Sunday, June 12, 2011
guest blogger: kerri
- Kerri Sparling from www.SixUntilMe.com
(Thanks for letting me guest post, Meredith!)
I love traveling. I love new countries, new cities, and new experiences.
But I hate the actual “travel” part of getting there. Freaks me out. Whether by plane, train, or automobile, I’m not a fan. Traveling causes a lot of anxiety for me (hello, type A and slightly OCD personality), so the packing and planning can send my brain into spin cycle.
The airport is a place that makes me particularly anxious. It’s like a vortex of stress. All those rules! Get there two hours early. Bring a little plastic bag for all of your 3 oz travel toiletries. Do not make eye contact with the ticket agent. And for people with diabetes who are pumping insulin, there’s that delicate dance of “Do I put my pump through the x-ray machine and potentially eff it up, or do I opt out for the scan and in for the pat down?”
I don’t like surprises during these moments. I like feeling as though I’m in control of something – anything. So I keep my pump and Dexcom on during airport security screenings, and I ask for the pat down. This way, I know it’s coming, I am comfortable, and I’m the one who determines how that security moment plays out.
It helps me calm my anxiety about the process, while ensuring that my diabetes devices make it through the security screening without frying out.
The airport pat downs, for me, aren’t dramatic or concerning. In the last year or two, I’ve been patted down about 20 times, and each time it’s been a very predictable, easy experience. I haven’t had anything in the past that has made this experience uncomfortable for me, and since I expect it every time, it’s become almost routine … too routine. The TSA agents have the same verbiage and motions. So I do what I can to mix it up just a little bit. It’s like a sport, like getting the Buckingham Palace guard to smile.
“Ma’am, do you have any parts of your body that are sensitive?” the female TSA agent asks me, acting with the utmost professionalism and barely cracking even the littlest facial expression.
“Not really. My insulin pump site is on the back of my hip. It’s a little floppy. So I guess it might be sensitive about that.”
And her stifled laugh is enough to take my anxiety down a notch, and helps me enjoy at least that moment of traveling.