Mama in the City

A blog about raising my family in downtown Vancouver

Back when my husband and I were dating, we took a trip to San Francisco right around the time when air travel was very stressful with 9/11 just happening a few months before. Security was extra tight, so when they asked if I was carrying any questionable objects, like bombs or knives, I thought I would be super honest. I declared to security that I was carrying a few dozen sharp pointy needles that I'd packed in my carry on luggage.

This turned out to be the biggest mistake and ended up going through a big circus act to get past security and on to our flight. I had flagged myself as, 'a potentially dangerous traveller'. Security snickered when I told them that the sharp pointy object were not actually a knife or a sword, but some diabetic syringes. They shooed me through the rest of the process with their eyes rolling deeply, and I learned my lesson.

From then on, I always travel with my doctors note folded up in my wallet, just in case I have to wave it at security. I also always over pack all of my medical supplies, because I have this big worry I'll lose something or break something while I am away. When we went on a trip to Europe I was pregnant and was having really tight blood sugar control. I packed enough medical supplies to fill my carry on bag and then some. I had boxes of syringes and about 100 blood testing strips packed away. Then I had a second back up glucometer, in case the first one broke or got lost in Amsterdam. I strategically packed the stuff through my checked luggage and my carry on case, and even my purse. I didn't want to be totally screwed if something was to get lost.

And you thought your suitcase was full? Try adding a wack load of diabetic supplies to the usual over packing I do!

Being diabetic and travelling means I love those sharps containers you see in airport bathrooms and I'm always happy to come across one in airplane bathrooms. Traveling also means I have to do a lot of extra blood sugar checks when I cross time zones. I've been really smart when traveling with diabetes and I've never had any big emergencies or problems. When they changed the standards about carrying liquids on board, I had to change from carrying my faithful juice box for low blood sugar emergencies, to those chalky sugar tablets instead. No big deal, I can be easy breezy.

The cool thing I discovered is that most decent hotels, in North America, will give you a sharps container to use while you stay there. Then when you depart, they take care of disposing of all your used stuff. Very lovely. We have a trip coming up and I've already headed to the pharmacy to stock up on some extra stuff. This is a short trip but I always like to over plan these special details. Like how much insulin I'll need for that airport margarita.


Mary Jacobs said...

Yeah. I guess so. I never really thought about it like that. I actually have seen those needle containers in the airport and was always thinking that only druggies were popping their needles in there. I'm so embarrassed. Oops!

April 24, 2011 at 7:58 PM  
Nancy_W said...

Great post, I really enjoyed it. I guess lots of people must travel with different medical stuff. It's funny how you just don't notice things like that when they don't apply to you firsthand. I'm totally going to now see sharps containers all over. Obviously :)

April 24, 2011 at 9:22 PM  
Jessica Shalop said...

Wow, so very interesting. Love the posts on you being diabetic. Something you haven't really featured before.

April 25, 2011 at 7:59 PM  

I was never diabetic or sickly eversince so the only thing I worry about when traveling is jetlag and tiredness, but never thought others like you do a lot of preparation to carry the medicine you need when traveling. Guess it must have been hard the first time when you declared your syringes in the airport security. But hey, you're lucky to get to travel often :) and thanks for sharing your thoughts. Great read.

April 26, 2011 at 3:50 PM  

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