When I first got on the pump, it was a revelation. A life changer. The quality of my day to day life improved dramatically. And I've been on the pump ever since. What's interesting is that inevitably, time passes and the dramatic improvements, the contrast between the pump and shots, fades. It becomes normal to live on the pump, to have more consistent blood sugars, to make it through the night without highs or lows interrupting me more times than not. What was becomes less stark and clear, as what is takes over as the norm. Which means that the miracle of the pump as compared to my life on 6 shots a day, also becomes less stark and clear over time. The particular annoyances of life on the pump begin to emerge. At first they are realizations, like "oh wow, this tubing is kind of a drag" or "hm, I seem to always bump against the hard surface of the pump when I get into the car". At first, these annoyances are small in comparison to the joys of more flexibility throughout the day. At first, they are an easy trade off, because I still remembered clearly what I was trading off.
Fast forward, 6 1/2 years later and I admit that now I live the reality of the pump and try to remember the difficulties of the alternative. It's all about perspective and I know in my heart, that the pump is better for me than shots. I'll never go back. But man, the pump is not perfect. It presents it's own tyranny into my life. And as a designer, I can't help but to expect more as I've said so many times before. Why can't they fix the problem of bubbles that so many people have commented on? Why does the tubing have to just hang there, ripe for snagging when dealing with clothes? And my personal gripe, why does the thing have to look like a product prototype circa 1989? Where's the finessing, the detailing, dare I say it, the beauty? All good and important design questions that should be addressed. I get the product design and development issues that david so knowledgably outlined in a comment recently on amyT's post about the need for better pump design (p.s. thanks for the kind nod Amy!). They run out of money for "user interface" and so we get to live with a less than finessed object inserted into our body and strapped to our waistbands (or bra straps or legs or panties or whatever), day in and day out. Is this the best that can be done here? Safety and functionality (engineering) continue to be seen as an either/or proposition to user interface (design), rather than 2 parts to the same design brief. Working doesn't just mean "not killing you". Working means working in a real person's life. Yes, there is heirarchy of criteria and yes, "not killing you" is tops on the list. No debate there. But if the design of the pump, which clearly offers a positive alternative to shots, is a deterrent to some people in choosing to try it at all (as I know is the case for many), isn't that a failure of "working" at it's most basic level. Yeah, you can say that people need to get beyond the design issues to recieve the benefits that the pump has to offer, and though that may be true, the fact is that people, who have reasons and fears and issues about the pump, are the ones who matter here. If design is a stumbling block to some people, it needs to be addressed. Not because it's nice but because it's a medical and business issue. If someone hates your product design so much so that they don't buy it, even it will make their life better, you have a big problem on your hands.
But ok, the things designed, it's out there, so my thought is, let's move on to insulin pump 2.0 please. Which can mean new technologies we've never heard of or new approaches like the omnipod. But please. I'm pleading with you! Don't stop there. Please think about how we can wear this thing comfortably, with a dress or pair of jeans or a swimsuit. Please think about whether the clip system snaps off when you sit down in a chair. Please consider how for us, this medical device is a life device and as such, should feel and look good, not other. At it's best, the pump 2.0 should seamlessly integrate into our lives which are full of challenges small and large. Clothes, movement, baths, embarrasment, skinny arms, you know, just stuff. Everyday, regular life stuff. Though the pump is so much better than the alternative in my opinion, it's also my opinion, that it still has a long way to go.