I brushed it off, but every time after I was prescribed an antibiotic, there would be welts, more numerous than the time before, bigger than the time before, some itched, some didn’t.
I told my doctors about the reactions, but they pooh-poohed it and acted as though I was making it up. I wasn’t. I persisted. I told them of every reaction to every antibiotic prescribed. The doctors continued to ignore it, but two different nurses on two separate occasions told me I should get a medic alert bracelet.
Ten years ago, just a few months after I wrote about tattoos in the workplace, I had surgery. I had told my doctor of my allergic reactions, and she assured me the antibiotic they’d give me prior to surgery should be fine.
As I was being prepped for surgery, I sat in a room that was at best, 40 degrees Fahrenheit. It was freakin’ cold. The nurses gave me a blanket. My doctor and the anesthesiologist came in; the anesthesiologist put the needle (with antibiotic) in my left hand. Five minutes later, my left elbow started to itch. I pulled the blanket off, looked at the needle in my hand and there was a welt growing at the needle insertion point. Yes, the welt was growing as I looked at it.
I said to my doctor “You might want to look at this.” She turned around, stared for a few seconds and said, “That’s not going to work.”
The heavens opened and the angel choir sang – a doctor FINALLY saw what happened when I took antibiotics. I was happy, but still very concerned. My doctor had to give me something to prevent infection during the surgery – and it had to be something I wouldn’t react to. The doctor did and after the surgery, she told me what it was, but for the life of me, I can’t remember the name (it’s not something given to the general public).
My doctor added yet another antibiotic to my file. I asked for, and got, a copy of the allergic-to list. It’s still in my purse today.
A couple of years ago, I decided to buy a medic alert bracelet. I did an online search and came across a picture of a tattoo with the words “type 1 diabetic” on the wrist. I’d never even considered the possibility of a medic alert tattoo. I liked the idea as I wear very little jewelry. I didn’t buy a bracelet then, but I didn’t commit to a tattoo either.
Earlier this year, a friend and I talked about traveling out of state and it got me thinking: What if a medical emergency happened while away from home? The trip didn’t happen, but I started looking for a tattoo artist and found Evolution Tattoo. I set up an appointment, told the artist what I wanted and why I needed it. He drew up a snake and staff, but I won’t lie, the snake freaked me out – it was so detailed. I couldn’t picture it on my arm. He said he’d come up with something before my appointment.
Less than two months later, it was tattoo day. The artist didn’t have the images/fonts I brought in for my consultation. We went online, pulled up some images of a medic alert bracelet, I picked a very generic looking one and he turned it into a tribal tattoo. I hadn’t even considered a tribal look, but I loved it. At the end of this blog are pictures of the finished tat so you can see for yourself how it turned out. It’s cool, a little badass, but more importantly, it gives me a whole lotta piece of mind should a medical emergency ever arise.
I love showing off the new tat and I keep it covered with sunscreen to protect it from the sun, but at work, it’s just covered up. The company I work at is very conservative and it wouldn’t be acceptable to show it, even if it is a medic alert bracelet. I choose to respect the company’s culture and keep it covered; I just wish I didn’t have to.
Despite what I wrote 10 years ago, I know first-hand there are companies not ready to accept tattoos in the workplace, maybe, just maybe, in another 10 years they will be.