hope braceletToday, for the first time in my ‘diabetes-life’, I am wearing a medical-alert bracelet. After a hypo last night that resulted in paramedics, IV dextrose and at-home hourly BGLs (just so I could avoid going to A&E), I pulled out of the draw the bracelet I bought a couple of years ago and put it on.

I have resisted wearing medical-alert jewellery for 15 years and I’m not really sure why. I have never been backwards in coming forwards about the fact I have diabetes and I am certainly not in any way ashamed of living with this condition.

But for some reason, in my weird and twisted mind, the wearing of a piece of jewellery that brands me as ‘type 1 diabetes/insulin pump’ (as the inscription on the back of the tag says) was just too much for me to deal with. I have always associated it with the idea that I would not  be able to deal with my diabetes myself; that I’d need someone else to help me and that there would be emergency situations. I’ve pretty much avoided these circumstances so far. Until last night.

So today, I located the bracelet and linked it around my wrist. It’s quite pretty to look at, provided all I can see is the bracelet part and not the tag . But each time I catch a glimpse of it – as I am typing at my computer; as I sat in a café drinking my morning coffee; lifting my arm to push hair out of my eyes – I feel defeated and somewhat branded.

I’ve always wondered about people who get tattoos which proudly declare they have diabetes and I’ve never understood why anyone would do that.  I just don’t understand why someone would want to have their health status permanently tattooed to their skin. I’ve always thought if I was to do that, I’d need to add all the other ways I want people to think of me. And having ‘Harry Potter tragic’ or ‘Delusions of Nigella Lawson’ scrawled up and down my arms would just be silly! Again, it’s not because I’m ashamed of having diabetes. Perhaps it has more to do with the fact that I defiantly go against what everyone else is doing and I quite like being the only ‘un-inked’ person in the room.  Of course, this is merely my own opinion and I absolutely don’t think any less of people who choose to have a diabetes tattoo. Maybe if braver, I’d do it too.

I’m heading overseas in a couple of weeks for a long trip and for the first few days, I’ll be alone, without my family. It’s probably a smart idea to have something on me that says I have diabetes – just in case something happens. Maybe it will give me some peace of mind, as I’m sure it will my family.

But for today, I’m feeling fragile and not particularly happy. Not happy that now I feel unsafe and feel the need to have something that (in my mind, and I’m sure my mind alone) screams ‘TYPE 1 DIABETES’. I feel that it’s a victory to diabetes. And I hate losing.

Lauren’s Hope jewellery has some gorgeous designs. My bracelet has five strands of black Swarovski crystals holding together the medical-alert tag. It’s quite beautiful, really!