Medical Identification

Recently I had to decide about what to put on a medical identification medallion which I wear on a necklace that hangs around my neck day and night. I wanted a new medallion and necklace because I think it is time to update my style. It is not that I needed one, but the one I have has been in use for about 15 years and I thought a change might be nice.

Choosing a medical ID bracelet

I did not want a stainless medallion with a red medical symbol like the one I have worn for 15 years. Instead, I wanted to be bold. Since I only pick these about every 15 years, I thought why not step up my game with a modern style.  Maybe something crazy with battery operated lights and sirens just to take it up a notch?

The new bracelets looked amazing. They have them in stainless and leather; some of the older styles locked with a clasp while the modern styles are slip on. I could get all twisted with a rope style bracelet, or I could even have a gold charm just in case I want to impress someone that I can afford gold (color) jewelry. If I wanted to go high tech, I could even get a bracelet with a clasp that contained a USB drive with all my medical information.

Out with the old

Unfortunately, I recall that my first medical alert accompaniment was a bracelet that I was given while in the hospital at age 17. I truly hated that bracelet, and I got rid of it as soon as possible. The thing snagged on fabric, but the worst problem was that it was on my wrist for all to see. I felt I stood out too much. Today's styles are much different, but I just could not get over that initial problem from 44 years ago. So, I chose a cool solid black with white letters medallion as a necklace.

What should a medical ID bracelet say?

Now the question was what words to put on it? I have worn the words diabetes or, in older days, diabetic on a medallion off and on for the last 44 years. My recent medallion said, "diabetes insulin", the two words that are almost required if you use that dangerous and life-saving medication. So those two words must be on the medallion.

Words matter

What should I say about Rheumatic Disease (RD)? Do I list my biologic medications? The one I am using is doing a great job, and I do not see a reason to change. Still, who knows what my body might decide to do tomorrow? I had tried a USB drive necklace in the past, but I stopped updating the medication list. If I was not going to do that, a USB drive necklace might be dangerous. I could have the wrong medication name or dosage in the USB drive, and that might be worse than no information. If I cannot speak for myself, do I want an ER tech relying on my necklace that I never update to determine whether I was temporarily taking prednisone or not? Could I count on me being on top of things enough to update the USB every time a minor medication change occurred? Given my history, I do not think that is a good idea.

I decided instead to use simply generic words to describe me medically. I went with the inscription “insulin, biologic med” on one side and “RA-AS-Cardiac” on the other. I put my name and, most important I put the fountain of all information, Sheryl’s name and telephone number on the medal.

Choosing an emergency contact

All men know there is a risk of putting your wife’s name and telephone number on your medical ID. Especially if she is skeptical of seeming, out of the blue telephone calls asking personal information. I can imagine Sheryl’s side of the conversation with the ER staff:

  • Yes, I might know him, what has he done?
  • He is where and doing what?
  • Well first answer this question how do I know it is him?
  • Yes, he is big, and usually out of it like most men, so what?
  • Before I answer any questions, ask him if he remembers our first kiss?
  • Look, when he wakes up ask him to tell you the place of our first kiss and most important tell him to call me. I want to hear why someone at an ER is calling me asking about this sort of stuff.
  • Yeah if you can’t wake him up then call me when someone identifies him, I have questions for him.


Oh well, maybe I just need to buy and keep a USB drive updated for my necklace?  Now if I could just find one with flashing lights and a siren. You know, just for that little extra pizzazz.

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