Wednesday, 9 December 2009

what to wear with an insulin pump

Thanks Amanda for your fantastic question!:

I find that there is a restriction on the type of clothes that my girl can wear after having the pump. She can't tuck in the shirt into the jean like most of us did. It is also difficult to find her a dress ( one pcs type ) as there is no place to keep her pumpy unless she wear another shorts with pocket. Did you face similar problem ? Can you share where and how you put Phil?

Now, this is a question I know I have some expertise in answering! In some of my early years on the pump I got really frustrated with how to wear it, and I was really conscious of other people seeing it or the tubing.

Fortunately I got over helps when you rehearse what you'll say to people when they do see it, and to realise it's nothing to be embarrassed about, in fact you ought to be super proud to have one, and also to figure that actually no-one will notice it being there and think it's a phone or a pager if they do.

If someone does notice it, sometimes they ask directly, but other times when they're staring or I catch them glancing curiously, I just straight outright tell them what it is and ask if they have any questions. Pump therapy (and juvenile diabetes for that matter) is something most people don't have a clue about, and so I like to educate people!!

Moving on to clothing. I used to cover up so much, but now I don't care. I'd sometimes rather protect P from too much damage or the weather, especially when I'm going to be quite active. In fact, here is a picture of me, with my pump on, but can you actually see him?

So here are my tips and tricks:

- A Pump Clip - so that you can clip your pump onto your trousers or skirts or underwear. These are useful and sturdy (but make sure you always have a spare, because they do snap if you accidentally sit down too fast in the cinema or on a plane where the seats are small with armrests to bash against)

- Tubigrip/leg support - these are particularly useful if you are wearing a hip skimming dress, as you can comfortably wear your pump on your inner thigh, without worrying he'll jump out.

- Empire line dresses - or dresses that are fitted around the waist, or just under the bust, will flare out as your pump is rested on your hip and therefore skim straight over the top. I buy lots of tshirt dresses and unfitted dresses, which i pull in the a belt under my bust, which creates a shape, but does not make Patrick too noticeable. I wear leggings with dresses all year round, as they are a sturdy support for P. In my experience, there's only one type of dress you cannot wear, and that is a very short, very tight one, as there's nowhere to put the pump.

- Long tops and cardigans - can protect my pump from the weather and any damage, i layer these up to create a stylish look and then patrick gets lost under all the fabric

- Hipsters - I don't wear trousers that are waist high, because there wouldn't be space enough for the tubes, and when I have tried them before they are too tight and block the insulin. Hipsters generally have more freedom of movement, plus they just look better on me!

- I even have a couple of jumpsuits that I wore most of the summer, which I loved. They are impractical in a few ways, but it does protect P, and when I bolus I just go to the bathroom or my bedroom

- there are some times that i forget that i'm wearing a dress, and i'll need to bolus for food, but i just absent myself to the washroom, and bolus there. people don't mind, at all, you'll just need to be polite if you've forgotten whilst you're already eating!

- in summer, if you've got your pump in your abdomen, make sure you've got lots of all-in-one swimsuits with you, or tankinis, as you might not want to wear a bikini, and i'd recommend not being in the water all the time, as the solution that sticks your plaster down may wear off with too much swimming

- try not to wear tight trousers or jeans whilst your infusion set is on your upper buttocks, as this might reduce the effectiveness of the site, and can be quite painful.