I recently interviewed Jessica Floeh, designer and founder of Hanky Pancreas about her cute and fashionable “wearable diabetes technologies.” Interested in the social and psychological issues of living with chronic illness, she describes her product line as:
“a series of fashionable products for wearable diabetes technologies. Current products consist of scarves, neck pieces, and decorative elements that envelop these devices. The goal is to ignite positive conversations and holistically improve health for those living with diabetes.”
Jessica and I had a great conversation about what it means for women to wear a piece of ‘durable medical equipment’ on our bodies every single day. She and I both wear the omnipod and she is working to create a design that will be omnipod appropriate. (Can’t wait!) Her current designs work on wired insulin pumps such as Medtronic. Jessica said she often feels conflicted when clients tell her they love her products because they are “a great way to hide the pump.” That’s not what she’s after. Jessica says she wants to address the current shame that comes with wearing a pump, and the desire to hide, rather than display, this life saving device.
This got me to thinking about my own love/hate with the omnipod. I love what it does for me, but I hate that I have to wear it.
It’s ugly. It’s plastic. It hurts sometimes. It sticks out under my clothes. It’s always there.
So I do my best to hide it. (Sorry Jessica!) and sometimes, I go without the omnipod in the summer when I’m wearing sleeveless dresses, tank tops and bathingsuits. I’m vain, pure and simple. But maybe not….maybe, instead of hiding and feeling embarrassed of my omnipod, I could make it look cool. I could make it pretty?
So I asked my son to tattoo my pod and here’s the result. I have to say I think it looks pretty cool. I even felt like showing it off this morning on my run, while I wore a sleeveless shirt because of this freaky warm weather, and it made me feel cool. Thanks Jessica for the idea, and thanks Will for the great art!