Incognito Mosquito

I made it 16 years without an insulin pump. After living with one for over a year now, I can see looking back how it could have made things much easier, but as a teenager/young adult, I just couldn’t completely get on board with the idea of having a device attached to me 24/7. I liked being able to look like a “normal” person, even if things weren’t working right on the inside. It’s not that I was ashamed of my diabetes, I just didn’t want to publicize it. Even with the pump, I try my best to conceal it. I always keep the pump in my left front pants pocket, and I cut a little hole in the inside of the pocket through which to snake the tubing. I’m more than happy to talk about my diabetes and answer questions when I take the pump out to check on the CGM or to bolus for a meal, but I don’t like to wear it on the outside as a red (smoke gray?) flag to say “this person has a broken pancreas!!”.

That being the case, I’m pretty excited about my current setup, at least for the next 3 days. I have the CGM sensor on my upper left “gluteal cheek” (note: I learned it is best to try this placement only if you have a trusted person to help with introducer needle extraction. Otherwise it is quite tricky), and my infusion set on on my left thigh. Now, I can wear only shorts and still hide all external signs of diabetes. This is nice because the wife and I are planning to go to the pool this weekend and get our skins prepared for our upcoming beach trip. I’m sure I’ll end up with something along the way, but I don’t need to start out with wierd circular no-tan spots. On the other hand, if it weren’t for those external signs, I never would have seen my neighbor’s Omnipod and found a good D-exercise buddy…so it’s not all bad.

Anyway, the pool/tan talk leads me to my final (and perhaps only) point. With the beach week coming up, I’m worried about how these hours in the sand and sun are going to work with the pump. Am I going to have these adhesive patches and tubes exposed for all to see? Is the heat going to cause the insulin to go bad faster? Will the tiny granules of sand wreak havoc on this $6,000 piece of equipment? I’ve heard about people taking “pump vacations”, I’m just not sure if the hassle of trying to figure out the injection doses is worth preserving the “vanity” factor. What do you guys think? Have you tried pump vacations? Was it worth it? Any tips for how to handle all this equipment in the beach environment?

By the way, I realize this post had absolutely nothing to do with mosquitoes. It was the only word I could think of that rhymed with incognito. I briefly considered “Diabetico”, but I don’t speak Spanish so that was quickly ruled out.

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3 comments so far

  1. Gary on

    I only took injections for a year or so before going on the pump (I was diagnosed at age 29), but I can relate to the whole 24/7 thing. I was freaked out about having the pump attached all the time. It was like it meant I was diabetic ALL the time and not just when I was taking an injection. Odd. I know, but that’s the crap that goes through your mind.

  2. Karen on

    O. M. G.

    I’ve been counting down to the cruise I’m going on . . . . forgetting that it will be my first time trying to do bathing suits and pools and such with my pump.

    FREAKING OUT NOW!!

    I’ll be checking back to see if you get some good tips.

  3. Kerri. on

    I’ve worn my pump “exposed” at the beach and yeah, people look. I guess I’d look too, if I wasn’t used to this little machine.

    I’ve gone to the beach a LOT since I started pumping and have never had a problem with sand. It’s the infusion set getting sticky from the salt water and sand that’s more of a problem.

    Tan lines be damned! They just move around every three – five days, anyway. If you’re over it, everyone else will be over it. 🙂


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