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When a TSA Officer Asked If I Can Use My Feeding Tube for Beer

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In the line approaching security I started to get nervous, although not for lack of planning. I had all the TSA policies on medical liquids ready on my phone. I had an extra feed bag ready in case they made me open my formula and even had the mini 2-ounce Pedialyte bottles instead of the big ones since they looked more medical. I had my feeding pump and everything at the top of my backpack so I could quickly pause the feed and disconnect myself from the pump in order to go through the metal detector. Yet I had heard horror stories about TSA and had problems with them in the past with just a knee brace; a feeding tube was a whole different level of nerve-wracking. However, if I didn’t have my feeds running, there was a good chance I would faint — so that wasn’t a great option either while traveling alone.

Finally it was my turn to go through security. I handed my driver’s license and plane ticket to the TSA officer and then informed him I was traveling with medical liquids and had a feeding tube.

“So you can use that for beer right?”

My jaw dropped. Did he really just say that? Here I was so worried someone would argue with me about my formula or other medical liquids, and I was just questioned about beer. To say I was caught off guard would be an understatement. In the midst of being very flustered by the whole situation I tried to give a friendly chuckle and move on.

I wished I had not been so caught up in getting through security as quickly as possible without causing a scene and had spent the time to educate this TSA officer. After all, my feeding tube is not a joke or something to be ashamed of. The feeding tube has saved me from starving to death, so shockingly enough, putting beer down it has never crossed my mind. Thank you for the suggestion, but I think I will stick to the formula that sustains me for now. Not to mention, I have celiac disease.

Follow this journey on Life With a Flare.

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Lead photo source: Thinkstock Images

Originally published: May 3, 2016
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