« Ten. | Main | Kerri-Proofing. »

I See Pump People.

Navy Seal PWDs are everywhere.  LOOKOUT!A few weeks ago, Chris and BSparl and I went out to dinner.  Dining out with our little bird is a bit of a tangled experience, and we don't spend as much time people watching as we used to because we're very preoccupied with the baby wrangling. 

That night, though, we were sitting and settled and throwing gluten-free puffs (yes, all of us) around the dinner table like confetti when I saw this woman walk in with her family.  She settled her family in at the table, and then reached to remove her coat, revealing a beeper clipped to her pocket.

Only it was one of them fancypants beepers with the tubes and the buttons and the accompanying not-making-insulin pancreas.  Reckon it was an insulin pump.

Immediately, I wanted to swing mine over my head like a lasso and say "OMG lady, me too!!!"  I've had this feeling before, of wanting to sidle up next to someone and say, "I like your pump; want to see my pump?" but to me that sounds more like an awkward attempt to flirt instead of a moment of diabetes bonding.  Living in a very comfortable bubble of diabetes advocacy makes me think that everyone who has a visible "symptom" of diabetes wants to talk about it.  I have to remind myself that some people just plain don't want to talk about it.

But since I still wanted to say something, I targeted Chris instead.  

"Dude, 12 o'clock.  Actually, my 12 o'clock, your six o'clock.  Minimed pump on that lady."  I said to Chris without moving my lips, as if a pump sighting was a covert Navy Seals operation.

"Six o'clock?  Okay, do you guys know one another?  And why are you whispering?" he whispered back.

(I love that because she and I both wear pumps, we must know one another.  I've brought him right into this bubble with me.)

"No, I don't know her.  I have no idea who she is.  But I just saw her pump."  I paused, still whispering.  "And I was like a toddler, wanting to wave my arms around and say 'Pump! Pump!'"

He laughed.  The waitress came over to bring our food, and the two of us were immediately distracted by keeping BSparl's grabby little hands away from the hot plates. We had a nice dinner, and I sort of forgot about the fellow Navy Seal at the other table.

... Until we were leaving the restaurant, when I saw her glance at my hip (where my Animas Ping was tucked away), nudge her husband, and give a little nod. 

In my head, she whispered, "Dude, four o'clock.  Animas Ping.  Hooyah!"


Field PWD's rule! I'm the same way, I want to go up to them and be all, "I see that you have diabetes. I have diabetes too. Uh huh huh...cool." And then we play a wicked air guitar riff.

(Apparently in my imagination I live somewhere between an episode of Beavis & Butthead and Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure.)

:) I love your use of the word "reckon"... it's very southern of you.

I think if it were me who spotted a fellow pancreatically-challenged folk, I'd be a whole lot less cool about it than you are. I'd even dig out my pump and sling it around probably hoping the other person would notice ME and say something. Alas, I have never seen another pumper out & about in all these years! Perhaps I'm not paying close enough attention...

We call it "pumps in the wild". Like we're Marlin Perkins and we've just come across the most rarest of rare beasts..the PUMP...(and then the mutual of omaha Wild Kingdom music plays in my head...)

I don't know HOW you can resist doing the lasso move. I would've been embarrassing myself in seconds flat.

Love it! When I went to the Diabetes Sister event last year one of my favorite parts was meal time when everyone was pulling out their meters and pumps and we got to compare.

The first day I wore my pump to work I had it on my hip (which I don't generally do now since my clip broke) and a guy asked me if it was a fancy pedometer. heh.

Great story...now my 7 yr old daughter (the one wearing the MM pump) would be waving her arms in the air and saying VERY loudly "She's wearing a PUMP too!"

OMG, I'm like white on rice on people when I see someone testing or dosing. I am in their face. I even got an email address from a woman at Target I latched on to who was trying to get insulin from the pharmacy for her daughter. She never emailed me back, LOL.

