Medical alert jewellery

By | 27 July, 2010
Some rather flash medical alert jewellery

Some rather flash medical alert jewellery

Nearly five years after my diagnosis of Type One, I’ve finally got around to getting myself some medical alert jewellery. I thought it was time that should I be found collapsed in an Edinburgh gutter late one night then the ambulance men might have a chance of identifying what the problem might be. The fact that I’m more likely to be in that state because of too much Scottish wine than anything diabetes-related is, of course, neither here nor there.

The reason I’ve put it off for so long is that I don’t really wear jewellery, aside from my wedding ring which never leaves my finger (resulting in it nearly being lost down drains, in rivers, inside cows, etc.)Ā  I’ve just never been one for wrist bands, signet rings or medallions (thank God). I’ve never really felt the need for any bodily adornments, so in addition to jewellery, the prospects of getting a diabetes tattoo also seem pretty limited.

So what changed my mind? I suppose I just thought it was a sensible thing to do. Now that I am inexorably advancing into the twilight years of the early thirties, I suppose I’m gradually getting more sensible and wise. Long gone are the days of all night Scrabble sessions and drinking Horlicks ’til dawn. Sigh, happy days; happy days.

The other thing that changed my mind was actually finding some medical alert jewellery that was actually quite nice. The general rule that seems to apply to such jewellery is a) discrete; b) practical; c) stylish ā€“ pick two. However, over on www.icegems.co.uk I did manage to find a pendent and a wrist band that did actually fit all these criteria. I then arranged to have them engraved with my name, date of birth, diabeticness and my wife’s mobile number. And very nice there are too. I actually now wear one or other of them most of the time.

This means that, much like a family pet, I can be let out on my own to wander and can be returned to my owner if found lost or collapsed in a hypoglycemic heap. Comforting for all concerned, I guess.

39 thoughts on “Medical alert jewellery

  1. Profile photo of MikeMike

    @tim C’mon the Medalion you wore in Switzerland was fantastic.. Very Mr T like! šŸ™‚

    Seriously I think they are a good idea. I have a Medi Tag one which is now out of date but it looks sublime on my wrists and is still says that I am Dependant on this thing called Insulin for daily survival.

    Which one did you go for – link please? Perhaps a feature for the next Vlog??

  2. Profile photo of Hairy GnomeHairy Gnome

    There’s some really nice kit there, very posh, very fashionable! Sadly there are some of us that are a little more financially challenged. I settled for a Medicalert pendant from a local pharmacy for around Ā£12, just a lozenge shaped piece of stainless steel with the caduceus embossed on one side and the word ‘Diabetes’ engraved on the other, all the contact details I carry in my wallet.

    The caduceus was originally filled with red enamel (paint not glass) and I’ve had to repaint it once or twice, but although it’s very basic it gets the message across which is the important thing. Still, for Ā£12 you can’t expect too much, and at least it gives you a fighting chance of being treated correctly if the gutter scenario ever comes to pass.

    Scottish wine @Tim? I’ve visited Scotland quite a lot over the years, but I can’t ever remember seeing any vineyards! šŸ˜€

  3. Profile photo of Annette AAnnette A

    I have a Meditag pendant – they look more like dogtags and cost about Ā£25, which includes a 24hr database call line, so they can have my full medical details. My original, which also had red enamel, eventually took a dislike to me, and started (a) giving me a very nasty rash on my chest and (b) being eaten away by the action of my own sweat (or something). So I had to go for a slightly more expensive version whihc is apparently bombproof against even acidic bodily secretions. (I cant wear things on my wrist as anything I wear there brings out ravaging eczema – I only just cope with a watch!)

    1. Profile photo of Hairy GnomeHairy Gnome

      @Anette – I have a similar problem, I can’t wear anything reactive so it has to be stainless steel, silver, gold, titanium, or resin. I have a problem at the moment with my glasses turning the sides of my head green! I’m not pretty at the best of time, but green sideburns don’t help!

  4. Profile photo of CecileCecile

    I also have a stainless sticky-snake Medic Alert, but it’s a bracelet I’m tempted to dub “cumberband” – its links act as voracious little mouths that make a grab at any loose thread and in the ensuing tugs-of-war I’ve ripped it asunder a few times. And the “If confused give sugar” printed on its backside is a bit vague – does it refer to the reader or the wearer?

  5. Profile photo of Annette AAnnette A

    @teloz – I can’t even wear Stainless Steel. Sometimes I think my body just hates me…And my glasses have to be chosen very carefully to avoid a green bridge-of-nose.
    @ckoei – If confused give sugar? Surely if you’re confused, you won’t be letting strangers near enough to you to be reading items of jewellery! (And you got to get pretty close to read the damn things.) I can just see the well-meaning old dear fumbling with her glasses case to see what this strange bracelet says, whilst fending off a confused and frantic diabetic, finding out it says ‘If confused give sugar’, and wandering off mumbling ‘Yes, I do feel a bit confused. Nice cup of tea with 2 sugars will go down nicely…’

    1. Profile photo of CecileCecile

      @annette: What advisory words of wisdom are printed on your MediTag ? (The first time I needed mine to speak for me after I “collapsed in a hypoglycemic heap” in the street, the good Samaritanic reader got no further than “Diabetic on insulin:” and was very anxious to get me home to my insulin; the second time I woke up {thanks to own adrenaline} in an ambulance to find two paramedics confusedly debating the topics “give sugar” & “give insulin”. Haven’t had the honour of confusing a tea-biddy yet ;))

      1. Profile photo of Annette AAnnette A

        @ckoei – no words of wisdom. It says (getting it out to ensure total accuracy):
        NAME
        Phone UK (24hr helpline no.)
        Membership No
        INSULIN DEPENDENT DIABETES.
        That’s your lot. Fine if you know about diabetes, otherwise, just hope it makes finder think to call an ambulance or the helpline. Which is a Birmingham number, I think. Not even a free one.

