This week’s post comes a little earlier in the week than usual because we are headed to the beach tomorrow morning, and I always like to unplug at the beach! I am lucky to live close enough to the ocean to warrant a couple beach trips each summer, and boy am I ready to go!
The trip brought up an issue that I have yet to find the perfect solution for…keeping my pump dry when I’m swimming.
Every time I go to the beach I attach my pump to my bathing suit and wear it until I get in the water. No, it’s not cute and I don’t love it, but it’s a necessity. I have a cover up that masks the fact that I am wearing it, so it’s a little less obvious. I’m not much of an ocean swimmer, so even when I do go in it’s not for very long. Detaching my pump is usually okay, although I definitely prefer to leave it on continuously. Time without my pump attached always means blood sugar problems! The beach is just one example of a time when I really need a good, waterproof solution for my insulin pump…
Several years ago I did a sprint length triathlon. Not having ever done one before (and not knowing any type 1 diabetics who had experience with them), I figured I’d just leave my pump with my husband during the swim portion of the race, get it from him on my way out of the pool into the transition area, reconnect it and be on my way. Terrible idea. I was in line waiting to start my swim for a lot longer than I expected…which means I was without my insulin pump for a long time. When I reconnected my pump and tested my blood sugar, it was through the roof! I gave myself a correction bolus, but it takes some time to work so my bike ride felt like I was riding through molasses. It was a terrible race for me but a really great learning experience.
My husband and I went kayaking in the Outer Banks of North Carolina several years ago and I ran into the same dilemma…what on Earth am I going to do with my insulin pump while we’re kayaking? I mean, I certainly hope we don’t roll over in the boat, but if we do I need to be prepared and my pump needs to be protected. Again I searched for a solution.
I haven’t found the perfect solution yet, but I have found some that work really well. So, if you’re looking into ways to keep your insulin pump dry while you’re in the water, here are some ideas to explore. It’s worth noting that I am in no way guaranteeing that these work 100%. It’s always a good idea to do your homework and test these out before you dunk your pump in water!
1. I have a SeaLine Seal Pack. I bought this for my kayaking trip. For that reason, the orange color appealed to me, as did the fact that I could wear it so in the event that my kayak rolled, it would stay with me. It works well (although my boat didn’t roll, thankfully). My complaint is that I can’t use my pump when it’s in there because there’s no window. It has served it’s purpose on several trips however.
2. Aquapac makes some great waterproof products. Specifically they have one called the Insulin Pump Case. This one does have a window, so you can use your pump while it’s in there. It looks like it’s a little lower profile than the SeaLine one. It comes with an adjustable belt so you can wear it, which is a feature that I like. It’s officially certified at IPX7 which equals up to 5 seconds to a depth of 3 feet. Aquapac has received a lot of feedback from users who have used the case to swim with their pump and have had no problems at all. I definitely plan to purchase one and look forward to giving it a try!
3. A friend of mine (and fellow type 1 diabetic) uses the Pelican i1010 case. It’s a waterproof case that is designed for mp3 players, but he rigged it somehow to work for his insulin pump. I have no idea how, but it works for him. The nice thing about Pelican cases is that they are hard cases, so they are crushproof and dustproof in addition to being waterproof. If and when I have a use for a hard case for my insulin pump, I will definitely give this one a try. I have Pelican cases for other electronic devices and they are amazing!
As you can see, there are pros and cons to each of the solutions I’ve come across over the years. Compounding this is my worry that some of these pinch insulin pump tubing a bit, which results in blood sugar problems. So, I’d recommend keeping an eye on your blood sugar while you’re using them! There’s no perfect solution that I’ve found yet…but I’m still looking! In the meantime, these are some pretty good options.