Monday, May 2, 2011

Autoimmune Bling

I've been considering buying a MedicAlert bracelet lately.

After reading more about my medications, specifically cyclosporine and methotrexate in combination with prednisone, it occurred to me that this information may be important to anyone providing emergency care for me. Cyclosporine in particular has a lengthy list of potential dangerous drug interactions. All these drugs deliberately create a suppressed immune system, which is important information to pass along to medical providers.

Most reputable medication websites make the recommendation that those who take immunosupressant medications wear medical identification jewelry, such as those that can be purchased from MedicAlert.

I will probably subscribe to the MedicAlert service, and snap on a bracelet.....but considering this is making me distinctly uncomfortable. Sometimes I really appreciate that autoimmune disease is invisible. Wearing this prominent bracelet changes all that. I know that when I see others wearing this type of jewelry, I find myself idly guessing what kind of medical problems that person has. I've never wanted to be subjected to that kind of scrutiny.

What do you think? Do you wear any kind of medical identification jewelry?


Tricia said...

I have been thinking along these lines recently also.I am a very private person, but realize that with my children living all over the U.S. and me living by myself, someone needs to know my meds and other info in case something happens and someone has to step in. I recently was in the hospital overnight and my primary care who admitted me was not familiar with Evoxac and didn't prescribe it for me my while I was there. That was a problem! It's the issue of all your doctors not communicating with each other. So recently I sent my son a list of my meds and my diagnoses. I told him to put it in a file in case he ever needs it. I'm up for any ideas from others. It helps to know others are going through similar things, and that we can help each other and learn from each other. I like to blend into the background, so I don't know if I'd be up for wearing a bracelet. I am interested in what you and others decide to do.

Anonymous said...

I never thought of this. Does Plaquinil count?

Anonymous said...

I think that you should wear it, it would help you get the best medical care, especially in the even you were unable to speak for your self. A lot of people wear medical alert bracelets. It's one of the first things I look for when I encounter a patient.

poogs said...

Hi Julia -
I've enjoyed reading your blog for a while now. I was diagnosed with SS two years ago, in my early thirties, and am pumped full of medications. Prior to my diagnosis, I already had a MedicAlert bracelet. Mainly, it was because I trained for marathons and ran on the streets. It gave me peace of mind that if anything should happen and I couldn't speak for myself, information on who to contact, my doctors, and even any medications I was taking were available by calling a 1-800 number. Even insurance information can be stored and updated at your discretion. Now that I have SS and other autoimmune conditions, I consider it a bare necessity. You never know what could happen, and we all seem to be on many meds. MedicAlert makes it easy to keep them up to date and even print them out to go to the dr's office. And if you don't want a bracelet, go for a necklace! You can hide it under your shirt and no one will be the wiser that you're covered :)
Thanks for your blog, you help tremendously. Gentle hugs to you!

Laura said...

I will be honest - having never been a medical professional, I don't look for or notice those bracelets. I'm not sure how many people would actually notice it.

@Tricia - in my case it is not MedicAlert-worthy info anyway, but I have a smart phone and I got an "in case of emergency" app for it that I enter all my data onto. Apparently at least in some areas the emergency services folks look for these in case, but mostly it is there so that if I need to cover things with a new provider (including ER trips, I hate gastro viruses) when I'm not at my best, don't have to have it memorized. And my husband knows it's there, too (at least, if he remembers - I told him :).