began doing peer-mentor presentations where I travel across the country solo and I realized it might be wise to have something on my body that identifies I have diabetes. 

As fate would have it, just as I was about to go through security returning home from a presentation, all of a sudden I felt low and pulled myself off the line to check. Sure enough I was 39 mg/dl. That sealed the deal: I decided I would not travel anymore alone without a medic alert bracelet.

After days and weeks of an exhaustive search for something attractive AND something a paramedic, and perhaps your man-on-the-street would recognize as emergency-wear, I found a medic alert plaque I liked - and my friend made a bracelet for it. I first wrote about it here brimming with optimism.

The reason I never finished that story is because only a few weeks of wear and the finish on the plate gave me a rash on my wrist. There began another exhaustive search for another plate. I found one I loved online in real gold and silver, so unique and fine, yes a little expensive but I deserved it after 38 years of diabetes! But the artist (yes, artist) was no longer making them because the cost of gold had skyrocketed!

A year later still looking (well I am a Virgo) I found this plate (first photo) at a health event but you can order here . It’s two tone, which I love, but in titanium so it doesn’t irritate my skin and it’s very lightweight. A few afternoons of roaming around Manhattan brought me to a shop in Chinatown where I found this lovely Italian bracelet. I’ve been wearing this medic alert bracelet whenever I travel – and feeling all the more secure for it.

Today my designer medic alert bracelet has a sporty cousin. This summer my husband took up running and decided it was smart for HIM to have ID in the event he runs into a tree, or his measurable heart rate is no longer measurable. He found a company called road ID  and bought himself both a canvas and rubberized ID band – not for fashion, but geography: he lives in Brooklyn and Holland. 

I liked his so much I decided I wanted one too so I ordered the pink rubber one (They come in 8 different colored bands). $29.95, now that's a deal. You can put 6 lines of information on the stainless steel plaque and they're amazingly clear to read – much better in fact than my engraved info on the underside of my other bracelet. (BTW, the big white dot on the plaque is only to protect my husband and mother’s phone numbers.)

You can also opt for "Interactive"  which allows you to create an emergency response profile online available to first responders. The company sells more band IDs, apparel and accessories - and I'm confident anyone is going to notice this piece of emergency-wear because the information is so apparent on my wrist.  

Road ID also has a great story and I'm a sucker for stories. In 1999 Edward Wimmer (President of the company) was training for his first marathon. His father suggested he carry ID in case he had an accident. Edward being a college senior dismissed him. Only days later while out running a pickup truck nearly struck Edward on a winding stretch of road. Later that year road ID was launched out of the family's basement. It’s a company with attitude; you’ll have fun just reading their web site.

If you haven’t thought about wearing a medical ID you should. Simply, it can save your life. I don’t see it as an annoying reminder that I have diabetes, as I once thought I might. I see it as an emblem of strength and the smarts to protect myself. Now that I have my road ID band maybe it will even encourage me to live up to its marketing talk – it’s primarily for athletes. 

According to the cute little tin it came in an athlete is who I am!”

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