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Well, I'm sure all of you have heard about this, but if you haven't experienced it yet, you may not wish to do it. I don't know if I'll ever do it again. I am 70 years old, and I've been a quilter for more than 20 years. I LOVE applique, and I live in northern California, so when I had the chance to attend a week-long workshop hosted by applique artist Sylvia Pippen at her studio near Hilo, Hawaii, I collected a dear friend to accompany me, and off we happily went. That is, I was estactic until I got to security at the Sacramento International Airport. I have a titanium knee joint surgically implanted in my right knee. I'm thrilled that it has allowed me to walk comfortably now for over a year. Unfortunately, it sets off the security alarm at the checkpoint. I carefully eliminated all metal from my person; watch, zippered pants, rings, earrings, etc., but there's not much I can do about the knee implant. I told the security person about it before I passed through the gate. He summoned a female agent to "pat me down." Well, it was a lot more than patting! Here I am standing, barefoot, arms up and legs spread in a glass enclosure as other loading passengers went by, while she checks my bra, my armpits, the waistband of my pants, front and back, my crotch and my butt. Never once did they "wand" the offending right knee. Then she used her gloves to wipe down all of my clothing and directed me to stand there while she ran her gloves through some machine to determine if they had be in contact with any explosives. I was almost in tears! I felt like I was standing there naked.

I had a wonderful week at the workshop/retreat in beautiful Hawaii with Sylvia, who treated the students as if we were beloved family, all the while DREADING the return flight to California.

I understand we need to take measures to be safe; but when an English, Irish, Scottish, German fourth-generation American old lady is subjected to this invasive search to fly to Hawaii, I wonder if the terrorists haven't already won!

My son's beloved is a lovely girl who lives in Alaska. If they should decide to marry there, I wonder if I can go through this all again to go to the wedding?

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Comment by Morgan Hess /Fla. on November 20, 2010 at 10:35am
My feelings are... these so call people who are there to check everyone out... when they get someone to really check out... they just put on the big deal... over do it. Play the role. I am sorry for you, as I am sure it felt terrible. My son has clamps inside him, and they do it to him all of the time. I'd go to that wedding... and this time ....do the roll of here I am... better check me out.... as its going to buzz with me. Act like you want it... and they will do hardly anything. My son does this ... it works every time. LOL Hugs Morgan oxoxoxo
Comment by Dawn Newland on November 18, 2010 at 11:39am
Carol Ann I have both knees replaced and i always set the alarm off but they did wan my knees and let me thru of course I haven't flown in a few years so haven't had the offending pat down plus they never wanted to see my card the Doc gave me. Sorry you had a terrible time.
Comment by Carol Ann Hinton on November 18, 2010 at 11:06am
Janet, my surgeon told me that a card would do me absolutely no good. Cards can be manufactured easily and passed around among those wishing to do us harm. Yes, you will have to do this if you fly. I agree about the scanner, but that is not an option at all airports (yet).
Comment by Janet/MO on November 18, 2010 at 10:53am
Carol Ann, I was just talking about this same situation yesterday with a small group of quilters I belong to. We all agreed that there is no perfect solution. I just had my left knee replaced & the dr sent me a card to keep in my wallet that tells everyone I have an artificial knee. It is about the size of a credit card and is plastic. It has my name, his name & telephone #, plus the name of the mfg of the knee. Maybe your dr can give you something similar to that. I don't know if it will stop me from having to have an extensive scan the next time I fly but I sure hope so. As I also have a screw in my back, I will probably just agree to have the whole body scan so that they can tell immediately what is there.
Comment by Bonnie on November 18, 2010 at 9:57am
I have 2 titanium hips so I share your frustration at always needing an individualized screening. I fly alot for work, always carry 2 cell phones, at least 2 laptops that are spread open and waiting in a tray while all this happens. It brings my blood pressure up each time, but then I get to thinking about the people whose job it is to do the patdowns.
Do I believe I am safer because of the TSA regs? Probably not as it is (always) the ones who can't abide the rules that are going to come up with the next (and how much worse does it get than our underwear?) "we'll outsmart them with....." . I personally don't want to go back to just walking on a plane with strangers nor am I able to schedule in, or spend less family time, to drive time for all these trips.

