When it comes to TSA and my insulin pump I feel like a broken record.
A broken record who has become very good at not taking no for an answer.
With that being said - it's ridiculously exhausting, not to mention frustrating.
I stood in line at Philadelphia International last Thursday, waiting to go through security.
I was on my way to the Novo Nordisk’s Summit in Phoenix and I wanted to the TSA airport portion of my journey to be over.
Sidebar: I’m writing a post re: my experience at the Novo Nordisk Summit, so stay tuned.
I looked at the young (and by young I mean I wasn’t sure if he was actually old enough to buy beer legally,) TSA Agent, standing in front of the body scanner “don’t cross THIS YELLOW LINE,”, area. I smiled at him and said:
Me: Hi! I’m going to need a visual inspection for my insulin pump, please.
TSA Guy: No you don’t.
Me: Yes I do.
TSA Guy: No, you don’t.
Me: Yes, I do.
TSA Guy: The body scanner isn’t an X-ray, it’s not going to hurt it.
Me: X-ray or not, I need a visual inspection for my insulin pump.
I can go through the body scanner no problem, but my insulin pump can’t - and it can't go through the Xray. It needs to be visually inspected.
I need to speak with your boss, please.
TSA GUY shouted across to the other side of the body scanner to no one in particular and said: HEY, she needs a full pat body pat down because she’s wearing an insulin pump.
Me: Noooo, I don’t need or require full body pat down - I can unplug my insulin pump, no problem. I need a visual inspection for my insulin pump, not a full body pat down because I’m wearing an insulin pump. BIG DIFFERENCE.
TSA Guy: She needs a full body pat down because she doesn’t want to take her insulin pump through the scanner.
Me: I don’t need or want a full body pat down - I can go through the body scanner, but my insulin pump can’t. I need a visual inspection for my insulin pump.
And for the record, it was just as tired and annoying continually saying it, as is to continue writing/reading said same phrase.
And inside my head, my inner monologue was all: I TOLD YOU, I TOLD YOU, I TOLD YOU!
And then she turned to me and said: But I do need to test and swab your insulin pump and your hands. Are you OK with that?
The whole experience took less than two minutes from escort to mass spec and then I was good to go.
And then I thanked her and went on my way.
It wasn't rocket surgery and I wasn’t arguing about having my pump or my hands swiped.
It’s not easier for me. Being felt up by someone I don’t know isn’t my idea of a good time - and I know for a fact that there are other options available.
And putting a very expensive, precarious, precious electronic pancreas through an X-ray or body scanner will be never be an option for me - so please stop trying to make it one.
It was also the very same airport where my insulin pump once tested positive for explosives and I was carted off to the little gray room for a more ‘intimate’ search.
But no matter what airport I'm at, it's always an issue - and it shouldn't be.
It shouldn’t have to be a “he said, she , said,” when it comes to visual inspections of insulin pumps, cgms, or any other durable medical equipment for that matter.
But it always does.