Schiphol International Airport is one of the busiest transit hubs in Europe. The train station and airport merge into each other and there are people everywhere.

It’s bright and early and I got off the train from Nijmegen where I’d been for the HypoRESOLVE AGM. A 6.28am train does not make me a happy lass, so I was dreading negotiating an airport that is quite manic before 9am on not enough coffee.

Dropping off my suitcase was easy and I had a boarding pass. Security was the only thing stopping me from sitting down and having more coffee. Standing in line, I started the familiar dance of getting myself ready to pass through the security area. I pulled my laptop from my bag, removed my Apple Watch and medical ID bracelet; my leather jacket came off and I unwound my scarf from my neck.

‘Good morning,‘ I said to the person directing the traffic to the different gates. ‘I can’t go through the full body scanner – I am wearing some diabetes devices that can’t go through. I think I’ll need a pat down.’

‘Not a problem,’ he said. ‘I’ll organise someone. You can have a full massage!’ He smiled cheekily at me.

‘Great,‘ I said. ‘A manicure and pedi would be wonderful too.’ 

He laughed and directed me through to the woman waiting to do my pat down.

I greeted her, still smiling. ‘I’m wearing medical devices. I have one on my arm,’ I signalled to my Dexcom. ‘And two here.’ I pointed to where my pump and RileyLink were comfortably housed in my bra.

She started to pat down my arm. ‘I can lift my sleeve,’ I said. ‘It’s a glucose monitor.’

‘Oh,’ she said, stopping for a minute. ‘You have diabetes?’

‘Yes, I do,’ I said.

‘So does my son. Type 1. He was seven when he was diagnosed. He’s eighteen now.’

‘I have type 1 too.’

‘Do you need to see my insulin pump?’ I asked as she resumed patting me down.

‘No – it’s fine,’ she said. ‘My son doesn’t use a pump. He’s a teenager. Diabetes isn’t the most important thing to him.’

‘It’s not to me either,’ I smiled at her. ‘It’s not all that much fun.’

I looked over to my travel companions who were making their way through security.

‘My friends over there also have type 1,’ I said. ‘Having friends who understand helps a lot.’

‘Like a diabetes club,’ she said. She had finished now and we were just standing there chatting.

‘Not a very cool one, and not really one that I want to be part of. But yes,’ I looked carefully at her. She had that look that I see anytime I connect with someone from our diabetes world. A bit of sadness; interest in talking to others who know, and hope. Always hope. ‘I hope your son is doing well.’

‘He is. He has some friends with diabetes. It does help.’

We said good bye and I was joined by my band of friends. And we went to get more coffee.


My flight to Amsterdam and train travel to and from Nijmegen have been covered by the HypoRESOLVE project.