Showing the Pump/Explaining the Pump

Does anyone else feel awkward taking the pump out and bolusing with friends? I always get a lot of questions, not always the good kind either?? I love my pump, but I don't know how to explain it very well!!

My friends are all pretty well used to me and the wonderful world of MDI so the fact that I'm not playing with syringes in our favorite restaurants is a real win for them.  That said, I thought I'd share a couple of my favorite pumper lines with you in case nobody else brings them up:

"Give me a sec, I need to calibrate my bionic pancreas"

"Another page from my blood sugar - why does this always happen at dinner?!?!?"

"Excuse me gang, I have to pay homage to the Diabetes G-ds and push a few buttons."

Or - you can take my approach and give anyone who sits down with you for more than 15 minutes a primer on diabetes and "life between the lines." 

I am curious about your "not always the good kind" comment. What kinds of questions are you getting?  I think an example or two may help... 

I hope the above at least got one smile and if it helped - even better.  I would like to know what sorts of things you are addressing out in the world...

Warmest regards,



I hadn't seen your age when I responded sooner and realized I should have probably included a little more information. 

Teenagers are often mean by reflex and rude by accident.  It is a tough age to have anything different.  I would be gentle, and firm and explain as best you can.  I dump information on people because I have had so many problems with lows, the more folks who know what they're looking at, the better. 

Often, it takes time and repetition for things to improve.  I suspect many approaches softer than mine are probably better... ;)

Good luck!


You know, Stephanie, I always get questoins. In grad school, during my first class, my pump went off (it was empty) and it sounded like a flippin' fire alarm. (Well, at least, I was embarassed enough that it may as well have been one!) But I turned it off, a couple people looked at me, and one friend asked, "You carry a pager? Whoa, those are soooo outdated!"

And, even worse, I keep mine clipped to my bra--ladies-it's an easy place to keep it out of the way!--and people who don't know will just give me funny looks.  One friend, who didn't know I was diabetic, looked at where the beeping was coming from and said, "You keep your phone down there?"  And I told him it was a pump, and he turned beet red and said, "I'm going to hell."  Most of the questions I get wind up being funny, not awkward.  You'll develop your own response to people being jack-bums, and they'll start to appreciate your confidence and humor, too.

In other words, as with most things in life, surround yourself with people who have a good sense of humor, respond with good humor as A-D recommends, and then you'll have a ton of funny friends to beat up the jerks!

I got one of those emergency alarms in class as well (dead battery). I got up and ran out... as I was running out the door, I heard the professor say "What kind of ring tone is that?"

trust me when I say that using the pump in front of friends beats having to take out the syringes!  Definitely less reactions and also less noticeable to other people who are sitting nearby at another table.  Some ladies who worked at the Food Court at my old campus must have thought I was a junkie since they ALWAYS passed by when I was injecting myself, LOL.  Also, this can be your moment to explain to them about diabetes to the best of your knowledge.  NEVER be ashamed of your pump.  I love my pump and never try to hide it (except when I'm wearing a dress).

take care!


My son has humorous quips about his pump and his CGM:  His CGM buzzed and everyone in the room looked at him and he said,"I believe there is a buzz in my pocket."  everyone laughed...  Another time, he had the CGM in his shirt pocket and it started to buzz and he said, "Hey, my heart is vibrating."

He was asked one time at school why he wears a garage door opener, he laughed and said I forgot my key...another time a classmate told him that he wasn't allowed to have an Ipod at school and he told them, "It's okay, because I don't wear the headphones here."  (I'm sure the other student will lose his Ipod one day over that one).  He uses the Ipod line now quite often, when people point to his pump and ask what it is, he says things like, "Oh, this is the latest Ipod, doesn't yours look like this?"  He really doesn't feel it's really necessary to answer questions (most of his close friends already know about his pump) so he has humorous comments rather than go into detail.  I know he made a comment once something about, you hydrate by drinking water, I just do it more efficiently with technology.  He has responded to people who are rude or stare:  Hey do you have any idea how many carbs are in this meal (or ice cream, cake or whatever is in front of them)?  If you knew the count for the carbs, fat and protein in this, you'd be able to use one of these, too!

I hope that helps you with dealing with the questions, use a smile and some humor and ignore them unless they really are interested, then you can share more details.  Some of the girls might have a great handbag, cell phone or the latest fashion accessory, but you definitely have the most expensive and unique accessory of them all...keep smiling

Thanks so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Your post made my day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Stephanie, You don't really say how long you've had diabetes or how long you've been managing via your pump, but take it from this old gal who, like the other person knows what it was like with those many injections out in public.  I was doing those multiple injections during a time when it wasn't very popular and people weren't sure WHAT was being injected.  I often went to the ladies room just to take my shot and sometimes that was a horrid experience.

But to your question, my favorite response is that my pump is my "computerized pancreas".  We don't know how old you are, but I would think that most young people writing in a forum would know what the pancreas does so your peers would be able to recognize that.  Out in public, just act like it's a pager or your cell phone.  I have another theory, but at your age it is so important for your friends  to know what's going on with you.  It's smarter for you and better for them.  A "win-win" situation if something serious should happen like a low blood sugar episode.

The only time I've had really horribly awkward times with my pump is when I've had no other place to put it but inside the front of my bra...normally, when I went to lunch, I was alone and it wasn't a problem.  This one particular day, I went with a group of my friends AND my, after checking my blood sugar, I had to bolus for my food.  I go digging for my pump and it was like every man in the room all of sudden saw me reach in my blouse!!!!  Needless to say, I don't put it there anymore.  In fact, I just got my new Animas Ping which has a wonderful feature of being "paired" with the meter so you don't have to take the pump away from wherever you have it!  It would have been a blessing back then!!!

