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Posts Tagged ‘CA’

easter2

 

I’m setting this up to post to my blog in advance so that while I am on my cruise, it will post on May 3, 2013 … right on schedule. 

What’s ironic about the day is … I am scheduled to be in Maui then, snorkeling.  My 2nd son (my deceased son), Keegan, loved to swim.  Keegan loved to snorkel.  We did that on his Make-A-Wish trip with Disney Cruises in 2001.  Additionally, whenever he used to order fish at a restaurant, he would loudly say “fishy fishy” (you had to be there to get it, I suppose).  It all started because once when he was quite young, he had stated that’s what he wanted for dinner and it came out louder than he’d intended, causing the entire restaurant to laugh.  So he kept it up.  That means that now … whenever Roy and I snorkel … when we see our first fish … we have to bob up, look at the other, and yell “fishy fishy” over the waves to the other.  Like I said … you had to be there to get it.  It makes us laugh anyway.

In any event, I’m posting this on May 3, 2013.  Keegan was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis on May 3, 1984, 29 years ago, when he was just barely 2 months old.  I originally wrote this in 2001, right after my second child, Keegan, died, but it’s appropriate to me to post it now, at least in my not-so-humble opinion, as it gives a bit more of my history, my story, my background, and the challenges my family and I have encountered over the years.

I only wish that Roy could have met Keegan face-to-face in person.  He knows him spiritually … but he never got to meet him in real life.  I am forever grateful, however, that Roy honors the memory of my son with me and allows me to continue to grieve his loss or celebrate his life/spirit whenever I need to do so.  In my opinion, that shows a true partner, a true soul-mate, and a true man.

Keegan … we miss you still and always will.

So … with that … carry on …

*~*~*

2001

“The nurses at Stanford University Medical Center see a lot of transplant patients, but they will never forget the kid with the green hair.”  Dolores Fox Ciardelli in an article that was written for a small local weekly newspaper called the “Pleasanton Pathways” wrote this.  When Keegan was born 17 years ago on February 29, 1984 (yes, Leap Day), I never ever thought this would be something closely associated to my family.  At the time he was born, I didn’t even know what Cystic Fibrosis was, let alone worry about transplant.  Transplants were those things they tried and experimented with but were only for those “other people” that had illness in their family.  I didn’t have that.  My family had always been healthy.  And green hair?  My family wasn’t into odd colored hair.

It was a long time before I had to worry about any of this.  People think now that just because Keegan received a double lung transplant at the ripe old age of 16 means that his health had been crummy since he was a baby.  He had a rough start to his life, but once he was diagnosed, things were great since we knew the problem, and the main reason that he had been diagnosed with CF very young was due to the perceptiveness of a young and competent pediatrician just out of training that had done rotation with a CF team as an intern and resident.  Let me back up though.

Keegan was born on 02-29-84.  It was an emergency cesarean because of the size of his head to my pelvis.  He was a big and well-formed baby with good weight (8-lbs. 11 oz). I have another son (Logan) that is 15½ months older than him, so I had quit work for a while to stay home with my two babies.  I was 29, almost 30.  Things were great.  The c-section, although to me seemingly awful, really was flawless. He had huge brown eyes and lots of straight blonde hair.  He was angry from the minute they pulled him out, especially since they had to suction his lungs, since he’d sucked in amniotic fluid, which is common, apparently, with c-sections.  He had minor issues at birth and went home seemingly healthy to the doctors. 

However, to me, something seemed “wrong”.  I couldn’t put my finger on it, but Keegan didn’t seem to eat properly.  Logan had always eaten like a horse and had gained weight magnificently on my breast milk.  Keegan, on the other hand, would suck a very short time and then scream and scrunch up.  His bowels seemed ok but a bit sticky.  Oh well.  It cleared, and then it seemed like any newborn on breast milk … but something still seemed wrong to me.  He didn’t eat right.  I was told that I was just being a nervous mother and not remembering how newborns could be.  This didn’t seem right to me.  Logan is only 15½ months older than he is.  I remembered too well how much Logan ate and how he had thrived on my milk.  Keegan did not.  Oh well.  He’s a different individual.  Perhaps I just need to learn his body needs and personality.

