Saturday, May 19, 2012

What They Should Know

This post is suppose to be about what the world should know about diabetes!  There are many things that I would like to announce to the world.  Mostly I wish people would stop being so stupid about the things they say to a diabetic.  I wish they would stop showing how stupid they truly are about service dogs!   This "stupidity" knows no bounds when it comes to either of those subjects.  Let me give you 2 examples that have happened the last week alone!

A good friend of mine who has a wonderful service dog was in a very well known fast food chain when he was ask to leave because of his dog! His dog was wearing a vest that CLEARLY identified him as a service dog.  His owner is very aware of ADA laws and was trying to educate...but the police were called.  The policeman showed up and showed his ignorance by announcing "this is private have to leave".  To make it all worse my friend was has a low bg during all of this!   From the ADA website it states CLEARLY  in commonly asked questions that  any "private" business (ie restaurant) that serves the public cannot discriminate on an individual or service animal and animal must be allowed in areas where public are commonly allowed.  They tried to talk to the police officer and show him the ADA card and he replies "I KNOW THE LAW".  Needless to friend now has grounds to sue based on discrimination.....all because he is a T1 diabetic that has a service dog!

Then I had my own run with stupidity when I flew to TN last week.  The T.S.A. in Salt Lake were a bear to deal with.  I have flown A LOT with Bravo and have never had any trouble but this experience has me wanting to drive rather than fly!  In fact here is the copy of the letter that I sent to T.S.A.

To Whom This May Concern:
I am a T1 diabetic with a service dog. I have flown out of SLC airport probably 60 times in the last few years. Normally it all goes smooth but last Thursday was a NIGHTMARE.

I have a new insulin pump and was advised to NOT let it go through any I ask if they would hand check my insulin pump. All of my other stuff went through the normal xray procedures. Flying with a service dog I get everything ready and then strip him at the last minute. I put him on a down and I walk through and then he is called through. All normal at this point. No alarms nothing out of normal. I go to pick up my dogs equipment mostly his collar and leash that went through xray and a gentlemen yells (YES YELLS) DONT TOUCH THAT. I said " sir it his leash and collar ...I dont think we want a SD loose in the airport". Just leave it and come with me. At this point a female officer comes over and says "BECAUSE of the INSULIN PUMP we need to do a pat down" Ok but can I have my leash and collar for my dog? We have to check it. OK......fine. SO I put my dog on a down where he should be out of the way. He is laying there while I am getting patted down. He is watching very closely as service dogs are used to seeing their owners handled that way, She states 'he is watching me funny" I tell her " they aren't used to it" about that time another agent comes over to get empty pans which are on a cart next to my dog. He promptly knocks them over on top of my dog who spooks a little. I am not talking loud noise close I am talking big things landing on my dog. Again I am chastised for moving and it "felt" like I was being discriminated all for being a diabetic who NEEDS an insulin pump! The best one is shortly after that one of the agents while going through my stuff drops my dogs REWARD BALL for alerts on floor. When Bravo gets up to get it he starts hollering "DON'T TOUCH THAT" . I finally get done and thanks to all the stress of that I have a very bad hypoglycemic reaction.

I tell you all of that to ask some questions:

1. HOW is the best way to handle our insulin pumps???? On my return trip I just let them x-ray it as I figure it is far better to do that than deal with that crap again. I wish I didn't have to fly often but I can I please get some guidance on how to make this smoother?

2. Why can a dog not be given back their lead while being patted down? I have NEVER had trouble like this before and most often get lots of compliments on how well my dog behaves. The few times I have been patted down it was NOTHING like this.

Thank you for your time in responding to this....I understand you have a job to do....and thank you for that..but I need some help so this don't happen again!
KC Owens
I then get this reply from T.S.A.:
FROM TSA: "Thank you for your comments, regarding your experience while traveling. Specifically, you expressed dissatisfaction with the way you were treated by the Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) here in Salt Lake City.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) SLC regrets any unprofessional treatment you may have experienced at the security checkpoint. TSA seeks to provide a high level of security and customer service to all travelers who pass through our screening checkpoints. Every person and item must be screened before entering each secured area, and the way the screening is conducted is important. Our policies and procedures focus on ensuring that all passengers, regardless of their personal situations and needs, are treated with dignity, respect, and courtesy. I have forwarded your concerns to the security managers to pull the video tapes of your screening to review and see what happened. From your description I agree that you should have been allowed to place your dog’s collar and leash back onto the dog for security. I apologize and I hope the officer did as well for spilling items on the dog. I hope this did not upset your dog too much. Because insulin pumps are attached to the person, the only way TSA can clear them is to do a pat-down. I know this can be uncomfortable. You can always request a private screening, and also request a supervisor to assist you. "
I am not done with them yet so I write this reply :
"Can I ask a few more questions please?

I am trying hard to come up with ways to make this easier for everyone involved. What
if I disconnect from the pump for the few minutes that it takes to go through security?
Is there a way to just check the pump without it going through the xray stuff?
Everything but that? Then hand screen the insulin pump only while the rest of my stuff
and me and the dog go through regular screening??

Thank you for your time.....I really am trying to figure out how to make this smoother.
I really don't want to ruin a 10k piece of equipment but I really don't want a repeat
performance of the last time. I have 4 more trips coming up in the near future and this
is the FIRST TIME I have ever had this happen. EVER! When I fly out of a morning I
usually walk over to the International side...they are not nearly as busy and it has
always gone smooth!

Thanks again

ANd her last reply : "You can send the insulin pump through the X-ray, but if you ask for it to be hand screened then they will have to do the pat down process.  I would just ask for a supervisor, tell him/her that you had an unfortunate, bad experience the last time.  If you need to be patted down, can you have a private screening with your dog?"
I have a better about the pump companies figure out how to make xray safe for our pumps!  For petes sake every other electronic thing goes through security just fine...why cant an insulin pump????? Come on T.S.A. there are roughly 3 MILLION  Type 1 diabetics in the US.  A big chunk of them have insulin pumps and most have probably flown at least some.   
Add all of these "outside" ignorant responses on top of all the things we live with diabetes and no wonder we sometimes get  a tad surly  when we are low! 

Please folks..."think before you speak" and SOMEBODY PLEASE FIX T.S.A!


  1. When I was on minimed, I took it off, handed it around xray, they tested it and handed it back when I got through. Never had that problem and never had to be patted down. Really weird.
    They are lucky Bravo wasn't hurt in the incident!! And that he has such great training that he didn't run off scared to death. Geesh!
    Someone suggested to me a no metal leash/collar combo for the next time I fly so that he wouldn't need to be loose. I did see one, but didn't pick it up at the time. Sounds like I might regret that in the future!
    Sorry you had such a bad experience :(

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