Wednesday, January 19, 2011

No More Missing Link

Have you ever found something that you think is so clever, or makes your life easier, or even just takes a load off your mind?

Sure you have. We all have.

I did again recently, as well. And actually, to be honest, it didn't just make my life easier, or give me some peace of mind, or even strike me as really ingenious.

It did all three.

For years now, I have been wanting to have a way to communicate Michaela's medical needs when there is an emergency. You know, I'm thinking ahead. Being prepared. Not that I am automatically assuming there WILL be a problem, but it's more that I'm being practical and realistic. You are just plain procrastinating if you DON'T prepare for medical emergencies when you have a loved one with serious medical issues.

In some ways, I've taken care of this issue. I carry with me a jump drive with a combo lock on it, that contains all her medical info and all the software a hospital anywhere in the world would need to open those documents. I also make sure that the school and any babysitters (if we go out of town) have medical documentation as well.

Problem is, either I or her caregivers would have to be physically present in order to give the hospital that information. And more specifically, we'd have to be conscious.

But we all know, that in the case of an accident or medical emergency, that just isn't always possible.

And that has really bothered me. I simply hated the fact that there was this "missing link" in the chain of safety for her.

So I have looked into the options, and none of them seemed really worthwhile. The most
common method of communication in the event of an emergency is the medical alert bracelet (or necklace). I have looked at those things for YEARS at our local drugstore. Debating back and forth every time if it is something I should buy.

Not that they're expensive or anything, it's not that. I don't even think Michaela would care if she were wearing it or not, so that didn't deter me either. It was simply the fact that a bracelet with the word "Epilepsy" on it just wasn't going to do the trick for Michaela. There was no way.

I mean, do you get it? How can one word really help in the event of an emergency? Granted, I guess you can have something engraved on the other side with a little more info, but it's seriously restricted. Too restricted. Michaela's medical needs are pretty complex. She doesn't have a condition that follows the rules. You can't just wheel her unconscious into an E.R. and pump her up with the normal epilepsy drug protocol.

But I am assuming that's exactly what WOULD happen if they saw her wearing that bracelet.

Seriously? They've made drug mistakes with ME sitting right there! Last time she was in the E.R., they were about to give her a med that A) should not be mixed with a drug she was already taking and B) had potentially deadly consequences for her. Someone didn't notice the memo in her chart. Good thing I was there.

Doesn't help my mind in the event that I'm not.


Ok, so now that I've explained my concerns, let me just tell YOU about this little gem that I found!

Beloved Readers, let me introduce you to...


The Invisible Bracelet!!

...or iB for short :)

What is so very cool about the iB, what is so incredibly clever, what makes my life easier and gives me peace of mind, is the fact that it can do what those medical bracelets cannot.

It can give detailed personal information to emergency personnel in the event Michaela needs immediate care....and I am not available to help.

How it works is like this:

Everyone who registers with iB is given a card and keyfob or "badge" (depending on your preference) and assigned a PIN that is printed on them. This PIN, when texted to a short code number (those 5-digit numbers you can text stuff to? yeah, that), allows the person sending the PIN, to receive a text message back that gives them detailed information about you and your condition. Whatever you want them to know.

And depending on where you live, some paramedics are even connected to a more extensive version of this service, where they can access more information than in that simple text message.

For us, we use the "badge," called an ICEDOT. It attaches to Michaela's clothing, has the universal acronym for "In Case of Emergency" (ICE) on one side, and that PIN and short code number with clear instructions on the back.

If you were to text her PIN to that phone number, this is the kind of info you would get:

Michaela (Mi-KAY-la) Morris
13yo F
Lennox Gastaut Syndrome
All her current meds (and doses depending on space)
Drugs she's allergic to
Phone numbers where Chris and I can be reached
Chief's phone number

So right off the bat, those paramedics have a wealth of information right in their cell phones or in their emergency database. Instead of fumbling to determine what drugs she has in her system, or why she has a g-tube, or if they are gonna mess her up because they don't know her history, it's all right there.

They now know the meds.
They now know what NOT to give her, instead of finding out the hard way.
They now can get someone to look up Lennox Gastaut Syndrome to get a fuller medical picture.
They now can call Chief and Children's Hospital...the medical team that knows her best.

All because of the little round piece of plastic that I attach to her clothing every day.

No matter where we are, or even if she's just staying at home (hello? house fire?), she wears her iB ICEDOT.

But for those who carry a purse or a wallet or even a set of keys, you can get the card version of iB. It goes in your wallet just like any card you would hold there. There is also a keyfob card (like you would get from a grocery store) as well. Michaela rarely has any sort of carrying case with her, so the ICEDOT is just perfect for our situation. The company originally advertised this round red circle as a medical alert device for athletes in case of injury on the field. But as soon as I saw it and what it could do, I just knew that it had a much broader application.

For starters, it gave this Mom some serious peace of mind.


So now, I'm trying to get the word out and alert some people myself. I personally think that anybody who has a serious medical condition needs an iB:

Diabetes? (What if your blood sugar drops really bad?)
Epilepsy? (ok, explanation needed)
Allergies? (do you really want penicillin in the ER by mistake?)

ANY kind of medical condition that would require special instructions,

...requires an Invisible Bracelet.

Check out their website, will ya?

And let me know if it completes YOUR chain of safety as well!

1 comment:

Heather said...

Hi Kelly. I came across your story while updating my Invisible Bracelet profile, and feel I need to contact you. I have had epilepsy all my life and 17 years ago(at the age of 10) I wrote and had published a children's book called "Living with Seizures" I am very interested in talking to you and your daughter my email is Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you **Heather**