Friday, 2 March 2012

Is it going to feel like I'm "on a leash"?

One concern people may have about switching to an insulin pump is the feeling that they are effectively feeling like they are being "tied to a leash".  There is the thought that there is always this "thing" attached to them that they have to take care of, making them feel trapped.  There is also a perception that the insulin pump is going to be an unsightly look as it is always attached to you.  These fears are common, but quite unnecessary.

Let's face it, being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes is always going to make you feel like you are tied to something.  You have to always make sure you have your glucose monitor, you have to make sure you monitor your food intake, you have to make sure you carry your insulin around with you.

Your insulin pump actually gives you freedom in some respects. First of all, your insulin pump is going to carry your insulin for you, so you are not going to forget to bring your insulin and syringe with you when you go off to school, work, or out for the day.  Next, you no longer have to pull your syringe and insulin bottle out in the middle of class, at your desk, or sneak off to the bathroom to give yourself any insulin. Once you are familiar with using your insulin pump, you could use the advanced features of your pump and simply keep your conversation going over lunch with your friends and let simply give yourself the proper amount of insulin without even looking at your pump.  The pump also allows you to eat what you want, when you want, and as long as you count your carbs properly, you will always be "injected" with the right amount of insulin.

As far as the "unsightliness" is concerned, your insulin pump will be as noticeable or unnoticeable as you want it to be.  There are a number of different pumps on the market (speak to your diabetes educator about the best one for you) but you can get pumps that come with tubing (to run from the insulin pump to the insertion site) or ones that basically sit right against your skin, therefore eliminating the tubing.  The tubeless pumps would allow you to have the pump sit right against your skin, and would be covered by clothing all the time, so you would not really be "advertising" that you have a pump.  Personally, I have a pump with tubing, and I use the longest tubing available as I prefer to have my pump in the same place (on my right side on my best or in my pocket) all the time.  The longer tubing allows me to have injection site all around my abdomen without having to move my pump.  I could have the ability, if I so wished, to have my pump hidden in my pocket with the tubing totally under my shirt and pants, by cutting a small slit in my pocket allowing the tubing to be in my pocket without being seen by the outside world.  I don't actually do this, though, as I do not mind having a small bit of tubing show coming out of my shirt going to my belt loop.  I have never received an odd look from anyone, in fact some people have been surprised when I actually showed them the pump and asked "How did I NOT see that?!).

If you are worried about being "leashed" to a pump either physically or metaphorically, you can't let that stop you from using an insulin pump.  As I said, it frees you up with respect to not having to carry some of your supplies around with you.  Additionally, there are many ways and places you can hide your insulin pump, if you are self-conscious about wearing one.  However, in this day of everyone wearing their mp3 player or phone on them somewhere, you really won't stand out.  I know from experience.

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