What happens when…?

2 summers ago. 

My son had his tonsillectomy.  Following the surgery, the doc came out and told us that all had gone well.  Then we had to wait an eternity to see him.  Had something gone wrong?  Was he not waking?

Finally, they called me back.  I got to see my groggy boy!  It was then that the nurse told me –

“I’m concerned that he isn’t sitting up and talking yet.” 

I’m not sure if it was my stomach or my heart that fell!  Maybe both. 

s i t t i n g   u p. 

t a l k i n g.

From looking at him asleep…how would you know?


Oh wait!  There is this thing called charting, but – reality – B’s chart is VERY thick, and sadly the important info isn’t always flagged or…read.

And then my mind really went to far places  – What about scenarios beyond the walls of this hospital???

So what if this were a car accident?  We’ll I could just fill them in, or show them the paperwork I keep in his backpack.  Or could I?

What if I was unconscious?
How could anyone possibly know his baseline?
Who could tell him that they CAN NOT do an MRI on him – not without doing a little incision to get that magnet [for the cochlear implant] out?
Would they give him meds to make him more lucid, assuming he could speak?
What if they thought his wild movements were new?
What if they gave him a medication that would counteract with another of the meds we give him?

I think it was EMT week a couple weeks ago.  Can’t be sure.  Doesn’t really matter too much, as this is an important topic, regardless.

I want to point out, that no matter what the disability, anyone with special needs should probably have a medic alert bracelet.  I always assumed that because my child is in a wheelchair and always with someone that knows him, he was covered, but our hospital experience walked me through the idea that i.was.wrong.

I know, I know!  I have a knack for dreaming up less-than-pleasant blog posts.  …like conjuring up a ghastly car accident, telling our story (every newborn parent’s nightmare), or talking about the toilet. But, you know, there are things more important than being proper.

Think about it.  Whether it’s diabetes, apraxia, a hearing impairment, CP, Down’s…whatever it is, how will the EMT’s know the baseline if you are unconscious?

The THING about Medical Alert Bracelets:

– The EMT’s need to be able to EASILY see them.

– You don’t always want to explain your “special need” to everyone you meet…even if it’s obvious. 

It feels a bit like tagging yourself or your child as broken.  …not an easy thing!  But it’s something I just had to get over…because honestly, I care about my son’s well-being more than I do this  special-awkwardness that comes with our lives.  And in the end, the broken might be far better off than those dealing with the handicap of taking everything for granted and stumbling through life with a bad attitude.

If you find something stylish enough to pass someone’s first glance you might just strike a happy medium.  It doesn’t have to be one of the chain link ones from Walgreen’s…unless you prefer that…being retro cool, the way you are, and all.  If I’d thought of it in college, I think I might have just worn one for no reason…just for interesting jewelry, along with those apple stickers that I was forever sticking to myself and the Bigfoot slippers I wore on campus.  (letting you in on WAY too much here!)  Back to the topic!!!

These are 2 companies that we’ve bought bracelets from.  (At this point, I’m a little dog, and I don’t advertise or make any money from my blog in any way.)

From MedicAlert Foundation                                          The ID band Company in the UK (fast shipping to US)

  Dark Blue Engraveable Child Bracelet



For my son, we deal with multiple disabilities so, I really want an EMT to have an instant list to all his meds, diagnosis, surgeries, medical equipment etc.  I also wanted any first responder to be able to flip over his bracelet and know that he is non-verbal.  So we signed up for a service with MedicAlert Foundation which provides a 24×7 Toll-free number for EMT’s and hospitals to call and another line for you to call and update info.  They charge an annual fee that’s not too crazy.  (They also let you update medical info through their website.) We wanted the cool bracelet, but we also needed the 800# service for instant access to medical info so we:

  • Subscribed with Medic Alert,
  • Waited a couple days until we had been issued the MedicAlert ID #
  • Bought an additional bracelet through ID Band Co (with Lightning McQueen (discontinued) on it for his birthday)
    • We had the inscription on this one include the MedicAlert 800# and ID # in addition to the basic info

If you are dealing with a single disability and don’t need more than will fit on 1-4 lines of text, you can just buy the bracelet.  

