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Fatboy vs the TSA – Traveling with Medical Stuff


This was the EASY part of packing

We were stressing over traveling up to Ohio this weekend with all of my medicine and medical supplies that included my $11,000 Vest and 4 days of Cayston and Pulmozyme, along with all of my other “less expensive” meds. Of course, we were also n more possible conflict with the needles needed to mix and draw out my colistin from its vials, so I was expecting a nightmare experience.

The morning before, I read up on everything on the Southwest site and the TSA site about traveling with medical disabilities and medical supplies. It seemed like it was all in our favor to be a breeze, so long as we declared early on that we were going to be a pain in the butt. I declared so early, the guy seemed annoyed that I mentioned that I had special medical equipment with me and the second guy said to just get in the line with everyone else.

SecurityGet in line, we did; to my surprise there wasn’t anyone around us in a TSA uniform to quietly try to explain our situation, so I had to wait until I was next up to go through the metal detector and push my stuff through the x-ray to tell them that I had medicine in these here plastic bags that were for visual inspection rather than x-ray invasion.

They asked, “Why?”

So much for the claim on the site about them being well-trained and prepared for such situations. I explained that these meds cost a ton of money and are special antibiotics and genetic drugs that I didn’t want to risk damage by going through the x-ray scanner. They were separated into 2 clear gallon bags and each was labeled with the drug information and/or my prescription label, if not both.

After we waited 3 minutes for the supervisor to get done with a search to come over and retrieve my Vest from the x-ray scanner, the other guy was done with my clear bags and took Beautiful’s sandwich, my diabetes kit (that I only brought to take my sugars along with my grandpa), and one other thing that I can’t remember back to the scanner for a quick TSA-privilege scan that was done by the time I had my shoes and belt back on.

The total time between getting off the concourse shuttle and seated at our gate was only 25 minutes during the noon rush. It was highly, highly stressful for me because I am the leader and the one responsible for us getting from Point A to Point B, but I was fine after we were seated with an hour to go before boarding.

A side story for those who read because of me rather than my CF itself, we had a funny non-incident at the curbside skycab baggage check-in. We’ve used curbside ever since we started dating, but it was new to Beautiful at the time. She swears by it now after all of these years never having a line outside and then walking in to see a 20-60 minute line just inside the door. Such a gratifying one or two dollars to spend for that kind of service!

ShoeAnyway, Southwest is 1 free checked bag (under 50lbs) per passenger. He took our quite heavy bag to the scale and it was 52lbs! Instead of charging us immediately, he asked us if there was anything we could take out and put in the carry-on to shave that weight. We opened the top compartment and took out one of my rubber-soled dress shoes and I put it on the scale. The scale read 1.5lbs! The man said that was good enough for him and put our destination tag on the bag, I gave him $1 and we walked into the airport with our claim ticket exactly two hours before our flight was scheduled to take off.


  1. I’m pleased that we don’t have to fly to get anywhere in the UK, although we once went to Tenerife before Robyn was born. Getting everything organised for that trip was planned months in advance. Doctors letters in Spanish & English were quite easy to get through the CF Trust. I hope you both enjoy your trip.

    • Why aren’t we Facebook friends? Don’t you do Facebook? Beautiful posted photos, but I haven’t gotten them up on Posterous yet. That’s my next task before beddie-bye.

      • Yes, I’m on Facebook, but I don’t go on as much as I used to since I found Twitter. I’ll look you up

  2. You will never be able to tease Beautiful about being the one who packed everything but the kitchen sink. You are the one with all the “baggage”! Have a wonderful weekend with your family. The weather must have known you were coming because in KY at least it turned to a beautiful 76 degrees.