Where to put a pump

By | 31 January, 2011

Now you see it

The human body is a marvellous thing, but it is sadly lacking in storage space. All the organs have their own spot, but there’s no room for expansion. When you decide to wear your pancreas on the outside rather than the inside, it does make for an interesting storage challenge. Where the hell do you put it?

I mostly wear my pump clipped to my waistband.  It’s convenient and I can get at it easily. People rarely notice it and when they do they think I’m a relic from an age before mobile phones and have a pager clipped to me. I’m not quite sure what they think the tube is for; perhaps it’s a petrol powered pager?

The waistband clip thing works well for me but the ongoing costs are rather high. There isn’t a doorway in our house that doesn’t have a paint chip in it at waist height. The pump is less than an inch deep and it’s not like I only have an inch clearance either side to pass through a door. Nevertheless, the pump and the doorframe are great friends and I’m sure we have to redecorate more than the average person because of it.

Trouser pockets are also a good place for hiding a pump. That’s fine with jeans but I find with tailored trousers it just looks plain weird. I’d rather have a visible pump on my waistband than a bizarre rectangular bulge in my trousers.

Now you don't

Some people manage to run their tubing down their leg and then clip the pump to their sock. I’ve tried this once. I hated not being able to get at the pump easily and the tubing really tickled.

All these ideas are of course marvellous, until you decide you’d like to wear a dress. Then it gets a bit more complex. You can get a garter type thing that goes round your thigh and you attach the pump to it a la Lara Croft. This is marvellous for pretending you’re a superhero, but beyond that I seemed to spend a lot of time fretting that it was going to fall down or exposing myself to the world as I pulled my skirt up to try and get to the pump.

I find bras to be marvellous pump storage devices. I clip mine in the middle at the front. I can’t feel it there and although I can see it clearly from my viewpoint, careful posing in front of the mirror shows it to be invisible to all except the most dedicated perv. I have my pump and CGM alarms set to vibrate which does mean that I occasionally find my boobs start vibrating mid conversation. This is initially quite unnerving but curiously I’m now used to it. I look on it as one of the more entertaining diabetes complications.

The other danger with bra based storage is that you inevitably have to delve into your cleavage at the dinner table to retrieve the pump. Remarkably, most people don’t notice and if they do it normally starts off a good conversation. It’s certainly less embarrassing than when I tried the thigh holster thingy and seemed to spend the whole day flashing my knickers.

Who’d have thought you could get 3 paragraphs out of insulin pumps and bras? Anyway, last point on bras is that some people manage to put their pump in the side of their bra. I’m impressed they manage it but to me it always feels like I’m wearing an insulin pump in my armpit which I’m never going to enjoy no matter how hard I try.

So that’s where I’ve had my pump over the last 4 years. If I’m getting changed I sometimes clip it in my hair briefly rather than take it off or keep moving it around, but that’s never going to work for me longterm. Where do you keep yours?

25 thoughts on “Where to put a pump

  1. Cecile

    @alison: Pity you only made it as far as Cape Point – if you’d ventured to the true southernmost tip of Africa (at L’Agulhas), I could’ve treated you with tea at the Alexandrian lighthouse (and hopefully witness a bosom-buzz’em, after climbing all those ladders :D)

  2. Alison Post author

    @Tim Your wife makes beautiful handbags? I’d never have known 😉

    @ckoei Sorry, time was tight so we had to make do with Cape Point. It just means we’ll have to go back some day to see L’Agulhas!

  3. Mike

    I think if were pumping, it would end up by default in my jeans pckets, I think @tim will vouch for that as everything is currently located there at the moment.

    I can only empathise with the challenges you ladies have.. Perhaps some tubygrip?

  4. Stephen

    Guys have been dealing with the old “bulge in the trousers” for centuries 😉 My pump doesn’t look terribly out of place in my pocket – though I must admit me in a pair of “tailored” trousers would be a scary site indeed – big and baggy, that’s the key!

    It would be interesting for someone to develop something akin to a gun holster though, that could be quite handy, though exposing man boobs normally gets you more unwanted attention than ladies diving into their cleavage …

  5. Tim

    I hate carrying my pump in my jean’s pocket – I generally hate carrying anything in there really. So pump case on my belt works for me and, as I generally wear untucked shirts / jumpers at home and work, it remains hidden but easily accessible.

  6. lizz

    Mine hangs below my boobs on a cotton case with a hook which hooks over the middle of my bra. It hangs low enough to be easily accessed from below if wearing a T shirt, or shirt, or jumper, and doesn’t really notice at all unless what I am wearing is extremely skin tight… which it never is. If I wear a dress it has to be accessed from above. But like you, no-one seems to notice, or if they do they are too polite to mention I am pulling things up from the depths of my frontage. I’ve never liked the idea of bands around my thigh. Hate it on my waist band, it always seems to ‘get’ me as I bend, wherever I put it. I must be very bendy is all I can say about that. Never thought of my sock! I think I’d worry about kicking it.

  7. Dominic Potts

    Hate things in my trouser pockets, so tend to use the belt clip with my pump. And like most here my pump and door frames are close friends. The tubing can be a pain and have caught it on door handles, etc, with painful consequences.