Things seemed ok when we got home, but he still didn’t eat right.  His diapers got runnier and runnier and looked like milk was just on a direct pipe from his mouth to his diaper.  I went to his 2-week-old check-up.  He’d gained no weight.  The doctor looked a bit concerned but told me that this happened on occasion and that perhaps my milk wasn’t good enough.  I listened, but this didn’t seem right to me either.  Logan was 9½ lbs. at birth.  He was 30 lbs. at 1 year.  This was on my breast milk.  How could it be that much different?   He wrote down “failure to thrive”.  Go home and try to feed him more often.  I fed.  He vomited it back up. Ok, well, we’ll try to see how much milk he takes in.  They measured.  It was a lot.  Go home.  Feed him slower but often.  He wouldn’t eat, or he’d throw up.  Ok, then, we’ll see if it seems rich enough.  It did.  Maybe it’s too rich.  It wasn’t.  Ok, then, we’ll try additives and formula.  No good.  “Failure to thrive.”

About two days before Easter, he came down with a really awful cold that his father, his brother, and I all had gotten.  We were all coughing.  So was Keegan.  No big deal.  This was a respiratory thing.  It’ll go away.  Easter.  He was feverish and sick.  I called the doctor.  I met him at his office.  They prescribed some oral antibiotics.  Easter Sunday.

We were giving him the antibiotics.  The rest of us were improving.  He wasn’t.  He was getting worse.  May 3, 1984.  I brought him to the doctor.  He sent us to the hospital for tests.  “Don’t worry.  It’ll be ok.  We just need to see what’s going on.”

May 3, 1984.  His dad came to the hospital after work.  I had gone there from the doctor’s office.  My mother was home babysitting Logan while I went to the doctor with Keegan.  Logan was sick.  My sister came to help out, and my mom came to see what was going on at the hospital.  The pediatrician was there telling me that they would be running routine tests in the morning.  It was a hot day – unseasonably hot for May.  We were at John Muir Memorial Hospital in Walnut Creek, CA.  Keegan’s dad, Mark, picked him up and gave him a kiss.  He said “God, you’re a sweaty boy.  You are really salty.”  I saw a look pass over the doctor’s face that I knew wasn’t good, but I didn’t know what it meant.  I’ve since learned not to like that look when I see it.

Anyway, he mentioned a bunch of tests they wanted to run.  I don’t recall what most of them were other than they were mundane, and I recognized them, and they didn’t seem like a big deal.  In the middle of all the things he mentioned, he also stated “cystic fibrosis”.  “What the heck is that???”  “Don’t worry about it.  It’s probably nothing.  We just want to rule everything out.  I wouldn’t bother checking medical journals.  They won’t tell you much.”

I spent the night in a chair in the hospital by my baby’s side.  His dad went home to take care of Logan and to call his other grandmother to come watch him, since I’d be at Muir with Keegan.  She came.  He went to work the next morning.  They had Keegan in a mist tent.  They had him hooked to oxygen.  They took blood.  They took stool and urine.  They did a strange little gauze test to collect sweat on his arm.  They told me to keep him in his room, because they didn’t want him to infect anyone else if he had something.  They discovered he had no bacteria growing.  That’s a good thing, they said.

The next morning (May 4, 1984) about 10AM, Tracy Trotter, our regular pediatrician, appeared in the doorway of the hospital room.  “Jill, I need to talk to you.”  Keegan was lying in a crib near me.  We were in a double room, but the little kid with the broken leg had left a bit earlier.  I was alone.  His dad was at work.  “We are very certain that Keegan has something called ‘cystic fibrosis’, but you need to take him to Children’s Hospital in Oakland.”  “What is that?”  Go there.  They’ll explain it.  “I don’t know where it is.”  They gave me directions.  Why didn’t they send him and me, since I was close to shock, in an ambulance?  I’ll never for the life of me figure that out.  I called his father, Mark, holding myself together to get through his secretary until he picked up the phone.  Tracy Trotter was standing there hanging onto me.  I was sobbing in the phone.  Mark dropped everything and said, “I’m catching BART.  Pick me up.”  I cried on Tracy Trotter’s shoulder while he attempted to console me.  I didn’t even know what CF was.  Why was I crying?  I didn’t know.  I just knew whatever it was, was a big nasty thing.  I knew that they were upset, so I knew that I should be.  I knew something big time was wrong.  Tracy told me that things would be fine.  I’d learn to be a good CF mother and Keegan would be fine.  I remember yelling … “BUT I DON’T WANT TO BE A CF MOTHER.  I REFUSE TO BE A CF MOTHER.”  (Isn’t denial great … especially when you don’t know what you are denying???)

