Even after more than seven years of travelling with a disability, I learn new things all the time. In August I went to New Zealand, via Dubai, Singapore and Australia, and went through security at least once at each stage. This was my first trip travelling internationally with syringes, as a year before I had started injecting medication. I was prepared with my letter from my GP, checked that the ice packs were small gel packs that did not contravene the liquid rules, had the boxes and bags accessible for inspection by hand as needed, and I had paid close attention to the requirements for each country.

At my first airport I said to the security attendant, “I have syringes; should I take them out?” and she waved me through, reassuring me that it wasn’t an issue. It only then occurred to me that between people with immunosuppressants (like me), diabetic travellers and those who need epi pens, they must see dozens of needles every day and don’t need me to tell them I’m a special case. 

After all that preparation, the only thing that caused concern was a mysterious metal appendage on my luggage scale as I left Dubai – something I had never noticed, and that was the biggest lesson of all: sometimes luggage scales come with handy integral tape measures!


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