Monday, June 14, 2010

What Are You Doing?

*in the voice of a movie trailer announcer*

In a world...  where medical devices can pass for cell phones...

Of all the things I don't like about being diabetic, there are a few that I can be thankful for. 
  1. That I wasn't born before the 1920's, when insulin was discovered.
  2. That I have the best available technology to use to manage my disease, and a supportive medical team who I actually look forward to seeing every 6 to 8 weeks.
  3. That I have relatively no complications, after 24 years.
I'd like to also add to that list:  the option of discretion.  All diabetics are different - some proudly flaunt their insulin pumps and glucose monitors.  Some simply don't care if others see their devices or not.  For me, it's always been a struggle.  It's not that I don't want others to know I'm diabetic - it's just that I don't want it to be one of the first things they notice about me.  I like the idea that, of all the things in my life that I can't control, who knows about my diabetes can be one of those things.  We're lucky, in a way - there are so many other illnesses out there in which, because of its change to one's appearance, you do not have a choice in who will know.

This isn't to say that I go out of my way to hide it.  I tend to wear my insulin pump under my clothing somewhere, or in a pocket, as opposed to clipped to my waistband, like others might.  My Dexcom receiver (a continuous glucose monitor "remote") is usually in my purse, a pocket, or just in my hand as I'm walking around work.  But the meter-remote for my insulin pump?  I will whip that out anywhere.

In fact, my meter-remote has more than once been mistaken for something it is not.  "Oh, did you get a new cell phone?"  Or, "What kind of phone is that?"  My favorite came from my husband's grandma.  We were sitting around the table, with food being passed around, and I was figuring up my bolus for the meal.  There is a rule at their house about no cell phones at dinner, and she didn't know about my new diabetic equipment.  "What are you doing?  Texting?" 

Yes, actually.  I'm texting my pancreas.


  1. Hi Kim,

    Great blog! Just wondering... You said that you sometimes keep your Dexcom receiver in a pocket. When I do that, I have a lot of trouble with static electricity causing frequent alarms and reboots throughout the day. I finally had to wrap it in a dryer sheet before putting it in my pocket. Now I just wear it in a Verizon phone case that was designed for the Chocolate 8550. Wearing the case on my belt is bulky and somewhat obvious, so I would prefer to use a pocket on my jeans. Have you had any similar issues?

  2. Hi Lisa! Thanks! :) While I can't say I've had the static electricity problem you've described, I have had my share of receiver difficulties. In the 7 or so months I've been using the Dexcom, I've had 3 receivers. The first one had a "hardware error" and shut down completely, and the second one - who knows what caused it - but it started vibrating on its own, and wouldn't stop. I actually had to hit the thing to get it to stop. Then it would start up again later... sigh.