Insulin Pumps and Airport Security

January 22, 2010

I’m just back from a  fairly long international trip, and thought I would share some of my experiences traveling with an insulin pump.

As I had an incredible number of connections during my flight, I had to go through Airport security a number of times. As I went through security the first time, I though I would save myself the inconvenience and take the pump off and put it through the metal detector. Despite the fear of some people that X-Rays may damage the device, the reality is that there is nothing magnetic in tha X-Ray machine, and I’ve been assured that puting the pump through it will not damage it.

After my second connection in San Francisco, I was told that taking the pump off was completely unnecesary. The officer said: “Is that an insulin pump?”… “you don’t need to take it off, the machine will not beep for it so you can go straight through with it”. So I decided to do that, after all, taking the pump off was a (very small) inconvenience and great if I could avoid it.

I left it on as I went through security in Newark. Given the temperature outside was welll bellow freezing, we had a significant amount of clothing on. We were asked to put coats and other outerware through the Xray machine. As I ended up with my Jeans and T-shirt I was asked by an officer again if that thing in my belt was an insulin pump. “Yep” I replied and then I proceeded to go through the metal detector, which as promised, did not alarm.

But thing had not ended just yet. I was then instructed to step into a flexyglass cabin for a manual inspection. As I asked what prompted the different process I was told that “We need to do an extra check because you are wearing an insulin pump”.  Ten minutes later we where in our way, a bit disappointed that things did not go as smoothly as I expected.

So I made a decision. For the rest of the trip (another 6 or 7 flights) I disconnected my pump and put it in the little tray with the rest of my electronics. After all, pumps can be disconnected for up to a couple of hours, and pumps consumables don’t even show-up on the X-rays

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My diabetes travel supplies

December 18, 2009

Yesterday I was packing my diabetes supplies for an upcoming international trip, and though it may be useful to share some insights about what I’m packing. This is my first big trip since I’m on the pump, and must admit that my first impression is that there us a lot more “stuff” I need to carry with me compared with my last trip on injections. My kit looks like this:

Here is the list of what I’m bringing with me:

  • 2 boxes of Paradigm Quicksets (20 sets total)
  • 2 boxes of Paradigm reservoirs (20 in total)
  • 4 boxes of test strips for my Freestyle Lite(400 strips total)
  • Spare Medtronic pump
  • Portable sharps container
  • 3 vials of NovoRapid/Novolog (10ml each)
  • A few lancets
  • 5 syringes (in case things o wrong)
  • 3 AAA bateries + coin (for the pump)
  • Spare Freestyle Lite
  • Alcohol swabs
  • Ketone strips
  • Quickserter
  • Frio bag (to keep the insulin

Overall, my diabetes supplies will take about half of the space on my carry-on, and believe me, I want this stuff with me at all times. The last thing I want is for my diabetes supplies to be lost in one of the many connections I need to take,  so puting it in checked luggage is not going to be an option.

It’s probably also worth mentioning (you probably noticed in the list above) that I’m taking a second insulin pump with me. Medtronic has a program where you can get a spare pump when you are traveling. It’s probably not necesary if your destination is in a country where Medtronic has a significant presence. However if your trip includes more obscure places I highly recommend you consider borrowing a backup. My backup pump is Medtronic 515, a bit older than my current Medtronic 522, but considering is just a backup, it should be more than adequate. Kudos to Medtronic for puting this program in in place here in Australia.

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Traveling to Walt Disney World with Diabetes

November 10, 2009

Over Christmas and New year I’m going to be traveling overseas to the US and Latinamerica.  As part of the preparations I’ve started to do some research on a few of our destinations and have decided to share my findings.

DisneyI plan to share some of the resources I’ve found, some general and some more specific to the destination. And speaking of destitation, what better place to start than the most magic place on earth… Walt Disney World.

My first surprise when I searched the internet was the sheer amount of information specifically on Type 1 diabetes and Disney Parks. There are quite a few sites either dedicated or with significant sections on visiting Disney with D. On close inspection, however, it looks like some of the sites have not been updated in the last few years. Maybe this is just a signal that nothing has changed.

The first mention in my resource list goes to AllEars. Not only do they have an incredible section on D but also plenty of information about Disney parks in general.  It is also worth visiting the old but still online content of the original Disney with Diabetes blog site.

Dlife also has a section on Disney travel. While less comprehensive, also gave me a few interesting tips, specially around hydration and the effects of adrenaline.

Overall I feel well prepared for the 3 or 4 days I’ll spend at the parks, and I’m sure to post here my experiences.  Needless to say, I plan to test very often and pack at least twice as much supplies as I need (including a second pump, but more about that in another post).

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