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Traveling with Diabetes.

Over on the Tandem website, there’s a new bit about traveling with diabetes (that I helped craft up), and that went live this morning.  You can read more here:

But it made me think about my travel experiences this past weekend (I was in Seattle for the ConnecT1D retreat – more on that in a few days, as I’m waiting for some input from the group out there), where diabetes was not at the top of my concern list, and yet I still spent some quality time with the TSA agents.

Most of the time, the issues at TSA screening points are minimal.  There are moments when discussions get a little combative or feel intrusive, but I’m not the most comfortable flyer, so it’s kind of par for the whole travel course.  (As in, everything makes me twitch.)  This past weekend, I was pulled at the Seattle airport for extra screening because my bag tested positive for explosives.

This resulted in having everything screened with an extra level of scrutiny, including but not limited to the TSA agent unfolding all of my dirty laundry (actual dirty laundry, not metaphorical) and inspecting it.  Made me feel weird that I folded all of my dirty clothes before packing them and also grateful that I didn’t accidentally bring something dodgy on my trip (waves giant exploding sex toy).  My bag kept flagging as an issue, to the point where they spent 20 extra minutes examining everything in it, from my laptop to my phone to the hair brush at the bottom of my backpack.  They even took a good look at my baby, who was kicking wildly at the inconvenience and making his presence visibly known.

“It might be your curling iron,” the TSA lady said, putting it in a bin and sending it through the x-ray screening for the second time.

“Maybe,” I said, wishing they’d give me my shoes back so I wasn’t toes’ing all over the highly trafficked airport floor.

“Your baby seems amused, though,” she said, watching my stomach undulate underneath my shirt.

“Yeah, he would prefer I visit the bathroom soon,” I said, while my son bounced around on my bladder.  “But he’s definitely amused.”

40 minutes later, the agents concluded that I was not a threat and that my items all cleared.  The agents barely looked at my pump and my CGM was a blip on their radar.  I was sent on my merry way, realizing after a few waddling steps that diabetes played a role of ZERO in my TSA hold-up.  Which was a weirdly nice change of pace from the “Excuse me, miss – is that a pancreas in your pocket?”

6 Comments Post a comment
  1. Adrianna #

    Laughing out loud, and had to read parts of it to my husband. I’ve had interesting experiences too, but nothing compares to this.
    One time I had to open a bottle of orange juice (it had never been opened) so that the official could pass some kind of reagent strip over the top.
    My thought? Do I – a 70-year-old grandma – look smart enough to open a sealed bottle, inject explosives, then reseal the bottle exactly as new?

    06/28/16; 8:19 pm
  2. Well,,,, your picture does look sort of suspicious, I mean well i ma just saying 🙂

    I referred your blog to the TUDiabetes.org blog page for the week of June 27, 2016.

    06/28/16; 9:23 pm
  3. Rachna Mulchandani #

    I once had the ‘hand test’ show up positive….

    I almost missed a flight due to a 30 minute thorough search and test of everything down to my socks and unpacking of my entire bag too.

    What’ worse is every airport is completely different yet they claim to have TSA standards. Some scanners will flag my insulin pump while others won’t. Some airports let me get through with a juice box and others will toss it.

    06/29/16; 11:16 am
    • Exactly. And what happens during the physical pat down always varies for me. Sometimes they make me take my pump out so they can swab it, other times they just swab my hands. Sometimes they put their hands up to the top part of my thigh, other times they jam their hands against my groin. The variations are shitty and hard to plan for, emotionally.

      06/29/16; 3:27 pm
  4. Anthony Pacholek #

    I have never made it through TSA security without atleast an extra pat down, many times my bag gone through. I guess I exude explosiveness in many of my adventures and items!

    06/29/16; 7:48 pm
  5. Thats a new one! I’ve not heard of a curling iron causing an explosives test to set off before. It made me laugh though.

    I get the bomb and drug swab every time. I think they have a special nod for if they see syringes, etc in your bag because I’ve not yet escaped the swab.

    Hope your next travel goes a little smoother.

    07/3/16; 8:09 am

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