Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Does Size Matter?

Insulin pumps. (C'mon people...)

One of the top four high-tech tools to help better control diabetes is smaller, hidden insulin pumps. Like the Omnipod, which is tiny, disposable, worn directly on the skin, and concealed under clothing - weighs only 1.2 ounces. “It’s a completely different animal. It’s the size of a small half-kiwi or a small Matchbox car,” Elizabeth Vivaldi, director of marketing at Insulet Corp. (maker of the Omnipod), says in a news release. Another person says: “You can hide it. People don’t need to know." Many people resist conventional insulin pumps. They’re typically worn on one’s belt like a small cell phone, with short tubing to deliver insulin through a needle inserted under abdominal skin. Many people dislike hooking up the pump and they try to conceal the tubing.

See, I don't see the point in all this. Are we embarrased? And if so, about what exactly? The pump? Diabetes? How some outside observers might mistake it for a cell phone or pager? I'm confused. I've actually enjoyed wearing my Minimed versions on my belt, using a holster that allows it to easily slide out for access. Great conversation starter, and have met a good number of people as a result - those with pumps, those who know others with them, or just curious about the contraption on my belt. It also helps educate security checkposts, which are now quite accostomed to seeing mine and know what this is. If we hide our pumps, it seems more likely we'll get more suspicious looks when they need to be out in public.

Now, I'm not advocating the huge, gaudy devices that once existed (similar to "car phones" before cell phones came to be so common...) But, there's a line - can't we get too small? Isn't this about better controlling our health and diabetes, not necessarily looking best or conviencing the world around us first? The argument of course: why should we hide? You're the one who's embarrased by it, not me.

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