Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Charming Charms That Sound The WELLalarm

Actual footage of my WELLcharm
As a rule, I've been known to hate medical I.D. jewelry because, lets face it...they are usually beyond ugly to look at, let alone wear. Ok, "maybe hate is to strong a term…. how about "dislike intensely." Yes, they absolutely do the job they are intended for, but most are less than pleasing to the eye. I've said it before and Ill say it again, "Just because you have a chronic disease or condition, does not mean you suddenly lack all sense of taste & style in the accessories department." HELL NO! I want accessories that are functional; sexy, stylish and show off who I am, while allowing emergency medical professionals to become aware of my "pancreatical issues".
Cathy V, one of my oldest and best friends, always gives me crap about wearing a medical I.D. We've known one another since college and I know her concerns are real. She even bought me a medical I.D. bracelet when I backpacked through Europe…but as soon as I arrived back in the states, off it went. I couldn't stand the looks of it! Sorry Cath!

A few weeks ago, when I was smack dab in the middle of the maelstrom known as my life, I received an email from Stephanie Cion. She told me that she'd been reading Diabetesaliciousness for a while and liked it very much- which I was of course, very happy to hear. Then, (and this is where it get REALLY interesting) she started telling me about her life.
Stephanie was a "mover and shaker" at Aetna, when she was diagnosed with a rare nerve disease called Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy. After developing a septic reaction to her treatment (while on the phone w/ her Oncologist) she realized that had she passed out (she came pretty damn close), she most likely would have died because EMT's would not have been aware of her condition and would have given her the wrong treatment.Much like me, Steph hated medical I.D jewelry of any kind, but after her close call, she decided to bite the bullet & wear one – against her better fashion Judgment. Actually, her exact statement was "the thought of wearing a medical I.D. made me almost as nauseous as my chemo treatments." Hmmm, I COULD SO RELATE TO THAT…not the chemo treatment part, but the medical I.D. jewelry making her nauseous part.
Anyway, after two years of chemo treatments, Steph decided to put her money where her mouth was, and created WELLalarm™and WELLcharms™. What's that all about you ask? Well, after clicking on the link to the website, I learned that WELLalarm™ is a cutting edge web-based service that offers secure, 24/7 access to your medical information from anywhere in the world.

In an emergency, bystanders or first responders can access vital health information (including allergies, medications, doctors and emergency contacts) in seconds via phone, text, Internet or by entering your WELL-ID found on the WELLCharms™ – jewelry that is both pleasing to the eye, and function as a medical I.D. Wellcharms™ also come in the form of key chains, labels, and stickers for those of you who prefer to be sans the bling.

All the tech stuff was great, but the WELLcharms™ are what lit my fire. WELLcharms™ are not just wearable; they're down right SASSY, and come in variety of shapes and metals. Including, silver, brushed silver, vermeil and gold.
As I clicked through the jewelry, I decided to email her back. We set up a time to talk via the phone, and when that time came, talk we did, for a good hour – at least & I liked what I heard. Stephanie asked me if I was interested in reviewing WELLalarm, and I asked Stephanie if she was ready to hear all my thoughts about the product - including any constructive criticism.
Diabetesaliciousness is a huge part of who I am, and part of who I am, is telling it like it is - like it or not. Be it good, bad, or ugly, I’m nothing if not honest - faulty pancreas and all. Stephanie was more than fine with that and welcomed my thoughts on her products and services.
She told me to pick the charm of my choice. In return, I was going to write an honest User review.
If I liked it, I’d write all about it…. and if I didn't, I'd write about the reasons why. Please note, I received no payment for this user review.

