Friday, March 21, 2014

My ID Square*

Today I am reviewing a medical alert product called My ID Square. 
I think that medical alert bracelets and other jewelry are essential for people with complicated medical issues.  I was first interested in such products when I was teaching and worried that if I wasn’t with someone who knew me, I needed something that would, in effect, speak for me if I could not communicate on my own, in a medical crisis or other type of an emergency.

I have tried many types of medical alert jewelry that are available, so I am excited that I am getting to try the My ID Square and adding it to my repertoire.

SquID squares (shown here), which can be attached to bracelets or necklaces, cost $47, which provides a lifetime subscription to the Emergency Medical Profile.  Squid Tags (dog tags) are $44, and also come with a lifetime subscription to the Emergency Medical Profile.     

In the Emergency Medical Profile, you can include date of birth, emergency contacts, allergies, medical devices and problems, medications, medical providers and insurance information, important dates, and any other information you want to include.  


+ Made specifically for use as medical alert jewelry.

+ Love the packaging and the QR code concept.

+ The plastic QR part is colorful and probably great for kids.

+ Maintaining the Emergency Medical Profile database is built-in to the price of the ID, so you don’t have to pay a yearly fee for your information to be stored.


- Not sure that this ID is great for professional, working adults.

- Has a small charm with a medical alert symbol and has a large one on the back of the part with the QR code, and since this concept might not be familiar to emergency responders, this might be overlooked.

- I am wondering whether all paramedics and medical personnel at hospitals are equipped with smart phones in order to read the QR code or even recognize that that is what it is.  I guess to circumvent this, the back of the ID has a web address and code so that it can be entered on the internet if a QR scanner is not available, but that sort of takes away from the concept.

- I don’t love the interface of the online database.  For example, there is no “boyfriend” option.  Additionally, I think because of this, when I attempted to make my boyfriend the primary contact, the system kept reverting back to my mom in the version that medial providers and first responders can see.  My mom is in Michigan and I’m in New York, so while she is definitely top on my emergency contact list, it doesn’t make sense for her to be the primary since we aren’t in the same state. 

- In order for your emergency contacts to be included, it requires that an e-mail or text message is sent to your contacts so that they can confirm.  I don’t really like this.  Other interfaces allow you to assign emergency contacts without requiring that they are contacted to confirm.  I worry that this could freak out unsuspecting people and they might mistaken it as an actual emergency.    

Overall, I think this concept is great and it’s a really innovative use of technology.  However, with many hospitals and medical providers just getting on the electronic medical records bandwagon, I worry that this might be too new for widespread use.

In other words, I love the concept, but am not so sure about the execution of it.

Thankfully, I have never been in a situation where my medical alert bracelet has been needed.  But I think that that’s really the true test of this product and others like it.  It’s great to have peace of mind on a daily basis by simply wearing a medical alert, but it’s more important to have that product work in an emergency situation.   

For more information, visit      

And now through April 22, 2014, if you purchase a SquID, you can use the discount code GettingCloserToMyself15 and receive 15% off your order.

* My ID Square was generous enough to provide me with a SquID for free.  However, it was ultimately my choice to write a review, and has to do solely with my personal opinion of the product.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A Plea For A Chronically Ill Friend

I’m writing this post to ask for some help and support for a chronically ill friend.

This person has been a part of my support system from the very beginning, and was there for me when many of the people in my life could not or were not. 

My friend was one of the first people I connected with online, and the first blogger friend that I met in person. 

This person has celebrated my triumphs with me and helped guide me through the more difficult times. 

We now live on opposite coasts, and I couldn’t feel farther away from this person.  I feel like we are worlds away from each other, especially at a time like this.

I think that as chronically ill people, we sometimes think unconsciously that nothing else can befall us.  Or maybe it’s always in the back of our minds that we could become ill with something else, but it’s hard to imagine what life would look like in such a case.

I have always wondered with dread what would happen if I ended up with some other serious illness on top of lupus and RA.

But my good, good friend is now dealing with this situation as a reality. 

And my friend has a great attitude about everything that is going on and I deeply admire her courage and tenacity.

I am doing my best to support from afar, but I am asking that others send good vibes and thoughts this person’s way.   

I’ve lost several of the people that I have been closest to in terms of illness, both family members, and selfishly, I don’t want to go through that again. 

But unselfishly, my friend is so amazing and has so much to offer the world and I want them to be able to continue to do that for a very long time to come.

So I hope that, even though I am not saying exactly who this person is, others on the blogosphere can send collective good vibes.  That would mean a lot to me, personally, but I think my friend would really appreciate it, too.   

And to my friend, I say: You know how important you are to me and that I love you and am always here for you.  I hope that the journey you are embarking on is easier than we hope.  I hope that in the near future, this will all just be a blip on your radar, and nothing more.  And even though I live on the opposite end of the country, I will do anything I can to help, in person or from afar. 

And if there’s anyone who can power through, it’s you. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Something’s Gotta Give

Rarely do I cancel anything.  But lately, I’ve become overcommitted.  This is, of course, and as many of you might expect, not unusual for me.  It is a skill that has worked for me in the past.  And when I was healthy, it was fine.  But now, it’s really not the best way to be.

Even though I’m chronically ill, I do think that there are times when I am coasting purely on adrenaline.  But instead of crashing and taking it easy for a day, as was required by my healthy self, my chronically ill self requires several days, sometimes even a week or two to regroup and totally recover. 

It’s a hard balance because so many amazing opportunities have come my way over the last several months.  And it’s hard to say no to things that I really want to be a part of.  But the reality is, for my physical and emotional well-being, I can’t do everything. 

Recently, I had a phone meeting scheduled for a new project I am hoping to become a part of.  But something had to give.  And at the moment, that was the easiest thing to put on the back burner.  I couldn’t get out of my school or current work commitments, so I looked at everything on my plate, and took off of it the must un-pressing thing.  Fortuitously, the person I was meeting with also happens to be chronically ill and completely understood where I was coming from, which was really great, and made postponing the meeting, even though in my heart I didn’t want to, much easier. 

And it made me realize that I have become more attuned to listening to my body.  My head was telling me that I needed to slow down and take it easy.  So I took two days.  I had only intended to take one, but one wasn’t enough.  So I took some time for myself, reading non-school related, junky reading, and rested, which put me in a much better place.    

When I used to not listen to my body, I ignored the signs, and didn’t stop until a flare was raging and I had absolutely no choice but to stop.  Clearly, that wasn’t ideal.  But now, I am better able to preempt a flare when it is caused solely by stress.  When I feel myself getting too stressed, or I get that feeling where I am always coming down with something but never get sick, I know it’s time to take a step (or two or three) back.

Recently, Chronic Illness Coach Rosalind Joffe wrote a blog post entitled, “the more i do, the better i feel.  sound familiar?

This is me in a nutshell.  Except the more I do, the better I feel is a hoax.  Like I said earlier, I might get an adrenaline rush from being active and doing a lot of things, but it’s a total rouse.  Because the minute I stop, my body shuts down.  It rebels against me, and then I am really at its mercy.   

It’s all about balance.  And when the balance starts to tip, well I really, really have to start to listening to my body and the signals it sends me. 

It’s good to listen before I send my body into a tailspin that leads to a flare. 

As we all know, stress exacerbates many chronic illnesses, and lupus and RA are no different.   

So how do you balance bouncing back and overdoing it?