Weight of an Insulin Pump


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.

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10 years ago

This may not apply for women’s clothing, but for men, I have found the best way to wear a pump is to just put it in my pocket, and then  send the tube through a hole I have carved near the top part of the inside of my pocket… its very comfortable, and nobody can see it! Its also very easy to access etc.

Michelle Page-Alswager
11 years ago

My short answer would be that only you know when you’re ready to go on the pump. I probably thought about it for a year before I actually did. No doubt other adults with diabetes spent a long time, too, thinking about it before deciding. What finally motivated me was my doctor’s suggestion I go from 4 injections per day to 5 — I didn’t think I had any unbruised flesh left to add an injection! Also, I was tired of the lows during exercise, and I wanted to be able to “turn down” my insulin. It is indeed a… Read more »

11 years ago

Hi.  It is very interesting reading your blogs.  I have been diabetic for 16 years now and been on insulin injections for that time.  When I had my daughter who is nearly six, I lost all sense of hypos and now have a problem with continuous high blood sugars when I wake in the morning.  I have been told that i must start on an insulin pump. I take 5 – 7 injections a day. My daughter was diagnosed diabetic shortly after her fourth birthday and after just over a year on 4 injections a day, which she found very… Read more »

Michelle Page-Alswager
11 years ago

Diane, I love that little anecdote, with your son asking your mom where her pump is, showing just how ‘normal’ it was to him. Thanks for reading & responding.

11 years ago

Your story sounds so familier. I have had diabetes for nearly 30 yrs now, been on the pump since the birth of my son, he is now 13. I have tried to go off of the pump due to skin infections at the site, but soon found that I can’s go back to shots, which some days it would be more freedom I think, not being attached to the pump 24/7.  I have good days and bad days. I embarass my 17 yr old daughter at church when it beeps and just “take it out of my bra” and say… Read more »

Catherine Price
12 years ago

Great post, Jane. I often wear my pump tucked into my bra (which leads to a “why do you have a third, square boob?” phenomenon way too often) — but I agree that there are times when it makes its presence known much more often than others. I recently discovered a pump belt clip and have been wearing it on the outside of my pants (doorknobs be damned) — which I don’t love, but at least it doesn’t fall off.  The worst was when I was teaching middle school math at an all boys’ school and my pump would decide… Read more »

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