I picked out a brushed silver circle Sand Dollar looking charm necklace because honestly, it was very ocean inspired and pretty – I felt like a piece of the ocean was with me, and I liked that feeling. I could live with wearing that,...or at least I thought I could.
6 days later, on a very hectic Monday afternoon, I met the Post Woman at the door and signed for my WELLcharm™. The anticipation heightened as soon as I opened the envelope and found a satiny blue bag. I gingerly pulled the string & gently poured its contents on the table. There was my WELLcharm™& chain, along with an info card on how to sign up for the WELLalarm™ service.
Honestly folks, my necklace was gorgeous. A smooth brushed silver sand dollar with the medical symbol known as "The Rod of Asclepius" imprinted on the front. On the back was a WELLalarm™ I.D number, a toll free phone number, and a URL. I put it on, and it looked & felt great. It passed my first test, known as the "This looks AWESOME Test" with flying colors.

I didn't have time to sign up as a "WELLalarmer," at that very moment. I had to finish up work, and then I was meeting 8 women to go see the 7pm showing of "Burn After Reading" - which by the way was a good movie that had the potential to be great, by the Brothers Coen, but,...I digress.

So back to my review. There I stood, standing at the sink in the Ladies room with 3 of the 8 ladies, chatting away, when one in particular named Kim said, " I love your sand dollar necklace, where'd you get it?" Then the others started to comment and said pretty much the same thing. How cute it was, etc.
I explained all about WELLCHARM & the WA services, they were impressed and asked for the website info. It had passed my second test, Known as the "I can live with wearing this because it looks pretty, not all medically and others really like it Test." WELLcharm™ had impressed a group of fashion conscientious women, who aren't always easily impressed.

That whole week, I slept and showered in my WELLcharm™, and never took it off – I wore it round the clock. No real problems there, except for the fact that personally, I wasn’t used to wearing a piece of jewelry 24X7 – but after a few days I actually forgot I had the necklace on & it ceased to be an issue. I wore my WELLcharm™ with a variety of different ensembles, including professional and casual, and the jewelry adapted seamlessly.
I swam laps in the pool and the chlorine didn't affect the color. The clasp never came undone and the charm loop fit a variety of different chains, not just the one it came with. IT passed the "Durability & takes a licking & keeps on ticking Test" with flying colors.

That Saturday, I went to my friend Lori's house. Lori's dad is Doctor and her husband is a Dentist, and is actually my Dentist. I explained WELLalarm™ specifics to the both of them and showed of my necklace. Both recognized The Rod of Ascleplius right of the bat & referred to it by name, and Lori's dad had recently read about WELLalarm™, but couldn’t remember where. Both thought that the info available to them during an emergency was critical. Both Doc’s felt that having the info accessible via texting and the Internet was a valuable service, especially in an emergency situation. While my Dentist "didn't normally have to worry about that sort of thing," he felt it was good to know that the info was there and could be computed ASAP if someone had a medical emergency while in his chair.

The next day was Sunday, normally a day of rest, but not for me.
I decided to stop by my local Fire House and talk to the EMT's. I wanted to know what they thought of the WELLalarm system & WELLcharms. Oh, what I won't do to inform my Diabetesaliciousness readers!

On a side note, is it a national requirement that all Firefighters/EMT's be visually appealing to the eyes and funny to boot??? Not that complaining, I'm not...I'm just making an observation

Anyway, I explained to them about WA. The EMT’s thought having that info on the ambulance or in the ER was a great thing. They also loved the fact that WA calls the emergency contacts for the patient.
SO, would you recognize that this was medical jewelry in an emergency situation?"
I asked in a serious tone.
I asked this particular question because it's an incredibly important one. Let's face it, if people don't know that it's a medical accessory – how can it save your life in an emergency? "Absolutely, we're trained to check all jewelry and tattoos on the body for medical info. If people don't wear them, we can't help them. The Rod of Ascleplius (Seriously - Ascleplius's rod is getting some serious play - I'm sure he'd be pleased) is clearly visible up-close on your necklace. It's really nice...do they have stuff for guys?"

I told him that they did indeed have styles for men, and thanked him and his partners for their time & honesty. My WELLcharm™ and WELLalarm™ had passed "The various reviews by medical professionals on several different levels test” with flying colors.

