There were ten in the bed…
Okay, it’s not quite ten in the bed, but it’s not far from that. On a typical night Mike and I share our bed with Adam, the giant baby who still wants to nurse, two cats, and for the last two months we’ve had something else in the bed, too. An insulin pump.
The pump, I think, has officially become part of the family. It’s official because I have begun to personify it. I haven’t named it, but I’ve begun to feel the urge to nurture it like I do the other beings in the bed. When I’m worried about nighttime hypoglycemia, I peek at Mike and tap him to make sure he’s okay. I cover Adam with the sheet when I’m worried he might be cold. I pet the cats when they stick their noses in my face. And when I see that little pump, curled up with Mike, I think (jokingly, of course) that maybe I should give it a tiny pillow, perhaps a “pump blankie.” (Mike, I imagine, thinks of his pump in more masculine terms.)
Since the pump is attached to Mike he – obviously – feels its presence much more than I do. But I am very much aware of the pump. It’s not because it’s bothersome. It’s not because it’s a constant reminder of diabetes. It’s simply because the pump is always with us.
For some families a meal begins with grace or a blessing. In our home a meal begins with a little bit of pressing pump buttons. I’ve been trying to figure out why this creates a different feeling than injecting with a pen. Is it because Mike didn’t usually inject at the table? Is it because the pen didn’t stay with us at the dinner table? Or is it just because I’ve personified the pump, and begun to think of it as part of the family? Perhaps it’s those feelings that make me more aware of the pump than I was of the pen.
In bed I notice the pump the most. It’s not unlike the cats in its intrusiveness, its tail-like tubing, and the way we must push it out of the way to have a comfortable intimate moment. Last night when I lay beside Mike in bed he took off his pump so we could be close. I spooned against him in the space that’s now usually reserved for the pump. He’s free for a few minutes, I thought. I turned around to face him, not being careful. I didn’t need to be. But I’d forgotten completely about one thing- the infusion set stuck on his side, slightly above his hip. My leg brushed against the plastic tabs that stick out when the pump is not attached. “Ow!” I said.
In the morning when I went to shower I noticed a scratch on my leg. “How weird,” I said to Mike. “One of the cats scratched me at night and I didn’t even feel it.” It was only later in the day when the scratch stung a bit, that I recalled the evening before, my leg against the infusion set.
It scratches like a cat, too, I thought. So perhaps I’m not personifying the pump, but rather attributing cat-like qualities to it. Is there a word for that? Could zoomorphism work? I don’t know.