I packed up Keegan and his stuff and walked out of the hospital.  I remember someone saying to me “oh how wonderful that you get to bring your baby home”.  I remember just staring through them.  I remember them asking if I was ok.  I wanted to scream yes and no and anything but my mouth didn’t work.  I just kept walking.

I drove to BART.  From the time I got Keegan into his car seat to when I got to BART, I have no recollection.  It’s at least a 20 – 30 minute drive.  There’s nothing.  So I parked at BART.  Mark got off at the opposite end of the station from where I parked.  I was 4 long city blocks away.  He heard me scream for him over the city traffic and the passing BART trains.    I remember watching him run from the stairway he came off of to the car in his suit and tie, carrying a briefcase.  He was at a dead run.

Now here is where it’s interesting.  I don’t recall driving to Children’s.  I don’t recall getting there.  I don’t recall parking.  I don’t recall going into the hospital.  I don’t recall checking in.  I don’t recall going up in the elevator to the 5th floor where they kept the CF children then.  I don’t recall going into the room.  I remember meeting a family that we were sharing the room with.  They had experience with CF.  (This is when they still roomed CF patients together before they realized they shouldn’t.)  But they had “experience”.  Their daughter was 7 months old.  Wow.  They’d teach me.  The other baby’s father was watching the Kentucky Derby preliminaries.  My mother and my sister were at the hospital when we arrived.  I do remember that.  I remember a doctor showing up in our room … Dr Nickerson was his name.  I didn’t like him from the word “go”, but then I wouldn’t have liked anyone at that point.  I remember him taking us to an empty conference room on the 2nd floor in the Pulmonary Department.  The Kentucky Derby preliminaries were on an overhead TV in the room.  He sat down and clinically explained CF to us.  I was a bit stunned and in shock.  I remember forcing myself to be with Keegan while they worked at getting IV’s in his arm.  It took several tries.  He screamed the whole time.  I sobbed.  They tried to drag me out.  I remember telling them … screaming at them was more the case … that this was my baby, and they weren’t going to take him anywhere without me.  It finally got in.  They told me that I didn’t have to force myself through all that.  My sister and my mother could hear the screaming baby down the hall with me yelling too.  I told them I had to force myself through it when he was an infant so that when he was older and needed his mommy as a toddler to sit there, I could do it and not fall apart or faint or whatever.  I made it.

The next day (Saturday, May 5, 1984), Dr Nickerson showed up again.  He talked to us in the room this time.  “Your baby is malnourished, dehydrated, and anemic.  Both lungs have collapsed.  We may have to do a blood transfusion.”  The Kentucky Derby was playing in the background.  “He may die.  He’s not at all well.  Why haven’t you brought him into any doctor before now?”  I nearly fell apart with that accusation.  We’d been in and out of doctors’ offices since he was born … but … I held together.  He had my child’s life in his hands.  I needed to keep it together.  I remember telling him to not do a transfusion and to only do one from someone I picked if they really had to.  This was when blood supplies could still be tainted with AIDS, because they were still figuring that out.  That’s all I’d need. 

I still can’t fathom how I got from Muir to Children’s on my own.

On Monday morning, May 7, 1984, John McQuitty took up ward duties in the hospital.  He came in and asked how I was.  He asked how Keegan was.  He asked how Logan and Mark were.  He asked if I was sleeping yet.  He told me it was ok to cry.  He told me that he wanted my input on Keegan’s well-being, because, while I might not understand CF yet, I lived with Keegan 24 hours a day and would know him as an individual better than any doctor would.  He listened to me answer questions.  He could tell I was holding myself together.  He could tell I was “staying strong”, because that’s the way I was taught to handle any challenge in life.  “Don’t show your weaknesses.  Don’t cry.  Don’t show your dirty laundry.”  He told me it was ok to cry.  He listened to me.  John McQuitty saved my sanity.

