Airport Security….Pumps…and Advice for Little Ones.

Airport scannerThere has been much discussion about what happens with an insulin pump when going through security at airports.

I caution those who say, “it’s okay, I just send it through… far…nothing has happened, so why worry.”  I have heard others say one should not attempt that because it could damage the machinery. 

Now, granted, you can get away with something 346 times but if something happens on the 347th; everything before; is for naught.  I asked Caroline Pavis Director of Global Communications at Animas for a statement about pumps; of course she could only speak for her devices but it surely might be a rule-of-thumb to live by.

Animas is committed to providing our patients with the highest standard of care, and continues to investigate how we can support our traveling pumpers. 

Currently, we recommend that our patients avoid going through X-ray machines when traveling, as the machines may potentially damage the pump’s software and therefore affect insulin delivery.  This includes the newest airport screening tool, Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) or full body scanner. 

We provide detailed instructions both on our website and directly to our pumpers about the proper procedures to follow during airport security check-ins, including:

• Patients should alert TSA employees that they are an insulin pump user, and should not undergo an X-ray machine

• We also provide a letter, which can be shared with airport personnel should they be questioned or asked to be scanned  

We encourage our patients to refer to the Animas website at or call our Customer Support line at 877-767-7373, should they have questions concerning travel with their pump.

So that is the OFFICIAL word.  You may read what others do, which may be contrary to what is correct; you may do what YOU THINK IS OKAY, but be warned now you know that the manufacturer clearly gives a warning and it would probably be smart to heed the advice. 

Taking an extra 10 minutes at TSA might avoid an entire days’ worth of hassles later on.

For those who do not travel frequently with children, or perhaps this is a first time experience, may I suggest the following:
Children fear the unknown.  If your child has diabetes it may very well turn out that they will be “wand’ at the security check point at the airport.  DO not make this their first time to experience this.

While at home, take a tool that is dark and about 18 inches long (something your children may not really recognize).  Explain to your child that when at the airport the TSA Agent (let them know who they are and say the name TSA a few times in the explanation) may need to run a wand, sort of like what you are holding, around them.

DO NOT tell them it is a game.  Do not tell them it is because of their diabetes….tell them that mommy and daddy may be chosen as well.

Have them stand with their legs and arms apart and run the wand around them like they do at an airport.

Do this is a few times and with all of your children, not just the one(s) with diabetes, do your spouse/partner as well.  Do it, if possible on a few different days.  After you have done it the first few times….explain to your child that a beeping sound may happen as well.  And make a beeping sound from time to time as well.

Do this a few times within about a week before you leave and your child will not be exposed to seeing something for the first time while on-line at the airport.  Much anxiety will be avoided.

Again; fear of the unknown, make it ‘known’ and the fear will be greatly diminished.

Happy Travels.

I am a diabetes dad.

Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

Kids from Connecticut Teach All of US!!!!!!

Kids teaching usOne of the most fascinating aspects of what I do is the people I meet.  People never cease to amaze me in how they act, what they say, and what they do.  So many choose to sit back and play the sidelines and many live by; “don’t do nothing”.  It’s these people who constantly humble me as I travel this journey.

It’s easy from the sidelines.  One can judge, comment, be loud, be quiet, and for the most part have little to do with the game itself.  In many cases the loudest are neither the majority nor the players…….they are spectators.  People IN the game are too focused on moving the diabetes dial in a substantial manner to live by their own-self-imposed-importance.  Diabetes is just too big for any of us to stay on the sideline and frankly, I have little patience for people who would rather shake the cage than get in and fight the beast.

 Recently I learned that the age of ‘the player’ matters little.  A player is just that, a player.
 I was in Connecticut this week.  Driving to this state, a state that taught this nation what ‘real’ pain is over the past few months, I kept thinking to myself, what would these kids have in mind?Conn 2013 14

I was traveling to a grammar school (just to be clear, it was not in the Sandy Hook School system) to be part of a diabetes educational presentation which would be followed-up with a fund-raising component.  This component just fascinated me to no end and the only thing that was more fascinating than this particular event, was the young people who presented it.

When diabetes becomes the new normal, your life becomes completely mixed up; turned upside down; and out-of-the-norm.  As the kids in the area told their stories (I will not mention their names nor the school district; welcome to the world we live in these days) in front of hundreds of elementary school-age children, they explained about diabetes and shared what it was like to live with diabetes.  The siblings of kids with diabetes also took part in this event and shared what it was like toconn 2013 sibling be a brother to someone who had diabetes.  How it changed their household.

The kids shared that they were limited by nothing.  As the showed their insulin pumps the informed the students that they could do what they wanted asconn 2013 15 long as they ‘balanced’ their lives with diabetes management. 

(PERSONAL SIDE NOTE: literally just minutes before I entered the building I was made aware of the death of Richard Rubin; as the kids spoke of the ‘balance’ needed in their lives; being keenly aware of Richard’s teachings on just that point, it truly was almost as if he had joined with us)

Conn 2013 kidsThe kids sitting down were riveted and enjoyed the presentation of their peers and how they explained their lives with diabetes.  And afterwards they explained the fund-raising component.  They could donate whatever their family wanted to give, the amount didn’t matter.  But the event surely did.  (I just loved this idea).  Each child, to understand a little better about how mixed-up one becomes when first diagnosed, was to wear clothes that were completely mixed up.Conn 2013 Kids back

The idea was that for the one day they would wear clothing all mixed up knowing that shortly thereafter they would come to school again with their clothes straightened out.  The presentation taught the kids that although a life of diabetes becomes mixed up at the start, a life in order can reign.  Just FABULOUS!
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Many parents and children volunteered to organize this event and we surely thank them, the teachers, and the administration of the participating school.

This idea was from kids, about kids, for kids, and to kids…………….but a whole bunch of us adults learned a ton.

I am a diabetes dad.

Please hop to my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’