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[IP] Back from China (long - sorry)

Hi All,

I just recently got back from a trip to China and I thought that since there
have been quite a few posts about Diabetes and travel that I'd pass my
experience along.  It was my first trip out of the US since I started
pumping and since 9/11 - both of which made me a little nervous where I had
never been a nervous traveler before.  Also, it would be my first trip in a
country where I didn't speak the language and China has a problem with
Dysentery and Giardia.  So I took a little extra precaution.

When I travel out of the US I always take the following:  several compazine
suppositories (in case of bad vomiting due to food-borne bacteria), Lomotil
(in case of food poisoning resulting in diarrhea), and double the diabetes
supplies (I've had canceled flights and longer layovers than expected where
this has come in handy).  This time I took triple the needed amount.  I also
bought a Frio wallet to keep my insulin and compazine cool because I wasn't
confident that everywhere I went would have a fridge handy (it cost about
12.85 US).  And I asked a Chinese national friend at work to write a card
that had "Diabetes, Insulin-Dependent" at the top and the Chinese
translation for that at the bottom since I didn't speak the language.

At the Phoenix airport where I began my travels I wore my pump in its
leather holder and went to go through the security gate.  One guard yelled
for me to remove my cell phone but I told him that it was an insulin pump
and his response was "sorry, honey - go ahead".  I was really pleasantly
surprised that the gate didn't even beep.  In San Francisco where I had my
layover I had the same experience.  No problems, no delays due to the pump
(or anything else for that matter).

I kept my pump on Arizona time and figured that by my second day in China,
I'd switch the time over (it's a 16 hour difference).  However, by my first
morning in Shanghai, my blood sugars were off just a little bit and it
seemed consistent with the difference in basal rate.  I still waited until
the second morning to switch the time on my pump and sure enough, everything
straightened out.

We flew within China from Shanghai to Beijing (China Eastern Airlines) and I
wore my pump on my waistband again.  Sure enough when I approached security
the guard yelled a bit in Chinese and finally said "mobile" and pointed to
my pump.  I said insulin pump and showed him the bit of tube sticking up and
was about to start rooting around for the card that said I was diabetic in
Chinese, when he said "diabetes" and waved me through.  Again, the pump
didn't set off any alarms.

Flying back from Beijing to Shanghai I kept my pump hidden which is how I
usually wear it because I realized that it wasn't going to set off any
alarms and showing it was more trouble than it was worth.  Sure enough, I
went through security with no problem.

Flying home from Shanghai to San Francisco I again wore the pump on my
waistband because it's just more comfortable for long flights that way.
However, I was wearing a jacket that covered the pump and I wasn't stopped
or questioned.  Although, in San Francisco I was selected for a random
search and the person who was assigned to me was very new.  She didn't know
what an insulin pump was and kept telling me I had to take it off (the site
was in my butt and there was no way that was going to happen!). But her
supervisor quickly came over and seemed exasperated with her and told her
what it was for.  He then asked me to "make it do something" so that they
knew it was a real pump.  I just hit the act button (MM508) to show them
what was left in the reservoir and they waved me on.  The funny thing is
that when they wanded me, my zipper set the wand off, my silver necklace set
the wand off, and the clasp in my bra did as well, but the pump did not.

I got home mid-day and immediately made myself stay up until about 9 p.m.
before going to bed (I always do that and never have problems with jet lag)
and then the very next morning I set my pump back to AZ time and didn't have
a single blip on the radar screen.

Hope this assuages some worries - I'd say my experience traveling with the
pump was wonderful.  The worst that happened was that I went very high after
climbing the Great Wall (exercise usually raises my blood sugar a little but
this raised it to about 240) but I bolused and was back to normal within an
hour.  If you have any questions please don't hesitate to send me a note.
If you're planning a trip to China I'll be happy to scan my translated card
and send it to you so you can print it out as a graphic and take it with.  I
didn't have any need for it - but I think it can't hurt to have it in case
of emergency.

A bit of background: I've been diabetic (type 1) 20 years, no major
complications, on Vasotec for prophylactic measures, MM508 for 5 months, and
my last trip overseas was about 10 months ago on MDI to Australia.  Before
that I had lived in Spain and Italy for short periods, also on MDI.

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