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Dr. Bill's Commentaries

Three Short Flying Stories   (September 23, 2013)

It appears that the TSA may have standardized what they are recommending  to screen insulin pumps for noxious chemicals (although why they are worried about what’s in the pumps remains beyond me). The last three flights -- and hence six TSA rituals -- I have been on (from Charleston to/from Chicago, Minneapolis, and New York/LaGuardia) all went through precisely the same ritual. After letting the TSA staffer know I had an insulin pump, they screened me through their huge waffle-maker devices where you stand with hands up in surrender to the power of the Government, and thereafter asked me to step aside, and then they swabbed my hands for chemical residues after I held the pump between them. Almost painless – just a few extra moments of suspense while wondering if my hands had traces of botulinum toxin or Sarin gas or g-d-only-knows what stuff on them from touching airport surfaces before entering the security section. So far, I’ve passed every time.


I also had a first for me: I met a TSA officer who was wearing an insulin pump himself. Very nice guy. In Minneapolis. If you meet him, say hello.


My CGM sensor is good for at least 20 feet transmission distance. Or maybe the airplanes’ cargo holds are closer to where I was sitting in the passenger compartment that I had expected. Seems I somehow managed to leave my Dexcom G4 receiver in the outer zipper pocket of my suitcase after putting it there for the TSA process, but failed to retrieve it when I left the bag for “gate check” (rather than carrying it into the passenger compartment where there’s never enough space, the airline crew stows bags into the cargo hold at the last minute and you pick them up when disembarking from the plane). So my CGM transmitter was attached to me as usual, but the receiver was neatly stowed away for about 2 hours. When I retrieved the transmitter after the flight, I assumed I’d have a two-hour data gap, but found that all the data points except one were displayed. Awesome.

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Dr. Bill Quick began writing at HealthCentral's diabetes website in November, 2006. These essays are reproduced at D-is-for-Diabetes with the permission of HealthCentral.

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