With Congress putting the TSA under heavy scrutiny, this is a time when we should not just be complaining, but coming up with alternative ideas. Lord knows they need something better and we quilters are more creative than reactionary bureaucrats!
Comment by Carol Ann Hinton on November 18, 2010 at 8:24am
Thanks to all of you for your support, and for telling me about the driving options to Alaska (should that event occur). I really DO understand the need for safety on airplanes these days, but that doesn't stop the whole procedure from being humiliating. There was no option for using the scanners at either Sacramento or Hilo. I think I would do that since other passengers aren't getting the view or your "frisking" as they walk by. It's just discouraging that I will ALWAYS be treated this way because of my knee replacement.
Comment by Jennie Steward on November 18, 2010 at 7:26am
Carol Ann...I know how you feel. My dear step-dad who has since passed on was always the one who got singled out. Now mind you he was white haired, 80's, short and chubby, in a wheelchair, and a veteran of 3 foreign wars in which he fought for the very freedoms we have. It used to infuriate me when we would travel together. He would just take it as it came and quietly take off his shoes, stand up and wait for his pat down. When I asked him why he took it so quietly he answered that if they didn't do what they do the war would be in our backyards. I now do not object when I am the one singled out. With the new scanners you now have a choice..let them see you naked or a pat down. I say if they want to look at this naked body in some scan...be my guest. If it saves just one life it is worth it. Please do not let this spoil your travel plans. Life is too short to stop living!
Comment by AidaCJ/NH on November 18, 2010 at 6:14am
My DH and I have decided to just take the train or bus wherever we are going in the US, soon we will be retired and be able to take the time to go where we want to go. It is sad that we become the 'victims' in this terrorist war. We have declined a lot of invitation from friends and relatives who live too far for a day's drive. I want to go to for a visit to my homeland, but I guess it's not going to be. I refuse to be subjected to these 'communist' tactics that they now implement for the sake of security.
Comment by Cheryl / NC on November 18, 2010 at 6:05am
Carol Ann, I'm also one of the people who gets singled out EVERY time I fly. I still can't figure out why. I've never been arrested or even had a speeding ticket, never been in any kind of trouble in my life. I'm a short, middle aged, matronly padded, dark haired, light skinned, 3rd and 4th generation American, of Irish descent. I was glad when they put in the x-ray machines at our airport because it meant I would no longer be subject to the body searches! But I'm glad they are thorough; that Christmas bomber last year has made them a little more aggressive and with good reason. He had the bomb strapped to a very private part of his body that isn't part of a basic pat down. My problem with the searches is that not everyone is searched. I think in this day and age, EVERYONE should be. I think there would be a lot less arguing if everybody got the same treatment instead of just singling out a few. The guy last week who made national news and the video went viral on the internet, who refused to go through the scanner and refused a pat down, was not allowed to fly. Thank you TSA! If he'd gotten on my plane after I had gone through all that and he refused, I'd have gotten off the plane and demanded a refund! He was a security risk! I'm with Pam on this, no one should be ignored in profiling. We are no longer dealing in rational thought here. In a world where terrorists will strap a bomb to a baby in a stroller and have his mother try to get on a plane with him, I'm okay with the pat downs. As much as I'm old-school enough to be annoyed by the intrusiveness of the pat downs and the x-ray, I feel safer on the plane knowing they're doing everything they can to make it as safe as possible to fly. I try to maintain a sense of humor about it all by looking at it this way, I hate cough medicine, dental visits, and immunizations too, but sometimes they are just a necessity! Please don't let this experience keep you from flying again. Then the terrorists really DO win! Go to the wedding and enjoy it, and score one for the good guys! ;)
Comment by Prairie Quilter Jan/NE on November 18, 2010 at 6:03am
I'm so sorry for your experience. It does seem excessive. I wouldn't want a repeat of that experience either.

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