So flying the friendly skies is about as "diabetes friendly" as a never ending bowl of pasta sprinkled with rice and topped off with potatoes and washed down with 2 gallons of lager.
Last Wednesday (the day of my trip to Florida) I woke up at 4 am showered, grabbed my carry on luggage, and yes, miracle of miracles, I managed to do the carry-on bag for a 4 day trip, including clothing options and mucho diabetes supplies.
My friend and I were driven to the airport in the snow by her boyfriend and arrived at said airport at 5:15 with boarding passes in hand and Jimmy Buffet songs in our heads.
We stood in the security line and at the checkpoint showed our boarding passes and licenses, no problem-easy peasy!
We took off our shoes, loaded our carry-ons, jackets, and knapsacks on the x-ray conveyor belt and walked through the walk through security. My friend Cathy went through no problem.
I walked through and the alarms went off. Stupid me forgot NOT to wear a belt that morning and the buckle sent the alarm a buzzing. I showed the male security guard my belt – which happened to have my insulin pump clipped to it.
Once he saw that, he told me to stand behind the glass patrician until a female security guard could come over and pat me down.
In my head I thought: FOR AN INSULIN PUMP - YOU'VE GOT TO BE SHITTING ME?!
In all my years of traveling while wearing my insulin pump, every single security guard had recognized it and waved me through. It's NEVER caused a problem in the past. But new travel restrictions have come into play since Christmas and insulin pump friendly they are not!
So there I stood- sleep and caffeine deprived, worried about my iphone and wallet (which were in my knapsack, which at that point was causing a huge pile up on the x-ray conveyor belt. I stood there for a good 5 minutes feeling like a criminal, until a female security chick (FSC) finally came over.
She put the zapper wand thing all over my person- back and front, up and down – and people were starting to watch.
FSC: Touch your insulin pump
Me: No problem – and I touched it.
FSC: NO- not that part of the pump – the part with the insulin in it.
Me: You mean the insulin reservoir?
FSC: Hands in front of you.
FSC: Hands in front of you – I need to swab them.
And in my head I was thinking: SWAB THIS BIOTCH
At this point I was thoroughly annoyed on oh so many levels.
Still, I did what she said and watched she swabbed my hands.
FSC: Follow me.
And I followed.
We walked over to the x-ray conveyor belt and then behind it to some computer test thing.
FSC: Whose stuff is blocking the conveyor belt?
ME: That’s my stuff – I’ll move it.
FSC: DON’T TOUCH ANYTHING YET.
ME: (Inner monologue) REALLY??? Did she really need to speak to me like a criminal? Now I'm ready to go medieval. Seriously, I get that the security is on level ORANGE, but this is freaking ridiculous- it’s an insulin pump and I'm a human being! You want to swab my pump, FINE, but don't be a bitch about it!
FSC: OK- your fine, you can retrieve your stuff.
ME: Thanks, but I could have told you that.
My friend Cathy helped me grab my bag and knapsack, and I jammed my feet in my sneaks and we ran to our terminal. My plane was about to board in 10 minutes and I still needed to do 2 things:
B. Buy water –
Two MUSTS before I step foot on a plane.
I felt like a criminal- a thirsty criminal who had to pee really bad, but a criminal nonetheless. All because I had a faulty pancreas and a penchant for accessories.
CUT TO FORT MAYERS AIRPORT SUNDAY NIGHT – 2 hours before my return flight home.
I tucked my insulin pump in my back pocket (but I'd forgotten about my belt buckle- which I hadn't yet realized) and walked through security- and again- the alarms went off.
I showed the security guard my belt – and he almost let me go- until he caught a glimpse of the tubing.
Security Dude: Oh… you have an insulin pump. I need you to stand behind the glass please – and wait for a woman security guard to pat you down - just one second.
So I went behind the glass, but this time - it was a TOTALLY DIFFERENT EXPERIENCE.
Female Security Guard: I’m so sorry- this is so unfair- I don’t think we need to be pulling over folks with insulin pumps. Next time, hide it.
Me: I did hide it, but totally forgot about my belt.
Female Security Guard: Don’t wear one next time. And keep your pump in your pocket. Look, I have to do this, it’s my job – but I don’t like it and I don't think it's fair. When you get home- call your congressman/woman and complain about it- because this is just wrong.
Me: Thanks, I will. And thanks for being so nice – I really appreciate it.
She continued to talk, all the while patting me down, front and back, and swabbed my hands. It was over in two minutes- and I didn’t walk away feeling like a criminal.
I didn’t walk away feeling targeted or guilty for having a faulty pancreas or a fondness for accessories either.
I walked away thinking what a kind woman she was.
ATTITUDE really is EVERYTHING & It's ALL in the DELIVERY folks~