Blog Entries With Tag: airport


Posted: Nov 22, 2010

Lately, in some of the diabetic forums I hang around in - alot of Americans have been very dissatisfied with the treatment they receive by TSA when going through security with their insulin pumps on.

I am used to being pulled over, patted down, questioned about products in my carry on that relate to my diabetes, along with swabbing of my pump when I fly.  Apparently though, as of October 29th, 2010 - procedures have changed yet again with TSA (Transporation Security Administration) and how they handle passengers that are deemed to be threats.  As far as I can tell,  for diabetics and insulin pump users, nothing has changed since I last flew.  You can check out what you are allowed at this
link ( http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/specialneeds/editorial_1374.shtm#3 )

Last March, I had the delight of going through a
full body scanner at Orlando International Airport.  As usual, metal detector detected my pump and I was pulled aside.  Though this time, instead of hand pat down, I was placed in this futuristic looking "bubble".  I went in there pump and all, sucked in my gutt, and within 5 minutes after pump was swabbed down for possible explosive material - I was free as a bird.

I am now finding out, after speaking with Frank at
Animas Canada that I should NOT have gone through the scanner with the insulin pump on.  The same applies to my loaner pump I always obtain when I travel.  This is always in my carry on luggage and goes through the x-ray machine.  No, no, no - he told me!  Yikes, I didn't know.  Due  to magnetic fields, it can cause the insulin cartridge gizmo that pushes your insulin through the pump tubing go wacky.  He said due to rapidly changing TSA requirements, Animas is now issuing a travel card with their loaner pumps specifying to the TSA agent that your pump NOT go through these devices. 

Being the honesst Canadian gal I am - I went on to tell him that in Forums they were saying NOT to admit this to your pump company that your pump had gone through any of these devices - or the warranty would be VALID. Gulp - why am I so damn honest?  Because my Mum raised me right?  Frank was nice enough to say, if I was talking to one of their Animas Technical department then this statement would have caused some issues perhaps.  Therefore, I  will be requesting a manual pat down just like I've had in the past, prescanner time for me! 

One other topic I thought I'd add here is the questions amongst diabetics as to how much radiation do we receive when in these scanners?  Yes, they have been approved by FDA ... BUT ... what hasn't been approved one minute and then turned around to not be good has occured before.  I think at my age, I'd rather put up with the human pat down then the bubble machine - aka scanner.  Yes it will perhaps take longer, but as always, I will arrive at airport much earlier then required, just so I can make my flight on time.  Here in Canada, we have had much controversy over the full body scanners,  and according to Health Canada - " There is more shielding on airport X-ray machines — the entire belt is shielded; in medicine, the patient table is not shielded ".  Read more at this link (
http://www.cbc.ca/health/story/2010/01/05/f-airport-scanners-radiation-risk.html )

I have to admit, as other diabetics have been saying ... flying the friendly blue skies is no longer the thrill that it used to be with the security measures that we have to face once we walk through the airport doorways.  Maybe taking the train, bus, personal car, or ship to destinations abroad might be the way to go?  Like my Dad said to me - take your time if you can and take in the sights you don't see when you fly!

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Posted: Apr 27, 2009

I was going to blog about my fun experience with TSA yesterday at Orlando-Sanford Airport - where I was treated like a potential terrorist (I don't get treated this way anywhere else except in the United States - every other country lets me go thru' with my pump and insulin supplies with a simple nod). Anyway, since getting off the phone with my Dad - I've decided to change my direction of thoughts.

This morning I had my usual weekly call with my Mum - telling her about my trip to Orlando (finally got to see ALL of Epcot - took 2 visits - now I've travelled the "world" ). On the flight home, I had noticed a few passengers that were returning from Mexico. Of course, having watched the news the past few days (my in-laws have the TV on constantly - bit irritating at times) - the outbreak of swine flu was the top story - and they were abit worried. So, here I am - on a flight - with a few people with the touristy somberos on - and it's making me wonder - hmmm - should I be worried?

My Mum at the time didn't seem too concerned - and we'd agreed upon my purchasing some tickets for Too Many Cooks where a friend of mine, Harold Swaffield (a diabetic and the one that encouraged me to try out pumping) is acting in. So, fine and dandy, all I'm waiting on after the conversation is an email from my Dad to tell me what date they want to go - and hopefully it works out that I can drive to Ottawa which is a 2 hour drive from Montreal. Few hours later, email arrives from my Dad - short and blunt - "we have decided due to this flu epidemic we do not want you to buy tickets for the show". I called him up right away trying to understand their concern. Was it because I'd been in contact with people from Mexico or ??? I was confused.

My Dad then started to go on about the epidemic of the 1918's (Spanish Flu) and how this swine flu could be the next pandemic (it would be the 4th according to what I've read). This swine flu has affected over 1,500 (149 deaths at the time I am writing this) in Mexico, the age group affected though is between the ages of 20-40 (that skips us I told him jokingly but now I wonder does it?). I was always under the impression that young and older people would be more effected - but not so in this case (plus there are two phases - so this could be Phase 1 - scary). He's pulling out the mask he uses for painting - saying the ones they are handing out in Mexico are useless - so he's all set (what about my Mum??). Just the fact that now other countries outside of United States/Mexico are advising against travel to this part of the world - probably Canada will follow next.

Well, I'm not leaping on the panic button yet, I'll continue to do what I do to not spread germs (washing hands, coughing in sleeve) and hope for the best. That is the one thing now though with the Internet - news travels so fast - if it was around during the Spanish Flu - who knows what the minute-by-minute reports would have been like at websites such as Health Map.

Stay safe and healthy everyone!!!

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