I was actually approached by a dad at one of Jessica's basketball games back in November who asked me how long ago my son was diagnosed. I was dumbstruck until he told me he saw me dosing Brendon and saw the line sticking out from under his shirt. His teenage son was on the pump as well and we bonded for several minutes discussing the wonderful pump.

I want everyone I meet to immediately be my best friend forever, LMAO. Other people aren't as enthusiastic :p

My favorite "pumps in the wild" story is I was once in a line for the bathroom. There were mirrors all on the left side, and I saw in the mirror a pump and some seriously going-to-be-snagged-soon tubing spilling all over the place. My first reaction was to check MY pump (and tubing)--took me way too long to figure out that the pump actually belonged to someone else. (To be fair, it was the same color of MedT pump I had at the time.)

I also was not brave enough to say something; I just sat in that bathroom line eyeing this other girl's pump the whole time...

I have a tough time resisting the point-and-shout urge too.

One time I did give in to it (sort of) was after noticing the oldest son in the family sitting in front of us at Christmas Eve mass - that I was already staring at because they too had 3 boys a bit older than ours - was wearing a pump.

I really, really, wanted to say something, but I bit my tongue until the "exchange of peace", at which point I hooked the tubing around my thumb and offered him my hand, and instead of "Peace be with you" said "Hey, another pumper - Merry Christmas!"

Not sure how embarassed he was, but his mom seemed thrilled :)

This once happened to me on an NYC subway. I was sitting down when a cop walked in and was standing next to me. Right at eye level, next to his gun, was a Medtronic pump. What possessed me to say something to him, I'll never know, but I started talking to him, showed him my Omnipod, etc. The entire time, he had this look on his face, like "shut up, dude. I'm supposed to be on duty." Afterwards, I realized I was lucky he didn't assume I was psychotic and arrest me or something.

Love it! :)

I'm not a diabetic, but a good friend of mine is and I consider her like a sister to me. She uses a pump and since getting to know her whenever I see one it's a great moment of secret mirth for me becuase it reminds me Jess isn't alone.
My greatest momement was probably on campus waiting for, of all things, my society and disability class to open when the class before us let out a gentlemen walks out with a gob of clearish tangled wire. My mind immediately says, hey that looks like pump tubing, so it was no surprise when a second later a little black box falls and swings away and My head reminds me, yep he's using a pump.
Or looking at a house, it was a church member though so I was brave, a little black pouch lay sitting on a table. Me being brave, So this may sound odd, but is that a glucose meter or a wallet. Right as she says her son he turns and I see the small chunk of tubing peeking under his T-shirt, oh he wears a pump.
But I see them in so many places and have been able to understand some diabetes jargin and I wonder how many people think or would think I'm weird when I say something, hey I like to talk, because it's not me it's my friend. But I do adore the friend for opening my eyes to what her life is like, because I can be aware of it when I see others and becuase of her (and a nutrition class) I realized what I really want to do with myself is be a dietition.
Anyways if any of that made sense. Woo!

I HEART when that happens!! It's actually one of the best things about being a PWD. One of my favorites times it happened was at The Magnolia Bakery in NYC. Two strangers with diabetes enjoying their cupcakes and flashing their insulin pumps - It made my day!

WOOT! I love that too :) One of my favorite memories was when I took my daughter to a Santa thing at the mall...there were so many kids and she was standing up trying to see over the crowd. Her little pump pack was obvious. Anyway, out of the corner of my eye, I spotted another mother throwing her kids through the crowd and crawling over the top of people to get through. I was preparing to get out of her way when she stopped beside me and yelled (loud crowd)... "IS THAT AN INSULIN PUMP???" To which I proudly smiled and nodded. She was wearing the same one (Cozmo) and her oldest son had just been dx. It was like magic :) We've been pals ever since!

The best sightings are at the beach. Tough to hide. Plus, funky tan marks from dex7 or infusions are like crop circles to the non PWD!

Totally random, but the date for this post is listed at February 17, 2011. Are we in the Twilight Zone posting in the future or is something up with your blog date?

On topic: I love PWDs in the Wild!

