There really aren’t many benefits from having diabetes.
Free medication is one of the “perks” of being diabetic, however, while some may be entitled to benefits such as disability living allowance, there are no specific positives that derive from diabetes.
This was until people started using their diabetes to avoid queuing for rides at theme parks.
You may be asking yourself two questions. The first – how is this possible? The second – is this the morally right thing to do? Well, let’s start with number one.
How is this possible?
Depending on where you look, you’re likely to find conflicting information. Some people will report stating a member of their party’s diabetes at a theme park information desk – as well as claiming this meant they could not queue for rides – led to them receiving a “special access” pass that fast tracked them through rides.
Alton Towers’ website features the question: “Do you offer priority ride access for guests with diabetes?” Well, if you can present a letter from your doctor that states you are unable to queue, special access can be arranged.
One person claimed that they have been able to present a letter from their diabetic specialist nurse stating that queuing for roller coasters could cause blood glucose levels to drop dangerously low. Despite this being factually disputable, its authenticity remains a source of debate.
An intriguing curveball was recently reported on, however.
One website revealed emerging information that only people with insulin pumps were reportedly receiving these passes.
A number of posts have since explained this is due to the electromagnetism of roller coasters. This could disconnect an insulin pump and leave someone queuing for over two hours without their pump, one user claimed, hence they are fast tracked.
Insulin pump recommendations
This is where there is a grey area.
Medtronic advocate that people wearing pumps should “avoid potential exposure to strong magnetic fields on roller coasters, remove your insulin pump and put it in a safe place.” This is backed up by the Joslin Diabetes Centre, who write: “It is recommended that you disconnect (NOT just suspend) your pump while on roller-coaster rides or at water parks.”
The advice here tends to be that you should disconnect your insulin pump before getting on a ride that could have a strong electromagnet. These rides normally tend to be those with a rapid start, or tall-tower rides that lift you a couple hundred feet then send you hurtling back down.
Conversely, the issue of skipping queues due to this electromagnetism is not mentioned, only taking pumps off when stepping on to the ride.
This is where we come to that aforementioned second question: Is skipping theme park queues due to your diabetes the right thing to do?
The first viewpoint to consider is that if a theme park holds such rules to provide special access for people with diabetes, or can be persuaded to do so, then making the most of this compensates for the threadbare benefits afforded to people with diabetes, who live with the condition every day.
Diabetic neuropathy could make standing for long periods harder, while electromagnetism could account for erroneous blood glucose readings with insulin pumps if you’re near the ride – but changing your basal dose could prospectively atone for this. They are considerations that could lead to people with diabetes trying their best to avoid queuing.
If you have children with diabetes, meanwhile, who are struggling with the intrusive lifestyle changes that come with the condition, then being able to skip queues for rides may give them a boost to perservere with their management.
However, if you don’t “need” to skip a queue for a ride, then you are making a rod for your own back if you have diabetes and wish to be treated the same as everyone else.
This is an obscure issue that will divide many, but at least offers an aspect of recompense for people with diabetes who have to relentlessly manage their condition.
Have you been able to use your diabetes to avoid queuing at theme parks? Did the theme park ask you for certain documentation? Share your experiences in the comments section below.