Way back when I started this blog, I mentioned wearing a MedicAlert bracelet. At the time, I was kinda freaked out about the diagnosis. Now I’m much more concerned about the drugs. Between issues with sudden withdrawal, medication interactions, and other medication reactions (i.e. a common local anesthetic, lidocaine, triggers instant panic attacks), I really want emergency service providers to know what chemicals are in my body. As far as I’m concerned, that’s just plain common sense.
And oh yeah, you should know, I’ve been hit by a bus. For reals. So I know full well what kinds of unexpected situations can leave you incapacitated and in need of medical assistance. That kind of thing really does happen.
The obvious solution is a wallet card with all the relevant details of provider contacts, meds, dx’s, etc. I have a wallet card, but don’t always carry a wallet, so I feel safer wearing a bracelet that provides appropriate medical info. I went with MedicAlert because they’re a nonprofit and are well recognized, plus they provide a valuable (subscription) service with the Emergency Medical Information Record, not just accessories to label you as “special needs.”
So I got a MedicAlert bracelet. Wearing it made me self-conscious about being bipolar; after all, it does have “BIPOLAR DISORDER” engraved on the back. When a health professional would ask what it was for and I’d say “bipolar,” you could see the wheels turning in their head: this person gets dangerously psychotic and manic. Stay back. After awhile I stopped wearing the bracelet because it just made me paranoid about what other people thought when they saw it.
I had previously acquired a RoadID wristband for hiking, which serves a similar purpose. It has my name and home town (that’s all authorities need to “find” you), a couple of emergency phone numbers, and my birth year, blood type, and NKDA. It’s comfortable, durable, and I’ve been perfectly happy with it – for hiking. The band is a bit bulky for my other usual settings. I’ve ordered a new engraved plate for it with the MedicAlert info, since it’s the only personal ID I carry when backpacking.
But I wasn’t wearing either the MedicAlert bracelet or the RoadID wristband. And then my daily prescriptions increased to 5 and I added on a PRN benzo. It became a pretty heavy load for potential interactions or side effects, which could cause an emergency themselves or further complicate one. And in one of my more anxious episodes, I started worrying about that. A lot.
So I turned around and ordered yet another ID wristband, a Go Sport ID in the “glide” style (with all 8 different colored bands). It’s relatively unobtrusive, comfortable, and masquerades as a common “cause” rubber bracelet. There’s not much room for engraving on that model but I wanted a slimmer ID, so mine just has my name and the MedicAlert info.
Each of these different purveyors of emergency ID accessories has a wide range of products to suit a lot of different styles and needs, and there are plenty of others out there, catering to either the sickly or the athletic. Life has taught me that a wallet card is not enough; the truly unexpected does happen. I prefer to wear a lightweight and fairly discrete Go Sport ID for now, but I also have a RoadID with more info for off-road use and a standard stainless steel MedicAlert bracelet. Both the RoadID and Go Sport IDs include the MedicAlert contact info. Just in case.