The last thing I wanted to do was take my cover-up off.
Chris and Birdy (and our friends and their daughter) were at a water park in New Hampshire where kids can run and play in safe-for-littles sprinklers, pools, and water slides, and as the adults, we were tasked with guarding the perimeter. Pacing back and forth, the four of us kept watch on our kids, ready to jump in at any moment to help them climb a slide, pick themselves up if they fell, or slather on more sunscreen.
I didn’t care who saw my body. Not really, anyway. I’ve run miles and given birth (not simultaneously), so I know there are strengths and weaknesses to my frame, but it wasn’t the shape and curve of my body that made me want to stay covered up at the water park.
I didn’t want people staring at the diabetes devices stuck to my body.
“Oh, suck it up. No one is looking at you.”
Of course they aren’t. They don’t mean to. But when someone walks by wearing a bathing suit with a few curious looking devices hanging off it, it’s hard not to notice. My standard beachwear is a bathing suit with my pump clipped to the hip, the tubing snaked out to wherever the infusion set happens to be living, and my Dexcom sensor taking up more real estate elsewhere. These items aren’t jarring, and people don’t snicker, but they do look twice because cyborgs aren’t the norm.
Most of the time I don’t think twice about who might look, but on this particular day, I felt self-conscious. Why? Who knows. Who cares. I just felt eh that day.
But motherhood dictated that my self-consciousness take a backseat to being part of Birdy’s waterpark experiences, so I sucked it up and removed my cover-up. My insulin pump infusion set was stuck to the back of my right arm, the tubing snaking down and tucked into my bathing suit, where the pump was clipped to the back. My Dexcom sensor was mounted on my right thigh. Even though these devices are reasonably discreet, I felt like I had two giant toasters stuck to my body.
Birdy needed help climbing to a higher platform in the play area and I helped her do that, thankful that my pump was waterproof. We ended up in the sprinkler pad for a while and I was thankful that the tape around my Dexcom sensor was strong enough to withstand the water. After a few minutes, I got over the whole “blargh – I don’t want to wear giant toasters” feeling and got on with things.
“Excuse me. Is that an insulin pump?” All casual, the question came from behind me, where one of the park lifeguards was standing. His arms were crossed over his chest as he confidently watched the pool, but his question was quiet.
“Yeah, it is.” I wasn’t in the mood to have a full chat about diabetes, but I didn’t want to make him feel awkward for asking.
“You like it?”
“I like it better than taking injections. I was diagnosed when I was a kid, so the pump is a nice change of pace from the syringes.”
“I bet.” He paused. “I was diagnosed last August and I’ve been thinking about a pump. But I hadn’t ever seen one before. Is that it?” He pointed to the back of my arm.
“Kind of. That’s where the insulin goes in, but the pump is this silver thing back here,” I pointed to the back of my bathing suit, where my pump was clipped. “This is the actual pump. It’s waterproof.” A kid ran by, arms flailing and sending splashes of water all over the both of us.
“Good thing,” he said.
“For real.” Birdy ran by to give me a high-five and then took off playing again.
“How long have you had diabetes?”
He gave me a nod. “Thanks for not making it seem like it sucks. Enjoy your day,” and he moved towards a group of kids that were playing a little roughly. I stayed and continued to watch my daughter play, very aware of my diabetes devices that, for the first time ever, didn’t seem quite noticeable enough.
(Also, today has been unofficially designated as a “day to check in” (hat tip to Chris Snider) with the DOC blogs that we’re reading. I read a lot of diabetes blogs, but I don’t often comment because I usually want to say something meaningful, instead of “I like your post.” (But I do like your post!) But instead of finding that meaningful comment, I usually roll on and forget to return to comment. NOT TODAY! Today I’m commenting on every blog I read, because that’s the name of the game. I love this community, and today I’ll show that through comments. So please – if you’re here, say hello! And thanks. xo)