The Kentucky Derby.  Easter.  They still make my stomach and my head do weird flips.  Just the topic can make my stomach clutch up.  Only a CF parent or those that have been through hearing that they themselves or a loved one have CF (or any other major life-changing, life-threatening illness) will understand that certain days and certain events will always remind them of when they heard.  The Kentucky Derby.  Easter.  It’s odd that good days like those can make my stomach clutch and turn inside out.

 

 

 

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Easter Sunday is a very holy day for Christians around the world.  It’s also a day of feasting in celebration of the Resurrection.  We’ve eaten way more than our share of a hearty Easter dinner … and of course, candy and colored eggs, as we have shared in blog-posts prior to Easter.

While I have made it my goal to maintain my health and be in relatively good shape for someone that will be 60 years old in a little more than a year, I still enjoy my food.

food 

At least with food, you can usually guarantee that you’ll like your choices.

In any event, we will be going on vacation (on a cruise, to be exact) in a little less than a month (not that I’m counting down the days or anything … but we’re leaving precisely 23 days from today).  Cruises are known for their opulent and overly abundant food choices.  I’m quite sure that Princess Cruises will not disappoint in this respect.  Therefore, I can pretty much guarantee that I will be indulging while gone.

That’s ok, though, as I’ve at least worked hard to get into shape over the past year, and I can work just as hard after I return from the cruise to take care of any “overage” that I cause myself to gain.  Besides …

 overweight

I mean … I wouldn’t want to be TOO outrageously attractive on this cruise to Hawaii out of San Francisco, CA (and back).

 

 

 

 

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Roy and I were out-of-town for our personal business ventures this past weekend in Denver, CO, where we experienced a spectacular snowstorm on Friday night and throughout most of Saturday.  (While Roy grew up in Maine, it’s nice to not have to deal with those blizzards on a day-to-day basis any longer.) 

Anyway, we got up Sunday morning at 4:00 AM Mountain Daylight Time to catch a flight back home and arrived at the Sacramento (CA) Airport at about 10:45 AM Pacific Daylight Time on Sunday morning so that we could race back to Placerville, CA, do laundry, cook for the week, and greet our animals that had been wonderfully taken care of by our marvelous pet/house sitter over the weekend.  We were then up Monday morning at 4:00 AM Pacific Daylight Time, only 23 hours since we’d left Denver (where it was 3 degrees Fahrenheit to the balmy 69 degrees Fahrenheit at home).  I worked a 10 hour day on Monday and Roy had an exam he had to take for the new “regular job” that he has, not getting home himself till well after 7:00 PM Pacific Daylight Time. 

Like I say, while we’re entrepreneurs at heart, right now, we have our “regular jobs” that we have to have in the meantime while we work our dreams.  To really be a success, you have to be willing to “go the extra mile” and give it all you have in life.

However, after weekends like the past (which was wonderfully productive financially, intellectually, and emotionally), suffice it to say that we are incredibly tired and are looking forward to having at least a day or two where we can sleep in and nap, which is our goal over this coming Easter weekend (when we also plan to stuff ourselves on Easter candy, just as we did when we were children).

easter bunny 

So … we will be using our “rollover” minutes this weekend, thank you very much (along with eating Peeps, Cadbury Eggs, Reese’s Eggs, Jelly Bellies, Malted Milk Balls, and Chocolate Bunnies).

  rollover nap

 Happy Easter, everyone!

 

 

 

 

 

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TSA

Now those are initials that make every American that has flown on a public airline in the past several years think: “Oh terrific *NOW* what degrading thing will I have to endure?”

TSA

They have to make up reasons to be relevant.

TSA

They come up with more and more reasons for me to want to buy a private airplane (and if I had the disposable cash … I would).

TSA

Let me tell you my most recent experience.  Be ready however.  This is LONG.  They never cease to amaze me.

This past weekend, Roy and I took a business trip to southern California (Ontario to be exact).  We were flying out of the Sacramento Airport on Southwest.  We always have great experiences with Southwest.  This was still the case.  Another entity was the problem.

