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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 “RAAS-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.

~Sigh~

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.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The RheumatoidArthritis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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