It’s not a cell phone.

Yesterday, Holly at Arnold and Me tweeted about a scene from Wednesday’s American Idol episode. In it, a pump-wearing contestant experiences a moment we’re all familiar with. The moment of glory comes around 1:53:

I thought this was well played, both by Crystal and Harry Connick, Jr. She clearly explained what she was doing and dealing with — without making a big deal out of it — and Harry Connick, Jr. (do I have to type “Jr.” every time I write his name?) acknowledged the awkwardness of the situation gracefully enough.

I started using a MiniMed pump around the time I graduated from college. I used one of those little leather covers with the Velcro flap, so it wasn’t always immediately obvious that the thing clipped to my pocket wasn’t a cell phone or, God forbid, a beeper. I started working as a hostess shortly after I graduated, and the first few weeks into my job, several fellow employees accused me of carrying my cell phone with me during work hours.

“Waiting for a call?” they’d say, and I’d pull the pump off of my pocket, open the Velcro flap, hold it up to my ear, and say something like “Oh! It’s my insulin pump calling. Looks like I have diabetes!” I’m not sure how well this type of response would have flown in a formal workplace, but in a restaurant, it worked perfectly.

Several years later, while I was at a bar with some girlfriends, a particularly obnoxious guy sauntered up to me and said, “You know, I saw on Queer Eye for the Straight Guy that it’s a major fashion faux pas to wear your cell phone as an accessory.”

Really? A) Even if this was a cell phone, that’s a ridiculously rude thing to say, B) Was that supposed to be a pick-up line?, and C) IT’S MY INSULIN PUMP, you asshat!

As jarring as comments like that are, though, I have to admit that I find a hilariously sick sort of satisfaction in pointing out to someone that he’s just inserted his foot — and his perfectly functioning pancreas — into his mouth. As annoyed as I was with Bar Guy, I’m pretty sure I got free beers out of him for at least the next few weekends.

I’d easily gone 5 years without anything more than the innocent, “Hey, what’s that thing?” question. I’m always happy to explain. Then, a few months ago, an acquaintance of mine said to me as we were walking into a restaurant, “Jacquie, that thing on your pocket always trips me out. It looks like some kind of fucked up medical device or something.”

At least he didn’t think it was a cell phone.

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7 comments on “It’s not a cell phone.

  1. Laura B. says:

    I loved HCJ’s response! So many waiters ask if my Omnipod remote is a phone that I’ve nicknamed it Uglyphone. At least it doesn’t look like a pager.

    I like your “ring ring! I have diabetes” response a lot. As a trial lawyer, I’ve found I have to stand up before every trial and explain 1) It’s not a phone 2) I’m allowed to eat in court even though you’re not, or jurors freak and think I’m being disrespectful. I try to keep it light, I don’t want people to get that FYL look on their faces.

    • Jacquie says:

      Don’t you think it’d be fun, though, just to see what happens, to bust out a giant bag of Swedish Fish in the middle of a trial? Ha!

  2. Shannon says:

    I found your blog through the links on the Bitter-Sweet site. I loved your “it’s my insulin pump calling” moment. I shared it with my 10-year-old daughter (diagnosed 8 months ago) and she LOVED it. Now she’s just dying for someone to mistake her pump for a cell phone. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  3. saucyredhead says:

    I was cocktail serving for a while and people actually thought my OmniPod was a way for the bar to tell me my drinks were ready to be picked up. Really?! Others thought it was a nicotine patch (because I OBVIOUSLY smoke 18 packs a day to need a nicotine patch this big) or birth control (because I’m a dirty girl who just.wants.to.make.sure.) Ugh, I despise ignorance. I started telling people it was my methadone drip. That got em to shut up…

  4. […] the good folks at MiniMed are fully capable of building these cell phone-sized machines that keep us alive through the precise and periodic delivery of minute amounts of insulin. […]

  5. […] Celebrity Apprentice win, or almost-American Idol Crystal Bowersox visibly fiddling with her insulin pump during rehearsals. Then there’s one of my personal favorites, Sam Talbot from Season 2 of Top […]

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