When registered nurse Jean Manseau went to get her first two tattoos in October, patronizing a shop with a high health grade and an all-girl staff were high priorities.
One of Manseau's tattoos is a sinus arrhythmia, or an irregular heart beat, on the back of her neck. She said she chose an imperfect sinus rhythm because, like her tattoo, she's not perfect. The other tattoo, on her forearm, reads "Just Breathe."
"I started as a foster child," Manseau told The Huffington Post. Despite a challenging upbringing that including being emancipated from her parents at age 14, Manseau finished community college and got a job as a nursing assistant. Two failed marriages, however, took a toll on her health.
"I had to put life back into prospective," she said. "I went to a community college, where I earned my associate degree in nursing, so I could give my children the life I didn't have."
Manseau’s dual tattoos represent her new mindset and celebrate the major weight loss that went with it. "Even with my arrhythmia of life, I still made it," she said. "Every time I am at the end of my rope, I read my wrist that says 'Just Breathe.' The tattoo represents making it through life with arrhythmias, and still keeping my heart intact to do the job I love."
One in five Americans has a tattoo, a tradition that popped up in the United States in the 1870s and became increasingly popular in wartime America, especially among U.S. Navy members. Today, tattoo culture cuts across all parts of society, from celebrities to the everyman and woman, and with meanings as varied at their owners.
Medical tattoos, especially medical alert tattoos that replace alert bracelets, have reportedly grown in popularity, though experts disagree about whether alert tattoos are helpful or a harmful to EMTs during emergencies. Other medical-themed tattoos, like Manseau's, pay homage to careers in health care or simply show off the beauty of the human body, inside and out.
See more inspiring medical tattoos below.
5 modern-day medical alerts:
7 people who wear their hearts on their sleeves:
5 well-drawn and curious minds:
6 peeks under the skin:
7 tools of the trade:
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