If you think getting through airport security with a bag of diabetes supplies is sometimes a hassle, try being a teenager passing through security to attend a concert with friends. I will admit it – I’m a big Justin Bieber fan. I also like Cody Simpson, the 16-year-old Australian singer, and the group Emblem 3, the California Boy band who rose to fame following their appearance on the television show “X Factor” last season.
My experience with security at concerts while having diabetes has been a mixed bag. I appreciate what the security guards are doing – safeguarding everyone attending an event. I understand they need to thoroughly check out all purses, bags, etc. What I find frustrating, however, is the lack of knowledge on the part of some security guards of the need for people with diabetes to carry certain items on them at all times, particularly food and drinks.
Hassles with Security Guards and Diabetes Supplies
Some security guards have questioned me about the need to bring my own snack, orange juice and water bottle into the venue. More than once, I’ve been directed to throw away the drinks and snacks before entering the arena, and have been told “you can buy these items inside.” I try to explain that my snack has a certain number of carbs and I know how much insulin to take to cover that particular food item. I have also explained that I would need my orange juice immediately if my blood sugar dropped too low - and I would not have time to stand in line to buy a drink.
If my blood sugar was high, I would need a lot of water right away as well. Some places run out of bottled water before a concert even ends! On the occasions that I’ve had to leave my friends who are right in front of the stage, I’ve never been able to return to my same spot. If you have never been to a general admissions concert that attracts primarily teenage girls, well trust me, it’s not a pretty sight and nobody lets you get back in the crowd!
Making a Plan for my Diabetes Supplies
After a few bad experiences, my parents requested a letter from the doctor stating my medical need to have these items with me at all times (we’ve used the same letter at airports as well). It’s like a back-up plan if I need it. I also figured out a way to avoid a big production at the entrance gates. Now I tell the security guards right away that I have type 1 diabetes and need to bring my food and drinks with me into the venue. I tell them that I have a note from my doctor if they need to see it and I also show them my medical alert bracelet. Obviously, I want to enter the concerts with my friends, not my parents. This method seems to have worked, because recent concert experiences have gone much smoother.
One security guard at a Justin Bieber concert smiled when I explained what I had in my bag. He told me that he also had diabetes and could completely understand why I needed to have my snacks and drinks with me. Another security guard at a Cody Simpson concert said that there was no problem keeping these items with me. She told me that she was going to be standing nearby and to get her attention if I needed anything, including extra juice that she carried in her bag. A security guard at a Taylor Swift concert actually thanked me for explaining the situation to her ahead of time, because she said “I would have had to ask you about it.”
The Convenience of My Insulin Pump
I have to say that I’ve never encountered a problem with my Omnipod insulin pump itself going through security. The Pod is discreetly covered by my clothes and has never set off an alarm at any of the metal detectors that I’ve had to pass through to gain entrance into a venue. The PDM looks so much like a cell phone, that I haven’t had any security guard ask me about that either. Also since I use the Omnipod, I don’t have to carry syringes and needles in my purse* – now that would generate a whole other series of questions!
Learn more about the Omnipod and try a free demo here.
*It’s important to carry a back-up insulin delivery method. See the Omnipod User Guide for more information.