Well, I don't. I don't swim or bathe while wearing the pump. The pump is like any other non-waterproof electronic that runs off of a battery - it mechanically fails when it gets wet. Given that I am fully dependent on it functioning... water and the pump just don't mix.
To work around this, the designers of insulin pumps understand that diabetics need to bathe and that some of the weird ones (obviously does not include me) even like this strange concept of swimming, so they created a quick release at the infusion site to disconnect the pump and tubing from the cannula. This leaves the port in the skin until an infusion change is medically required (every two to three days), but allows the diabetic to remove the pump as necessary.
|My current infusion site with the "male plug" inserted in|
it; the red spots above the site are from previous cannulas -
the sites take a quite while to heal.
I can't speak to the exact set up of all insulin pumps, but what Medtronic does is provide a male and female "plug" for the pump tubing. The female part of the plug attaches to the tubing and covers the needle while it is disconnected from the infusion site. The male plug is inserted into the infusion site to cover the exposed end of the cannula - this prevents water, soap, whatever really from getting into the cannula and therefore your system.
|The disconnected tubbing and the "female cover"|
One additional interesting thing to point out about the use of artificial insulin and water is that a diabetic should not take a shower or bath in hot water until all of the active insulin in their system is depleted. The reason for this is that hot water, like exercise, increases the efficiency of insulin and can cause hypoglycemia. Since this should be avoided whenever possible, I guess that old rule of "no swimming after eating" actually has a bit of credibility.
Fair enough? Make sense? ... Marco?
Thank you so so much for the question!! And, please, if any reader has a question go ahead and shoot it my way in an email or just post a response/comment. I'm more than happy to tailor future posts to people's interests or curiosities!