10 years ago, when I got my first pump, I spent considerable time and effort making sure that it was completely hidden under my clothing. Not a hint of pump tubing ever stuck out. Ever. I fashioned pump holders out of scraps of fabric that I clipped to my underwear or the inside of my pants. I cut holes in my pockets so I could use them to hold the pump without the tube sticking out. It was practically a full time job.
Over time I got more comfortable with my new appendage and I stopped putting in quite so much effort to keep it hidden. I would keep my pump in my jeans pocket and allow the tubing to run up, under my belt and into my pants but I carefully tucked the tubing into my waistband to keep it out of site. I would endure the occasional question regarding the strange tube emerging from my pocket but generally walked around unnoticed.
Then something changed. It was a combination of me finally accepting and embracing myself as a diabetic, and my growing up and becoming more comfortable in my skin. And I began to make less effort to hide my pump. Occasionally I even wear it clipped to the outside of my pocket – something I never would have dreamed of doing 10, or even 5, years ago.
Then one day, working at the bakery, I noticed that customer after costumer had something in common. Probably 90% of the people I served that day had a “tube” emerging from their pocket. Well, a cord anyway. Since the iPod has become so commonplace, so have the white Apple earbud cords, which resemble pump tubing.
I realized that when most people see the tubing sticking out of my pocket, attached to the strange “pager” they assume that it’s the headphone cord attached to some new fangled music machine. And the result is that I get asked fewer awkward questions at inopportune times.
Thanks Apple for making my everyday with D a little less out of the ordinary.
For the month of November, Diabetes Awareness month, I will wear my iPump on the outside of my clothing (with the exception of during job interviews or when my clothing options don’t allow it). It’s not much but it will allow me to become more comfortable with my D-identity and, hopefully, allow for a few advocacy moments.