Thursday, November 18, 2010

TSA - No Disparity Here!

OOOOoooo... I love it! Welcome to MY world!

Ever since scanners and pat downs have been around, I've been suspect just because I have a prosthesis. I announce to everyone that I have "an artificial leg" which draws the attention of all the other passengers but never the bored and indifferent TSA agent. Next, I walk through the scanner and set off the alarm, so they tell me to go back. I announce AGAIN what the problem is and if they're listening, they yell, "FEMALE PAT DOWN!" Then I'm instructed to stand on the little green footprints on the floor and hold my arms away from my sides while they run the wand over me. Of course they find "the leg" so AGAIN, I explain. (So much for HIPAA - now 200+ passengers know my medical history). Because the wand goes off, they have to pat me down explaining that they're using the back of their hand (come on... how many guys in High School would have cared if it was the back or the front of their hand...really!). And, we're not done. Then I have to sit down and they swab my hands and my leg to check for bomb residue. Finally, I'm free to try to find my carry on luggage that went through 5 minutes earlier, without me.

Think it's just me being extra sensitive? Read this 2 year old story.

That's the best case scenario. The worst case is having to disrobe in a booth to show ALL of the prosthesis. Note to self: Always wear nice underwear when traveling. Or the questions, "How far does it go up, how far does it go down, blah, blah. Then everyone is staring but trying not to stare. the rest of the world is dealing with what I've put up with for years. The outcry is all over the news "Now, I'm here to tell you, it's an outrage! An outrage I say!! We won't be treated this way!"

The Amputee Coalition of America surveyed 7,300 amputees about their experience with the TSA and 75% were dissatisfied. I'm guessing that's similar to the general public's level of dissatisfaction, after all, we are the general public. We're just the general public with a prosthesis or two.

So, in my quest for parity, who knew that the TSA would be the first to get in line?!