Tag Archives: Insulin pump

Is That an Insulin Pump?

I was warming up at a fitness class the other day when I noticed a girl on the opposite side of the room as me. She was fit, a few months pregnant, and had what appeared to be an insulin pump clipped to the side of her workout pants.

For the next 60 minutes, I went through the motions of the class, completely distracted. While trying to be discreet (although looking back, I’m sure I was staring like a creep), I tried to get a better look at the device, hoping to confirm it was a pump. It had to be – it was the right size and looked like a Medtronic variety.

Once I had determined that, my excitement got the best of me: I was across the room from a new type 1 friend! We live in the same neighborhood and go to the same barre workouts! We’re going to swap stories about preventing lows during exercise over salads after class! She’ll give me all the details on pregnancy with type 1!

After class, I made a beeline to to my new friend. (Again, looking back, it was probably creepy.) “Is that an insulin pump?” I asked, still out of breath from the workout. “What?” she asked me with a blank look on her face. “Oh…this?” she said, grabbing the device. “It’s a pager.”

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A pager? Do people still use those? I’ve heard funny anecdotes from the diabetes community about strangers mistaking their insulin pumps for pagers. But, mistaking a pager for a pump might be a first.

Thankfully, the girl was sweet and didn’t treat me like a weirdo for staring at her for an hour before rushing up to her after class. (By the way, she seemed to know what an insulin pump was, so I assume she works in the medical field…hence, the pager). While the incident made me laugh, it also highlighted how hungry I always am to connect with other people with diabetes.

Diabetes Blog Week 2015 – Day Six

2015 Diabetes Blog WeekI love the topic for today:

If you have been blogging for a while, what is your favorite sentence or blog post that you have ever written? Is it diabetes related or just life related?  If you are a new blogger and don’t have a favorite yet, tell us what motivated you to start sharing your story by writing a blog? 

The question prompted me to read back through my past posts – something I don’t often do. One that stood out to me was from last year’s Diabetes Blog Week. My “Tell Me a Story” post, written by my insulin pump, is one of my favorites because it captures the anxiety I felt about using a new device. Here are the first few paragraphs:

It’s funny now to think of how scared of me you were initially. When I arrived on your doorstep, you were cautious taking me out of the box. You had shaky hands as you picked me up and felt my buttons. I was hoping our friendship would start right then and there, but you tucked me away for training day, not quite ready to bond.

I sat in my dark box and counted down the days for our next meeting. Finally, the trainer arrived and I emerged again. How glorious it felt to get that jolt of battery energy and be primed for the very first time. You were hesitant as you prepared our first insulin cartridge and infusion set, but you did it. You were pumping! I wanted to yell, “You did great! Keep it up!”

I remember the excitement you felt when the trainer left that evening, but I also remember the fear. Even though it was three days off, you were terrified of changing our next infusion set. You were scared that I was going to accidentally give you too much insulin and you were going to have a devastating low. You were anxious about if you’d get used to being connected to me. “Don’t worry,” I wanted to tell you.

Intrigued? You can read the rest here.

*Read other Diabetes Blog Week Day Six entries here.

The Routine Pat-down

As I write this, I’m on a plane en route to Minnesota. I’m flying for personal reasons today, but most of the time I fly for work. I travel by plane every week or two, making frequent trips to the Bay Area, where my company is based, and other regions. I’m used to it and have a routine down: I can pack in a matter of minutes, know the best spot to park my car at the airport and can breeze through security….

Actually, I can’t breeze through security anymore. Since I got an insulin pump, going through security has become more of an event. As my pump manufacturer clearly states on their website, the pump cannot go through the X-ray machine or body scanner:

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It is an adventure every time I arrive at the security line. After I’ve sent my belongings on their way through the X-ray machine, I approach a TSA officer and explain I have an insulin pump that can’t go through the X-ray machine or body scanner. For the most part, they respond respectfully, requesting a female pat-down and showing me where to wait. Others aren’t as gracious, showing their annoyance with my special request. Some are downright argumentative.

A couple of officers have forcefully told me that insulin pumps are fine to go through the scanner. My response – that some may be, but mine is not – is not always believed. I’ve been told I need to check with my pump manufacturer (Believe me. I have.) because I have my information wrong.

I try to stay calm in these situations, as I know getting worked up won’t help. But I can’t help but feel incredibly frustrated. (I’m sorry TSA officer, but you don’t have an insulin pump and don’t know the ins and outs of what it can and can’t do. And since it is one of the most expensive and life-saving things I own, I’d prefer not to take any risks.)

It’s worth noting that I’ve been told I can remove my pump prior to the body scanner and ask for it to be hand checked. However, I’ve personally found this to be even more problematic and not worth the trouble.

The pat-downs themselves are simple. I’ve only had professional officers, many who have told me after the check that they’ve seen a lot of insulin pumps and given me a smile. While I don’t exactly like being fondled in front of the security line audience, it doesn’t really bother me. It’s that first step – declaring that I can’t go through the body scanner – that I find the hardest.

It seems like there has to be a way to make this process better for pumpers. For starters, there likely is a way to report feedback on disrespectful TSA officers. But would that help? Is there something larger that can be done? I’d love to hear about other pumpers’ experience with airport security.