In my first five days of being back on an insulin pump, I have been reminded over and over one of the reasons I stopped using an insulin pump in the first place: pockets. If you haven’t ever had a machine literally tethered to you, it’s really hard to imagine how essential pockets are. I spent nearly every year in my 20s without wearing a dress because of the struggles I had in figuring out how to place my pump securely. I regret that a bit, but now it is inspiring me to somehow become even more creative… only I haven’t come up with any viable solutions yet.
Sure, there are some work-arounds and hacks for this dilemma, but most of them don’t work very well for me. And I’m not the type of person who identifies better with these tools because they are colorful or cute or otherwise infused with synthetic personality. But that’s just me.
In addition, I don’t care if my pump can be seen or not, but I have a fear of my tubing catching on something and pulling my infusion site out. Not cool.
In the meantime, here’s a short list of alternative ways I have seen people wear their pumps (and why I don’t utilize them):
- The Clip. Most insulin pumps come with clips. My new pump came with a boring black one, but the company will sell you brighter colors for about $20. But clips stick out farther than you think they will (reminiscent of the shift from the Dexcom Seven Plus to the G4, amiright? #diabetesjoke). Clips pull on your clothes – especially your yoga pants. I am not comfortable with clips, no matter where they are placed (waist, back bra strap, etc.).
- The Belt Pocket. Some people wear these under their clothes. Others wear them over their clothes. The one time I’ve tried this was while running. But it bounced more than I was comfortable with and felt weird.
- The Undies Pocket. I had not seen this until recently, but apparently there are some full-on lady briefs that have an insulin pump-sized pocket built in. But my pump doesn’t come with any sort of remote and the idea of sitting down to a meal, then digging in my pants and undies to bolus is not terribly appealing.
- The Bag. Some people put their pump in a small pouch with a shoulder strap. For me, the concept of this seems too mobile somehow. In my mind, I see tubing everywhere and infusion sites pulled out accidentally. I have seen this work for people with other diseases that required larger machinery, but for an insulin pump? Nah – I’ll just hold out for pockets.
- The Arm/Leg Sleeve. Maybe my limbs are shaped abnormally, but none of these limb-pockets have worked for me. I might have felt like James Bond, but I’ve seen every Bond film there is and I’ve never noticed him readjusting his weapon to make sure it doesn’t slip out of place.
- The Cleavage. Simply put, I am not that well endowed. My hat is off to the ladies who can pull this off. I would end up looking like I had a third, oddly geometric, lady pillow.
- The External Pocket. When I lived in Japan around 2002, these were popular among young men – small pouches that would hang from a carabiner around a belt loop. I like that this can move from one piece of clothing to the next, but again, I’d be afraid that the tubing would pull out and rip out, plus isn’t not exactly sleek. Oh yeah, and I’d feel like one of the teenage boys I used to teach.
So for now, it’s just me and clothing that comes with pockets. I miss the days when cargo pants were popular – I wore those things to pieces. And dresses with pockets? Oh, the joy of finding one of those in the store! I sew a little, but I’ve never been able to dew a pocket into a dress or skirt that didn’t pull on the fabric in a strange way.
Does anyone have other pump-wear ideas? Or the power to bring cargo pants back into style?