There are so many medical reasons to wear a Medic Alert bracelet and yet so many of us who should, do not. Why? Is it that we think, “It can’t happen to me.”? – Emergencies I mean. Is it that we just don’t like the look of Medic Alert jewellery? Or is it that we don’t want the assumed stigma attached when we wear such jewellery. Look at these reasons. Think about it. They seem silly, shallow and even selfish don’t they? …Selfish? How you might ask? Read on…
I was one of those people. I should have worn a Medical Alert bracelet for many years, but did not until I became pregnant. I guess I assumed that nothing would happen to me and that if it did, my husband, who was with me most of the time, could alert the medics to my “issues” should something happen to me. This reasoning is pure stupidity. Accidents happen to all of us. What if my husband was not with me when I had an emergency OR worse yet was with me but was injured himself?
The problem for me, being a stylish kind of girl, was that I really didn’t like the offerings in Medical Alert jewellery, and while I am a jewellery designer, I could think of nothing less appealing to design. That is until I became pregnant 8 years ago. Impending motherhood made me realize that from that point forward I was responsible for more than myself; I needed to be safe not just for me but for my baby. Not wearing a medical alert bracelet was selfish. What about the other people who love and depend on me?
Now, my issues happen to be allergies to specific medications. Malignant Hyperthermia is an allergy to anesthetic. If I were in need of emergency surgery, it is imperative that the doctors be alerted to this condition by either verbal communication or by Medic Alert jewellery, to ensure that they use alternate drugs. Having surgery, without knowledge of my condition, could be life threatening. Many think of allergies to medications or complications associated with treating patients on specific medications as reasons to wear Medic Alert jewellery, but there are so many more.
Let’s have a show of hands for those of you who know someone who is diabetic? Ok good – lots of you. Consider for instance if a diabetic is in need of emergency medical care and possibly IV therapy. A very common fluid administered by IV is D5W, aka DSW or sugar water. The “D” in this acronym stands for Dextrose – a form of glucose. The “5” stands for the concentration of dextrose in the formula. DSW comes in many concentrations and diabetics require specific formulas to treat their particular condition. Too high a concentration can elevate the blood sugar above healthy levels and too low a concentration would not be appropriate to administer to a diabetic who is suffering from hypoglycemia from taking too much insulin. If medics know a patient is diabetic, they will check the blood glucose level to determine what IV to prescribe. If they don’t know that the patient is diabetic, they are not likely test and the inappropriate DSW would likely be administered – something you don’t want to happen.
So for those of you who have hung in there, listened to my rant, and are still reading this, I offer my solution. Wear a stylish bracelet. Necessity is the mother of invention, and my pregnancy so many years ago forced me to address my own issues with Medic Alert jewellery. With my new attitude and new belly, I came up with this idea: making your own decorative, beaded, strands for your bracelet. It is simple, takes about ten minutes and requires two tools.
Here’s what you need: (all available at beading/craft stores)
- Medium gauge fishing line (costs less at Canadian Tire)
- 2 “C” clasps or “Lobster” clasps
- A Medic Alert bracelet face with large enough holes through which you can hook clasps
- Needle-nose jewellery pliers
Here’s how to do it:
- Cut a length of fishing line approximately 7 inches long.
- Feed a crimper on the line followed by a clasp.
- Take the end of the fishing wire and feed back thru the crimper so that the clasp is on a loop.
- Pull the fishing line tight to minimize the loop and secure using pliers to squeeze crimper in place. Trim of excess line from the end.
- Add as many beads as is required to make the bracelet – N.B. standard bracelet length is 7 ¼ “ so subtract the length of the bracelet face and that will be the length of your finished strand.
- Thread on another crimper and then a clasp.
- Take the end of the line and feed it back through the crimper as you did at the beginning of the strand.
- Crimp and trim excess.
Now you have beautiful, handmade, beaded Medic Alert jewellery which also doubles as a bracelet – the bracelet face, being heavier, stays on the inside of your wrist so it looks like a regular bracelet from the top. It is an inexpensive way to add a little flair to this important piece of jewellery and the more strands you make the more you have to mix and match with your outfits. There is a wide variety of beads available which could be incorporated into bracelets for children and men as well.
If you are not inclined to make your own bracelet strands then go on-line and look around. There are plenty of websites out there now which offer a large selection of attractive Medic Alert accessories. There is something to suit everyone. The point is we can no longer use the ugly excuse anymore to justify not wearing this important jewellery. As for the other reasons…well you already know how I feel about them.
Photos and Bracelets by Lyndsay Jenkinson