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Monthly Archives: June 2012

Back from the Beach–lessons learned about travel with T1 kid

Down by the lazy river….

Home at last….ahhhhhhh

All and all our trip to the Bahamas went well but not without a few kinks (fortunately, not the insulin pump tube kind!)

First let me say that our local TSA agents were great (after the initial cranky one who quickly passed us off to her higher-ups).  Our hometown is a friendly one and so were our TSA agents. I explained that KC couldn’t go through the body scanner due to her insulin pump and cgm (not taking any chances with those babies!) and that I didn’t want her to have to take her shoes off.  According to the agents, children under 12 don’t need to take shoes off anyway. In order for us to opt out of the scanner (no wands available at our airport) and proceed to pat down, the supervisor needed to be called .  It was 4:30 am (6 am flight) and the agents were a little gleeful to have to wake up their usually grumpy boss!  We were quickly told that he waived the need for the pat down. All she would need would be an examination of the residue on her hands after touching her pump and checking the residue on her shoes.   They hand checked our insulated bag with insulin and let us through with snacks, juice boxes etc. They all profusely apologized for our wait–to which I repeated “that’s why we got here early!”    One agent thanked me for having done my research and knowing exactly what procedures would be taking place.  I offered my documents (doctor’s letter, Medtronic info, TSA letter) but didn’t need to pull them out of my bag.  The rest of the trip went smoothly as did entry into the Bahamas.

KC’s BG numbers were all over the place–as I expected they would be.  We had agreed in advance that she would go without her CGM from the first morning until the last night.  I really missed having that information available but never more so than at lunch on day two.  After her food arrived, KC pulled out her meter only to discover that her strip container was empty.  We were at a restaurant that was a 20 minute walk from our room….

Time to SWAG!  If we’d had her CGM, she could have bolused off her sensor glucose reading….but no such luck!  So we just covered the carbs and figured we’d fix later.  After lunch, the rest of the family went back to the water park and I hustled to the room to get the strips.

I made a decision give her insulin injections by shot for breakfast and lunch on days we would be at the water park.  I wanted to make sure she got all her bolus doses in ….unplugging the pump means some bolus amounts aren’t given.  She plugged back in at meals and received basal insulin during those times. Worked pretty well.

Our difficult times were at night.  She dropped to 48 at 11 pm–thank goodness we were still up.  With no cgm, we wouldn’t have been alerted and she would have slept through it.  She also ran high some nights….so I didn’t get a whole lot of sleep!  Really wish there was a way to temporarily disconnect the cgm like you can the pump.

She had a great time and that is the most important thing.

Our experience with TSA on our return trip was different, but not bad.  I was directed to let the agent at screening know about the T1…before I could say anything to her, she spotted our water bottle and told me it wasn’t allowed into the gate.  As soon as I mentioned type 1 diabetes, the bottle was put back in our bag. KC got a mild pat down.  I was waiting for my shoes and didn’t have the chance to ask them not to take hers off (she’s 5 ‘7 1/2″  and doesn’t look 12).  This time they just looked at her feet. No residue check on hands or pump.  Also, these agents didn’t open the insulin bag.

Final note: didn’t use the Aquapac but did keep the pump in the Pelican case when KC wasn’t wearing it.

So my advice is:  be prepared, be firm, but be pleasant.  The agents treated us well both at home and in the Bahamas.  Still sad that airline travel has changed so much, but a good attitude and doing your research will make it easier for all!