Type 1 Cycling

Type 1 Cycling

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Arguments for getting a diabetic tattoo

After many weeks of deciding what do I have just received my Medic Alert bracelet, from www.theidbandco.com.  It arrived a day too late for my big bike ride last week so just to be safe I drew myself a sharpie tattoo. Thankfully I didn't need it and hopefully I will never need my Medic Alert, but if I did maybe it would be better to have something more permanent.

Why a tattoo? It will always be there just like my diabetes.  I will never be able to take it off or lose it.  If anything were to happen to me and I did not have my Medic Alert bracelet on then this could save my life.

Why not wear your Medic Alert all the time? Honestly I don't like it that much.  I have been Diabetic for 8 years and never even come close to needing something like that.  My arrogance could get the better of me and though I will always wear it while riding my bike (Assuming I remember to put it on at 5am when I get out of bed for training) I most probably won't be wearing it the rest of the time.  With a tattoo I wouldn't have that issue.

here are some examples

I am not really a tattoo person.  I like them on other people, I have even thought I might get one.  But I could never really get my head around the permanence of it.  I grew up religious, tattoos are not allowed in Jewish law, so there has always been that feeling in the back of my head that its just not something I should do. I have also felt that I do not need any more marks on my body.  I have many scars primarily from pouring boiling coffee on myself when I was two and walking through a plate glass window when I was 30.

Lets say that the order of importance of issues for getting a Tattoo are:
  1. Religious objection
  2. The permanence 
  3. What to get
1. I have two answers to this.  Firstly I am far from observant, I have not been for many years.  Secondly I wonder if there is an argument here for Pikuach Nefesh (saving life).  I have discussed this topic before in relation to Yom Kippur.  The holiest day in the Jewish calendar where many Jews will fast for 25 hours to repent for their sins over the past year.  I am not allowed.  It is considered too dangerous for my health so I must eat and take insulin normally.  Many other laws are allowed to be broken not just for the possibility of saving someones life, but also to protect their health.  ie the issue does not necessarily have to be life threatening.  So here we have a very good argument against any Jewish objection to getting a Diabetes related tattoo.

Additionally you may have thought living in a Jewish country that there would not but such opportunity for getting a tattoo.  This is certainly not the case.  I feel that there are more tattoos here than I saw in the UK.  This could be because Israelis like to be "Davka" (doing something just because its the opposite of what they are supposed to).  Alternatively it's so warm here and so cold in the UK that there is just more skin on show so I am more likely to see them here.

2. This is much less of an issue with a diabetes tattoo.  My diabetes is permanent so is a tattoo, it almost makes sense that I SHOULD get one because of this.

3. Not a problem, a Medic Alert symbol with Type 1 Diabetes written over or under it.

Well I certainly have convinced myself.  Will let you know if and when I do it.

What do you think?


  1. I can't stand needles...;-)

    1. Not the first person with diabetes to say that to me

  2. Just got a tattoo for my type 1 diabetes. I have been living with it for over 25 years, and have at times had blood sugar low enough where people thought I was drunk (I have also not drank any alcohol or taken any drugs for over 25 years). Here is a link to my tattoo:

    1. Thanks for your comment, unfortunately I cannot view the link.