By Calaraphea - 16/05/2013 15:01 - United Kingdom - Warrington

Today, I got a tattoo of the snake and staff medical symbol on my wrist. Now everyone keeps asking what illness I have; they think it's a medical bracelet substitute. FML
I agree, your life sucks 23 017
You deserved it 40 310

Calaraphea tells us more.

OP here. I didn't expect it to be noted as a medical bracelet substitute. It's very artsy and colourful; it also has a date underneath so I didn't expect people to think it was due to an illness.

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date of being diagnosed

well since the tattoo signifies so much meaning to you, then you'll hopefully have no regrets. it just seems that misconception of others will live you the rest of your life. just something you gotta deal with, but I'm sure the tattoo was worth it in the end.


Well hey, I would too.

There is someone I run into at my local pharmacy that has one. But underneath the symbol it has the illness. I probably wouldn't make the assumption without more info on the tattoo. A med alert doesn't do a whole lot of good if it doesn't say what is being alerted to if the person is knocked out and can't speak. But I could see where some may mistake it.

TheDrifter 23

I've never seen one as a tattoo here in Canada. Maybe the logo of Alma mater above it? That would clue me in immediately that OP was in medicine and where they graduated from. My first thought was "us that like the pot leaf tattoo for pill heads?"

Lady_Face 12

WHOOOOSH. @TheDrifter

My good friend has a diabetic tattoo on his wrist, and he made it look really nice too!

TheHarvest 7

thats what it normally means lol

But a tattoo?

Yup. Lots of people these days are getting the tattoo rather than having to worry about always remembering to put on their bracelet or necklace or whatever. That way it's always there, no matter what.

Actually the staff of Hermes is a symbol of trade, the correct visage would be the rod of Asclepius, which actually is related to medicine.

Should've thought that out first.

The more you know, the more you realize you don't know. There's never going to be a tattoo that is completely thought through every scenario

Mister_Triangle 21

A tattoo of Hitler's face on the tip of your penis. Every scenario involving that will end predictably.

Lol, what were you expecting???

Maybe they are a fan of FMA: Brotherhood.

Um no, thats nicolas flamels symbol not the med staff, which is a staff with wings vs the cross with wings and a crown thats used in fma, which i should know because i have the fma symbol tattooed on my person

I am correcting myself before i get chewed out, the medical symbol is the one without wings, i am not in medicine and thought of the wrong symbol

Your not nationally registered!!!

It's your tattoo. You can make it mean whatever you like. Just tell them what it means to you.

No offence, but that's a bit like getting a tattoo of a skull and crossbones and claiming "to me it doesn't have anything to do with pirates".

I dont care much for tattoos but youre 100% right. It doesnt matter what other people think of it, if it has meaning to OP then thats all that matters

It means I like Calliope

Why would you put that on your wrist and not expect people to think that. People will use that tattoo as a substitute for the bracelet on their forearms. YDI

OP here. I didn't expect it to be noted as a medical bracelet substitute. It's very artsy and colourful; it also has a date underneath so I didn't expect people to think it was due to an illness.

date of being diagnosed

No. I'm a trauma doctor. I spend my days making split second decisions, decisions that have ended up being wrong and taking a life instead of saving it. I both admire and fear the power of medicine; therefore I wanted to get a tattoo of the medical symbol to both show my respect and love for medicine.

well since the tattoo signifies so much meaning to you, then you'll hopefully have no regrets. it just seems that misconception of others will live you the rest of your life. just something you gotta deal with, but I'm sure the tattoo was worth it in the end.

southernbelle_rn 16

Maybe because I'm a nurse, but I thought it could go two ways: medical bracelet or you're in medical school/are a doctor. But thanks for answering us OP!

I agree with 14. That date could either be date of diagnosis or date of recovery/overcoming it. I would have placed it elsewhere, some place where it couldn't be misinterpreted as a replacement for the bracelet. But, in the end it's your body and hopefully you'll have no regrets.

Just popping by to note how subtly awesome it woukd be if my trauma doctor was an Adventure Time fan and an FMLer as well. just.. little wishes here and there.

