People Say the Darndest Things…to People with Diabetes

Posted by leighann on Tue, 03/12/2013 - 12:30 in

People living with diabetes depend on various tools and technology to survive. When outsiders who are unfamiliar with insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors catch a glimpse of these devices, hilarious and/or frustrating conversations are likely to ensue. Read about Leighann Calentine’s funny experiences below!

I am so used to seeing my own daughter’s insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor (CGM) that sometimes I forget that others might have no idea what these accouterments on her body are. Not to mention the beeping and alarms!


One afternoon she came out of school, tossed down her backpack at my feet and ran toward the playground. Mid-stride she looked down at her waist and shouted a number to me. A nearby parent asked, “Does she wear a pedometer every day?” I had to chuckle as I explained that she has diabetes and that she was telling me her blood sugar as reported by her CGM.

Funny Diabetes Stories Shared By Friends

In a recent episode of the TV show Elementary, the character Sherlock makes a comment about a suspect’s 80’s-style pager clipped to his belt. Watson, who has a medical background, informs him that it’s an insulin pump. Oftentimes these devices are a mystery – even to Sherlock Holmes!

Pumps and CGMs are quite frequently mistaken for cell phones, pagers and MP3 players. But, I have heard some pretty funny stories about the strange things that have been said to people with diabetes about their pumps and CGMs:

Two different people once told me that they were asked at the pool if their Omnipod counts laps.

A friend of mine also told me about a time when her family was at her son's baseball game and her daughter was wearing her first trial Pod on her leg. Another mom said, "Oh, is that a bug repellant to keep the mosquitos away? What a great idea!" My friend explained that, no, her daughter was trialing the OmniPod so she could get her insulin through the Pod rather than multiple daily shots. The other mom must have thought it was the bug repellant that you clip to your belt.

And I just had to laugh at this mom moment that my other friend had with her daughter. Their family was on a flight to Orlando and her daughter’s Pod was going to expire that day. They planned on waiting out the extra eight hours to get back to evening Pod changes. As they sat on the plane she heard that familiar beeping, but her daughter did nothing. After it beeped for the fourth time she said, “Will you PLEASE acknowledge that thing and shut it up!” Her daughter gave her a look and pointed to the man across the aisle. He said, “Okay!” and pulled out his PDM (Personal Diabetes Manager) to acknowledge that his Pod was about to expire. Turns out by pure coincidence that the plane was full of families heading to Florida for the annual Children With Diabetes Friends For Life conference.

What are your funny CGM and insulin pump moments?