Goodbye, Old Friend

Friends, family members, endocrinologists and pharmacists, entire Internet:

It is with mixed feelings that I come before you today to say farewell to an old friend. Writing this is difficult, but it helps me reflect on the time we spent together; the memories we’ve made.

My medical alert bracelet and I met back in 1992. Yep, over 21 years ago. I was a teenage girl, freshly diagnosed, relying on things like NPH insulin and syringes, exchange lists, and large, unattractive glucose meters to manage my diabetes. Back in those days, most things related to diabetes management were quite ugly, so it was with a sense of resignation that I started my relationship with this plain old thing.

Ye Olde Bracelet

Ye Olde Bracelet

I remember the day it arrived in the mail. A little big for my impossibly tiny wrists, but it would do, and I’d grow into it. Shiny in that surgical way, and far from fashionable. I hoped nobody would notice it — unless I was unconscious.

Oh, the adventures we had. Ol’ bracelet helped me finish out middle school. We did the high school thing together, and my trusty bracelet never said a word when I ate those contraband peanut butter cups at almost every lunch during 10th grade. We made the switch from private to public school, and while my wrist would crowd with all sorts of beaded, braided, and bangle-y jewelry, my alert bracelet was always content to play back-up.

Call Collect? Who's Collect?

Call Collect? Who’s Collect?

I’d be lying if I said I wore my bracelet every single day during those years. But when the wearing of a bracelet became a condition of my insulin pump acquisition, we grew even closer. Inseparable, even. My bracelet was there for those first terrifying infusion set stabs, cheering me on the whole way.

We moved back to Florida together, and as we drove, I hung my left forearm out the window so that she could feel the ocean breeze through her stainless steel links.

My bracelet was there for my first date with my husband, and joined me at the altar for our wedding. My bracelet was there for the birth of my child.

We travelled the world: Spain, Greece, the Czech Republic. New York City. Daytona.

But now we’re at the end of the road, dear stainless steel bracelet of yore. It’s time for you to take your place in my jewelry box — right next to that big plastic bracelet I bought at Target in 2007 and the extra buttons that came with these Ann Taylor pants.

Ta-dah! Love it.

Ta-dah! Love it.

Today, a new age dawns. I march into the world with a Lauren’s Hope bracelet on my wrist. For so long, I’d resisted the urges to get a new bracelet, even as I admired the ones worn by my friends at Friends For Life. I was afraid they wouldn’t serve their purpose. I envisioned a worst-case-scenario in which I lay unconscious and seizing on a hot sidewalk, finally approached by a group of EMTs, who glance at my wrist and think, “Nice bracelet,” then have me arrested for public intoxication.

But this bracelet’s different. Decorative, but not showy. Flowery, but not too girly. Beaded, but not bedazzled. This bracelet means business, but it also enjoys a nice meal out fine red wine.

I’d like to think you were something of a good luck charm, old bracelet. After all, you never really had to do anything. No one called the collect phone number engraved on your underside. You never even got to meet any handsome EMTs or firemen.

You’ll always have a place in my heart, old bracelet. Just not so much on my wrist.


Disclosure: The kind folks at Lauren’s Hope let me pick out my new bracelet and sent it to me in exchange for this review. They also sent me a box of baby hedgehogs, but I returned them. Too spiky.