Traveling With an Insulin Pump

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As a person with diabetes, I’ve gotten used to the extra hassle I have to put up with when I travel. Taking all the extra stuff, making sure not to forget anything, announcing my pump when I go through security and refusing to go through the full body scanner (something I learned the hard way last summer), and being patted down.

But today I realized that the time has come to have a separate security line for people with diabetes or people with medical devices. I came to this realization while going through security at the Philadelphia airport on my way to Boston.

After standing in line for a few minutes we came to the area where you take off your shoes, take out your laptop and send everything through the x-ray machine.

“I’m not doing the scanner,” I told Jessica preparing myself for confrontation. But there was no scanner, only a metal dectector. Relieved, I took off my shoes, so did Jess, and unpacked our laptops from my roller bag.

“Go ahead. I’ll be there in a minute,” I said.

 I flashed my pump at the security guard and said “I have an insulin pump”.

“PUMP!” the security man called, as if it were a code for some well-known drill  I was led into a glass room. Jessica looked at me while she collected our things. We waved at each other with half smiles and the knowing, “here we go again” look.

I waited a few minutes and a nice security man arrived, a large somewhat overweight man in his fifties.

“I just need you to handle your pump and I’ll take some swabs,” he said.

“No problem,” I said as I fondled my pump with both my hands.

“I’m on shots,” the security man told me.“

I was, too” I said “but I was injecting too often so I went on the pump.”

“I inject 5 times a day,” he told me.

Then, while we waited for the results of my test he told me he had a guy today who has had diabetes since childhood and uses a pump and a machine that tells him his BG all the time.

“A CGM,” I said “My insurance won’t cover it”.

The testing machine signaled.

“You can go,” he said.

I put my shoes on and walked out to Jessica.

“I think it’s time they just had a separate line for us,” I said. “Maybe for all people using medical devices.”  I mean, they just shout pump and someone shows up for the pat down and all, why make us go through the other stuff first? 

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James Ron

How great that you met a guard who really knows what diabetes is! We’ve traveled a lot, and have yet to meet a security guard like that. 

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