Editor's Note: This article was originally written by patient expert Kerri Sparling.
I wear an insulin pump. (Gasp from the people who have read my blog before. "She's a diabetic?" I know.)
The pump itself is not very big - it's a tiny 2.0 x 3.0. x 0.8 inches. That's smaller than your average cell phone, on the whole. Smaller than an iPhone or a Blackberry or even a box of raisins. But sometimes it feels like it's the size of a loaf of bread, strapped to my hip.
As I was going through my morning "get ready" routine today, I stood in front of my closet and did a quick assessment of my clothes. I like classic, tailored sorts of outfits and I like for my clothes to look streamlined. Incorporating this device sometimes proves to be very " challenging. (Diplomacy won out on that phrase, over my other option of "makes my head spin and I almost launch the pump across the room." Diplomacy also won out over "Dressing while almost seven months pregnant makes me feel like absolutely NOTHING will ever fit again," but that's a digression for another post.)
I don't like when the pump is exposed. Not that it's something I consider to be shameful, and especially since I work in diabetes-related media, but I don't want tubing and pump bulges as part of my daily look. Like I mentioned before, this belly is enough of a distraction. I always tuck the tubing away and I keep the pump as tucked away as possible. Every skirt has either a pocket sewn in or I use that thigh thingy from Minimed. Every pair of pants has either a pocket to slide the pump into or a waistband wide enough to hide the pump inside. (And for some fabulous reason, my favorite stores - like Ann Taylor - have been adding these convenient little pockets to their pants, perfect for pump-tucking. That's a way to earn my consumer loyalty.) And for those that don't, I add a little internal pocket just as swiftly as I hem the pants before I wear them. (I'm sort of short, so the hemming was just as necessary a skill to learn as pocket creating.)
I often go to great lengths to conceal my pump. Sometimes it's a complete pain in the arse and I can't find a way to incorporate it into my outfit. Today's ensemble includes a pair of tailored corduroy pants (no pockets) and a long sleeved, fitted shirt (not billowy enough to hide the pump bulge). Out of options, I reluctantly clipped the pump to my pants and it's been a visible part of me all day long. No one notices. No one comments. And to be honest, no one cares but me.
But sometimes it makes me frustrated to have to interrupt my attempts at dressing like a "normal girl" with these pump integrations. Just as it makes me a little batty when I have to interrupt my gym workout for a blood sugar testing session. Just as it makes me moody when I have to splice some glucose tabs into my afternoon article-writing session. (See also: sometimes the size of a loaf of bread)
Do you, my fellow pumpers, make efforts to hide your pump?
It can be a pain. Sometimes in superficial ways that I hate admitting. But, when I'm looking at my bloodsugars and I'm 85% content with their progression, wearing this machine is worth it. And now, as my belly grows daily with my daughter safely inside, I'm thankful for this technology that helps keep us both safe.
It's fashionable to be healthy.