I remember the medical ID order forms that used to go home with all of the new school year paperwork at the beginning of each fall in elementary school. At the time, I did not have a reason to need a medical ID, so out in the trash it went. Now that I have a chronic condition that necessitates the use of a medical ID, I am far more aware of both why it is important to wear ID and what variety of options are available for people like me.
The purpose of having a medical ID is to give information about yourself, your medical condition, and who to call in the case of an emergency, should you be unable to provide that information due to a medical event. Without providing this information, we are taking a larger gamble on how a situation like this might be handled. We all hope that we (or our loved ones) will never be in an emergency situation, so we move forward by being prepared for the worst and hoping for the best in as positive a manner as possible.
It took me a while to get serious about keeping a personalized medical ID on my person. At first, I thought just having my diabetes supplies and/or devices on me in a marked bag would be enough. The longer I lived with T1D, I learned that many people, including even some who work in the healthcare field, may need more explicit information to understand that I have type 1 diabetes and what that means, if I were unable to speak for myself. I went from a lightly engraved charm from Things Remembered to home-crafted bracelets that spelled out my name, "type 1 diabetes", and "insulin dependent" in alphabet beads, then printed silicon wristbands that said "I have type 1 diabetes", to finally ordering my first personalized ID. This is not to say that I have not done endless research and online window shopped over the past few years; for whatever reason, I just have not moved forward in selecting one or more ID options, until recently.
I have gotten a lot of inquiries and positive feedback about the ID that I chose this go-around, so I wanted to share the information with you in case you are in the market for something similar. As a Dexcom CGM user, I channel my data through the Dexcom G5 app on my phone to my Apple Watch. Since I wear my Apple Watch on my wrist on a daily basis, including (and especially) while I exercise, it seemed like a no-brainer to get an ID that I could slide on to my watch band. My motivation for finally picking something to start with came from the knowledge that I would be doing some solo traveling and I thought it would be important (and give some peace of mind) to have information on me, just in case.
The perfect piece of medical ID to work with my watch came from online retailer Road ID. I searched through their many options before settling on what I came for: the slide-on for Apple Watch.
The hardest part comes after choosing your ID: deciding exactly what information to have engraved upon it. I have a long name, so I tend to get stuck figuring out how to squeeze the essential characters on each line. Then I had to decide what pertinent information to include, like birth year, condition, emergency contact, and if I wanted to include a way for a responder to look up further information, if needed.
Information to include on your medical ID
The format I went with looks a little something like this:
- First name last name / birth year (abbreviated)
- Condition (Type 1 Diabetes)
- Insulin Dependent
- Emergency contact first name, phone number, and relationship to me
- "For medical information:"
- Hotline and website where more information could be accessed in an emergency
So far, I have been very pleased with my choice. The slider fits comfortably on my watchband, stays clean, and seems durable. Given that Road IDs were primarily designed for endurance athletes and the outdoors, I am confident that anything I order from them will hold up just fine.
I am also looking at some more feminine options to add to my medical ID collection. Like any accessory, there are so many options for different outfits and occasions. There are a variety of styles available on the Lauren's Hope site. The dainty bracelets of Poppy Medical ID are tempting, but I wonder if I would have the kind of room for engraving that my long name would need. While it wouldn't suit my current needs, the paracord bracelets at Handmade by Heroes appear durable and functional, and I love that the bracelets are made by veterans.
Bracelet Additions and Alternatives
Other ways that people choose to represent their medical identification include:
seatbelt sliders (I've tried this one myself--loved that I could also put it on my backpack when traveling)
electronics like the Apple iPhone/Watch Emergency-Medical ID function (instructions for set up can be found here)
Choose whichever method(s) of medical ID that work for you--just be sure to keep it with you! Better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it. Tell me about your favorite medical IDs and how you keep it fresh in the comments!