About 2 months ago, I got a medical ID bracelet…. But instead of it being jewelry, I decided to tattoo it to my body. I’m sure there are plenty of people out there against getting tattoos, or accepting them in general, but I am open minded and like to express myself. I told my parents about my tattoo idea before getting this medical bracelet (as they are both completely against tattoos in general, but have accepted that I am old enough to make my own decisions). I had explained why/where I was getting the tattoo, they were understanding. Still the only tattoo on my body that they have “approved” of.
When I was researching tattoos used for medical reasons, I was very surprised at how little people have medical ID bracelets tattoos! Personally, I thought it was a very clever idea, hence the reason why I wanted to tattoo it. I am not scared to speak up about my diabetes, talk about how it affects me and have others share their experience with me.
Just the other day, I was inside a pharmacy and the lady sitting beside me asked if that was a medical bracelet on my arm. I responded, “Yes” and showed her the inner part where it reads “Type 1 Diabetic.” She then showed me the gold bracelet on her wrist and told me a little bit of her medical problems. She was an older lady, and didn’t understand that there are two types of diabetes. She thought we were all the same and decided to tell me the whole life story of her (also older) nephew. From what I understood, he was a Type 2 Diabetic. He had lost 2 toes, severe kidney damage and was on dialysis because he hadn’t managed it well. He died 4 months ago.
It was easy for me to say, “I’m sorry for your loss” to a lady I just met and knew nothing about… But little did she know, I can relate. My uncle died 2 years ago from uncontrolled Type 2 diabetes. At first he took pills, but after a while he had to go on insulin and ended up loosing his job as a truck driver. From what I saw, he managed diabetes well, but his other worsening health factors also affected him more then he knew. He had been on dialysis as well. Late one night, my aunt called me to tell him his eyes were rolled in the back of his head, and she didn’t know how to check his sugar level! I tried to help over the phone, but instead she hung up and called 911. Next thing I knew my “Uncle Bill,” or as we called him “UB,” was in a hospital in a coma because his sugars had been elevated for so long. My family ended up pulling the plug, and the doctors blamed it on his poor blood sugar control.
It was easy for me to have a simple conversation with the older lady in the pharmacy about diabetes and how if effects the body. I explained to her how insulin pumps work, and how I manage my diabetes. I am glad she noticed my wrist and asked about it; it made me more at peace with myself to learn a little bit about her nephew, and made me understand even more how important it is to control my sugar levels.
My medical ID bracelet is important to me, and the security of it never falling off like a typical medical bracelet is comforting to me. Maybe it will help me to have more conversations with complete strangers about diabetes. Maybe it will help bring more awareness to type 1 diabetes. Maybe one day, it will save my life.