Thursday, April 30, 2015

Flying High with Diabetes

Airport security can be a tense situation for any unseasoned traveler.  Negotiating it with an anxious adolescent who is wearing unusual devices glued to his arms heightens the experience.  In Cincinnati, it was painless.  Wearing an Omnipod pump on one arm and the Dexcom G4 Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) on the other, both were visible and accessible to the TSA employees.  I held out the Dexcom receiver, declared it a medical device that could not withstand xrays, and we breezed through.  

Once through, one employee approached us and began asking more questions. We tensed at first."Do you like it?" she asked my son.  "Does it help?" Her roommate has diabetes, and being Type 2, has had difficulty in obtaining the technology.  "Cool," she said, smiling.

On the return trip, his blood glucose could tell the story.  On entering Denver's airport, he read a 119 flat but the long lines and palpable stress soon had him in the 140s going up.  Again, I explained his diagnosis and that the receiver should be hand checked.  The older TSA guy gestured to a uniform up ahead.  Turning to another employee, he said within my hearing, "What?? Am I a doctor?" Real comedian, that one.  ("Excuse me," I said inside my head, "I mistook you for someone with compassion.")  I moved forward.  

The receiver was carried through with frowns, but without question.  After the body scan, the TSA agent explained that he was going to pat down the pod that was now on my son's leg and under his jeans.  I nodded assent, thankful they were only doing that.  (I had just heard of two Denver TSA agents fired for inappropriate gropes on male travelers.) William's hands were swabbed for explosives, but this TSA agent was more friendly and told my son to relax, all was well.  

We had packed Nightscout for the trip but since he was by my side, did not hook it up.  The unusual connection of a device to a cell phone with cables can look a bit MacGyver-ish to those not familiar with it.  The ride out and back encountered some turbulence, but like security, was nothing we couldn't handle.

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