Hello it’s 5am and for some reason I can’t fall asleep. As a result I will probably be asleep during the day at an inconvenient time.
I’ve decided I may as well write about my new medical bracelet. I should specify that this is not a sponsored post, just me rambling about a thing at 5am.
I am a MedicAlert member, but you might notice that this is not a MedicAlert bracelet. I used to wear one, in fact I’ve gone through a couple of different styles of them. Why don’t I wear one now?
In short, I became allergic to them. I don’t know why it suddenly happened, I assume I developed a nickel allergy, but I don’t know for sure because I was refused allergy testing by a GP, because he said I’d pretty much already figured it out myself.
It wasn’t just a case of minor skin irritation; I developed full-on pustules wherever the bracelet rested on my skin. I had a leather-strap version somewhere, which put another material between me and the engraved disk, but not only did I lose it somewhere, it still had a buckle which would touch my skin, and it was also very thick and unwieldy.
I decided to get new medical bracelets just as we were moving to Andover. I got them in silicone, from a company called Reminderband (obviously, I put my MedicAlert details on them, otherwise there’s no point). I got 2 because they were very thin and unobtrusive. I liked that I could add icons to them, and that I could make the filler text glow-in-the-dark.
But I got a wake-up call about these bracelets when I had my kitchen knife accident.
The bracelets were totally glossed-over as the paramedics were examining me. They probably assumed that they were generic silicone bracelets, and the fact that there were two of them probably added to that. I might be overreacting because I was really shaken up by what happened, but I feel that if I had been unconscious, my basic information simply would not have been discovered. It frightened me.
I’m going to Israel with Kadek next year, and we’ve got a trip to London at some point too. Absolutely anything could happen, even if it’s just a finger accident that makes me bleed a lot, and I realised that my current bracelet pair just wouldn’t protect me.
So, I got a new one.
This one is still silicone so I won’t react to it, but it also says “Medical Alert” very clearly, flanked by a Star of Life on each side. It should look reasonably innocuous to anybody looking at my arm, but should stand out enough to a paramedic. I got it in a purple/ yellow combo, I didn’t want a big red warning on my wrist all the time.
The medical info is actually on the inside of the band. They offer other versions of this band that have this bit on the outside, the same part as the “Medical Alert” is written, but this broad band didn’t offer that, which I suppose is good in terms of privacy, but you also have to hope that medical staff will take the time to turn the band over.
People say nowadays that you shouldn’t mention penicillin allergies on medical alert bracelets, as you wouldn’t be given penicillin in an ambulance. This apparently isn’t actually true, as you may be given liquid penicillin intravenously if you have serious wounds. Penicillin is mentioned on this website under the “Paramedic” header; although this is not our local ambulance service I imagine they are similar across England.
If they were to give that to me, I would get very ill. Hence, I’m still mentioning it on my bracelet. I’ve mentioned the things that I feel it is most important for medical personnel to immediately know about me in a variety of emergencies, with MedicAlert’s emergency number and my membership number, so they can find out more and contact my next of kin (a.k.a. Will).
This bracelet should be durable, able to be noticed by the right people, I can get it wet and sleep on it, and it also shouldn’t be abrasive next to most outfits (I’m probably going to take it off on my wedding day and clip it to something in case it’s needed). It should be able to save my life and impart information when I can’t.
MedicAlert membership is beneficial, it gives me the peace of mind that I can have extra details on file as well as contact details for people that need to hear about what’s happened to me.
But they won’t stop making their jewellery with nickel, and they so far have declined to produce bracelets made entirely of silicone. They always have troublesome buckles, or the disk touches the skin. I get the impression that it’s frowned-upon for people to buy a bracelet from elsewhere and have their MedicAlert number put on it, but people like me don’t have much choice.
I don’t see why they can’t make silicone bracelets like the one I’ve purchased, with the MedicAlert logo embossed, and with lines of text on the inside or back. But for some reason, they won’t. Maybe there’s more to it than I understand, but in the meantime it means I can’t wear their jewellery.
Something else I dislike about MedicAlert is, although the wording on your bracelet is meant to be decided by your doctor in conjunction with a medical board, fairly unimportant conditions always end up being mentioned on my bracelets. Like, the fact that I have Irritable Bowel Syndrome. I just don’t think this needs to be mentioned in an ambulance. That’s the kind of extra, much less important thing, they can find out about once they’ve rung MedicAlert. It’s something a doctor can hear about later on, and maybe they won’t give me a certain medicine in case I get the shits. But in an ambulance it is absolutely the least of my worries.
I don’t mean to disparage MedicAlert, and I recommend that you join them yourself if you have a medical situation that might be a problem if you can’t tell someone about it.
But, like me, you might need to get alternative jewellery.
Well, I managed to write about a silicone bracelet for a lot longer than I expected!