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The Power of Waterproof.

Going fishing for a delicious ... pump?When my friends and I were on vacation last week, our goals were to do three things:  hit the beach, eat countless times, and enjoy the fancy swim-up bar.  Armed with my insulin pump, my Dexcom, and my NurseBestFriend (who is quick with a lancet and also to jump over any bar to grab orange juice, should the need arise), I was ready to participate in all three things.  

For the beach, my pump remained attached at all times, except when I was in the ocean for a quick cool-off.  My moments of disconnect were very brief.  If we were walking around, I kept it clipped to my bathing suit bottom with the tubing tucked as best as I could manage.  (Some people stared.  One woman asked me, point blank, "What the hell is that?"  "An insulin pump."  Silence, and a bit of a dirty look.  So I responded, louder:  "It's an insulin pump!  That's what the hell it is!"  And smiled.  She didn't.  Moving on …)  Staying connected on the beach helped me keep track of things, and the pump site and Dexcom sensor create some really interesting tan lines.

For the restaurants, the pump did what it normally does: sits either clipped to my waistband or stuck in the front of my bra (a la 'disco boobs').  Bolusing for meals was pleasantly discreet because of the remote option, so my main concern was calculating carbs.  (Which means I SWAG'd the hell out of this vacation, yet only had one high over 225 mg/dl and one low under 45 mg/dl.  Not too shabby, considering.)

But the swim-up bar at the pool gave me pause.  How was I going to hang out with my friends without disconnecting my pump for an extended period?  Also, was I just going to leave my expensive piece of medical technology just sitting unattended on a pool chair, waiting for disaster?  And if I decided to have a drink (and they were all the frozen, high-sugar kinds of drinks at this particular bar), how was I going to bolus without retrieving my pump?

NBF came up with an excellent plan:  clip the pump to the back of my bathing suit top, right at the neck where the halter tied.  This way, it was out of the water, shielded by my ponytail, but still accessible and safe. 

"Because your new pump is waterproof, right?"

"Right. So long as I don't go deep sea diving or something."

And then we both thought of the time I was in St. John with Chris and I ran screaming from the water because some kid saw a tiny octopus waaaay off shore.

"Yeah, no chance of that," she said.

Despite the fact that an older woman asked, "Is that the most high-tech cell phone EVER?" and a drunk 18 year old boy exclaimed, "Yo!  You love your cell phone a lot!", no one paid any mind to the insulin pump at the nape of my neck.  Mango margarita in hand and a blood sugar meter well within reach, I was able to hang at the bar, on vacation, with my girl friends without letting diabetes make an awkward mess of things.

NOTE:  This blog post does not advocate drinking.  It doesn't advocate pumping insulin.  It also doesn't advocate mango margaritas, swim-up bars, or bathing suits.  This is just a post about a vacation, and the decisions I made for myself while on said vacation.  This is not medical advice. It's a disclaimer in italics, advising you to make your own decisions.  Because following my advice is sure to lead to bad things, anyway.  ;)


[Animas disclosure]

Comments

Kerri,
You are so multi-functional!

Love this! I'm heading to Mexico in a couple of weeks and have been wondering about all my gadgets. Since I wear an Omnipod, I should be set, but I can only imagine some of the looks I might get with what looks like a plastic egg on my arm. I've thought of attaching some googly eyes, so if anyone stares at it, it'll stare back. (Wouldn't that be so awkwardly awesome? )

I'm glad you had a great vacation!

Oooh the nerve of that woman asking about your pump in that way! Nice comeback!

I really admire you for feeling comfortable enough to "show off" your pump at the beach.
I'm sure it makes BS control a little easier. I don't use a pump and find vacations very tricky.

I love it. :) And I'm glad you yelled at that lady.

First, I'm glad you had a great vacation and a mango margarita sounds like all kinds of awesome.

And I think I will be forever surprised at what people allow to escape from their lips. Has that woman no manners? Good comeback.

Kerri -
Glad you told the lady off -she so needed to be schooled!
I wear my pump at the beach, clipped right in the middle of "plunging V-neck"of my one piece. I used to clip in in the side of my two piece bottoms, but I'm not really a 2 pice candidate anymore ;) As far as others looking, let them!

I bought an Aqua-Pac last summer for tubing down the river by my house. 3+hours on an inner tube and I've used up all of my ideas for keeping my pump dry. It is a clear, plastic pouch and you can wrap it around your waist like a belt. My bathing suit bottoms are black, so it sorta blended in. And I could still use it without taking it out of the pouch! Love it love it love it.

LMAO! I love, love, love this post! I always PRAY that Lily will take part in any and all things and not let the big D get in her way. Good for you Kerri!! Love your polite comeback, smile and all!!

Good move on the staying connected at the swim-up bar. "Waterproof" is only so good. I have fried two Animas pumps in pools...one of which was my kids wadding pool. Darn cases of my pumps were compromised and I did not realize it.

