Incriminated.

A queue full of people greeted me, as I approached the end of a long line. I began removing the watch from my wrist, unlooping the belt from my waist, and loosening the clasp on my Medic Alert bracelet. I shoved those items into the front pocket of my satchel. I pulled my wallet out from the front pocket of my Chinos, and my iPhone from the inside pocket of my Lost Highway jacket. 

As I approached the conveyor belt, I grabbed two of the orange trays and placed my belongings onto them. Feeling more confident than the last time I did this, I approached the gate and took a step through.

BEEEEEP!

The shrill noise hurt my ears.

One of the security staff told me to take a step back, while asking if I was wearing anything that might set the alarm off. 

I have type 1 diabetes. I’m wearing an insulin pump, I said, pulling it out of my pocket and gesturing wildly. 

He told me to take a step aside, and onto the square mat behind a gate that was situated adjacent to the walk through. I watched as he motioned to his colleagues that I needed a pat down.

I was left scratching my head, convinced that my Animas Vibe hadn’t set off any alarms in the past. 

Another member of security approached, and I was told to remove my jacket and send it through the scanner. The likely culprit, I later suspected. 


I was escorted through the gate and asked if I wished to have my pat down conducted in a private room, which I politely declined.

He asked me where I was travelling today, which didn’t really make me feel any more comfortable.

As I stood there with my arms stretched out wide, I felt incriminated.

As comfortable and open as I am with my diabetes, I didn’t like this one bit.

Walking Through

Feeling the weight of my satchel, I headed straight for the chairs the minute I walked through the sliding glass doors. I pulled out my giant toiletry bag filled with insulin, skittles, infusion sets, insulin cartridges, a demi pen, Lantus, spare batteries, needles, Lancets, Rockadex patches for my FreeStyle Libre, and my spare meter that would allow me to check for ketones.

I pulled a small key out of the coin pocket in my wallet and unlocked my suitcase, wondering what I didn’t need in my carry on. I began to pull infusion sets and insulin cartridges out of their elastic bands, thinking I would only need 1 or 2 at most for my flight. I threw the bag of Skittles into my suitcase, knowing I already had 50g of carbs – and some Easter eggs – stashed in my meter pocket. I hated how much space the insulin boxes took up in my bag, and how unnecessary they were to carry with me.

After some shuffling around, my subconscious began to doubt my actions and I eventually threw everything back into my toiletry bag to carry onto my flight to Melbourne.

I shuffled through the documents I had in my clear plastic wallet, making sure I had my spare script for insulin, my travel letter, my travel itinerary, and a copy of the plan I had left with my family containing all the details about my diabetes management should something happen. I saw the brochure I had thrown in about insulin pumping during a flight, and began to realise I hadn’t even given this enough thought.

I locked up my suitcase once again, and began to walk into the direction of Terminal 3 to check in. My subconscious kicked in once again, and I quickly doubled back towards the seats I had stopped at, to make sure I hadn’t left anything behind.

Are you carrying any sharp objects in your luggage? I was asked at the check in counter.

I have type 1 diabetes, so I’ll be carrying needles and other diabetes supplies on the plane.

That’s fine. I was given my boarding pass.

I stuck my head into the Dome, thinking about stopping for a coffee and some breakfast. I glanced at my watch, knowing I had enough time. My subconscious bugged me again, reminding me of possible crowds and that I would be walking through with an insulin pump for the first time.

Frank’s subsconscious won again, as I made my way to the walk through. I began placing my bag, watch, phone, wallet and belt onto the trays.

I’m wearing an insulin pump, I said to the security lady, pulling it out of my pocket and gesturing wildly.

I have DIABETES. Walk through and wand is fine, but I can’t have any X-Rays.

I felt like I was trapped inside a bubble, trying to speak as loudly and slowly and clearly as I possibly could.

Take off your shoes, she said, offering up a tray for me to put them on.

I walked through, waiting anxiously for a beep that didn’t come.

As I began to put my shoes back on, loop my belt back around my jeans, and place all the other loose items back into my pockets, I breathed a massive sigh of relief that it was over.

I don’t fly very often, and this was my first time travelling with a pump, but man diabetes sure does add to the anxiety.