TSA

I could go off on the fact that it’s comparing apples to alligators by putting a *private* industry (Southwest) against a *government* bloated entity (TSA).  I won’t do that this time at least although that truly *is* one of the issues here.  (Even though I currently work for the government, I know it’s overly bloated and wish it was easier for private industry to actually get off the ground in today’s disastrous socio-economic climate, but BO’s Taxmageddon thuggery has made it nigh on impossible for most to make a go of it.)   This however isn’t the purpose of my blogpost here (although I’m quite willing to note it in a cursory manner here).

 

🙂

 

Anywho!  I’ll get back to my topic at hand.

TSA

I’ll go back.  Roy and I started the morning in question at 4:00 AM.  We were running late and didn’t leave home till 5:45 AM.  This was for an 8:30 AM flight, and we first had an hour drive to my daughter’s home to drop off Outback (aka Yappy) as she was going to stay there for the weekend with Kara, Alex, and my granddoggy, Leia.  We managed to do it in 45 minutes.

Don’t ask.  We ain’t admittin’ to nuthin never no how not even on how that was accomplished.

 

 

🙂

 

 

So there.

 

 

Outback (aka CrazyDog) got deposited and we took off for what should have been a 10 minute ride *max* to the airport long term lot, got all discombobulated, and somehow got lost & headed fast up the wrong freeway.

After yelling at and blaming each other, we finally got turned around and headed in the right direction.  We got to the airport lots about 7:00 AM, raced into a spot, and jumped onto a shuttle where we bolted up to the Southwest counters, checked in, and hopped onto the interior shuttle train to the security checkpoint area.

It was simply amazing!  The lines were almost empty.  Woohoo!  All is well.

Hmmm.  Remember though who actually runs those checkpoints.

TSA

Fine.  I’ll follow their degrading dehumanizing requirements.

Shoes in a bin

Jacket in a bin

Belt in a bin

Cell phone in a bin

Laptop in a bin

Briefcase to be scanned

Purse to be scanned

Jill into the little area with her hands in the air …

Jill to be scanned

At least it wasn’t “Jill in a bin”.

“Wait there”, I’m told as I exit.

TSA

Ok *now* what?????

TSA

“What have you got tucked into your bra, Ma’am?”

Huh?

Now I’ll admit I had all sorts of comments that I could have made (and wanted to make) to that question that ran through my mind, but I thought better of my snide and/or rude comments and said …

Uhhhh … nothing.

“It looks like you have something on your back tucked into your bra.  I have to pat you down.”

Ok fine go ahead.

Now mind you … the nice lady found nothing (which I’d have been shocked if she *had*), but REALLY? 

Do I *really* look like I might?

Picture me now:

I’m 58 years old. I’m 5’10” with red hair, green eyes, fair skin, and freckles.  I am outspoken with a unique (lower than most women) voice.  I do *not* blend in easily (nor do I want to).  I am distinctive.  I was wearing white running shoes (that were being scanned), a nice black leather jacket I bought at Nordstrom many years ago (that I fit into again, thank you very much *and* that was also being scanned), and baggy Levi blue jeans as I’ve lost a bunch of weight, and I’m way too cheap to buy new ones until I am stabilized at my goal weight (which I’m within 2 pounds of … thank you very much).  I also had on a red, white, and blue American flag t-shirt that isn’t baggy so anything tucked into my bra would have been very noticeable on me.

REALLY?

I’m not one that will blend into the crowd … nor would I ever want to.  Being mediocre to me would be a curse.

 

 

 IMG_20130131_0083410

 

 

Oh wait.  I forgot.

TSA

Fine.  The nice TSA lady patted.  Then the nice TSA lady smiled and said “oh … your pants are too baggy, that’s why” (which I guess is why they thought something was in my bra … go figure … it makes no sense to my warped brain but whatever …), and I was released and sent on my merry way.  Roy and I arrived at the Southwest gate with just a few minutes to spare while he asked what all that was about and I answered that I had no F___ING clue.

Anyway … whew!  We made it.

