Bad experiences with people since getting my omnipod

Ive only been on the pod for about 3 weeks now, and so far a lot of ups and downs. My depression overall is overwhelming. I don't want to show people the pod so i'm always hiding it, which i'm afraid is going to really be a problem now that the weather is getting warmer.
I'm tried of hearing people ask me stupid questions, like " why would you want something attached to you all the time..I would NEVER do that", or "Do you have to wear that because you ate too much sugar as a child".
I ws flying home from new orleans visiting my husband who is there working, and airport security must have been in a really bad mood that day. The woman who patted me down was very rough, and when I told her I was wearing the pump on my back and to please be careful, she said " Well then maybe you shouldn't hide it like that then I would know it was there and not think it was suspicious." REALLY?? That sent me on my flight crying for 3 hours back to NY while everyone looked at me like i was crazy, and of course made my blood sugar numbers skyrocket. I'm sure I've been rambling but i'm not dealing with this all too well right now ;-(

That is horrible about the airport security lady! I am totally proud about my pump although I have the tubes and just wear it clipped to my belt loop. Maybe it's too late but I would report her with the time and airport if you didn't get her name and badge number. That is unnecessary and those people have a tough job but I will totally be obnoxious if they act like that.

If people ask me "woah, you have something plugged into all the time?" I go "well, actually I have two things because I have a CGM sensor too..." My speech, which I've given a number of times, is pretty much "diabetes isn't just about taking medicine, it's about balancing food and insulin and it is really freaking hard [o.k., I use a wide variety of language heh heh heh....]. I did pretty well at it without all of the gizmos but have done WAAAAY better at it with them than I did without. It also makes my life much better".

If I'm wearing the right sort of clothes, I'll show them my diabetes tattoo:


Hi Jolleygirl -
I put off getting a pump because of not wanting people to see it or have something on me 24/7. I think you and I got the pump the same time. What changed my mind was running into a lady on the beach in a bikini last summer with a pump that had the tubing! (so of course her PDM was right in the open and the tubing). She was strong and confident and easy-going about it. Why not ya know? We're diabetics and we're strong to endure this disease. If we take that attitude, hopefully it will pour out of us for people to see. In reality, we are smarter and stronger for it. I keep reminding myself of this :)

BTW - have you tried putting the pod on the underside of your breast? I've had this suggested to me (as it being successful) but not tried it. I intend to. Great concealment if it works :)
Jean

There is no need to feel self-conscious about the appearance of your pod attached to you. Most people are not very observant and are more focused on their concerns and world.

People wear/use all kinds of medical devices. Whenever I'm out in pubic I see people in wheel chairs, people using white canes, people with oxygen tanks in tow, older people with walkers, and all sorts of assistive devices.

Almost all people with diabetes are sometimes shocked by the ignorance of the general public with regard to diabetes. We're even more shocked when doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals don't even understand diabetes basics. Like the difference between types 1 & 2.

Airport TSA people can be hit and miss with understanding all the diabetes paraphernalia. It's much better now than it was 20 years ago! Next time that exchange happens to you at a TSA checkpoint you could try this: "That device that's under my clothes is a life-saver. Without it, I would die. I would be so thankful if I had a working pancreas like you!"

As to the diabetes ignorant, you could reply, "Medical science has long ago debunked that myth. I did not cause my diabetes no more than you caused how tall you are!"

I am not quick witted when it comes to replying to social insults but perhaps if you think about it some, you'll come up with some of your own. The best ones neutralize, inform, disarm and make obvious the ignorance of their remark.

You're used to the anonymity of no external hints about your diabetes. There's nothing to be ashamed about your diabetes. You were just dealt a bad genetic hand. It's not your fault and you certainly didn't cause it. You're simply trying to play the cards you were dealt to the best of your ability.

You could look at the ignorance of the general public about diabetes as something that you could improve one person at a time. If you're like me, you didn't know that much about diabetes before you were diagnosed.

Your responses to these kind of situations is completely under your control. You just need to reframe the situation so that it doesn't make you feel vulnerable. Talking to a close friend or even a talk therapist may help you to address this sensitivity. Good luck.

