Tag Archives: type 1

Needles and Tattoo Ink?

Medical ID Tattoos

Medical ID Tattoos

Is this the answer?  For my family, it was!

In a household of three diabetics; husband and two daughters, medical ID has been an expensive endeavor for my family.  We started with the standard medical ID silver bracelet and or necklace.  Many complaints were made about how ugly they were.   Then we went custom – even more money.  Everything we made, was super cute, and super expensive.  I didn’t mind though because I felt like I was helping in some way.  

Psychologically, I find that over the years, throwing money at diabetes was often a comfort.   I was helping in what often felt like a helpless situation.  The problem is, there is a reason you do not give 5 year olds jewelry!  It gets lost, broken, or destroyed.  Every morning we would fight over putting the jewelry on, or to just find it!   Then, they started wearing the pump.  I felt a little reassured that even if they did not have their bracelet or necklace on, they would have something on that hopefully would identify them as diabetics in an emergency.  

As the girls grew into teenagers, the typical shedding of the pump occurred.  Then, what I had been dreading, they started to drive.  First Katie, then the following year Abby.  They were away from me, away from the school nurse, and without medical ID.  The diabetic parent trifecta of fear.  

So, after much deliberation my husband and I decided that we would allow them to get tattoos.  That is what the girls wanted and they would not lose or break them.  I started researching the idea by talking with a firefighter friend.  I asked if he thought it would be a good identifier of their diabetes and if they look for them in an emergency.  He said, as long as it is on the left wrist with no other tattoos, or over their heart that first responders would look for it.  

I settled myself with the idea and the girls started designing their own tattoos.  They worked tirelessly on them and were very invested in how they looked.  The first appointment was for my youngest daughter, at the time she was 16.  My husband took her and I cried the whole time that they were gone.  It seemed so final, marked for life.  I felt in some way that we had given up on the cure.  Then it was my older daughter’s turn.  I went with her and that was better.  She was excited, so then I was excited too.  

Now, a few years later, they have gone off to college.  A little older, a little wiser and back to being attached to their pumps.  (Can I get an amen?)  The tattoos give me one less thing to worry about.  A little piece of mind, which can be hard to come by with three diabetics to worry about.  What does a mom do,  if not worry?