  6. Profile photo of CharlieCharlie

    @Annette – love it!

    Back to the i.d… I’ve had a couple of bracelets from icegems.com now, and they’re brilliant – much better that the original medi-alert one I had years ago (and yes, the red bit came off mine too) My little boy had Aspergers Syndrome, and icegems.com do great wrist bands for kids too. I’ve got an “Autistic” one for him – with my mobile number on to call if he wanders off. Highly recommended.

  7. Profile photo of aileenaileen

    Icegems have some lovely things but I can’t get Marc to wear anything. The best I’ve managed is some ebay titanium dog tags that are only a couple of pounds each (great as he loses them quickly so I buy in bulk!) he will sometimes attach one to a bag or keys… which is better than nothing I guess!

    We were sitting in the waiting room at the clinic not that long ago and Marc said he would wear a bracelet like one a man near us had on, he must have been one of the least approachable people I have even seen so there was no chance of me asking him where he got it. It’s always the way, Marc never likes any I show him but he says he would wear one, one we just can’t get, grrrr!!!!

  8. Profile photo of LesleyLesley

    Tim – they’re not just good for d emergencies! If you get horribly burned in a Lausanne hotel fire, this jewellery might help your recovery as you won’t need to display signs of DKA before they discover your diabetes.

  9. Profile photo of TimTim Post author

    @lesley1966 – now there’s a cheerful thought! It might also help with the repatriation of my body in case of a horrific plane crash šŸ˜€

  10. Profile photo of TimTim Post author

    @teloz – I suppose it depends on where you are in relation to said suicide bomber really. Far away from them and you can easily be identified from dental records, near to them and your remains will have to be scooped up with a dustpan. Unless you had an ID made from the stuff they make black box flight recorders out of… Quick! To the Patent Office!

  11. Profile photo of Annette AAnnette A

    I’d be a bit worried that someone finding me in a heap wouldn’t know what to do with that information. I’m thinking of getting something like ‘In emergency call medical help’ as well as Insulin dependent and phone number etc. when I get a new one. [I do come across an awful lot of people to whom ‘insulin dependent’ wouldn’t mean a thing. There are some intelligent people around here, but we have more than our fair share of gene pool rejects.]

    1. Profile photo of TimTim Post author

      To be complete I’ve got:

      Tim Brown
      [my birthday]
      Insulin Dependent
      ICE: Katie [Katie’s mobile number]

  12. Profile photo of Hairy GnomeHairy Gnome

    Anyway, back to the plot. I can just imagine the conversation if the worst should ever happen @Tim:

    Policeman: Hello, is that Katie Brown?
    Katie: This is she…
    Policeman: Nothing to be alarmed about Mrs Brown, but we’ve just found a Mr Tim Brown in the gutter and the information on his tags says to call this number.
    Katie: Hmmm… Tim you say? Is he six feet six inches tall, blond haired and blue eyed, with lots of muscles and a very fat wallet?
    Policeman: No, as a matter of fact he’s not, his birthday is 19 February though… does that help?
    Katie: Oh yes officer, my husband’s birthday is 14 March so it can’t possibly be him, they must have mixed up the numbers.
    Policeman: Oh… Sorry to have bothered you Mrs Brown.
    Katie: No problem officer! (Hangs up.)
    Katie: Yayyyyyy! (Leaps into the air and clicks heels.) šŸ˜‰

  13. Profile photo of katherine cromwellkatherine cromwell

    I’ve been pancreatically challenged for 34 yrs and never worn any medi alert. My children know what to do if I’m low as do my friends. In-fact I try to mention that I have diabetes asap when in conversation with people (obviously it does depend upon the situation and also be rather challenging in how quickly it can be mentioned!) I have a card in my purse but its not up to date. However, having plastic tubing protruding from my waist band and a blue plastic pump the size of a pack of cards attached to me is a bit of a give away. I don’t have a jet set life style so I don’t need any medi alert inscribed in 10 different languages. I do like icegems though my favorite are the white ones. Eat the biscuit first then let the icing melt on the tongue.

  14. Profile photo of Annette AAnnette A

    @mustard – Are they still 2.5 carbs each? I remember we worked it out back when I was first diagnosed (back in the mists of time…) – 4 icegems = 1 unit (10 carbs). Most things seem to have come down in carbs (kitkat fingers were 11 per finger, they’re now 8, or similar!), which presumably means they come down in size so as to make more profit, or the manufacturers have started putting artificial sweetners in cos they’re cheaper than sugar (which I’m fairly sure isnt true).
    I was going to say ‘what about if you were on your own, no kids, no frends’, but then, as you say, an insulin pump does rather give the game away…

  15. Profile photo of RohanRohan

    Hmmm. I’m not sure about jewellery. It seems sensible, but I don’t tend to wear such things, so I struggle to form an opinion on the look of them šŸ˜›

    I (almost) always make sure I have my wallet with my ‘In and Emergency’ card in it, with the big red bit at the top clearly visible. That says to feed me sugar, or phone 999 if I’m not conscious. I was a bit scared at work when talking to people about being diabetic – everyone assumes that they should inject you with insulin if you are having problems! :O I think that might be one of the most important consciousness raising points to make to the general public…

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