In the last week, I have had no fewer than six women contact me with the same question. All of them are about to start using a pump and they are concerned about the most important and worrying aspect of wearing a life-saving medical device. ‘Where and how do I wear my pump?‘ they have all asked.
Wearing one’s pancreas on the outside of one’s body has its challenges. There is the challenge of having to explain what the beeping, vibrating, clicking box is all about. There is the challenge of mixing the pump with door handles and anything else protruding (the pump will usually come off second best). There is the challenge of finding a delicate, inconspicuous and subtle way of removing the pump from under clothes to use it.
And, there is the challenge of where to wear the bloody thing. Pumps do nothing for the line of one’s clothing. A square, hard box is lousy for smooth, uninterrupted lines, so I usually tuck my pump into my bra.
But what about for times when one is not wearing a bra? I have found that simply popping my pump in my pocket will inevitably results in a tube tied around a door handle, a yelp (from me) and a pump failing to do what it is meant to do (i.e. deliver insulin and keep me alive).
My walking-in-the-door routine includes high heels kicked off into a corner, pencil skirt removed and bra ripped off which means that my pump is suddenly free flying. Where does the little external pancreas go without the threat of bungee-ing to the floor and hitting the cat on the head?
Today, over at ASweetLife, there is a list of innovative and terrific designers who are solving this (obviously first world, but nonetheless important) issue. Finally, there is cute, attractive and sexy underwear that provides a solution to the ‘where to wear’ question.
It doesn’t surprise me that so many people are anxious about where to wear their pump, in fact it is one of the most frequent questions from people (usually women) who are considering a pump. When giving talks about pump use, I usually stand there and ask the audience if they can see where I am wearing my pump. Most are surprised that there is absolutely no sign of it, even though I often am wearing tight-fitting clothes.
I understand why this is such an important issue for people who are thinking of starting on a pump. Suddenly having something attached to your body 24/7/365 can be quite confronting. Wanting to know that it will work with our clothes should not be dismissed as a frivolous or pointless concern. Our insulin pumps become part of our body, functioning as an organ, albeit one that we have to drive ourselves. Finding ways to accommodate our external pancreas in a way that is beautiful and comfortable is incredibly important. Thanks to the designers finding a way to do that.