A good friend of mine is Chinese and speaks fluent Cantonese. When we are walking through stores or at a restaurant and he hears cantonese he points it out. I always encourage him to go talk to his kin-folk.

A few years ago he spotted a lady with a pump and told me to go speak to my kin-folk. So, I did and now that lady and I still email on occasion. Approaching a fellow pumper is all about being subtle and knowing when to back away. Of course it is cool to tackle them and give them a hug of understanding.

Through my pump I have meet several other PWD at work. Either they are a pumper themselves or a diabetic who has asked "what is that thing?" We have our own little inter-office support group. We share our latest finds and new "toys" for managing our diabeties.

Another benefit is we all know whos offices to raid if we run out of snacks and need a quick carb hit for a low.

All thanks to that little friend on my hip.

My husband and I were in SanDiego last summer (WITHOUT kids... its was FABULOUS!!!) and I kept noticing pumps everyhwhere we went. We were at the zoo at one point and there was a girl about 9 or 10 walking in front of us with a minimed cliped to her shorts. Being a D Mama, it was her MOM I really wanted to sidle up to and talk D... but like you, I resisted the urge. ;o)

I've lost track of how many people I've seen, although I've never approached anyone. One time on a bus, I saw a guy with a Minimed pump, and when he got off, we exchanged smiles. I had tested my BG on the bus so he saw that. But otherwise, I usually just point it out to Erik and that's that.

I am sooo glad I am not the only person who feels instant kinship with complete strangers because of diabetes garb.

Oh, and I have a Ping too- look we're friends! :)

I love when this happens. One time a woman at my yoga studio saw me hooking up my pump in the locker room after class, struck up a conversation and we discussed strategies for maintaining good BG control during yoga classes. It was so awesome to know that there was a fellow PWD who has to strategically manage diabetes in addition to strategically maneuvering in and out of yoga poses!

I followed a guy in Target once after seeing him bolusing while walking. I was hoping that the perfect moment to say something would happen. But my son, the one with diabetes, was mortified and begged me to drop it. LOL!
A few weeks ago I saw a three year old in a fanny pack with something inside shaped like a pump. I kept staring and finally he moved and gave a glimpse of tubing. I ran to the mom (who turned out to be the aunt) and mentioned it. She said he actually had congential hyperinsulinism and was pumping another medication but surprisingly, the woman herself had T1 and showed Camden her pump and talked to him a bit about it. I just can't resist bonding when I see it.

You know, whenever I've had people come up to me and say, "Dude, nice insulin pump," while holding out theirs like a membership card in the Cool Cats Club, I've been happy for the experience.

We're everywhere! Hooyah!

Love this (particularly the Hooyah at the end, which instantly makes me think of Marks Summers as Gibbs...)

It's tough to resist that urge, and I've been on both sides. "Nice Minimed pump" has worked and sparked a conversation in a grocery store parking lot while on vacation, while others have ignored me mostly with the "I don't want to talk"...I also once had to resist the urge to jump over the pews at church when I saw a woman with a Minimed pump across the aisle. Found her later and we talked to her briefly, but then she never came back to church. :( That "scaring them off" thought helps me keep the lasso and table-jumping to a minimum among D-Strangers...

I LOVE this post...actually LOL'd cause I SO get this! My daughter and I do the whole "knowing glance" and nudge each other in these situations...although I'm sure at times she has felt like doing the whole "pump lasso" move....this totally made my day! Thanks Kerri!

I love this! Recently my mom and I were at a b&b and this other family came down and the son was wearing a JDRF walk for the cure t-shirt. My mom elbowed me until it was so obvious that I had to say something, so I'm sitting there like..."My mom's giving me meaningful looks right now because she wants me to ask you about the shirt you're wearing, because I have type 1 diabetes." And it turns out he didn't, but his little brother did, and we got on this whole conversation about pumps and CGMs...so funny.

not being a diabetic myself, i know someone who is and uses a pump i know a bit about them. i have become good at spotting them...at the sky train, malls, bank...even my grad ceremony. oddly enough minimed is more used here in Canada then animas. i am always like "hey a pump!"

