How wearing a medical ID bracelet helped me over come my self-consciousness with type 1 diabetes
It's been a hot minute since I last made a blog post, so I'd thought I'd take the time to tell you a little story on me and my medical ID journey :)
I remember when I was first diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, I was SUPER self-conscious. I was 16 years old and was extremely concerned with what other people thought of me. I was diagnosed over the winter break (specifically new years eve), so I didn’t have to miss any school while I was in children’s hospital learning about how to manage my new lifestyle. Before that break, I was just like everyone else in school, and coming back to school, I was a totally different person. I really didn’t want anyone to treat me differently though, so I made it a point to keep my diabetes a secret. Of course, all my teachers found out, because my parents made it a priority to make sure they were in the know, but I barely told any of my friends or acquaintances at school.
I would check my blood sugar and give myself insulin in a bathroom stall, make sure all my supplies were hidden deep in my backpack, and never reach out to friends or teachers if I needed help or a break because I was too low or too high to participate in class activity. I remember doing my final physics exam being low the whole time… that was a terrible feeling on a number of levels.
As much as I was self-conscious of my diabetes, I was also scared. During those first couple of years I was extremely regimented with my diet and dosing. I didn’t want people to think I couldn’t do certain things because of my diabetes, and I didn’t want it to prevent me from continuing on with the things I loved. I also ALWAYS wore my medical ID bracelet, even though I was embarrassed by it.
One day in my grade 11 English class, a couple of months after being diagnosed, one of my peers noticed my bracelet. Not only did she notice it, but she asked me about it and would NOT stop… and then everyone else started asking, I felt totally cornered. No one in that class knew about my diagnosis, so I was totally caught off guard and didn’t know how to respond. People were shouting out “it’s probably for peanuts!!” And other oblivious statements as teenagers would. It was near the end of class so I figured I could just tell them it was a secret for 10 minutes until I had to leave. So that’s what I did. And then I went to the bathroom and cried a bit. I don’t know why I was so sensitive about the subject but I was. This incident was a pivotal point in how I coexisted with diabetes because I knew I wouldn’t be able to live the rest of my life keeping it a secret.
Later that day, after school ended, I texted the girl who asked me about it and told her that I had just been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Her response caught me off guard, she told me her Dad worked for a company that helped design blood sugar monitors and that she knew all about it, that I would be okay and that she had some family who had type 1 diabetes. The inner turmoil I had inside regarding that whole incident instantly vanished, I didn’t feel as isolated or like my diagnosis was as big of a deal.
One of the biggest lessons I learned from this experience was that people aren’t trying to harm me or embarrass me by asking about my medical ID bracelet; also, that people will always be curious and ask questions simply because it’s human nature. For me, this experience was liberating and it showed me not to fear being subjected to people’s curiosity about my medical ID and my condition.
It made me more confident with my diabetes and not ashamed, but proud and excited to wear my medical ID bracelet. Ever since then I’ve urged all my friends and family who need to wear one to actually wear one!!
This small piece of jewelry can literally save your life.
Did you know that 95% of first responders check for medical alert jewelry if a patient is unconscious or unable to communicate… That basically means that if you’re by yourself in the middle of no where, you have a low blood sugar and pass out and the ambulance is called, then they WILL check if you’re wearing a medical ID. Instead of not knowing what’s wrong with you and giving you oxygen or defibrillation, they’ll give you the stuff you really need - GLUCAGON. If you want more information on why diabetics should wear a medical ID check out this interesting article by American Medical ID.
One of the best things about having to wear a medical ID bracelet in todays day and age, is that you can customize the style of your bling! It doesn’t have to be that boring plain silver chain with the classic oval pendant anymore. There are so many different styles available to suit your personal aesthetic and every day needs.
I recommend getting the tag portion of the ID bracelet engraved with the persons NAME, MEDICAL CONDITION, EMERGENCY CONTACT and DEPENDANT MEDICATION - that way all the bases are covered.
I recently upgraded my boring medical ID bracelet to one that suits my personality and lifestyle perfectly! I love how simple it is but it also has a pop of my fav colour and will basically go with any outfit!
If you want to upgrade your medical ID bracelet as well, I suggest you go to American Medical ID (that’s where I got mine.) They have SO many different styles and their prices are actually affordable. Here’s a nifty link to help you pick out the best medical ID for YOU.
To sum it all up, if you know you need to wear medical ID jewelry and you aren’t, don’t be afraid to take the plunge! There’s no better time then the present to start so why not today :)
Just remember, it could save your life one day
PS: If you're still wondering why you should wear a medical ID check out this nifty graphic I made :)