Friday, March 18, 2011

Carry Proof of Nuclear Medicine Testing

Radiation Monitoring at Cruise Terminals by Customs Officials

Cruise Terminals Are Controlled by CBP
The following story was shared with me over three years ago, but in light of the situation in Japan, it is quite appropriate to share with you now.   Names and other details have been slightly altered to protect the identity of individuals.

When disembarking the cruise ship yesterday, we had a very interesting experience. When we were giving in our customs declaration, another agent came over and asked us to step to the side.

As we had purchased nothing during this short  cruise, I thought it was because I had "zero" on the form for purchases and they were checking this out. But that was not it.

The agent asked me if I recently had anything involving radiation? I mentioned that I had taken my Dad to the doctor the other day and he had some x-rays and one of them was nuclear but not me. He showed me a little gadget on his belt that was glowing red. This gadget was actually a radiation detector and it was going off big time!

Well it actually turned out to be my wife who had a nuclear stress test 5 days earlier and the stuff they inject for this test is radioactive which was still in her system and sending radiation signals out.

Carry Proof of Nuclear Medicine Testing
The man explained, and we are sharing it here, that anytime someone has anything done that involves radiation they should carry something to that effect - the paperwork from the testing lab is sufficient. He never did say how long that stuff stays in one's system. 

He went on to explain that without this someone could be "inconvenienced - his word" when coming back into the country especially for land border crossing, from a longer cruise or coming from many other countries (we only went to Nassau) or if security levels were higher. He was fine once he knew why his detector went off and we were on our way but it sure was an interesting experience and valuable information to pass along.

Anyone undergoing chemo therapy, or any other nuclear medicine testing, should be aware of testing that occurs at border crossings including airports, cruise terminals, and other sites.

Testing is elevated currently due to the radioactivity issues in Japan, so the warning is timely.

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