I asked one person what they thought about the idea of me wearing a pod before deciding to get it, my wife. I did that out of respect for our relationship and her feelings as the person who has chosen to spend the rest of her life with me. She couldn't have cared less.

The rest of the world? I couldn't care less. Yeah, the rest of the world can be intrusive regarding my diabetes management and I do have to put it out there on occasion. It is what it is and in the whole scheme of things, somebody in the world having something to say about, or issues with, my diabetes care is a very very very small thing.

Best of luck Jollygirl, and this too shall pass.

Hi Jolley, I personally always wear my pump "out", clipped to my pants pocket. (I have the traditional "tubed" kind). I've been pumping for 25 years, so everyone who knows me knows what it is. You will get used to it, really. Have you been enjoying the flexibility pumping gives you? Have your blood sugars been flattening out?

As to airport security, I think it can be hit or miss. here's a good discussion on how to handle things
https://forum.tudiabetes.org/topics/insulin-pumps-vs-tsa-security-air-travel-update-for-last-quarter

and here are some ideas on how to wear it with summer clothes and swimsuits
https://forum.tudiabetes.org/topics/how-do-you-wear-an-insulin
http://www.tudiabetes.org/group/minimedparadigmusers/forum/topics/pumping-on-the-beach
https://forum.tudiabetes.org/topics/methods-of-wearing-a-pump-with-a-dress-skirt

I was worried about that at first too. I hated the shots, but I didn't want people seeing the pod because it was bulky and weird-looking. People will always ask ignorant questions, some curious and some rude. I try to explain diabetes to people who just don't know, and throw some shade at people who are plain rude. I wear my pump proudly at the beach even though I get weird tan lines from it, and one time a mom stopped me and asked about the pod because her son was looking into it. There's nothing to be ashamed of!

■■■■ the TSA. They suck. I'm convinced they're bitter because they don't get to be real cops.

One of the coolest experiences was explaining it to my 5th grade campers. I told them that one of my digestive organs doesn't make the right chemicals so I have to get them from the outside, and one of the girls asked "so you're part robot???" It made my day.

Great story, Leah :)
I remember how in 4th grade i explained my pump to my classmates and they were all so interested and amazed at that I do this all on my own…
If I am asked about my pump, I usually explain it for short, so they know about what it is. I have no problems walking around in a Bikini and my pump clipped to my side, if people stare, i let them stare, I owe them nothing…
Jolleygirl i hope you and your pump are starting to get along better soon.

People wear/use all kinds of medical devices. Whenever I'm out in pubic I see people in wheel chairs, people using white canes, people with oxygen tanks in tow, older people with walkers, and all sorts of assistive devices.
Terry, while your points above are all fair and well presented, I think what is tough for some diabetics is the "image" unconsciously seen by many of being enfeebled and sick.

That's what I "feel" in the back of my mind when I see someone dragging around an oxygen tank, using a walker, etc. Generally, people in these situations are more feeble.

As we all know, diabetes is different in this respect. Indeed, proper treatment can, and usually does, result in the opposite of enfeeblement. It energizes and empowers us.

That's been my experience since I went on a pump and CGM, and got this all under control. These devices are "power talismans" for me, truly. So I set my attitude that way. Like AR, I confront misunderstanding like this with pride, politeness, and enthusiasm. I'm always heppy to correct these people letting them know this is what allows me to scuba dive, mountain bike, leap tall buildings in a single bound.

Okay, maybe not that last one. :-)

Jolleygirl, the public ignorance is never going to go away. You have one of the most awesome technologies available to help you manage and treat this disease. Be proud about it! Reset your perspective. You live, and live well because of these technologies. You're not crippled, feeble, sick.

You're just as normal as they are (roughly speaking), and it's that thing stuck to you that makes it possible.

I love to use the "powerpack" joke all the time. Especially with kids :-)

Jolleygirl, your story really pulled on my heart for more than one reason. First off, I live near New Orleans so I am so very sorry for the type of treatment you got in the airport. I've been through the NOLA airport many times with my pod and it's been no big deal so I hate that you had a bad experience. I'm always a little stressed about going through security anyway.

