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Issues with my ostomy getting through airport security

Caitlin McGinnis shares her recent experience of passing through airport security with her ostomy.

Caitlin McGinnis

Airport traveling means dealing with Transportation Security Administration which can be frustrating at times. I’m not sure if anyone else has had issues with their ostomy getting through TSA, but I have. I’ve traveled by plane many times before and at times, get through with no hassle. Other times, I’m asked to go into another room to show “what’s in my right pocket”. They go through the usual of having me rub the top of my pants and then getting my fingers swabbed. Other times, the TSA agent will give me a pat down. Every time varies.

I went home for Christmas and traveled by plane. I went through the detector like normal and the TSA agent asked me what was in my right pocket. I explained that I have an ostomy. She explained to me that their protocol recently changed and that she needs to ask for assistance. She proceeds to yell over at another agent about two lanes down “Hey _____, what’s the new process for someone with an ostomy?” The entire airport could have heard her and clearly people did by the looks I got. I’ve never been mortified as I was then. Usually I’m good at telling people when something has bothered me but I stuttered. I just looked at her and it was as if nothing had happened. Instead of taking me into a back room, she makes me rub my ostomy (over my pants) and gives me a full pat down. I was fuming but still didn’t say anything. I regret that now but I think I was just too taken aback as that has never happened before. I immediately called my mom and told her. Minutes later, an email is forward to me by her. She had sent an email to the TSA office at that airport to complain. Mothers are amazing.

Of note, this incident has never happened to me before in the four years I’ve had my ostomy and I travel frequent enough. I regret not saying something (asking to go to a back room or asking her to keep her voice down). In the future I will because no one should be embarrassed as I was then. It’s another opportunity for people to learn and to create awareness.

Visit Caitlin over at her blog site 

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