Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Self-Created Travel Chaos

You can always count on a little self-created chaos to make traveling more interesting.

I'm that guy, as it came to the recent travels to the Roche Social Media Summit in San Diego.

Now, I was lucky enough not to run into some of the roadblocks that others faced in getting out to the West Coast from their respective locations. But in my case, every issue was a self-created moment of confusion or chaos. All were D-related, to some extent.

Flying out of Indianapolis, I'd made an executive decision to simply wear my pump in my pocket and proceed through security without declaring myself. I tossed my laptop bag and D-supply bags into the bins, along iwth my shoes and laptop, and proceeded through the metal detector without any hassle. No full-body scan or pat down or anything from TSA. Smooth sailing, or so it seemed.

A fellow flier ahead of me in line had an identical laptop bag. He had way too many carry-on items and was moving up and down the conveyor belt security line. So I went aroudn him and grabbed the laptop bag positioned next to my bins - right where I'd left it. Not realizing it was HIS bag, I took it and plopped my computer, quart-sized bag of liquids, and D-supplies into it. That's when the commotion began. He noticed the bag he was already carrying wasn't his, and that his was missing. I saw this, recalled seeing some gentlemen in line earlier who had an identical laptop bag, and mentioned that recollection to both this fellow flier and the now-gathering TSA officials. Then I walked off to get my stuff in order before heading to the gate.

Few minutes later just as I was zipping everything up and about to head off, a broadcast went out on the PA: "Michael Hoskins. Please return to the TSA security checkpoint. Michael Hoskins."

Son of a..

As I approached the security booth and introduced myself, the suited TSA official I'd talked to earlier about seeing the Then-Unknown Laptop Bag-Swapping Suspect glared at me. "You have the wrong laptop bag, sir."

Stunned, I looked inside. Saw my D-Supplies and laptop. But then proceeded to open up the other part and found items that weren't mine. Well, well, well. Guess I was "the other guy" after all. The fellow flier came over and we shared a laugh, along with TSA who noted this was a common occurrence. I apologized for creating the confusion and was about to leave...

Then, I pulled out my D-Supplies and flashed some syringes.

THAT prompted some additional questioning and inspection from the few TSA officials now gathered around us. I explained, they listened and smiled and said all was OK. No biggie.

Headed off to the plane, where I traveled a few hours to Las Vegas. Sat between two nice people from Eli Lilly (in non-D divisions) who were traveling to Vegas for an annual conference of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. We chatted before making our way into Sin City and saying goodbye. With an hour before my connecting flight left, I figured I had plenty of time.

Well, that wasn't the case. Thanks to a Low. A 48 mg/dL led me to wander the airport in search of an all-elusive but very needed Starbucks, and though I never found it I did eventually grab some candy to eat. After a phone call to check in, I glanced at the clock and noticed I had 25 minutes until flight departure - meaning I was late for boarding. Wandered back to the other side of the airport and arrived at the gate just in time to hear them paging me to the gate. A couple frustrated glares from the flight desk ladies and I was on my way to the plane for another full-flight, completing the long walk of shame down the long corridor and then navigating the plane aisle as "that guy who almost delayed the flight" in search of a seat. It was a short flight, luckily.

All worked out in San Diego, and the summit was awesome. Left San Diego on Friday afternoon.

That airport was much more crowded, and this time there was a full body scanner that I specifically wanted to avoid with my Minimed Paradigm pump. Requested an opt out to the TSA Lady, who summoned a man who explained everything thouroughly and did the pat-down. He told me to touch the face of my pump, then swabbed it and my hands and ran the wipe through a machine for testing. I wasn't bothered by it at all by any of this, and didn't find it ackward or inappropriate. The courtesy extended and way he explained everything probably made all the difference. Then, I went to the gate to wait for about 90 minutes for the flight time.

DSMA-Queen Cherise appeared next to me at one point, and we started chatting about the past few days and plans ahead. We apparently got lost in conversation, as suddenly both our names were broadcast over the PA as it was time to board. We were the last two in line.

Again, self-created chaos.

At the next connection flight airport, I mistakenly read the time change as giving me only 10 minutes to make it from one side of airport to the other. When in actuality, I had an hour. So I had more time for food than I'd thought and I could have avoided the Pizza Hut pizza that did some wonders to my BGs throughout the next few hours.

So, to sum-up: TSA questioning after my failed bid to swap bags for my insulin needles. Paged for late-boarding at 2 different airports. And having an influential non-familiarity with time changes. 

Lessons learned: 1. Pay Attention to your surroundings. 2. Know your flight times and respecting boarding protocol. And 3.) Starbucks Search + Low = Travel No-No.

Next time any traveling comes up, I'll have to carry-on a little less confusion.

5 comments:

Lilly said...

Michael,
Kudos to you that you will travel by yourself. I know that it presents some challenges, especially with the low blood sugars. Because of his hypoglycemic unawareness, my hubby hasn't done this since before we got married.

Nikki of Our Diabetic Warrior said...

Michael,
You are such an inspiration to me! Being a mom of a CWD, I have many fears as I think of my son growing up and taking care of his diabetes on his own.

You give me such hope that everything will be ok, even though it might not always be easy.

I'm so glad that everything turned out ok throughout your "travel chaos".

Un-Apologetic Diabetic said...

I'm always fascinated by the flying with D incidents. I had two little incidents myself, but they were many years ago. Glad you made it there and back okay!

The Diabetic Camper said...

I always keep a copy of all of my scrips and a backup of everything in my checked in bags (if I have one). Also a couple of jolly ranchers in the pockets help. www.thediabeticcamper.blogspot.com

Lora said...

At least it all makes for a good story :) Never a dull moment with D around.