One travel tip I've learned - I put my pod right above my pants line on the side so I can just discreetly lift my shirt and show it to TSA. Most of the time, they only make me touch it with my hands and then they swab my hands. Five minutes tops.

Don't let ignorant people get to you. Over time the stupid comments will bother you less. After over 26 years now with Type 1, the only comments that still hurt me are the ones from people who know me and should know better. One coworker asked me one day "Do you wish you would have listened to your doctor and done the things he told you before your diabetes got so bad?"... But most of my coworkers know about my Omnipod, think it's cool, and look out for me. If we hear a siren or beeping type sound, they always look at me and say "Is that YOU?" because they know my hardware likes to beep occasionally. :)
My husband just calls me the bionic woman, thats my favorite.

Hang in there and take care.

I doubt there is a T1 out there who hasn't had the "you're not fat", "did you eat too much as a child", "but you're skinny as a rake" blah blah comments off folks. Sadly doubt it'll ever end unfortunately although over time I now see it as a chance to educate them...now that doesn't matter though if they want to be educated or not, they will be educated :P

A bit of this is like that Miss Manners thing on here a few weeks back. I frankly don't have a problem with my pump, a finger test, or when I was on MDI doing injections in the middle of a crowded room, at a dinner table or anywhere else. I'm a shy nervous nerd most the time, and utterly loathe speaking to people. But when it comes to my D stuff, I now frankly don't care where I do my necessary things. If I scare airport security, or people in the take-away while I injected while waiting for my meal, so be it (and yes I did do that). Why should I be forced to hide away in a first bathroom because of them. I don't have a problem. Those who complain are the ones who have the problem.

Pump wise I am like others who wear it with pride attached to my belt. Do get asked about it occasionally and always happy to explain it. I've been called a borg before now which I am kind of also proud of. Also find it helps keep it cooler which is a nice side effect it seems so I can squeeze out a few extra days.

Hey Jolleygirl:

A big virtual hug from all of us to you. I was self-conscious after my initial diagnosis but soon came to the conclusion that there was nothing to be ashamed of. This was the hand I was dealt, and it wasn't going away anytime soon. In fact, like many others on this site and thread, I take great pride and pleasure in smashing the myth of the fragile diabetic. This condition, when well controlled, allows us to live healthier lives than most around us. We also have a vastly better understanding of nutrition, physiology and exercise. Like many of us here, I can run faster, farther, and work out harder than most of my non-diabetic peers. I also take great pride in consistently achieving better A1c's than my non-diabetic friends - except for my hard-core athlete wife who consistently hits the 4% range. The comment "but you don't look diabetic" doesn't offend me. It makes me smile and gives me another opportunity to dispel ignorance.

I'm so sorry about your negative TSA experience. I too wear an Omnipod and travel considerably. Fortunately, I've never had to deal with such ignorance and insensitivity from the TSA, but I have from others. I was visiting an old friend recently and came out of his pool when his wife saw my pod stuck to the back of my arm for the first time. "What is that," she said, sounding genuinely alarmed. I calmly explained what it is and how it works. "Eeeew," she responded, "I could never do that. That's gross!" "Yes you could, if you needed it to keep you alive," I responded matter-of-factly.

I treat these types of questions as opportunities to educate. But I also sometimes enjoy having a little fun with it too. I've told people before that it's a tracking device and a condition of my parole, or a methadone dispenser to treat my heroin addiction. That usually shuts people up pretty quickly. :-)

But in most cases I find that an honest response to even a stupid, insensitively asked question results in a positive discussion that leaves people with a better understanding of what we face 24/7. I wear my pump with pride. It's an amazing device that allows me a great quality of life and when asked about it usually results in being a positive ice breaker.

I wouldn't worry about what others think. Most don't even notice a pump. Rather think about all the amazing things it allows you to do and how much better off we are than even 10 or 20 years ago.

All the best!

Christopher

Hi Jolley,

Lots of good advice here. And folks who care, which is usual at this site.

You're taking care of business regarding your physical needs. Are you getting help with the depression? That's another struggle that's misunderstood by so many and can be devastating. And yet so treatable. Good luck! We're here for you.