    I do like the idea of the gun holster style holder!!! Would be ideal in fact!

  8. Alison Post author

    @dompotts Oh yes, there’s nothing more entertaining than heading out of the kitchen in a rush and being pinged back at speed by a tubing/kitchen cupboard handle combo. I must try and get a video of it happening, I’d make a fortune on the You’ve Been Framed diabetes special!

    On the holster issue, a quick google reveals more ways of securing a pump to your body than you ever dreamt possible. Most seem to involve a band of elastic around various parts of the body. I suspect gaffer tape would also work 😉

  9. Charlie

    Well I’ve found an unusual answer to this one – wait for it – a boob tube!! ah, you think, no way, but being the odd person I am, not wearing it where you would expect it, I have it folded in half round my waist..?!!??

    Ok, this is more usefull then you think, it’s basically a soft extra waistband, which doesn’t need clips or holders, and it’s comfy.. just a band of slightly stretchy soft cotton lycra. I couldn’t wear my pump tucked in my bra, (front or under the armpit) as I had a reaction to it and came out in a pump shaped red raised whelt – not nice!!. so now it just lives in a fold of fabric, and you can put it in a phone/ipod sock for extra comfort too.

    So there you have it (in case you hadn’t realised before) I’m mad as a box of frogs, but hey, it works for me so thought I’d share it with you lovely folk too… (then men in white coats are on their way..!)

  10. Stephen

    @alison – I’m finding a similar sort of behaviour with the CGM on my arm. It’s only 8mm or so high yet I’ve caught it a dozen times already!

  11. lizz

    If you get too hot in the summer doing that @Charlie, sounds like my soft cotton cover might work for you – they are about £14 each, just cotton in white or black, the bottom end is open and has two poppers, you put the pump in with the tubing downwards, popper up, the tube hangs down between or to one side of the poppers, the top of the cotton has a plastic hook on one side, you hook it over the front middle of your bra. There is a slight gap between you and the pump/cover in the summer with something cool on and it doesn’t make you hot like something clingy round your waist would. Accu-Check make them, but any pump would fit in, they do two sizes, small and large and the small is easily big enough for any modern pump.

  12. Hairy Gnome

    As a non-pumper, I can’t say I’m much interested in the pros and cons of pump storage, but I find the idea of vibrating boobs faintly titillating… (puts on Benny Hill glasses and leers dramatically.) 😛

  13. Caroline

    I was so scared as I was reading down the comments that by the time I got to the bottom someone would have posted my idea (having had it too). Surprised and delighted to find that I get to be the one who suggests the following:

    Skin grafts.

    Wee pockets of stretchy skin, grafted on just where we need them – more than one, to suit every bit of clothing we have. One on the thigh, one in the small of the back, one just underneath boob area. My skin is increasingly stretchy as I get very old, so would be perfect material.

    Does Katie StripyCat only ever work with cotton etc? Must remember to chat about that on Saturday…

  14. Alison Post author

    @Caroline That’s vile! The thought of it is enough to put me off having a pump! I was looking forward to seeing you on Saturday but with ideas like that I’m not so sure now 😉

  15. lizz

    Oooh, I quite like that idea! They could grow a pocket of your own skin over something, sew it in and then just slit the top and sew it over! Brilliant! Not so good if you are allergic to your machine though…

  16. Cecile

    “Female diabetics who eat loads of Mars Bars every day, will become Marsupial” says Prof. Egbert B. Gebstadter. Unfortunately, males that do the same , will only find that their feet rot off…but if you can use an elephant’s foot as umbrella stand, you can maybe hollow out the removed limb and graft it onto a suitable spot?

  17. Rohan

    I love the IDEA of skin pockets, but I think they would look disgusting, sadly :/

  18. Mike

    So what would happen when the skin starts to start.. Pump will be banging all over the place, or do you have a touch of botox????

  19. Caroline

    A couple of well placed pleats will sort out the stretchy skin getting stretchier. I know a lot about needlework – I am a diabetic you know…

    This is a delightul thread (truly no pun intended!) – am having a great time reading the developments. Surprised at how many squeamish diabetics there are about.

  20. Hairy Gnome

    I could see these skin pockets being a little troublesome in the shower, the bath, or swimming. If you weren’t careful they’d fill up with water and drag you down… mind you, you could seal them up with duct tape… You’d have to dry them out carefully too, or you might get athlete’s pump… 😀

  21. lizz

    Ah, some marsupials in Australia (I think wombats for example) have backward facing pouches so earth doesn’t get in when they are digging. We’ll just have them side on, or downwards facing, and have laces to do them up with.

  22. Lesley

    I sometimes use a long silk scarf tied around my waist – the pump sits in the doubled-over scarf, the knot that holds the scarf on also holds it in place at one end, the another knot the other side of the pump holds it secure. And I love the feeling of silk on my skin….

    Also, the little nylon bags that you get with keep-one-in-your-handbag reusable nylon shoppers are perfectly pump sized. Cut off the plastic clip and you can safety pin it anywhere inside your clothing quite discretely. Why are so many pump holders made of bulky leather?

    If you’re going down the skin-pouch route, be aware how much mysterious blue fluff collects in men’s bellybuttons and scale that up to a pump sized area – yuck!


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