It should be abundantly clear to everyone by now that, when it comes to type 2 diabetes and congestive heart failure, I’m definitely “out”.  I mean, I write for two different blogs, My Diabetic Heart and The Type 2 Experience, and I talk about it frequently both online and offline.  That openness has been something of a hallmark mine since I was diagnosed in December 2008.

Something that came to light when I started my journey was the question of what would happen if I were to find myself in a situation where I couldn’t speak for myself.  How would someone be able to find out that I have type 2 diabetes and CHF, and what to do for me, if I couldn’t tell them?

The solution was simple: medical jewelry and emergency identification cards.

Initially, I doubled up on the medical jewelry; I had both a dog tag necklace and a custom made bracelet.  I know that may sound like overkill to some, but it was during a time when I was dealing with a lot of anxiety related to my heart problems.  It made me feel more secure having them on when I left home.

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My first bracelet and necklace.

My first dog tag came from American Medical ID.  It had a large medic alert symbol and my diagnoses on the front, and had my name, an emergency contact, an abbreviated medication list, and instructions to look for the emergency ID card in my wallet on the back.  The emergency ID card contained additional information about my diagnoses, all of the medications that I was taking at the time, my doctor’s contact information, a list of allergies, and last but not least, a list of emergency contacts.

My bracelet wasn’t your typical medical alert bracelet; I really didn’t care for the standard ones found in the drug stores and wanted something unique to me.  I ended up visiting the Things Remembered store in the local mall and had something made there.  It was a simple black rubber band with stainless steel accents and a watch style clasp, and the center piece had the medic alert symbol engrave on it, along side my diagnoses.  I really liked it.  It got the job done and had the added bonus of being something that people noticed and asked questions about.

You know what that meant, right?  It provided more opportunities to talk about type 2 diabetes and congestive heart failure.

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The broken bracelet and the new necklace.

As my situation and tastes have changed over the past few years, I’ve acquired new jewelry and updated my emergency ID cards.  I’ve worked through a lot of the anxiety that I mentioned before and currently only wear the new necklace I bought last month after my bracelet broke for the second time.  Admittedly, it does feel weird not having the bracelet on my wrist, but as long as I have some sort of ID on I’m cool with it.

While I hope and pray that I’ll never find myself incapacitated and needing my medical jewelry and emergency ID cards to speak for me, I know that it is a real possibility and therefore consider them a worthwhile investment.

The way I see it, it’s a little bit of money for a little peace of mind.  Not just for me, but for my loved ones.  They are worth it.  I am too.

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