Dear mr. tuff guy

I normally stay in a very positive state of mind...

really positive...

except maybe when I'm really angry...

I recently experienced one of those occasions.


and oh yeah... I almost went to jail.


I travel for work pretty often. So... having completed my work week, I headed to the airport. It had been a normal week, perhaps a bit more demanding than some, but all in all a very good week. I headed to the airport, had a fun cab driver, we had a great talk on the way, and I met a new friend. Probably will never see him again, but that's not the point. We conducted our business together, connected on a friendly basis, shared some laughs and stories, then went our separate ways. So far so good. Before leaving the cab, I did a quick bg test, did a correction as I was running a little bit high, and then removed my pump, as I've found it much easier to do a small bolus and then unhook for a few minutes than to leave it on and have the metal detectors in the security line go off (which they always do with my pump-an Animas 'Ping') Why remove it? Because if I don't and the monitors go off, then I have to go through all of the pat-down procedures, additional questioning, etc. Just a lot more hassle and delay than I care to deal with. So, I removed it, placed it in my messenger bag, threw that over my shoulder, and went into the terminal. I picked up my boarding pass and headed on into the security area. The security line was extra long, and the normal 3-5 minute process was taking a lot longer than usual for this particular airport. In any case, finally, it was my turn.


Everything was going smoothly until I presented my boarding pass to the less than pleasant woman standing in front of me. She motioned me forward, I showed her the pass, she grunted and nodded, waiving me on. I moved on toward the x-ray machine to pick up my bags. No alarms went off, nothing. I thought all was well, that is until I heard her say, "Hey wait a minute, come back." So... I turned around, and she gruffly said "Go in there!" She was motioning towards a glassed-in "cage" used as a holding station, where I (along with another nice but equally perturbed gentleman) waited to be patted down. I asked the less than friendly woman why I was being singled out... she said because she decided she didn't like the way I smiled. Seriously. That's exactly what she said.


Uh, are you freaking kidding me?!?!?!?!?!!! She just laughed as the door slammed behind me. And there I stood. Separated from my pump... for the next 25 minutes. Waiting. And waiting. No matter what I said. No matter how much I protested. OK, lesson learned, guess I'll go back to just asking for a hand inspection, even though it typically adds 10 minutes to the otherwise normally quick process. But wait. It gets even better! Or perhaps I should say worse...


After standing there and watching cart after cart slam into my bags which were now at the end of the conveyor belt, and watching many strangers shove my bag into the metal end-piece, I wondered what shape my pump would be in when I got back to it. (fast forward, it was fine). Eventually a very large man with a very small brain, who really needed both a shower and to BRUSH HIS TEETH and do SOMETHING about his O M G FOUL SMELLING BREATH!!!, came and retrieved me from my cell. OK, Tim, just stay calm, it will all be over in a minute, you will still make your flight and get reconnected with your pump.


Yeah right. It was not to be...


Mr. 'smelly breath began frisking me. Fine, no problem, I've been down this path before. I expected it to last the normal 2-3 minutes and I would be on my way. But then... he felt the infusion site on my abdomen. His eyes got very large... He began to breathe very rapidly and turn a bit pale, all the while blowing the most foul-smelling stench right into my face. I quickly realized what he must be thinking, as I most certainly must look like a terrorist... after all, I totally fit the profile. Don't I? Here, let me prove it to you. Stop reading for a moment, and go look at my picture, and then come back... I'll be waiting for you right here... promise.


