Last week I was in Boston for the first time in over 20 years and as I do everywhere I go, I woke up early and went for a run. It was cold and I dressed in a few layers, covering my pump and supplies.
I headed out at 6:00 a.m. for an 11 mile run excited to see some of one of America’s prettier cities. I was told to go down to the Charles River so I did. I thought it would be simple enough to get there but I took a wrong turn and needed to ask for directions (something guys hate to do). I saw someone coming out of a building dressed to run so I asked him for help.
“Follow me,” he said. “I’m heading down there”.
I did, and after a few minutes I was on a great running path.
“How far down are you going?” he asked me once we crossed the bridge and reached the path.
“I need to run 5 miles and then come back” I said.
“That sounds good,” he said.
But I told him I needed to stop for a few minutes to check my blood sugar.
“Go ahead. I’ll catch up,” I said. I checked my blood sugar and had a gel. Then I started to run alone.
Being alone, in a strange place, I started to think about what would happen if something happened to me. I was in a place I don’t know and where no one knows me. What if my blood sugar dropped while I was running and I passed out? Would someone realize I’m diabetic? Would they see my pump and know what it is?
That wasn’t the first time these thoughts have come into my head. I remember how happy I was when I saw that there was a place on the back of the bib (number) to write medical info at the Rotterdam Marathon. I often think I should get a runner ID or a medial alert bracelet. But then, when I get home from a run and everything is fine, I don’t.
Then… yesterday I woke up to a new Glu question of the day:
Do you wear a medical alert bracelet or piece of identification?
Seeing the question made me think about it in a serious way. What’s holding me back, why haven’t I ordered a runner ID that says “Type 1 Diabetes” on it?
I know I have mixed feelings about the medical alert bracelets but a runner ID, that’s kind of cool.
To check myself out I asked Jess what she thought.
“You should have one,” she said.
“Really?” I said quite surprised.
“Yes. It’s a good idea.”
So why do I have mixed feeling about medical alert bracelets?
Is it just because I don’t wear jewelry, except for my wedding ring? Or is it more than that?
I remember as a kid, I would stare at medical alert bracelets, wondering what was wrong with the person wearing it. I remember seeing kids I knew had diabetes with medical alert bracelets and feeling bad for them.
The problem with the medical alert bracelets is that they do exactly what they’re supposed to do, announce to everyone that there is something wrong you, that you have diabetes.
But I’m not ashamed of my diabetes. I don’t hide my pump, I check my blood sugar in public and I talk about it regularly and openly.
So maybe Jess is right. Maybe a medical alert bracelet is a good idea. Maybe it’s time to get over it and get myself some diabetic bling, or at least a runner ID.