Diabetic Tattoo

Do I Really Need a Medic Alert ID?

Being an adult who is self-admittedly too independent for my own good, a cyclist, and quite simply a PWD who is out and about in the world, it makes sense that I get a medic alert ID and wear it as religiously as I do my yellow LIVESTRONG bracelet.


Having read posts like Sarah’s “Three Year Present” and coming from the perspective of maintaining my independence as much as possible when it comes to my health and well-being, I’m now on the prowl for a medic alert that fits my style.

But what do I really need? How much info do I need to be available via my medic alert bracelet? Do I really have so much medical information that I need a 2GB USB drive integrated into my medic alert? Do I need a subscription service like that offered by the MedicAlert Foundation, where my ID has a unique number on it that links to additional information about me should it be needed? Or can I get away with just the basics about my diabetes and allergies with a simple engraving on the back?

And what do I want? There are so many options compared to the simplicity of when I was a kid and wore a medic alert bracelet or necklace. I could never keep up with the bracelet that just said “Diabetes” on it. It was cheap and would always break and disappear into the oblivion and wonder that is a school playground. The necklace charm worked better as a kid, but now that I’m an adult, I’m not really a necklace person. I don’t need anything bringing attention to my big round head anymore than necessary. Can I find a bracelet that fits my rebellious, edgy, rockstar, non-conformist style while not totally ruining the times when I need to err on the side of dressing professional? I do get paid to be a librarian, after all.

I have two Road ID‘s that I wear while cycling that are so well worn that the information on them is barely legible anymore (not to mention outdated and inaccurate, aside from me still being a T1 Diabetic, which hasn’t changed in 29 years). I need something that’s going to hold up with time…and oil changes, or whatever mess I get into.

Maybe I should get a tattoo. I’ve wanted a tattoo for awhile now, but haven’t found something that I’m so passionate about that I feel the need to get it inked onto my body. As a dblogger and d-advocate, does my passion for the education about and better treatments for diabetes, plus my own health, meet the passion threshold to merit getting a tattoo? My girlfriend’s dad says that “A tattoo is a permanent reminder of a temporary state of mind.” I tend to agree, but my diabetes isn’t going anywhere, and if it does, I would gladly live with a permanent tattoo of when I USED to have diabetes.

Diabetic Tattoo

Alisha Wilkes's diabetes tattoo, which I think is pretty much AWESOME!

Decisions, decisions.

The key here is that all of us PWDs should wear our medic alerts in some way, shape, or form. Paramedics and emergency personnel are trained to look for them, and it is in our personal best interest to still be able to communicate with them, even if we are physically unable to. Low BG’s can sneak up on those who are in the very best control. It’s diabetes, it happens. We feel guilty about it afterward, like it is our fault, as if we caused it. However, I would much prefer to be around to feel that way, than to not be around because the person that found me had no idea that I have special needs.

So yes, you do indeed need a medic alert ID. So do I. Now where did I put my wallet?


  1. Thanks for the shout out, Wood. I think that if you don’t need a lot of info on the bracelet, it would be fine just to get a regular one that stated maybe one or two conditions and an emergency contact number/person. But for some people, like myself, I have a lot that needs to be known in an emergency, so that’s why I pay for the Medic Alert service. 🙂 It’s all in what the person thinks they need. A good thing to do would be to discuss with their doctor what information is immediately needed and what isn’t and decide from there which option is best. Take care, my friend! 🙂

  2. Great tattoo! Actually, that’s one I really like and would probably pursue if I wanted a tattoo… There’s also one that Scott Johnson wrote about another PWD, Scott Hanselman, who has a great one! It’s a tattoo on one arm and says “check other arm,” and then the other arm has the actual medical alert tattoo! Thought that was pretty awesome, myself. Anyhow, good luck with the choices!

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