Be Prepared, Not Scared
I’ve said this before, but it’s worth repeating: living with adrenal insufficiency is like switching from an automatic to a manual transmission car, without an RPM gauge to tell you when to shift gears. It takes practice and you must learn your body’s signals of an impending low cortisol episode. Journaling symptoms is the fastest way to write your own manual. Life-threatening adrenal crisis can and does happen (statistically, one every ten patient years). But, there are several tips I believe can mitigate the risk of that happening to you.
Label Yourself: Wear a medical alert bracelet. I hated the clanking metal ones, so I opt for a RoadID silicone banded one like this: https://www.roadid.com/products/stretch-rugged-silicone-id-bracelet . In my experience their customer service is top-notch.
Don’t take it off. Ever. I’ve talked to many EMT’s and paramedics and no, they don’t look for cute, pretty jewelry—they probably wouldn’t even notice that. So buying a darling bracelet with a tiny inscription isn’t going to cut it. Some opt for tattoos, which is also cool, but may be overlooked. The #1 most common thing they will look for is a bracelet with the medical alert symbol. Be sure to include the words, “Adrenal Insufficient” and consider adding information about the location of your emergency injection (see my post on emergency injection kits for more information) and an emergency contact person.
Another AI patient who had a lock screen on her phone with the medic alert emblem and basic information was found unconscious next to her car after a minor car accident. Bystanders heard her phone ringing, picked it up and noticed the symbol—it may have saved her life. ICE Standard is an app that will create a lock screen image for you.
Speaking of vehicle crashes… Likely? No. Possible? Absolutely. And if you’re unconscious, you might want people who arrive on scene to know that you need an emergency shot of steroids. On my girl-scout/batmobile of a car, I have a magnet on the back bumper as well as a seatbelt wrap with Velcro that has a pocket for information and a big medical alert symbol on it (https://shop.aiunited.org/shop/ols/products/kit-ships-to-usa-addresses-only ). Feel free to think I’m overdoing it here, but I’ll be happy if it ever saves my life, and even happier if I never need it to. Be sure to remove the magnet before using a mechanical car wash. Learned that one the hard way.