Some people use USB’s…but my worst-case-scenarioness wouldn’t allow it.  If it gets water damage, or damaged in an accident, you are out of luck. Also, I imagine the First Responders making a phone call more easily than I do them popping in a USB.  All you have to do is flip over my son’s bracelet to see that he is non-verbal, Has CP, and can’t do an MRI…the most vital info is right there…no phone call, no USB.

Do keep in mind that for kids with movement disorders that can’t control their limbs, necklaces could be life-threatening.

Other favorites from ID Band Co.

Adjustable Black RubberPure Hematite Wrap (LW002MED)The CordDeluxe Orange Premier LeatherPink Swirl LeatherWhite Bars Leather Engraveable Medical ID BraceletPink Engraveable Child BraceletAlert! AsthmaticKids ID Engraveable Silicone Bracelet

If you have any suggestions or experience with this stuff please help us all out by commenting!

13 thoughts on “What happens when…?

  1. N-Style ID also has really great bracelets and my 10 year old daughter really loves wearing them. She has a sliderr bracelet with many bands that she can match to her outfits and are even waterproof. She says they are comfortable, which amazing considering her sensory issues. The metal slider is the biggest investment, but the bands are very inexpensive.

  2. My 16 year old daughter, Brielle, and I were in a minor accident a little over a year ago. Brielle has moderate CP (she can walk but cannot talk altho she can hear – she uses sign language to communicate and forms complete sentences…when she’s not being lazy). Although I had considered an ID bracelet, even investigated a few companies on-line, it wasn’t until that accident and the police officer encouraging me to get her an ID bracelet/tag as well as a State ID (very useful when traveling now that she’s 16) that I was prompted to get both. She got a necklace with just the plain “ball link” chain. The medalion hangs below her shirt (almost touching the middle of her bra), so it’s descreet, but not “too” descreet. She wears it ALL OF THE TIME (except when showering). I feel so much more at peace. What if we were in a serious accident? What if she wandered off in the grocery store? What if I had a medical emergency while we were out? What if some bizzarre tree fell on our house while we were sleeping? A parent’s mind can create SO many scenarios that an ID could help their disabled child. It’s the ones we can’t think of that scare me the most. Anyway, I HIGHLY recommend an ID bracelet to anyone with a disabled child. It’s no big deal and gives a lot of peace of mind, that’s for sure. We got Brielle’s at: medicalalert.org.

    • Kerith,
      Thank you SO much for sharing! It’s really great to have multiple parent’s perspective on this, and I’m so glad that you have Brielle covered too!
      PS-Your blog looks great too!

  3. i have half a dozen medic alert bracelets for my son…he has multiple issues and not all of them are connected to each other…several can be serious or life threatening but like you the nonverbal is a huge issue…I don’t want them to assume he’s been brain damaged when he is just what he was before the accident…I don’t want them frustrating him or confusing him with numerous questions when he is already scared or freaked out…I also don’t want them to assume he’s not injured just because of what the bracelet says. I also took things a step further in hopes that in a car accident there might be a small chance that my rear window remains intact I put a sticker on there that says Nonverbal…on the other side is a Service Dog on board sticker. I like to cover my bases but I definitely want to keep a company that has a full record of all meds, surgeries, illnesses and complications as well as doctors names and numbers and his address and home phone number. If they can’t talk to me I know his doctors know him well enough to say “yeah this is typical for him” or “this is not typical at all”

  4. Thank you so much for posting this!! I never would have thought about it. When I think of medical alert bracelets, I think of allergies. Despite my son’s multiple special needs, allergies are not one of them, thankfully. I think I’ll invest in one as soon as I get paid. Thanks again.

  5. Hey Miriam! I love your blog! This reminds me of a time when Luke had x-ray’s taken (he was about 3 or 4 years old at the time). The x-ray tech’s brought him out of the suite and said “wow, he’s really strong”….I was dumfounded….I said “you know he has cp, right?”…deer in headlights is the only response I got back. I have kind of forgotten about this as I NEVER let him out of my sight at the hospital or any where, really. I MUST order one of these bracelets for him. Thanks for the reminder!

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