Today we discussed Donna Haraway’s Cyborg Manifesto. During the discussion, we started talking about how we are cyborgs because of the devices which become a part of ourselves, or the medication which we use. Our discussion focussed mainly on cell phones, ipods and Facebook. Well, I’ve got one device that I think fits the bill even better than a cell phone: my insulin pump.
I’ve had Type 1 Diabetes for almost 20 years. With Type 1, your pancreas completely stops making insulin, which is why you have to go onto insulin injections; Type 1 is not lifestyle related, so you cannot control it with diet or pills. Several years ago, I decided to go onto an insulin pump, which has made my life a lot better; for all intents and purposes, I can now eat whatever I want whenever I want. Whenever I eat something, I push a few buttons and the pump gives me insulin. My pump functions like the pancreas of someone without diabetes except for two things: I have to tell it how much insulin I need when I eat, and it is on the outside of my body.
A few years ago, my pump died on me and I had to go back onto injections for the few days while the new one was on its way; those were the most miserable days of my life! I couldn’t believe I used to deal with injections on a regular basis – it was so much more regimented! That incident showed me just how much my insulin pump has become a part of me. My insulin pump is like a slightly annoying body part – it’s with me all the time, and when it’s not getting caught on door knobs, I rarely think about it. And while it isn’t implanted in me, I think it definitely qualifies me for cyborg status.