Some time ago, after a particularly intense allergy appointment that involved administering a practice epi-pen into my own thigh repeatedly, followed by counseling on the myriad ways a stray pecan could bring about the demise of my only son, I ordered a medical alert bracelet for Roo.
It has an indestructible canvas band peppered with cheery zoo animals. It features a large oval disc of metal engraved with a list of Roo's allergies, medical conditions, and the phone number to MedicAlert's hotline. It's pretty snazzy.
The thing is, Roo won't wear it. The wristband is a little wide for his tiny arm. It gets caught on stuff and hinders his wrist motion, not a good thing when learning to write your ABC's. It gets wet every time he washes his hands, takes hours to dry and chafes his sensitive skin.
Then there's me. I have a hard enough time keeping track of the specialists, therapists, appointments, and prescriptions. The prospect of keeping yet another database up to date with Roo's ever-evolving medical dossier is both unappealing and unlikely. Then, I just can't help thinking that in the heat of the moment, with Roo in the throws of anaphylaxis, do I really want the paramedics to call the 1-800 number on his bracelet to check in on his eosinophil count? Actually, I think I'd rather have them call me. So, no more MedicAlert for us.
Still, I want Roo to have a plan in place when someone offers him food. He is not the most verbal child in the world and tends to flat out refuse any and all food from strangers rather than attempt to explain his allergies. And while I'd much rather him err on the side of caution, it has led to several unfortunate experiences of being excluded from food filled celebrations when the food was in fact safe for him. So, here's my solution!
Roo will be receiving this necklace for his birthday in a couple of weeks. Bracelets aren't his thing but he loves necklaces. This one was custom engraved by Tai's Tags, a top-notch seller I discovered on Etsy.com. It has his name and a cute graphic on one tag (not shown) and a complete list of his allergies on the other, but I could have chosen anything...our phone number, blood type, whatever.
There's no itchy band. No 1-800 number. No link to a medical database. But, Roo will be able to show to his teachers, friends, babysitters, or anyone else who offers him a treat a clear, concise list of his allergies. It saves him the daunting task of trying to explain his condition to adults and gives him an excuse to flaunt his cool, personalized dog tag necklace. He's going to love it!