I'm a sucker for pretty, shiny things. If you'd asked me half-a-dozen years ago, before my diagnosis, if that could include medical IDs, I'd have probably laughed in your face. But today, alas, a medical ID bracelet is a permanent fixture on my left wrist.
I started out in 2003 with a very simple, silver-beaded version from LifeJewelry, and then later upgraded to a sparklier version with crystal beads from Beadin' Beagle. A few years after that, I was fortunate to be offered a Tiffany's-style sliver-link armband with heart charm from HAH Originals, which I continue to love, but does sometimes feel a bit too "dangly" and gets in the way when I'm typing, cooking, testing glucose, etc.
This summer at the Children with Diabetes (CWD) Conference, I happened by the expo booth from Lauren's Hope, well-known for their vast collection of "some of the cutest Medical ID bracelets out there." I couldn't agree more. My feet would not continue past their booth until I had poked and prodded and tried on 8 or 10 different bracelets. I could have bought everything at that darn table! At some point, I knew I wasn't going to move on unless I allowed myself to "indulge," but could simply not make up my mind which design to choose.
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Full disclosure: the kind folks at Lauren's Hope did offer me a discount. But I still spent over $100 on 3 (yes, you read right, THREE) different bracelet designs. The idea is that you purchase a single ID plate engraved with your medical info, and then a variety of different "bracelet strands" can be worn with it, as they all are adorned with clasps at each end ... "so that you can choose the medical alert bracelet to match your outfit." They SO had me at that line.
Although for me it's often even more about my mood than my outfit per se. When I'm feeling "sporty," I often don this model:
"Elegant" days get this:
And this "flower power" version is my go-to essential. It's what originally "called me over" to their booth in the first place:
When my new collection initially arrived in the mail, I have to admit I was a tad disappointed. The ID tag seemed awfully big for my "mini-mouse" wrist, yet I was told they come in one size only. My gosh, what about kids? I thought. Wouldn't these face plates be gi-normous for them? I emailed my contact at the company, and this is what she wrote back:
"Our theory behind the size is based on keeping our clients protected. Unfortunately, some patients have multiple conditions, allergies, etc. that would need to be known if an emergency situation occurred. The tag we have designed can accommodate up 5 lines of engraving with 20 characters per line, giving ample room for a large amount of readable information. I wish that we did have a smaller size to offer you. If it helps, I have noticed over time that my medical ID tag is really quite comfortable (and I'm pretty tiny like you) and I don't even realize I have a medical bracelet on."
Thankfully, she was right about adjusting to the larger plate size. The bracelets are certainly comfortable, although aesthetically I'd still prefer if the plate were a tad smaller. I love the interchangeability though! The only real design flaw to my mind is that these models are nearly impossible to get on yourself. Because the tag plate is so large, the clasp can only click onto it when held at a backward angle. I found myself nearly standing on my head most mornings trying to get the darn thing clasped. So now it's become a family ritual that somebody helps me clip my ID bracelet on over their cereal every morning.
More proof that you have to suffer to be beautiful? Perhaps. But I want to thank Lauren's Hope for helping us "Chronic Babes" to feel beautiful even as we suffer our various illnesses.
Editor's Note: It seems that the Lauren's Hope blog runs a Friday Free Stuff campaign — all you have to do is subscribe to their blog and leave a comment each week for a chance to win. And no, I was not specifically asked to "plug" this company in any way. I just happen to be a fan.