I have a crazy cheese grin on my face right now :)

I think we are all that way when we see "the goods". I so want to start a convo, but I am way chicken.

I love how Chris thought you knew her!

I wish right? It's too bad we all don't know one another. That would be awesome!

Okay, I'm guilty. I think I have started up a conversation with everyone I have seen with a pump...all with good responses. The time it really paid off was when I saw a young teen with a pump and after talking with him I found that he was using a different extension set than me. I switched to the one he was using and like is so much better!

Mike H: It's Mark Harmon who is Gibbs (my all time celebrity crush) and Mark Summers is that unwrapped guy on Food Network (not a crush in a million years!) thanks for the smile at your mix-up!

OT my daughter gets crazy embarrassed if I talk to a PWD in the wild, but I consider embarassing my kids to be a top priority of motherhood. I once connected with a work associate because she sent JDRF Christmas cards. Turns out she's a D-mama, too. Small world.

Haha! I can totally relate, and feel almost an immediate bond with a person when I found out that they too have Type 1 Diabetes.

Unfortunately, I've never seen another pumper in a restaurant or other public place, not counting diabetes-related events. However, I'd love to be able to speak to another pumper if I saw one out in public. I don't know how I'd approach that person since I'm being rather shy and introverted but if someone asked me about my pump, I talk about it for as long as the person would listen. I'd also be a great listener if someone told me about their pump. Great post, Kerri!

My dd gets so excited when she sees another pumper. Once I told her I thought it was just a phone and she told me very excitedly that she had seen tubing lol. We've also had people approach us, just as excited.

I feel like my husband and I have had the exact same experience and possibly conversation many many times before. It's like spotting creatures in the wild. Very exciting.

The thing I was most worried about when I first was paired with my Diabetic Alert Service Dog Lily, was that my "disability" was no longer invisible. But, I need not have worried...it has really allowed me comaraderie. I see people saddling over to get a better look at her patch (she has a patch on her vest stating what type of service dog she is) They read intently and then their faces break into a smile, they cannot get their stories out fast enough.

My diabetic alert dog has become a very big pump.!

I DID THE SAME THING.. well I was at the YMCA with some clients walking/running around the track and there she was. A beautiful pregnant woman, on the elliptical with this big bold pink pump clipped to the back of her pants. I don't have a pump but for the first time in this town after over 1.5 years I SAW someone else with what i presume T1. AHh... it just makes me feel GREAT to see that, even though i didn't say anything to her, she linked eyes with me and I smiled BIG!!! It's great to see someone else like me in this town. I feel like the only one. Great Post Kerri!!!

I also get a tiny thrill of recognition when I see an insulin pump and I'm a parent of a teen with type one. I'm too shy to say anything and it's probably a good thing because the diabetes police usually take over my brain.
Scene I: As I waited to pay for my coffee at the convenience store, I noticed the tell-tale line of tubing extending from the pocket of the college student cashier. When I paid him, he fumbled a good bit with the change and this is what went through my brain: "Do you feel okay? Are you low? When was the last time you tested?"

Scene II: At a major amusement park, I saw a 40ish woman exit a roller coaster with her two kids. Her Medtronic was clipped to her front shorts pocket and seemed to be hanging a bit precariously. My first thought was: "You are going to bang that pump up against something and scratch it up or worse!"

Scene III: About 30 yards down the beach I saw a teenage girl with a white circular patch below and to the left of her navel. I elbowed my son and asked him whether he thought that was a Quick-set. He wouldn't look because he was close in age to the girl. So I nonchalantly walked down the beach and saw that it was indeed a Quick-set. The skin on her stomach looked great--not all pinpricked or bumpy, and I was tempted to ask her how she kept it looking so good, but that would have been such a totally weird thing for a stranger to say to someone on the beach.

its amazing how you can spot a pump from across the room....I have seen several but never said anything.

Glad to see I'm not the only one!

