I’d Like To Check My Syringes Please: Traveling with Type 1 Diabetes0
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.