I'd worn my WELLcharm™ for over a week, but I still hadn't signed up on line yet - I was nervous. I thought it would take to much time and I was worried about the systems evasiveness factor,
I wanted to make sure that my info was protected.
But, in order to review the necklace and service properly, I had to sign up and create an account, so I did.

First off, creating an account was incredibly easy and painless. There are three different services to choose from. Basic, Emergency, and Platinum Wellness-and range in price from Free to $6.50 a month. Then I registered my WELL I.D. Code number – again, very simple.

Next, I input my "Basic Medical Info", which included Gender, DOB, Height, Weight (I thought about lying about my lbs, but decided to be honest), and Blood Type. Not really rocket science folks..

Next I input my Medications, Dr.'s and Insurance info, and then listed my Emergency Contacts.
The final and most critical step in creating my account was setting my "Emergency Settings" feature, which allows YOU, the WELLalarm™ user to specify & authorize which information will be available through the WELLalarm™ emergency system in an actual emergency.

Simply put, if you only want WA to give the EMT's or other medical personnel the most minimum and basic info, like you're a Diabetic, Dr. X is your Endo, and who your emergency contacts are – that's all the info they give, PERIOD.

WELLalarm™ also has a Privacy Policy page that explains to you in detail all precautions that WA takes in order to protect your privacy
As for me, I want them to know it all – we're talking about my life after all...But, that's just how I roll.

The “On-line can I actually do this and is it safe? test” of my User-Review was extremely user friendly and I felt that my info was very secure on line. WA passed with flying colors and total on-line time spent was less then 10 minutes.

Final thoughts:
WELLcharms™ are smart bracelets or necklaces on every level, and are both good-looking & practical, a rare combo to say the least.
Stylistically, I have no problem wearing mine – and I wear it daily, which is really saying something, given my personal history with Medical I.D.'s.

WELLalarm's™ web services are clearly thought out and protect both the users health and privacy. I love the fact that through the "Emergency Settings," I control what info can be given out – allowing me to have power in a situation where I normally would have none. That’s HUGE.
WELLcharms and the WELLalarm system are "Diabetesalciousness" on every level and I give them 5 Islets of Langerhans out of 5 - If I actually had any that worked to give ;)

From now until November 30th, WELLalarm is offering a one-time $15 dollar discount off your purchase. All you need to do is type the word DIABETES in the promo code section of your order. Checkout all of WELLalarm's styles and services at: http://wellalarm.com/

Penny pointed out a very good point, that being that yours truly didn't list the price. I didn't list the price because depending on what WELLalarm service and jewelry you pick, the price varies greatly.
But regardless of what you choose there is a big savings to be had, because depending on your your choice, you get up to one year free of WELLalarm service.

Here's the Diabetesalaliciousness math of it all, using my necklace as a sample.

The necklace I wear cost $170 for the brushed silver and comes with a free year of the Platinum Wellness Service, which normally costs $6.50 per month for a total of $78, that I don't have to pay, because as listed on the website, it's included. If I did, The total cost would be $248. Still it's included, so I'm only paying $170. Subtract $15 from that price if you place your order before November 30th, and the total is $155.

For a Medic Alert Sterling Teardrop pendent, (which is similar in style and shape) costs $109.95, plus the cost of Medic Alert Gold Membership, which cost of $9.95 per month totalling $119.40 a year for the MedicAlert service, for the combined grand total of $229.35.

Are you following?

WELLalarm total cost is either $170 or $155 verses Medic Alert's total price of $229.95.

So, WELLalarm is more economical and saves you $59.95 or $74.95 if ordered before 11/30/08.
My brain hurts, but it was worth it!


Scott K. Johnson said...

Fantastic review Kelly K!

Jill said...

Wowwww! That was a great review and its definately something I'd look into when my daughter gets a little bit older. Right now she's only 8 and has one of those cute little bracelets with butterflies on the band...but as she gets older that won't be so "cute" anymore and this is something that can be given as a gift. Thanks for the info :)

Penny Ratzlaff said...

That is a great review, but you missed one important aspect, affordability. I know yours was free, but Riley's wouldn't be.