… but wait … there’s more … because remember …

TSA

So we pulled ourselves together, made pit stops in the bathroom, and relaxed a minute, eating the food we brought for breakfast since it was WAY too early when we got up to try to force in anything nutritious before we left.  While we were busy stuffing our faces, we noticed someone running across the tarmac, up the back stairs, and setting up a little table next to the station agent.  Two people came and stood by it.  We wondered what it was for, but we assumed it was perhaps to do a quality check on the boarding agent or whatever.   Almost as soon as we were done eating, all of the passengers were asked to line up as per Southwest normal requirements, and, being fairly far up in the “A” line, we thought all was well.

TSA

We advanced in line with everyone going in smoothly, and I handed the Southwest agent my boarding pass while the nice people standing by the table watched what he was doing.  As soon as he scanned my pass and my name came up on his monitor, the two people standing there said …

“Ma’am, can we check your carry-on bags?”

Ummm … ok … fine …

I handed everything to them but thought … these were just SCANNED at the security check point so why in hell do they need to hand check my bags again?

Whatever … I handed it to them … and they told my husband behind me that he could “go ahead and get on without her”.

“No,” said Roy.  “This is my wife.  I’m standing here with her until whatever is going on is done.”

(Thank you, Roy.  We always have each other’s backs.)

People went around us.  This irritated me because we’d specifically AIMED to get a good placement in line by PRE-checking in the day before and they were pushing people around us.

They opened my bag and looked all through it.  They gave it back to me … smiled … and said “ok, you’re fine”.

Now.  I KNOW I’m fine.  As Roy knows, I’m always  fine.  I don’t need them to tell me that.  I make sure I’m fine no matter what is going on around me.

Anyway, what the HECK was that all about?

We’re told … oh, it’s just a random check of various people.

Hmmm.  Ok.  We’ll let it pass because TSA and the Big Brother Government (aka Nanny Government) have us all by the short hairs here, but we still wondered … as did EVERYONE that got on with us.  We all decided it was simply government workers trying to come up with a reason for their existence.  I don’t think they checked anyone behind me, but I don’t know for sure.  I didn’t really care at the time.  All I knew was that I was on the plane.

TSA

Now the flight was great … and it was PERHAPS 30% full, so we had a lot of space to stretch out and relax, which was great.  Southwest Airlines always comes through.  I still wondered what all of that was about though.

We got to Ontario and all was fine.  We got the shuttle from the airport to the hotel and were set to just relax for the afternoon.  We got checked into our room and I opened up the suitcase to get some food out that we’d packed.

That’s when I saw it.

TSA

Do you know those little cards they stick in your luggage to say “we pawed through your junk to see if there was anything weird in there”?  You know … one of these …

 

 

TSA baggage inspection card 

 

 

There was one placed in there.  It had even been date and time stamped (which I don’t think I’d ever seen before) as well as hand initialed.  There was something lying on top of it.  It was wedged so it wouldn’t move.  That way, when I opened the bag, it would be very clear that the “inspector” wanted me to know something.  I burst out laughing, which completely confused Roy, making him ask:

“What’s so funny?”

TSA

“Huh?”

TSA

“What about them?”

Come look at this.  NOW I know what they were all worked into a tizzy about at the Sacramento airport.

First, I’ll back up here.  (Hey, did you REALLY think that I’d tell you that quickly and easily with how long this is already?  Geez, I want to build the suspense even more.  Besides, this requires background from all sorts of angles.)

Besides … remember … it’s …

TSA

I go to work early.  To be exact, I get up at 4:15 AM every work day.  I’m out the door by 5:10 AM at the latest.  I’m on a commuter bus between 5:20 AM & 5:30 AM.  I’m at work no later than 6:30 AM.  More often than not, it is dark when I get to work.  I work in downtown Sacramento.  While it isn’t far from the bus to where I work and the building where I work is right near the State Capitol building, at that time of the day, you just never know what might happen.  I also live up in the Sierra foothills.  There are mountain lions, bears, coyotes, etc that roam the property.  I have to be prepared.  This is part of why I’m for the 2nd Amendment in the US Constitution and the ability to protect myself, because if something were to happen, it would be immediate, and I don’t think a mountain lion (or whatever) will go on pause if I say, “oh wait … before you try to bite me in the neck at the jugular … let me call 911 so I can get some help here”.  I need to be able to protect myself, and when I do, it needs to be immediate.

So I carry pepper spray with me everywhere I go.  It’s just my little safety net.  I know that it is legal and no one needs a license to carry it.  I always have it in my purse and don’t think much of it.