Yeah, not exactly a terrorist match, right? That's what I thought. Evidently he didn't agree. Before I realized what was happening, he grabbed the infusion site through my shirt and began to pull. Really hard... (not a really smart move though, wouldn't you think?) Anyway, it hurt. A lot! and I am used to lots of pain... Evidently he had also learned to employ a sadistic twisting technique somewhere along the way as well. OK, this is going to be just loads of fun unless I do something, anything to interrupt him, and do it quickly. Instantly, I took a deep breath, looked him right in the eye, shoved him back about 3 feet and said very loudly, "DO NOT EVEN PULL ON THAT!" That is an infusion device that is keeping me alive. I am a diabetic, and that is where my pump attaches to my body! Evidently his 'oh most thorough training' had taught him exactly what to do in such situation where someone is protesting his over-aggressive and beyond necessary actions, as he instinctively followed through by grabbng it again and YANKING IT AS HARD AS HE COULD! "Gee, thanks, that felt really good... A$$ Ho@#^%!!!" I know, it was probably not the best thing for me to say, but it was too late, it was already out there. Can't take it back now, and frankly at that moment you couldn't have paid me enough money to do so even if it was possible. Not a chance. Yeah, normally I'm very easy going, laid back, and have a lot of fun in just about every situation I find myself in. Except when you fu%#k with me. And he just did. Bad move on his part. Now, I like to think I'm smart enough to keep from getting arrested in such a situation. And luckily for me, I was. I am, after all, a gentleman. (HEY, those of you who know me personally, I HEARD that! lol) ok, whatev', but just don't f$#k with me or I quickly turn into something way less than gentile... You see, I also like to think that when I've been wronged I know just about how far I can push a situation in order to make my point and still keep things from escalating against me. I'll save you the boring details, but lets just say the last time I saw him, he was on the receiving end of a very angry, very loud supervisor as they watched the video tape of his abuse of authority over and over and over. Now... let me say I very much appreciate and respect the incredibly hard job these folks are faced with every single day, and that the majority of them do so very well. But on the other hand... well, just know I was pi$$ed)

I was finally allowed to go and retrieve my bags. By then I just had enough time to literally run thru the airport to the gate and catch the plane before the doors closed. I put my bag in the overhead compartment, knowing I still needed to replace the infusion site that had been ripped from my body. The flight attendant insisted I stow my bag and take my seat. ok, not her fault I was late, besides, she too has an often thankless job, and I know I hate it when I see someone giving flight attendants needless grief and whining... but now there will be yet another delay before I can reset another site and get all hooked up again.


fine... I'll just have to deal with it and make the best out of the situation I can...


I was on shots for over 30 years before getting my pump, and I've done my fare share of them (over 45,000 thru the years by my estimate, many of which took place at 30,000 feet or higher in a plane somewhere over who knows how many states, countries, and "hoods" LOL. So I quickly grabbed a syringe, a bottle of insulin and my meter, and sat down.


By this time my blood pressure wasn't the only thing that was elevated... My BG was at 450. Let me say that again... 4 freaking 50! Yeah, I guess it's true, stress CAN play havoc with your numbers. So... let's just say I didn't mind letting several rows of my fellow passengers hear me say another 'thank you' to my giant hero in the blue shirt and his lady friend the "hall monitor". . I then gave myself a shot right in the abdomen, and purposely did it very close to the place where the infusion site had been. It was my little way of paying tribute to "the little site that almost was, but was murdered before it had a chance to really live and fulfill it's intended destiny". LOL.


Over the next 3 1/2 hours, I listened to music and watched a movie, but mostly wondered what was happening inside my body... what kind of damage was being done as a result of the high I was experiencing. Eventually I relaxed... I took a few really deep breaths... and as the numbers fell, so too did my emotions come down. And then at 30,000 feet, somewhere over the middle of the country, in the middle of a crowd of strangers connected for a short time inside a metal tube going 500 miles an hour by a common destination and mode of travel, I said a silent thank you... to all the folks who truly do keep us safe without abusing their position for so little in return, knowing that they really are handicapped in their efforts, yet do their best day after day... and then I said a silent thank you to all the other first responders who risk their lives for us every day, and to the maker of the syringe and of the insulin that was at that very moment now saving my life yet one more time... and to the man who discovered it those few short years ago...

And then I said a little thank you, for all of you, my friends, who face your own struggles every day, and who like me, refuse to give in, and who will never give up. We keep going...