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On the Road with the Big D

I travel for business a few times a year and this past week was one of those times.   So, sports fans, I got to experience the new TSA Full Monty Booty Body feel-up pat down techniques up close and personal!

Now, while I am sure there are some over-zealous friskers and overly hysterical friskees, what I experienced was pretty much what the TSA describes on their site.  Going out of town on Monday morning, the pat down didn’t really bother me, but Thursday I was annoyed by it, because it had all ready been a hellish long D day.

I packed 3 insertion sets for my 4 day trip and I’m glad I did.  Tuesday evening was time for a normal site change, no big deal.  Wednesday morning, I was a little higher than normal, I corrected and really wasn’t hungry, so I skipped breakfast.  2 hours later, my levels haven’t even budged so I correct again.  Come lunch time, I’m starting to go up, so time to change it out.  I reach into my backpack, where I always keep my pumping supplies only to realize the ditty bag that contains them isn’t there. Instead, it is setting on the desk in the hotel where I left it the nite before.  So run to hotel, swap site, grab some lunch and head back.  Later that afternoon, my numbers are much better and after dinner I’m good so to bed I go.

Now on to Thursday. Oh joyous, joyous day.  Waking up, I’m at about 180, usually wake up in the sub-100 range, so the diabeety-sense starts to tingle.  I correct and bolus for the breakfast I had and off I go.  Couple of hours later, pushing 300?  I’m all WTF?  90 minutes later, I find myself getting sleepy.  Yep, you guessed, now I’m at 390.  I try one more bolus since I only have one set left.  30 minutes later it’s 450. %@$#^@&.  Pull the old set out, which of course bleeds like a stuck pig.  Put new set in, Rage Bolus and try to finish up work before I need head to the airport.

And as we all know, there is nothing more fun than the Rage Low that often follows a Rage Bolus.  I test before I leave for the airport, 55.  Pissed, I say screw the glucotabs and get a Snickers.  15 minutes later, I’m at 70.  This whole time the Dex has pretty much been displaying WTF? the ???…

Drive to the airport, check in car.  I had just filled it but Avis wants to charge me for a top off fee unless I can show them a receipt.  Gee, wouldn’t want the guy to have to actually look at the gas meter and see it is on full, would I?  Quite the scam they are trying to pull there.

By this time, my tolerance level for bullsh** has reached ZERO.  Inside, I put all my stuff on the conveyor just as I’m supposed to.   Walk to the gate, display my pump to the TSA agent, she motions me thru the metal detector and calls on the radio that they will probably need a male search, before the damn Ping sets the detector off.  While waiting for the frisker, I hear the agent at the x-ray call out “Random” and see her pull my backpack out for a “random” search.    Tolerance level drops to well below zero as I am escorted to identify all my belongings which are then lugged by the agent to the area where I will be “aggressively” frisked.

First I have to handle my pump and then my hands and various belongings are swabbed to be scanned for various residues.  He then comes over and starts to explain what is going on.  I explain that I understand and let’s just get it over with, because I am a bit agitated for being singled out for the sole reason of needing a medical device, not to mention how the rest of the day has gone so far.

He says he understands and imagines that all other device wearers feel the same way.  I guess that was supposed to make me feel better, but somehow it really didn’t.  He then goes on to to tell me that he is required to fully explain the process, so I have to sit there and listen to him tell what I already know, I probably should have explained the process to him before he got started.  By this time, I just have a slightly disgusted, impatient look on my face and make an effort to keep it at that level.

The frisk is uneventful, as was standing there putting my shoes and belt back on, gathering all my stuff and walking past the lines of people who had watched the whole deal.

But wait!! That’s not all!!  I buy a Diet Coke and sit down and start reading, well trying to read anyway.  I finally test again and I am right back at 60, the Dex is showing 75 with a trending down arrow.  Now I’m pissed.  I grab 2 granola bars, loaded with simple and complex carbs and go to town.  30 minutes later, I’m at 180 and the Dex goes off with a Double Up Arrow alarm.  I literally looked at it and went “F*** You”.

I wait another 30 minutes and test, I’m at 230, Dex is showing a level arrow so I attempt to correct.  I’m at 190 as we board the plane to Memphis and 140 when we land.  I ate dinner and landed back in KC at 110. Final-effin-lee.

I understand that the world we live in today requires such measures and I really don’t usually mind submitting to such things if it can stop some cowardly asshat from making the news, but the totality of that day made it almost unbearable.

I probably could have disconnected the Ping, maybe I will next time.  I’m honestly anxious about sending it thru the xray machine, not to mention letting it out of my sight.

The TSA used to have a program where individuals could have background checks run and receive passes to avoid extra security.  Maybe it’s time for something like that for those of us whose health may always get us pulled out of line.

