identification: a story

my medical alert bracelet made by NuritSpiegel: https://etsy.com/shop/NuritSpiegel

I’ve learned that the Italian side of my family was either one of two things during my first years: feeding or decorating me.

Sometimes, both.

Keeping with my grandparents’ aesthetic preference of seeing tiny pieces of gold on a child – after all, a bambina is this ultimate symbol of beauty and purity or whatever – I had both of my ear lobes pierced for earrings before I was little more than a year old. In addition to this, when both my sister and I were born we were gifted with a yellow gold bracelet featuring a flat plate engraved with our names, respectively.

As we grew, they grew with us; our parents had links added to the chains as the years passed.

We both worn them daily on our left wrists until, given the absurdity of allowing a child to wander about with precious metal so casually, we both lost them in our own seemingly-tragic accounts. My loss, I presume, occurred crawling through tubes and adventuring in a ball pit during a friend’s birthday party.

Aside from occasional nostalgic thoughts, I hadn’t much cared about that bracelet again until now.

Currently, a yellow gold bracelet is around my left wrist.

Like my former name-bearing one, this features a plate with text. The hand-pressed letters states TYPE 1 DIABETES, instead of a stylized version of Ashley.

I’ve not been much of a fan of medical ID bracelets, despite having a few over the years. I’d think things like how they stood out or they were too much of a signal for other people to treat me like I was different, even sick. Or, diseased.

 

Admittedly, I hoped that wearing the pump on my person at all times would assist in indentifying me in the case of an emergency. That is foolish, really.

If I ever were to experience enough of a dramatic blood sugar episode that medical professionals would be called in, it is likely that I may be unable to communicate for myself. And, yes, while those around me are generally informed that I have type 1 diabetes, there is always the potential for something to occur when I am on my own. Who’d speak for me then?

I think it’s tremendously important to wear a piece of identification – a bracelet, necklace – or have something else to inform an outside party – an informational card in your wallet or even the ability to present a diabetes-specific tattoo. Whatever it is, if it can be something that motivates you to have it around, like if it is an attractive piece of jewelry, that’s all the better.

It does, in fact, have a twofold purpose: it’s an alert for others to help you in a time of need and it’s a reminder to ourselves to stay focused.

And, hey, maybe part of why this particular bracelet I found is so personally appreciated is because it doesn’t feel like it’s an explicitly for-medical-purposes bracelet.

Looking at it, it’s just that same piece of jewelry that I thought I had once lost for good. Turns out that I was wrong. I just needed it to be revised to serve me better.

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