42, I was thinking the same thing. haha

Come to London and get yourself into a pickle, then! Get hit by a car and suffer a head or neck injury. If I'm on call, you might be lucky. Just kidding, haha. I also have a tiny Finn tattoo on my back, but shh. I'm a professional!

Geez, getting you's gonna cost me an arm and a leg!

Are you doubting my superb medical training?! ;)

I'm in London... which bus route should I jump under to end up at your hospital?

"Very artsy"... YDI.

Since I don't know how the tattoo looks exactly, I'm not sure if this will work, but maybe you can put Trauma Doc or something similar so you won't have to worry about the confusion. I think it's quite admirable how you think of medicine and your respect for it. I may not live in London, but thank you for your services in doing everything you can to save lives. Also #75 what's wrong with artsy?


you sound awesome ignore the hateful people!

I have a tattoo of a koi fish that is very symbolic and means a lot to me. But you have no idea how many people have asked why I have a catfish (which it obviously doesn't look like) on my shoulder blade. Still no regrets!! Some people are just stupid ;)

79 - never! I like to live on the edge in hopes that one day my doctor is an awesome dude like OP. I guarantee he won't have to post FML's here about pulling some smartphone out his patient's backside though... That sort of trauma I'll never be ready for.

I have a lot of tatts that many people still ask the meaning for today because they don't get it. I just look at it this way: The meaning wasn't meant for the public it was meant for the person getting the tattoo, that's all that matters. It's not the worlds business unless you make it that way..

Yeah if you weren't a doc having the Hippocratic symbol would be a bit strange.

I'm pretty sure they don't even have that... Just ignore ignorant people op, sounds pretty cool to me!

Medic Alert most certainly comes in bracelets that people see advertised on late night television. So I'm not entirely sure how this makes them ignorant.

True but, I could be wrong, but I think they are a lot more common in the US than in the UK? I do know one person who has one but other than her I've hardly ever seen them, and I've definitely never see them advertised on tv. Therefore, I can completely understand OPs shock at people having that reaction over here. Personally, although I am familiar with them, I don't think I would ever have made the connection without some prompting.

I'm in the uk and I've never seen them advertised on tv, but they are very common. My sister has one alerting to her diabetes and my brother has the intent to get one tattooed to alert to his allergy of penicillin. I'd have thought it was a medical warning too.

I have never heard of one in the us..

Weird...maybe just me then? I have seen them on American tv shows though so I'm pretty sure they have them over there too.

I'm in the US and I used to have one for my asthma. When I was younger, I remember seeing them all the time at chain drug stores and such.

I've never seen them advertised either but I know 3 people who have them, 2 for diabetes and one for a cold allergy, so I know the symbol and if I saw a tattoo of it on someone's wrist I would probably assume it was for some condition as well.

abbiyroad 16

#88 a cold allergy?

Good idea about the tat warning I to am severely allergic to penicillin. If I weren't in the military I would get one on my wrist as well. Maybe when I get out. Thanks for the idea

xStaciexLynnx 15

It may have been a typo but yes, some people are allergic to cold. I'm one of them. Your skin breaks out in rash and hives when exposed to cold, just like any other allergy.

I know a girl like that, she moved to the u.s from bosnia (spelling? Im terrible with country names lol) and she would break out all winter, poor thing, was always worse when it was snowing

oNisao 21

Nice tattoo. Lol

Nice comment. Lol

Pstraka6 20

That sounds pretty legit! Most people generally do not associate that with medicine, but rather illness unfortunately. Keep Calm and Doc On

Actually, #10, the caduceus IS the symbol used for medicine.

#20 yes but when you think of medicine, the mind immediately thinks of illness

Actually the caduceus is not the symbol for medicine. The caduceus uses two snakes and wings, and is used to represent commerce. There's another symbol that's very similar with ONE snake and no wings that is the medical symbol.

Thank you #34, that bugged me, too. They are often mixed up, as is evident in its use by the U.S. Army Medical Corp, but traditionally, the single-snake Rod of Asclepius is associated with medicine, not the caduceus.

The caduceus is commonly associated with medicine in the US. Guess it's easier to say than the "Rod of Asclepius"?