Insulin Pump Meets Atlantic Ocean

Diabetes is often considered an invisible illness. For the first months after our son’s diagnosis, a stranger could look at our kid and not know he was living with a lifelong chronic disease. He was on multiple daily injections (MDI) and didn’t yet wear a continuous glucose monitor (CGM), so no medical devices identified as someone with a disease or disability. However, three months after his diagnosis, he started wearing an Animas insulin pump and Dexcom CGM.

In fact, unless someone knew what to look for (tubing coming from a pump, adhesive peaking below a shirtsleeve), Henry’s diabetes would be invisible to most. But when Henry swims, his diabetes becomes visible.

There are all sorts of pumps and a few CGM’s on the market, all with varying degrees of water resistance. I think the choice of insulin therapy and delivery is personal and specific to each person with diabetes. For us, the Animas pump was a good choice. It’s waterproof, and we devised a way for Henry to wear it while at the beach, so we don’t have to disconnect and manually deliver the basal a couple of times an hour. Henry’s free to play in the hot sun without us worrying about his insulin overheating or losing a pump site. However, to ensure that the site and pump are in good working order (even in salt water) we devised a pretty creative work around. It’s a bit like nesting dolls, but to us it was worth preserving the site and not interrupting Henry’s time at the beach.

  1. Henry wears a contact detach infusion set, and we cover it with a layer of Tegaderm HP, so the site itself is protected from sand, salt, and water.
  2.  The next step was to secure the pump. We placed it in a ziploc bag, with the tubing coming out at the very edge. Then we secured the opening with gaff tape.
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Opening secured with gaff tape (upper middle)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Next, we placed the pump in its ziploc bag in a FRIO insulin pump wallet, so that the insulin didn’t denature in the heat, and then placed the FRIO pump wallet in a SPIbelt. (I told you it’s like nesting dolls!)

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rocking the SPIbelt

4. Hang the d-bag from the sun shelter and enjoy a preserved site and pump.

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2 thoughts on “Insulin Pump Meets Atlantic Ocean

  1. Pingback: A Time We Bossed Diabetes | semisweet

  2. Rachel,
    A very creative way of keeping the pump dry! I’ve wore my insulin pump off on and off since being diagnosed with T1 and all the time pre-pregnancy to post-pregnancy. That was one of my biggest issue with my insulin pump and why for the past 5/6 years I do injections solely. No more pump for me! Because – especially with girls/ladies in bikinis- there is no where to hide it. I would take my pump off while swimming or at the beach and put it on my towel or lounge chair, but everyone still sees your insertion point and white tape. I felt very unattractive in my pump. I also found it very restrictive in summer dresses especially because it’s a challenge to find a place to hide it. Be thankful you have a boy! More creative ways to hide the pump! Good luck!
    Jenny Williams Green

    Like

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