Yell if you have any other questions.  We're all here to help!


I used to feel incredibly awkward. The very first day I wore my pump to high school my best friend (whom didn't know what the insulin pump was at the time) asked me why I was wearing a pager to school. At my very first job,  a customer asked my manager (who happened to be my cousin thankfully) why I was the only one who got to wear a portable radio around the store. My boyfriends old roommate from college once told me he had thousands of songs if I wanted to put any on my ipod (he felt really bad after I explained to him that it was my pump and apologized endlessly!). At my current job I have customers all the time asking me what is that thing hanging on my side. At one of my last jobs, an associate told another associate that I wasn't allowed to have my "cell phone" on the floor.

So I've heard just about anything that can be thrown at me. It used to bother me but now I feel that this incredible technology that we get to use is worth having all those questions thrown at us. If I have the time I'll explain what my pump is and what it does for me. It's hard to explain it to some people however because they don't understand Type 1 diabetes. They assume as soon as I say diabetes that its just like Type 2 even though we all know that it is not.

All of my close friends now know what my pump is and they know how to work it and to insert new infusion sets if need be. I took shots for only 6 months before I went on the pump and trust me bolusing is so much better than popping out a syringe and sticking it in your skin.

Ive had a pump in school for six years now and some pretty funny things have been said.  When I was in sixth grade I always let my friends field these questions because I would be embarassed.  My friends came up with ludicrous explanations like pumping music directly into my body or my personal favorite, a new type of drug that makes all annoying people drop dead when they touch me-which one boy totally believed and avoided me for like an hour until I told him the truth.  Most of the time now if I am not in the mood for a big explanation I pretend it is my phone.  I actually got saved from detention when my phone actually did vibrate in my pocket in class and the teacher heard it. He told me to hand it over and I pulled my pump from my pocket first while I was reaching for my phone and he apologizes and is all I forgot you were diabetic so I just went with it.

I was on the pump for 5 years and have heard all the stories, im back on shots (i kind of broke 2 pumps darn lakes=) but i get questions all the time either when i was bolusing or taking a shot and i never got upset it just gives me a chance to let more people know about diabetes i like answering questions because the more that the people arround you know about it the better off you are if something were to happen

I remember when I was in high school and I would try to check my blood sugar and bolus "quietly".  Of course, half the class would start looking around trying to figure out where the beeping was coming from.  I started taking the pump out of my pocket and sqeezing it between my legs as I bolused trying to muffle the beeps.  :-)  I never minded doing anything public with my pump but I did hate interrupting things.  Other than that I didn't care if people saw, it gave me the chance to answer any questions they had. 

Thanks for all the good ideas!!!!!

I don't usually get questions about my pump, but I get tons of questions about my BG monitor; It's probably because i'm not shy about testing in public :P.

One of my friends once asked me "Is that your cell phone?" as I was putting my blood on the strip. I just calmly told him yes, it was my cell phone and I had the worse plan in the world, the kind that required a blood sacrifice to make calls.

I don't usually feel awkward. People ask me if it is a beeper. One time i was bolusing at a restaurant and the waitress was like OMG IS THAT AN OLD SCHOOL BEEPER. I was like YEAAAA LOL

yeah i get asked a lot of questions too. being a teenager, it's harder because some kids are really imature sometimes. but i won't let that get the best of me :) i joke around about it. there was some kid who kept on asking me what it was and it was getting really annoying and i knew he'd be even more annoying if i said i had diabetes, so i said" look, this is the latest ipod. it's from china and holds over 100,000 songs. i know it sounds crazy but it's the first of its kind. it's really awesome but too expensive so don't ask about it anymore okay? people will start wanting to see it.." and he never asked again.. except he did ask me why the headphones were clear lol i said "i told you, it's new" and he's like ohh wow thats awesome.



Smart thinking!  Most adults are cool.  If you tell them it's an insulin pump, they get it and even start asking questions.  I've found myself being like a diabetes technology cheerleader.  I get a little to excited sometimes.  When it comes to little kids, I usually tell them it's my medicine, and they get it after that.  I really like the ipod idea, though.

I don't feel awkward , I feel almost like a salesman for medtronic,I should be asking for a commission. I Love to share how this "tool" has helped to change my life and my numbers to help me feel in control again. I absolutely like how I can eat what I want,as much as I want,anytime I want and the computer does the "thinking " for me , before it used to be a lot of "guess" work on my part and calculated guesswork,based on past experiences with the same food's. I had a "pump" 25 yrs ago when they were as big as a Bible, and now it look's like a pager or as I heard Gina explain an ipod? and the Technology has come Soooo far it is truely incredible, I thought I would know a LOT about basal and Bolus' but this pump has so much more! and it also keeps my blood sugars as well,I download the numbers from my pump bi weekly to a Medtronic site and if there is a problem my Dr. can look up the info and send me an e-mail about any adjustment to make that is cool and simple. For instance I had to have surgery while my Dr. was on vacation, I had just downloaded the pump's info. and he looked at the info wherever he was ,talked to the surgeon, and said it's Larry's call on whether he will be wearing his pump into surgery, ask him about what He thinks because He is in charge of His Diabetes! I wore the pump into surgery and it eliminated 2 extra nurses, one to monitor my blood sugar levels and one to give me injections if necessary. AWESOME is all I can say.

I have been on the pump for about 7 months. I've been asked if it's an Ipod, cell phone, and even a pace counter. Haha.

I am not embarrassed at all about it, and if people ask questions then I just explain what it is. All of my friends know that I have diabetes, but some of them still don't know that I'm on a pump now. Most of them don't even say anything when I bolus. They're used to it.

I make jokes about it sometimes too.

I like to say, "This is my battery. I need it to run."