Ok, so traveling has certainly presented moments of frustration, educating the masses and LAUGHTER. I may be traveling to Africa in a month, so I’ve already started making my lists. I only be gone for a week, but because intercontinental communications are so rough, an 8hour time difference, and not having medical sources available to me, I feel like I need to pack my entire diabetes closet when I go.
But, I will only take:
- 3 bottles of insulin-for a week, I don’t even need one whole bottle. But, what if one gets lost, broken or we get stuck somewhere, unable to make a quick connection? Just to be safe, I’ll take 3 bottles.
- a bottle of long-acting insulin, in case of a pump failure.
- a box of insulin pump infusion sets. Again, I would only need two, but what if I’m running from a hippo and accidently pull on the tubing? What if I go to change a site and hit scar tissue and have to reinsert? And again, what we if we get stuck there, unable to get home as expected?
- a box of insulin pump cartridge sets. See above
- a package of AA lithium batteries, for my pump.
- my glucose meter
- 3 boxes (300) test strips
- 2 Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) Sensors.
- medical adhesive
- alcohol wipes
- syringes-in case of a pump failure
- glucose tablets
- glucagon kit (this is the injection someone would give me if I go low and am unconscious.
- my prescriptions-Tamoxiphen (oral chemo), Cozar (blood pressure-preventative to protect kidneys), Simvastatin (cholesteral-preventative to protect kidneys)
- I think I’ll also take a multi-vitamin, iron and fish oil, since I’m not sure how my diet will be while I’m there.
- Oh, and maybe my toothbrush and some clothes. . . .GEESH!
As you can see, traveling with diabetes isn’t as slick as without, but I’m grateful I have access to all these things, keeping me alive. The humor of traveling usually happens at the airport.
*Steps up to x-ray machine*
“Hi, I need a pat-down, I have multiple medical devices and can’t go through any of these machines.”
*TSA motions to stand over here ->.* “So, what kind of “medical devices” do you have on your person? Can you show me?”
“Sure, this is an insulin pump, this tubing is connected to me, here ->” *Points to infusion site.*
“And this is a glucose monitor, it is wireless, but is reading from this sensor, here -> *Points to sensor*
TSA agent looks crossways and says, “Dang, girl, you ARE bionic, ain’t you?” *Pat, pat, pat. . .rub, touch, poke. . .*
“Please touch your pump and hold out your hands.” *swabs hands and pump cap and takes it to the magic machine.*
“Ok, thank you. . .you have a nice flight, Ma’am.”
Well, that’s how it’s supposed to go.
While I had my tissue expanders in my chest, one agent had to do a more thorough pat-down around that area than usual.
“Wow, yeah, that feels unusual. I’ve never had someone with breasts that hard before. I need to make sure you don’t have something taped or wrapped around your chest. Are those really inside you or something in your bra?”
“Yes, they are really inside me. . .try rolling over in the middle of the night. It’s like sleeping with softballs in your shirt!”
Then there was the time, just after my mastectomy. I had dutifully rattled off all my devices and locations of said pieces. Then I told her I’d also recently had a mastectomy and had no breasts.
“Oh ma’am, you don’t have to tell us that. You don’t have to report something so personal.”
Oh, but I do. . .I’ve been through this pat-down before and there’s the point where you place your hands, palms down, index fingers and thumbs at my waist and quickly thrust upward. Yeah, she almost took my nose off because there were no breasts to stop her upward motion.
TSA: “Oh, yes ma’am, I can see why you told me that, now.”
I’ve come to terms with my lot in life. I know I need extra attention at the security check-point and we always add 20-30 minutes to our arrival time for just that reason. The TSA agents have always been so nice, and even helpful in telling me ways to work through this process with less commotion. (Can’t say the same for the “Rent-A-Cop” agents at MCI) But, still I long for a day when I can just walk through the metal detector, grab my back and go. Some day. . . .
Happy travels everyone!