It seems like a very good service if you have the bucks to shell out.

Cara said...

Cool. One of these may have to go on my Christmas or birthday Wish list. :) I like it.

k2 said...

Scott -
Glad u like the post! It means so much!

Currently WA is in the process of making clothing tags for kids.
When your daughters older, a silver necklace would be something she could wear for a long time without thinking it was ugly.
Many of the jewelry pieces come with either 6 or 12 months of WELLalarm Sevices.

Penny -
Your right 100%. The reason I didn't include the price of the jewelry is because depending upon the piece and metal picked the prices very. Many pieces include 6 months to a year of free service and I should have stated that.
For instance if you were to pick out the Mens & Boys Silver Dog tag for Riley, it would be $184, plus a year of Platinum Wellness included,. At $6.50 per month, you'd save a total of $78.
A Medic Alert silver tear drop pendent is $109.95 for the jewelry with a separate cost of $.95 per month for the Medic Alert Gold Service which would total $119.40 c per year, for a total combined cost of $229.35. So actually, WELLalarm is the better deal. I'm sorry I didn't show the mathe & I will change it ASAP!
This is why I need an editor. I'm going to go add this info right now - I can always count on ou Penny, be it Diabetesalciousness word games or Diabetes Math!

k2 said...

Penny the Medic Gold Cost should read $9.95 per month - again I need a proofreader!

k2 said...

Cara -
I'm glad u like it! Give your friends your Christmas list early, so they can get a jump on the mad holiday Christmas rush that now starts in October!

Penny Ratzlaff said...

I'm glad you cleared it up. I was thinking that if you paid that much for it it seems like you'd get the monthly fee waived for a bit.

It is very beautiful jewlery though.

k2 said...

Penny -
I glad u pointed it out!!!
I couldn't do the savings for every piece offered, but showing the actual math certainly makes the value more apparent!

Karen said...

Very cool. I never wear a medical id either b/c they are so darn ugly. I'm going to go look at the site now - and maybe I can see your necklace in real life on Saturday? :)

k2 said...

Karen -
Let me know what you think!
And you can absolutely check out my WELLcharm on Saturday. Hey, make sure your "Sticks" are showing at the breakfast so I recognize u.
I'll be the chick with the red lipstick and the silver Sand Dollar around my neck ;)

Karen said...

Okay, you got it!!! I'll be working on a sock I'm knitting for a Halloween sock swap, black and bright green, so I shouldn't be too hard to spot. :) I'll also have my handsome husband with me.

PS: Did you get any sort of confirmation e-mail from them when you registered? I didn't, and I'm a bit nervous about that!

Karen said...

We've discussed this via e-mail, but I just wanted to let anyone who might come across this know that the comment I left about the confirmation was unintentionally vague. I was not referring to a WELLalarm confirmation - I was referring to another matter. I just don't want anyone reading to think there is a problem with the WELLalarm site or their confirmation system. Sorry for the confusion.

k2 said...

Karen -
I will be looking for the lady w/ the crazy Halloween sock and the handsome husband.

THXS for clearing up your previous comment, I am easily confused. I WILL see u this weekend and am really looking forward to it!

Lora said...

Thanks for the info. I haven't been wearing an id bracelet for the last two years because I got tired of shelling out big bucks for cheap jewelry that I had to keep fishing out of the toilet whenever it broke (and it did; I've killed at least four bracelets). I finally decided there had to be a better option, and did my own investigation. I bought a really pretty link bracelet from Tiffany's for about $150 and a medical charm from a medical id company for about $70 (rip-off). I put the two together and it actually looks like real jewelry, and I'm pretty sure the bracelet won't fall apart in three weeks. If only I'd known about the Wellalarm sooner, I might have been able to avoid lunch at Tiffany's (although it was really sparkly inside...)

k2 said...

Lora -
Sounds like came up with a nifty solution. When your ready - you'll consider the WELLalarm.
After all, a girl needs options, especially of the sparkle variety!