In any event, it was in a purse that I had packed and sent under the plane in my checked baggage. 

As per TSA … yes …

TSA

… this is a legal thing to do.  See my excerpt below copied directly from the TSA website.  Yes … that’s right …

TSA

 

 

Martial Arts & Self Defense Items

Item

Carry-on?

Checked?

Billy Clubs

X

OK

Black Jacks

X

OK

Brass Knuckles

X

OK

Kubatons

X

OK

Self Defense Sprays – One 4 ounce (118ml) container of mace or pepper spray is permitted in checked baggage provided it is equipped with a safety mechanism to prevent accidental discharge. Self Defense Sprays containing more than 2% by mass of Tear Gas (CS or CN) are prohibited in Checked Baggage. For more information visit www.faa.gov., click on Passengers, then Preparing to Fly.

X

OK

Martial Arts Weapons

X

OK

Night Sticks

X

OK

Nunchucks

X

OK

Stun Guns/Shocking Devices

X

OK

Throwing Stars

X

OK

NOTE: Any sharp objects in checked baggage should be sheathed or securely wrapped to prevent injury to baggage handlers and Security Officers.

http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-information/prohibited-items#9

 

 

So this was perfectly legal.  Hell, the website even states that things like brass knuckles, nunchucks, stun guns, etc are legal, and none of those are something that I would DREAM of carrying.  So pepper spray (which is specifically listed) that can be used even in bear attacks shouldn’t be a great big deal … or so you would think, anyway.

Ah yes …

TSA

In any event, I had forgotten that it was even in there.

So anyway … back to my original story …

When I opened up my luggage to get out food that I’d sent under the plane, I found my pepper spray … pulled up and out of the purse it had been in and laid on top of the TSA card that had been date stamped and initialed and then wedged in so that it wouldn’t move until I found it.

 

 

Ontario-20130126-00505 

 

 

Really?  REALLY?  Are you F___ING KIDDING me?  They’d scanned my carry-on already at the security checkpoint.  They’d scanned ME, for heaven’s sake.  They’d patted me down and personally checked what I had also.  They then had to make a huge scene at the gate also.  Then they wedge it into the luggage with the inspection card.  That tells me that when they pulled me aside at the gate, they were OBVIOUSLY looking to see if I was trying to carry more pepper spray onboard with me (or whatever else).  I’m sorry but that is definitely not in my nature.  I’d rather get where I’m going safely, thank you just the same.  I haven’t spent 58 years on this planet to do anything like that.

TSA

If there had truly been an issue here, they should have just taken it out of my checked luggage and confiscated it.  I don’t care.  It is so second nature for me to carry it for self-protection that it didn’t occur to me that some over-zealous agent might get their panties in a wad over it.  Besides, it was ok according to their very own website for travelers like me to put pepper spray into checked luggage on an airplane as long as it met certain requirements.  Guess what?  It met their requirements!!!

TSA

Then, they SCANNED me at the security checkpoint … scanned every article of clothing I could take off without being indecent … scanned every inch of my carry-on luggage …  and patted me down in security.  What in GOD’S name did they think I was going to sneak in between security and the entry gate?  I’m not one of the wizards trained at Hogwarts.  I can’t just have something appear out of thin air.  This was plain, flat, and simple an over-reaction on their part and/or a not-so-veiled attempt at intimidation.

Guess what?

I don’t intimidate easily.

However, I’m not paranoid either so if this was just inexperience or over-cautiousness on their part, don’t you think that the fact that I was scanned AND patted down in security should cover it?  Do I really look like that much of a threat?  Come ON, now, people. 

Oh wait …

TSA

By the way … my return flight from Ontario also required a pat down … but this time … it was “because your pants are too baggy”.  However, at least they didn’t body check me at the gate too.

Nevertheless … baggy pants?  Yes.  I’ve lost weight.  My pants are loose on me.  I get it.  I know  my pants are baggy.  I know  that I’ve lost weight.  I lost weight on purpose, people, and I’m too cheap to buy new pants until my weight has stabilized.  Get over it.

Oh … wait … don’t let me forget or get ahead of myself …

TSA

 

 

 

 

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