She was strutting her stuff while wearing her insulin pump, visibly.
I was not entirely surprised when this garnered attention, and I myself applauded her choice to do this. I got to thinking further about her decision to essentially share a very personal part of her life with the world.
Our health IS personal even though some people choose to divulge every detail to anyone they meet. I think for most, the details of their health are shared with specific people in specific circumstances, for a variety of reasons. One big reason is often that certain perceptions follow some disease states, and that can be difficult to overcome. For instance many people still do not share their history of mental illness willingly because of longstanding biases and preconceived notions about mental illness among the general public.
What Miss Idaho did however is another step forward and possibly indicative of our current state of technology as well, where medications/cures/treatments can be visible without us saying a word, and it is our decision whether or not we allow it to be more visible or not.This is obviously a choice each individual makes on his/her own. An insulin pump of course tells the world that you have diabetes. In this case of Miss Idaho it possibly is more admirable because of the circumstances where it was being worn, where this woman was being judged in part for her physical beauty/health, something not often associated in our societal thinking with a disease state of any kind. But is it not a new type of issue at all.
One of my medical school classmates who occasionally wore some low cut tops would be found discussing her quite visible anterior chest scar, a result of her having open heart surgery as a small child. A young woman in my family was considered at one point for having a pacemaker placed, something that would quite obvious on her thin frame, and it did cause her concern at the time("Am I really going to have this box sticking off my chest?"). Individuals with prosthetic limbs, people needing oxygen tanks, those with very visible scarring; they all bear highly visible external evidence of something that impacted their health at some point.
In some cases it is nearly impossible to hide if you wanted to do so, but when it IS possible, the choice is deeply personal whether or not that option is chosen. Devices are being made smaller and smaller, in part with the hope of not making anything easily visible, to ensure privacy of the wearer.It is also for convenience of course--insulin pumps used to be MUCH bigger than they are now for instance.Medical procedures have for some time been heading towards those that cause as little scarring as possible. The idea of standing out because of a health issue is not a small thing by any means. I had a patient refuse thyroid surgery because she had keloid type scarring and the idea of having a highly visible thick scar on her anterior neck was enough to deter her from having a thyroid mass removed. Patients of mine have refused consideration of an insulin pump because they did not want anyone to notice it.
I am not saying either decision path is "right" or "wrong". But given our inherent need to fit in as humans, I do find it admirable when someone does wear their heart on their sleeve in regard to his/her health. In this world of ours, we can sometimes be very judgmental of each other, especially when lacking in knowledge. Sharing our personal information always carries some degree of that risk to be seen as "other" in some way, and that is why Miss Idaho's decision was so admirable.