Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Be Prepared

"Be Prepared" is the official Boy Scout Motto.  As far as I'm concerned, it should be the official People With Diabetes Motto too.

Right now my family and I are getting prepared.  Prepared for some bad news about my uncle as the end of his battle with cancer draws to a close.

When the dreaded call comes in, we'll need to be on the soonest flight we can catch to Louisiana for the services.  For me, that means being as prepared diabetes-wise as I can.  I've gathered all of the D-supplies I'll need on the trip - and then some.  Insulin (short and long acting), extra infusion sets, quick-serter, alcohol swipes, IV prep pads, meter, lancets, extra test strips, syringes, ketone strips, and more Smarties, Sweet-Tarts and gummies than I could possibly need.

I have to admit, I don't look forward to going through security.  I haven't flown in almost four years, and I've never flown as a pumper.  I've done some homework on how to make it through security with as little delay as possible.  I will have all of my supplies in a (large) Zip-Loc bag - although cramming in all of the stuff listed above will be quite a feat!  I will have it out and ready as I approach the security checkpoint, and will let them know immediately that I am diabetic.  My insulin will be in it's original boxes, with the prescription printed on the front.  I will show them my insulin pump, and explain what it is and that I need to stay connected to it.  I believe the security checkpoints are extremely important, and my goal is to make their job as easy as possible.  I'll try to be prepared with everything I need to show them I am not a risky passenger.  I'm just a person managing a disease.

Be Prepared.  We live by those words every day, don't we?

Have you flown recently?  Do you have any more tips I might need?

(P.S. And for those wondering - yes, I checked and yes, knitting needles are still allowed on the plane.  I've got mine all ready to go.)


  1. I would actually offer the opposite advice that what mentioned. I am a 'don't ask, don't tell' diabetic at the airport.
    I don't tell them I have supplies in my carry-on or tell them I am wearing a pump.
    They have never once searched my bag after X-ray for diabetes supplies (inclucing syringes which scares me!) but they did find nail clippers once.

    In 5 years of flying with a pump, it has set off one metal detector (and then I am not even confident that the pump is what set it off). There is actually very little metal in the pump.

    You might have more success just not saying anything - that has at least been my experience. Then, if you have to be searched, etc. you can but if not, you have saved yourself some extra time.

    P.S. Sorry about the reason for the trip :(

  2. My pump has not set off alarms, but the clip on it has. Now I remove the clip, put the pump in my pocket and walk through. So far that's worked : )

  3. I fly a lot, and my advice is to take off the insulin pump while you're in line, put it in your purse, slide it through the X-ray machine, and reconnect on the other side.

    The last couple of times I have left my insulin pump on, and while I didn't set the machine off, I had security personnel see the pump, pull me aside and take a wand to the pump. Not entirely sure what that's supposed to prove, but needless to say, it took more time than if I had just taken off the pump. Though perhaps hiding it would work too. The X-ray machine does nothing to the pump (otherwise they wouldn't allow laptops and cameras to go through it either) and it's so much easier than being stopped. Even if you tell them it's an insulin pump, there is a chance they'll still pull you aside if they see it.

    The choice is yours.

  4. Oh, and another thing is to make sure that you bring glucose tablets and not juice boxes with you. I have stuffed my bag full of syringes and pump sets and the ONLY thing I've ever had them go fishing for is the juice boxes when they detected liquid. But a simple "I'm a diabetic" works just fine. Except the one time I had a 16 oz bottle of apple juice and they said they had to "test" it. Which took like 2 minutes, but still. Annoying.

  5. I flew from Syracuse to DC.
    I had all my supplies in a see-through container. I kept my pump on.

    In Syr I was told to take my "jacket" off (I had layers on and it was like a sweatshirt jacket of sorts) and told to unhook my "phone."

    All I said was it is an insulin pump. There was a simple nod and all went well.

    Same thing in DC back to Syr. Take off the "phone", it is a pump, "oh sorry" and done.

    You have done all the right things in packing the way you did. Take it out of your carry-on (which is where I had it), put it on the belt and walk through.

    You will do just fine.
    Sorry you have to prepare for this trip.

  6. Just as an add-on, I've noticed it varies between airport-to-airport. Mostly I think it has to do with the security guards familiarity with diabetes supplies. I've heard different things from different people regarding insulin pumps.

  7. I'm sure all will be fine.
    I think it's wonderful that you will be there for your uncle's family.

  8. I do the 'don't ask, don't tell' approach like Sara said. I take off my cyborg parts and send them through the x-ray. It's only a couple of minutes so not a big deal. When I wear them, the alarm inevitably goes off and I get the special treatment. I keep my supplies in a cosmetic case and just leave that in my carry-on. Haven't had issues except the lady who didn't recognize my spare pump. No one cares about the insulin and other stuff though.

    Sorry to hear about the circumstances of your trip. Try not to stress about the traveling part though.

  9. back when i was pumping....*sniffle, tear* i went on my first plane ride..and the whole ordeal was disastrous....except for getting through security. they didn't pay much attention to me, being dropped off by my parents who were shuffling me and my stuff and my stuffed lamb with the music box in its butt to the terminal. i didn't tell anybody and they didn't ask me.

    its stressful enough to worry about the events after you land, let alone getting there. you'll be fine. at the most, you'll get a five minute delay when they notice your pump. i'd just go a little bit extra early.


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