I almost got close tor frying a third but noticed a bit ahead of time a small crack near the battery cover. A quick phone call to the company and a new pump was sent to replace it...before I was going to hit the water again.

I still try to disconnect if I am going to be in the water...just in case. The bar situation though I agree staying connected is the way!

Glad you had a fun vacation.

I went to Maui last year and was terrified about dealing with my devices. Granted the Omnipod is really not a problem except for leaving the PDM unattended on the beach. I ended up locking that in the rental car or burying it deep in my bag when on a snorkeling boat. Same goes for the Dexcom. And I was so worried about the sensor coming off in the ocean (goodbye $400 transmitter!!) that I bought giant bandaids to put over the sensor THEN used medical tape over that. It was under my swimsuit but I still felt ridiculous. At least nothing had to be replaced!

Love it. I am glad you got away and sounds like you had a good time. Everyone deserves to have fun Pump or not. Thanks for your site that I just cant wait to read everyday..

I always find drinking with T1D to be a little tricky. Some say to cover carbs in beer, some say don't risk it. I've tried both ways with mixed results. We'll just say that college was a difficult time for me! I'm going on the pump within the next week or so (have to go through the training first), so it's nice to hear how much easier it is while taking vacations. Too bad we can't all take vacations from our diabetes!

i think i'm going to teach my son to answer questions about his pump like this - "that's my bionic pancreas. you've heard of the six million dollar man? i'm the six thousand dollar boy" :D

I even wear my pump in the ocean - I either clip it on my shoulder strap - or lodge it in the v of my bathing suit. I'm not sure if anyone ever really notices it to be honest - only time someone commented was a hubby whose wife wore a pump as well - we met up for dinner later - and she was so happy to see another diabetic (and couldn't get over how I gorged out on food - but hey - that's how I eat when I'm on holidays usually). Usually I have some goofy sunhat on - so I think they look more at that - and go - what a freak :) That's okay - I know I am - a D-freak - proud of it.
Glad you enjoyed your holidays Kerri!

So glad you were able to have a great time on a girls getaway! So sorry you had to deal with some rudeness...I just hope my little girl is able to deal with it in the future similarly to you...she gets so upset and embarrassed about it right now :(

About ignorance:
I had an angiogram last Friday (came out clean, YAY!) and I had my pump on my tummy, and one of the nurses grabbed it, saying "I'll put your cell phone on the table." WOOPS. Nurses, at least, should know better. But at least she had the grace to apologize.

So glad you had a great time and I love hearing about your pump-escapades. It's always good to know for future reference. Greace wears her OmniPod to the beach, through the waves and boogie boarding. It takes a beating. This past summer some older kid asked what that was, affixed to the back of her arm. Grace replied "It's my iPod, I had it implanted in my arm" then took off on her board.
I was never so proud of her :0)

Excellent post you have given me hope that holidays wont need to change to much. I only found out in December so i'm still pretty new to all this. We have a big trip to the US planned for the summer and i am panicking about even the thought of it. Just trying to figure out how much of each drug i will need brings me out in a cold sweat. Fingers crossed i manage as well a controlled trip as you did.

I welcome questions about my pump and diabetes. It's a good chance to educate! Plus, if I respond negatively, that person might respond negatively when asked to contribute to the cause. I do hate it when people try to give me advice or condemn my behaviors (w/ regards to Diabetes) when they haven't got a clue!

You are such an inspiration. I'm a teenage girl who wears an insulin pump and I've worn one for a few years, but never been comfortable to wear a bikini.. so I am SUPER ready!! It may not seem like a big step for some people, but it's a major boost in my self esteem. thank you so much! :D

WAHOO!!!!!!!

Mango Margaritas ROCK :)

So does a NBF and a halter-pump!

FUN :)

Love the disclosure.... Sounds like you had lots of fun.

I am leaving for the Dominican on Wed!!! My daughter wears an omni pod and I think we may do the google eye idea! Funny!!! Glad you had fun.

Best waterproofing trick EVER for pump/CGM receiver - my friend used her Seal-A-Meal on our kids' OmniPod PDMs when we were going to the water park last summer. We could still push buttons to dial in BGs and boluses. The only down side was not being able to use the built-in meter, so we put a meter & strips in a little waterproof container. It was much less frightening to consider a cheap meter getting water-logged than the PDM. Love the googley-eye idea for on the pods, too!

What did you use to protect your dexcom sensor? I've tried big waterproof bandaids, but they peeled right off...

Hooray for the waterproof animas! A big selling point for us when we chose a pump for Addison - I would be destined to get it wet somehow or other and I like not having to worry!! Sounds like you had fun!

So the pump was under your hair on your halter...but where was it inserted?

I am a mother of a newly diagnosed T1 6 year old and recently found your blog. I am happy to say your blog (and adventures) lifts my spirits about the kind of life my daughter can, and will have, despite T1D. Thanks for sharing your life and your writing talent.

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