In French class, back when I was in high school (I'm a senior in college now), I asked a kid next to me why he wore a Medic Alert and he said "Oh, I'm diabetic. Been so for 4 years or so." And my reaction was "OMG! ME TOO!" I believe we spent the rest of the year discussing every diabetes factoid possible and not learning one bit of French. And we're best friends to this day - how awesome!

I was at CVS this morning, and the cutie working the counter had a Ping on her belt. It took every ounce of self-restraint I possess to not whip mine out and request that we make beautiful diabetic babies together... Ah well, next time.

It is a nice feeling to not feel alone.

So, we see people's pumps "everywhere," but I never see anybody testing. You'd think we'd see it every so often.

The best one for me was when I was on the bus with my then-toddler sleeping on my lap, right on top of my CGMS so it couldn't communicate with my pump. My pump started wailing in my other pocket with a lost sensor alarm and I couldn't get to it to turn it off. While I was trying to maneuver a sleeping child around without waking her, the man next to me took out his pump and looked puzzled, then realized it was mine that was alarming. Turns out he lives about 8 blocks from me and our daughters are likely going to be in the same class next year.

Or when a Non-PWD ask how important you are with two phones.
"Here, meet Pam my pancreas"

I was traveling last Saturday, and while sitting in my seat on the airplane I SWORE my pump had been beeping at me. I took it out, but there was not circle on the screen indicating that there was an alert. I continued to hear various beeps throughout the flight, confusedly taking out my pump each time to check why exactly it seemed so angry with me. This continued until I looked to my left and the man next to me was busy bolusing away for his sandwich. Small world!

My heart starts beating a bit faster when I identify a fellow PWD pumper- beeep beeeps, tubing, remotes. We pumpers are like an underground society- like the Knights Templar- only instead of wearing membership rings we wear pumps. And we all identify each other right away!

I'm either not paying any attention when out in the world because my husband and I have not yet seen another T1 on a pump, outside diabtic event's.... It really make's u feel alone, even though I know that I am not. I must confess that the first time I do that for sure i will not act my age (25)...that i will be a little kid tooo excited to care about the proper greating and manors. Can't wait!!!! Fellow pumpers please come find me!!!

I was at Panera a few months ago, sitting there with laptop and attempting to work. A family came in with three kids, and I saw the little girl (about 10 or 11 maybe) pull out a meter. Based on the conversation I heard, it was clear she had just been diagnosed. I wanted so badly to go up to them, but didn't. It was a surreal feeling.

So last weekend I was in line at a bar, and the guy in front of me orders a diet Coke and rum. I, being a few beers in, tease him about his manly drink order. He says "I'm diabetic, so, limiting my sugar." I immediately lift up my shirt and show him my OmniPod on my stomach (so inappropriate, ha!). He was totally interested and jealous - he was doing multiple daily injections. It would have been such an awkward encounter, but we ended up bonding over our shared diagnosis!

So this is a really old post, but I actually was forwarding the page to a new Type 1 and ran across it :) Anyway, my favorite pump moment happened in my "other" life; I breed and show dogs. (And yeah, DSPs--dog show people--are just as strangely connected as PWDs!) I was showing a friend's dog, and the judge--who I didn't know--stopped me in the middle of judging and whispered, "I need to talk to you after I get done with this breed!!" I mumbled, "um, ok", thinking that I must have really messed up the dog. I then got even more confused when he awarded the dog I was showing Best of Breed and followed me out of his ring. He exclaimed loudly, "You wear an INSULIN PUMP!!! MY WIFE JUST GOT ONE!! Let's go show her!!" Shocked, I followed him to where his wife was judging in another ring. He stopped her, proudly pointed at me, and said, "Look! It's another pump person!" He then looked around and exclaimed he really shouldn't have interrupted judging :) We all sat down after the show to discuss pumping...I guess they had never met another "pump person" in real life before, lol! We still talk to this day about diabetes and dogs :)

Never have I seen or even meet another pumper. I would have been all over that person like white on rice.

Post a comment

(All comments are moderated. Thanks for your patience!)