Last weekend, it was beautiful here in San Diego; sunny, 70, slight breeze… So, unable to resist the sunshine out by the pool, I took my new Minimed Continuous Glucose Monitor out for its first public showing.
I like to pretend I’m self-confident enough to walk out in a bikini, loud and proud with my insulin pump hanging from a long proboscis out of my stomach, plus the new CGM displayed with its lump of a transmitter and a giant plastic bandage to hold it in place.
I’m not. I slunk out to the pool, shirt and skirt on, stripped down to my bathing suit and quickly slid onto on my stomach, back to the world. It was wonderful in the sunshine, but half an hour passed before I even worked up the courage to turn over. And then I played a nice round of “I’m pretending I’m reading, but really I’m checking out of the corner of my eye to see if you’re looking at me.”
Sigh. As much as I pretend, I am no existentialist. Yes, I care what you think, very much. And yes, I think these devices on my abdomen are weird, too.
The good news, though, is that regardless of my self-consciousness and watchfulness, no one was looking. No one was taken aback by my cyborg parts, and no one stared or seemed to pay any mind at all. As it turns out, everyone is too busy minding their own business, and I am not the center of their worlds.
Now, lest I be fooled into thinking I can get away with anything, this episode stands in stark contrast to another episode of poolside self-consciousness in my life: About two summers ago, after I had first moved to San Diego, I was enjoying sunning by the pool in my new apartment complex. It was a beautiful day, and despite my best attempts at reading I found myself sinking into one of those sunny-semi-slumbers. I was vaguely aware of a tickle on my knee, so I tried to use my other knee to knock off whatever had fallen on me. But– ow! I jumped up, aware of a sudden sharp pain on my knee. And alas, what I assumed was a leaf or flower was a bee, and I was stung. I was investigating the injury, trying to remove the stinger, when I realized there was a mother holding her child looking at me. In fact, everyone was looking at me. I assumed at first they realized I had been stung, and were sympathetically curious.
But after another moment I saw to my great horror that I was completely topless– I had detached my bathing suit while sunning, and in my surprise at being stung had jumped up. Topless. In public. With kids and mothers and all my new neighbors, like deer in the headlights while I stood there.
And a bee stinger in my knee.
So, yes, I showed my pierced and wired stomach to the world this weekend, polka-dot bikini and all, and the world said, “Meh.” The world was insufficiently impressed to affirm my embarrassment. Diabetes, as it turns out, is less shocking than public nudity.
I consider this a victory.