The saying goes that an apple a day keeps the doctor away.
In my case, I will be forever grateful that my Apple Watch brought the doctors to my door – saving my life.
It was a typical lazy Sunday in November, from what I remember. I was doing the housework and getting sorted for the week ahead. It was going smoothly until the next thing I knew, I had a full team of paramedics calmly working around me as I slowly regained consciousness.
At the age of nine, I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and since the diagnosis I have found the condition mentally and physically tiring. I have had several episodes of DKA (Diabetic Ketoacidosis), which is a life-threatening condition that affects your organs and, if not treated quickly, starts to shut them down.
I’ve had many hypoglycemic attacks (hypos), which often leave you shaky, confused and very tired. If your sugar levels drop to a very low level, this can lead to a coma and, in turn, can be fatal.
I love my tech, and after watching an online unveiling of its new products, I felt like Apple’s advanced medical monitoring and reporting was ideal for me. I wanted it to help with keeping on top of my complex medical conditions due to living alone, traveling for work and to feel safe knowing I had extra protection in place if anything was to happen.
I never thought I would have to use it – but I reckoned that it couldn’t hurt, could it? In fact it did the opposite. The watch’s fall detection setting was the hero of the hour. This feature can notice if you’ve fallen, and if you don’t seem to move immediately it will give you five seconds to respond to a prompt onscreen. After, it sounds an alarm and alerts emergency services, as well as your designated emergency contacts.
It also forwards your location and medical ID to the control room with your full details, including any medication you’re taking. Since buying the watch, I’d never had to use it as my sugars are normally well-controlled and my hypos don’t normally lead to falling as I catch it just in time.
Except, this time was very different.
When I came round, I saw medical personnel surrounding me, inserting a glucose IV drip into my veins. I saw my dad watching closely with worry on his face. Luckily, he had arrived in time with a key to let everyone in so my door didn’t have to be broken down.
In total, paramedics were there over two hours, and I was told I had four bags of glucose pumped through me. After, I went to my parents’ house, where a close eye was kept on me. The paramedics were incredibly impressed when they discovered that it was my Apple Watch that had alerted them – and mentioned that if more people had these devices (especially those who live alone) it could save many more lives.
Obviously, these systems are not fool-proof and their effectiveness depends on its user. That’s why it’s incredibly important to keep all your medical and contact information up to date to ensure that you’re given the best possible care in a moment of crisis.
Understandably, many people will have anxieties about their personal information being so readily available. For me, I have never really worried about this as there’s so much about me online already. However, I would say that saving your life is the priority and this information is only shared with those who really need it.
"The paramedics were incredibly impressed when they discovered that it was my Apple Watch that had alerted them"
I’d rather do that and save my life, than not have the information there and leave myself at greater risk. Your data is already so readily available from voting records, open Instagram and Facebook profiles – so what difference does a watch that could potentially save your life make?
I know I might not be here if it wasn’t for mine. I very easily could have ended up in a coma, or worse.
According to Diabetes.co.uk, the number of those diagnosed and living with diabetes in the UK is estimated to be over 4million – with many of them, I imagine, living alone like I was when my attack happened.
With this kind of rapid inflation, it’s incredibly important for those who have diabetes to manage their condition carefully, and also for those who are more vulnerable to safeguard themselves from any kind of medical crisis.
The peace of mind this one device has given to myself and my family is invaluable. My family were obviously very concerned and anxious after this incident, and it’s opened up many conversations on how to prevent anything like this happening in the future.
I still live alone, but I live with more confidence knowing that this bit of tech worked and should anything happen again, I know I am safe. Now, I can live with less anxiety – I’m determined not to let it rule my life.
Wearable tech saved my life – and could save yours, especially when you least expect it.