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I picked up the mail that was held over vacation today. My MedicAlert enrollment package arrived, including a shiny new stainless steel MedicAlert bracelet.

I know most people with mental illness do not wear a MedicAlert bracelet (or any similar product, e.g. RoadID) but I think it’s a good idea. Aside from the part where looking at it reminds me that I’m crazy. But really, I should see that every time I look at my hands and the scars from self-inflicted injuries. Eventually it probably won’t trigger that, “oh yeah, I’m crazy,” response anymore.

I imagine some folks would find this overboard, or unnecessary. They probably aren’t on multiple psychoactive meds, or if they are, they didn’t read the fine print on those meds. Or even if they did read the fine print, then they’ve never been in a serious accident. I have 4 psychoactive meds on the current roster, have read up on the details of them (omg), and have been in more than one serious accident.

Yep, I got hit by a bus.

It was years ago, and there was no permanent damage – just a little scar on the inside of my upper lip. But it could’ve been worse. The head-on collision with a Cadillac Escalade when I was driving a Honda Civic also could’ve been worse. These experiences make me take emergency services pretty seriously. And now that my meds could amplify the effects of other drugs or cause seizures if stopped abruptly, I think it’s pretty important to make sure that emergency responders can get those details.

The bracelet itself is completely plain (none of that red shellac, thank you very much) and just says “Bipolar disorder. Call MedicAlert” on the back, with a member number and the toll-free phone number. It fits well enough that it’s not going to unintentionally flip over and display that message for the world. It looks no different on the outside than any other MedicAlert bracelet. For all that anyone else knows, I could be diabetic or have asthma or a heart condition – all perfectly respectable chronic conditions – instead of being a little touched in the head.

I guess for me, wearing this bracelet is part of the acceptance process. It will remind me to take my health care seriously. And if needed, it’ll speak for me when I can’t.

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