This past weekend, on a spur of the moment, we decided to go to Great Adventures in NJ (a two hour trip from my house). I had the day off from work and we all needed some time just to be together and have fun. Without much thought, I grabbed a small backpack for all my gadgets...Dexcom receiver (my bgs have been running very low and I didn't want to risk a crazy low at the park), cellphone, glucose meter, backup insulin, extra infusion set and reservoir (just in case anything gets pulled out during a ride), glucose tabs and my wallet with emergency info inside. I wanted to go without calling attention to myself but I was going prepared! I wanted my diabetes to be "behind the scene" so the day would be about my boys and I having a great time.
We arrived at Great Adventures and the first thing I encounter was the full body scanners that are now at the point of entrance. Not knowing what the scanners would do to any of the electronics, I opted to find someone who would do a physical search instead. There were no signs of any kind to accomplish this. I ended up going to a security guard and requested a manual search. He was very gracious (he had a pacemaker and couldn't go through the body scanners either so he understood) and he did as I requested and allowed me to go through. Ok, that was the first incident...diabetes just doesn't want to be "behind the scene".
They decided the first ride would be El Toro (bad ass roller coaster) on the other side of the park. We go straight there and at the entrance to the ride, I'm informed that I couldn't bring the backpack past that point. Oh NO! It was suggested that I leave my bag there until after the ride! Are they kidding me???? I explained to the girl that I had medical electronics and insulin in the backpack and I couldn't risk having the bag stolen. She told me I would need to get a "Medical" sticker for my bag, at the Customer Service booth....at the entrance to the park. I told the boys to go on without me, I would go get the Medical sticker and meet them back at the ride.
I went to the Customer Service booth and explain the situation to the young man behind the counter and he gave me the Medical sticker, explaining that it had to be attached where it would be in plain sight. Ugg, so now I have this white Medical sticker attached to the handle of the backpack for all to see....advertising my need for a Medical backpack! So not "behind the scene"!!!!
I went all the way back to the other side of the park and find the boys, who now want to go on Rolling Thunder (another bad ass roller coaster). We get to the entrance of the ride, the guy at the entrance tells me to leave my bag, I show him the sticker, he says "Oh, Medical sticker, you can bring your bag to the ride", we go through the line maze and get up to the platform where you wait in line for the next coaster. The gate opens up, we get in the coaster, the safety gate comes down on my legs and locks me in, the two operators then inform me I can't bring my backpack on the ride, I need to leave it on the platform until I come back. I show them the Medical sticker and they told me I still had to leave my backpack on the platform until the ride is over. Meanwhile, three coasters would arrive at that destination before mine would make it back...three rides full of people would pass by the backpack before I would be able to grab it.
They informed me that they are NOT responsible for anything being stolen. I told them I couldn't risk the bag being taken, I asked if I could put the bag by the ride operator so they could keep an eye on it. They said that "they can not be responsible". I asked them to just put the backpack on the platform for me (I was already locked into the seat and couldn't reach the platform) and they both said "we can't take responsibility for the bag". At this point everyone's eyes were on me wondering why the ride was being held up so long....and all the people waiting for the next coaster were silent and watching this play out. The staff stood there doing nothing, not realizing I was locked in, waiting for me to get up and put the backpack aside. I couldn't help it, I started crying because I saw the look on both of my son's faces and they were furious that I was being singled out so harshly. I was so embarrassed and upset. Sooooo Not Behind the Scene!
My son couldn't take it anymore and yelled for them to release the safety gate so he could get out, told me to give him the backpack, climbed out of the coaster, walked up to the ride operator, put the backpack right in front of him and told him to watch the bag, climbed back in and told them to get away from me. Damage was done, I cried through the ride and got off deciding that the thrill of the ride wasn't worth the process of getting on it. It was only the second ride of the day and I had already felt the disappointment.
The rest of the day went a little better, most of the staff were not as rude and tried to help as much as possible, I gave up and left my backpack on each of the platforms and just crossed my fingers it would be there when I returned. Most ride operators were kind enough to keep the bag by them and I got used to the white Medical sticker hanging out on the strap, poking at me all day. We managed to have fun, even be silly for a while.
I'm amazed that the Dexcom transmitter stayed intact, even though most of the roller coaster's safety gates rested right on it, or right beneath it. My infusion site didn't pull out no matter how much my body got tossed around and I only had one bad low, which was promptly corrected by an ice cream cone!
Having to deal with all that we have to do on a daily basis is hard enough, but I can deal with it. I just wanted one day off of the diabetes merry-go-round and be with my boys at an amusement park. Not being able to do that really gets to me......sometimes.