When a Security Guard Pulled Out My Diapers While Inspecting My Bag

At 35 years old, I look like I am in relatively good health. But underneath my outward appearance, I battle a chronic condition called autonomic neuropathy. I have been battling this condition for close to 10 years. As the years have passed, my conditions have either intensified, or new conditions have developed to add to the ones I already have. Some of these conditions (and there are more) are classified as breathing difficulty, tachycardia and hypertension, problems with digestion such as trouble swallowing and irritable bowel syndrome, and incontinence.

Many of my conditions I can conceal quite well and essentially have no effect on my outward appearance. This includes my incontinence with pads (briefs/diapers) to protect my clothing and keep my bladder and bowel control a private matter free from public view. However, due to my incontinence, I have to carry a small backpack with incontinence supplies that I need for extended excursions away from home.

Recently, I went on an extended vacation with my wife to one of the major theme parks close to where I live. Now, when entering a theme park, going through security is usually not a problem. However, this trip was different. Upon entering the park, all bags and backpacks are searched by the security guards to look for dangerous objects. Nothing in my backpack would be considered as such. So I have no problem with security searching my bag. Every other time I have visited the park, security has always been very professional with concealing my potentially embarrassing medical condition. My incontinence is not something I wish to put on display. This time however, the guard at the gate decided to pull all of my supplies out of my bag and lay them out on the table for other guests to see.

This situation made me very uncomfortable and I started to wonder what the other guests in the area were thinking. So while the guard was searching my bag, I tried to gather my supplies and I attempted to hide them in my arms, but it was to no avail. The guests in my immediate area had already seen the supplies I was trying to hide. Which left me with diapers in my hand and an embarrassed and panicked look on my face. I was mortified. I looked up from the table and the couple across from me had a crooked smile on their face and were looking at the floor. I thought they were laughing at me.

Now, I have learned throughout my life that when I am in doubt, it is helpful to ask for an objective point of view just to see if my assumptions are valid. After examining the situation upon entering the gates, I discussed, in a rather anxious sort of way, the previous scenario with my wife. I asked her about the people around me. She stated that she did not believe the people around me were laughing at me, but were rather embarrassed for me and felt like they were in disbelief that the guard was putting me through this. Their smiles were not one of ridicule, but of pity. By looking down at the floor, my wife felt that they were trying to give me what little privacy I was trying to salvage.

After I calmed down and my night carried on, I began to enjoy myself in the park and reflect on my previous predicament. I asked myself if it was worth going through all the anxiety I expended previously that evening. The rumination on the previous events took away the time I should have been experiencing by enjoying my wife’s company while on our vacation. I cannot get that time back. So was it worth it? I would have to say no.

In the end, I concluded that my feelings were unnecessary. Yes, the situation was embarrassing. But the people around me did not react the way I thought they would. The fact that a stranger may see that I wear diapers does not change who I am as a person. It does not take away the fact that I am a good person, or a great husband and father. Just because I have to wear diapers for a medical condition that is beyond my control does not define who I am as a person. Underneath, I am still a great human being and I bring something positive to those around me. And I’m good with that!

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Photo via Thinkstock Images on Getty Images

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Autonomic Dysfunction

shopping mall

What to Expect When Using a Wheelchair at the Mall

Going to the mall seems like an average activity that is common for teenagers. The hustle and bustle of busy shoppers, smells of the food court and all the cute outfits that seem to scream, “Buy me!!!” What is a fun and seemingly easy outing for average teens can turn into quite the adventure for those [...]
man sitting outside looking down

What Seeking Treatment for Autonomic Neuropathy Looks Like

I have wondered for the last 10 years what was causing my seemingly mysterious conditions. They seemed to appear one after another. Pyramiding as the months and years have passed by. It began with simple enuresis. At the age of 25, it seemed odd. What would cause such a condition to come out of nowhere [...]
woman sitting in the waiting room of a doctor's office

When Going to a Doctor Appointment Is Like Preparing for Battle

“You should stop looking for answers.” Time seems to freeze as a doctor says these words to me and my family. His words echo and bounce through my ears into my shell-shocked brain. I have dealt with ignorant doctors my whole life; however, I have never dealt with one who has shut me down so [...]
man standing at abandoned city,illustration painting

There Is So Much More to Chronic Illness Than Just 'Being Sick'

Over the past three years I have seen countless specialists in and out of my state and trialed close to a dozen medications for what was thought to be POTS, orthostatic hypotension, and autonomic dysfunction only to find out it may be something entirely different. I was essentially pumping my body full of medications for [...]