  • Wow. No wonder you tweeted that you were ‘worn smooth’. (Great phrase, btw, if not the best circumstances.)

    • My dad used to say that now and again

  • Lorraine

    Oh Scott!

    I hope the sun is shining where you are right now! Knowing myself, I’m not I would have kept my composure as you did under such circumstances.

    • My calm is much happier today, Lo. It was starting to get damaged yesterday…

      • I’m glad today is happier. 🙂

  • Scott, I agree wholeheartedly. Something needs to be done. I too had a recent experience with my pump and the TSA and it’s been on my mind ever since. We already face some much discrimination and problems with this disease, why should we allow them to heap more on us? Back in the 70s or 80s (at my age it’s hard to remember everything precisely) I flew to St. Louis to testify before a congressional committee regarding the need for a bill that years later emerge as the Americans with Disabilities Act. A lot of us testified about workplace discrimination, but guess what. They didn’t include diabetes in the act!
    Last month, I flew from Tampa to Des Moines. Of course, because of my CGM and meter, I had to go through the whole pat down procedure, but not the new and ‘improved’ one they do now. It wasn’t too bad, but on the return, in Des Moines, BECAUSE I had to be subjected to a full pat down, they pulled my bag, which had one through the machine okay, to be rummaged through. This was rediculous, but what are you going to do. I thought about writing a letter to the editor or to my congressman, but with the upcoming election, figured it would just be lost. Now that the election is over, maybe we can get something done, but the first thing we need to do to support improving the health care reform bill, not repeal it. People aren’t opposed to health care reform as it was enacted, they opposed what they thought was enacted because opponents lied about it and people believed the lies even after the truth came out. Frankly, I hope they can work out a deal with insurance companies to eliminate pre-existing coverage exclusions by 2012 rather than 2014 by offering them a coverage cap if they do so because we need this gone sooner rather than later, and if there’s no exclusion, other coverage can be obtained.
    Scott, the other problem you described is one that has really concerned me for the past 6 months. The ‘rapid’ acting insulin just isn’t working right some of the time and I haven’t figured out what the cause is. I’m having to bolus for meals an hour prior, when I really don’t know what I’m going to have. I’ll be high, give multiple boluses and not eat without getting the level down appreciably, if at all. It’s like insulin resistance and it may go on for several days before returning to normal. I’ve discussed this with my endo, who’s also type 1, and he doesn’t have an answer either. Maybe it just comes with time.
    You know, being a high school soccer referee, where you’re God on the field, and after surviving 60 years on life supporting insulin without any major complications, you begin to feel invincible, but as I wrote earlier, I was quickly brought back down to earth on Halloween when I experienced a mild sensory stroke (TIA). Fortunately, it didn’t affect any muscles and I’m back out on the soccer fields, doing 4 games this week, but it caused me to reflect on what might have been. Back in August of 2000, 38 American Nobel Prize winning scientists all supported President Clinton’s decision to allow NIH funding of Embryonic Stem Cell Research that they all predicted would lead to a cure of diabetes and numerous other diseases within 10 years. Then Bush, bowing to the religious right, stopped the funding before it could begin and when finally allowing limited funding, effectively halted most research. Now, ten years later, a half million Americans, who might have otherwise been cured of multiple diseases by now, will start dying, each year, and we need to forcibly remind Congress of this each Halloween with a death watch, until they make up for lost time on funding medical research. I’m not sure who the religious right worships, perhaps their god is mammon, but it’s certainly not Christ who directly ordered His disciples AND followers to go out and heal.

    • You might try a different type of insulin, Bill. I had those issues on Humalog when I started pumping. Novalog, and now Apidra, made those issues go away

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  • Wow, sounds like a horrible day. I’ll bet my aggravation level would be at least as bad as yours. I hate those days where it’s high and uncontrollable followed by low and uncontrollable.

    I hope your next flight is way better (I also hope next time I fly isn’t anything like this).

    • Well, unfortunately, unless policy changes occur…

  • Oh my goodness. Talk about a bad day or two huh. It seems like everything that could go wrong did. Maybe it was just one of those diabetes “perfect storms”…

    I haven’t traveled yet with the new frisking. I have MM and it never sets off the detector. I just show it to the person and move along. I don’t even separate out my insulin vials into zip lock bags and haven’t had an issue.

    I’m all for keeping flying safe. They just need to be aware of us with diabetes and medical devices and I guess we need some tolerance to the fact that they don’t know what we go through.

    Nice post Scott and let’s hope these days don’t come your way often.

  • Dang Scott, I am sorry you had such a PITA day.

  • That trip was a serious test of your patience!

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  • oh lord! Im all for tight security but what a pia while dealing with insane bgs.