My Medtronic 522 insulin pump weighs 100 grams, which is equivalent to 20 nickels. That’s not much, just a pocket full of change, but lately its weight has been, well, weighing on me.
Some women, I’ve read, wear their insulin pumps in their bras between their breasts. Not me. I wear mine inside the waist band of my pants or skirts or, if there’s not enough structure in my clothing, I wear the pump clipped to the inside of my underwear or tights. I have tried to wear it ‘loud and proud’ on the outside of my clothes, in the same way doctors wear their pagers or contractors wear their cellphones, almost like guns in holsters. But, after snagging the 23″ infusion tubing a few times on a door knob or chair back and ripping out the canula, I decided that discreet pumping was more secure sartorially and psychologically.
Lately, though, the pump has been slipping free and falling into my underwear or, worse, down inside the leg of my pants. It’s restless. As the pump squirms, like a toddler on my lap, I am more aware of its constant presence, its hard squarish shape, its interruption of the smooth line and drape of my clothes. It feels like a lot more than a dollar’s worth of nickels. One day my daughter Grace even pointed at my crotch and said, “Er, Mom? Look.” We both looked down at the bulge that the impudent pump was making in my black yoga pants.
Also during the past few weeks, I have been checking my blood sugar less than the six times a day I normally do. I’ve been busy at work and, I must confess, taking care of my diabetes on the fly. I eat, check, and bolus enough to maintain energy (and life, for that matter), but I’m not as on top of my diabetes as I typically am. I’m coasting.
Other writers for A Sweet Life have commented on the mental burden of caring for the chronic, unrelenting illness that diabetes is and how liberating it can be to let go of diabetes thoughts for a few hours. I agree. Sometimes, though, we can let go of diabetes attention for too long. This is what I have been doing for the past few weeks. I have pushed and pushed and pushed diabetes to the back burner.
And while I do not believe that my insulin pump has a mind of its own — I am its brain, programmer, and operator — I do wonder if its recent orneriness, failure to stay in its place, and burdensome weight are serving as a prod: Jane, pay attention to me. Jane, attend more faithfully to your diabetes.