What Happened There: Volume 1: Airport Madness

Even though the Roche Social Media Summit happened a week ago, I took a verible “diabetes break” after the summit: no Dexcom for a few days (the humidity caused my sensor site to break out really badly), no diabetes blogging and just having a relaxing 4th of July weekend with my friends, family, and boyfriend. Here is my account of what happened there.

Warning: By the end of this week, you’ll probably all be ready to quit hearing about Roche til next year. But as I began to write this post, it became very lengthy and since I have finals to prepare for this week (thanks, summer school) I decided to make this post two entries long.

Disclosure: The Second Social Media Summit for Diabetes Thought Leaders was hosted by Roche Pharmaceuticals and Roche paid for my flights, ground transportation, hotel, and meals in association with the summit.

I have an actual full “review” of Roche in the works, but first I want to talk about what actually happened, because believe me, it’s chalk full of good stories and things and diabetes-related madness.

My plane that took me from Springfield to Atlanta. Kinda small, isn't it!

First, let me tell you about my adventure actually getting there

Scene: Springfield Branson National Airport security gate, my first experience flying with an insulin pump and CGMS

Action: I approached the security gate with cautious optimism, because I had heard from several people online that they can usually walk right through airport security no problem with their insulin pumps. I went ahead and put my Dexcom receiver in my backpack to go through the xray machine so I would have one less thing to deal with. I informed the TSA agent working the metal detector that I h\was wearing an insulin pump and proceeded to enter the giant machine with caution.

beeebebebeep You guessed it – the alarm went off. I had forgotten to remove a) my all metal glasses and b) the metal clip on the back of my pump. I went ahead and removed these items and walked though the metal detector again.

beeebebebeep Yet again – alarm went off. I frantically pulled the bobby pins out of my  hair and went through again.

beeebebbeeep nd a third time. By now I was pretty annoyed, but the TSA agents were cool. The guy asked me to step to the side, the woman agent who came over to wand me was super nice, and she even made sure I had all my stuff. The airport was not busy in the least, so it wasn’t that big of a deal. Theft was highly unlikely considering the only people around to steal my stuff were TSA agents and I doubt they would have. So we went over to the little area where she wanded me and declared me threat free and able to continue to my gate. whew. It wasn’t painless, but they were super nice and helpful and that made it better to deal with the annoyance.

So I waited for about am hour before we were finally able to board our plane, late. We taxied down the tarmac and were about to speed down the runway when our plane abruptly turned around.

Ladies and gentlemen, we regret to inform you that due to bad weather in the Atlanta area we are going to be delayed about 40 minutes…”

Forty minutes! My flights were only 50 minutes apart. *Sigh* sounds like another episode of running through the airport coming up…

On to the airplane. Airplanes are usually decent places to make conversation but at first the woman I was sitting next to me seemed to want to have nothing to do with me. So I went about my merry way until we got closer to landing and even more delayed. We were rerouted to the south side of the airport and had 2 miles of taxi-ing after we landed, plus, because of the delays, the airport itself was backed up. After the captain announced this, the lady next to me finally began talking to me. I found out she grew up in Springfield and which high school she went to, we commented on the differences between the way my high school was in the 80’s and the way it was when I was there in the early 2000’s, and she then said, “I’m on my way home, to Orlando.”

“Orlando! I’m going there too! Is your flight number (whatever number the flight was)?”

Turns out, it was. We were on the same flight! I had an airport running buddy. Her husband had also texted her our gate number and when we landed on the ground we knew where we were headed. After waiting for our courtesy baggage, we were off.

Favorite Thing: how the clouds look from an airplane

Of course, we were at the end of concourse D and we needed to get to the end of concourse A. So we had some sprinting, some running, some train-riding, some escalator weaving, and finally we made it to our flight with five minutes to spare. They shut the door behind us, literally.

After my sprint through the busiest and one of the largest airports in the US, I was pooped. I sat down on the plane and just relaxed, but not for long. Somehow, I wound up alone in my row. That was pretty sweet. I sprawled out and aimed all three air vents directly at my face. I checked my blood sugar. All good. But my worries were not over. It turned out to be the roughest flight I’ve ever been on. As you can see from the picture on the right, we flew through massive amounts of clouds, which are pretty from above but not so fun to fly through. And being an inexperienced flier (this was actually only my 4th time flying anywhere), the turbulence actually put me on the verge of bursting into tears for a while. Finally, I made it to Orlando, exausted. Grabbed my luggage and headed down to where the people were supposed to be waiting with a car/bus/shuttle/van for me.

No one was there.

Turns out there are TWO baggage claims at the Orlando airport and the people from VMS (company arranging our travel) and the driver were waiting on the side of the airport where my luggage should have been. However, I didn’t check any luggage, so I didn’t pay attention when the flight attendant told us which baggage claim to go to. Of course. Finally I went back up the stairs and figured this out, and went to the other side, where there was a guy standing with a sign that said “S BLACKSHER” and a girl with a little Roche Social Media Summit sign.

Mr. Everett was kind and he lead me to my stylin’ sedan where I felt like a freaking princess! We talked about why I was there and the previous times when I was in Florida, then the man tried to save me when he knew good and well (I told him, he asked) I was already saved. He was nice enough but my brain was on Roche and diabetes and not on what you say when someone responds to, “I’m Methodist” with “people these days just don’t preach from the bible.” Uh, jab at me or my church or what are you getting at, mister? Anyway, I smiled and nodded (or audibly said, “Mhmm”) to all his commentary and disregarded him trying to kidnap men and take me to Disney World (I’m sure he’s just used to going there).

I checked in and took my stuff upstairs when Cherise texted me to let me know a bunch of people were downstairs in the restaurant, so I went down where I met a BUNCH of  D-blogging people, I can’t list them right now because surely I’ll leave someone out. I thought my night was about to end with some hellos, some expensive Italian soup, and a long nights rest in my hotel bed, but I was so wrong.

Pictured: Kelly Kunik, Kelly Rawlings, LeAnn Thill (at least, part of her) and Cherise’s hands and iphone.

That’s a bottle of olive oil on the table, not liquor.

(FYI: Kelly Rawlings was not attending the Social Media Summit, she is the editor of Diabetic Living magazine and she was covering the ADA Scientific Sessions, which ended the day before the summit).

Tune in tomorrow for late night adventures. (Or see Cherise’s blog above for a quick preview).


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