The social security office is in a federal building, so there is a TSA like security system in place. Only less efficient. When you roll up with a wheelchair as loaded with equipment as Maggie's it takes a while. In fact it took us about 25 minutes to get through security. Again, they were very nice and just doing their jobs, but OH. MY. GOD.
As is often the case, there is a very large man with a big booming voice doing the security. He could easily be a bouncer at a nightclub and toss people out on the street. He was kind, but he was going to be very thorough with Ms. Maggie. He'd seen her type before, she obviously looked suspicious to him. Every single piece of equipment had to be explained, examined and x-rayed. WHAT IS THIS? A suction machine. WHAT IS THIS? That's her computer that she uses to communicate? TAKE IT OUT OF THE BAG, I NEED TO SEE IT. Done. PUT IT BACK IN THE BAG. Done. WHAT IS THIS? That's the pole that we use to attach the computer to her wheelchair. WHAT IS THIS? That's her oxygen tank. WHAT IS IN THIS PINK BAG? Oh, that's a spare tracheostomy tube and supplies in case the tube in her neck falls out. (The guy looked a little queasy on that one). And WHAT IS N THIS PLASTIC BAG? Oh, that's an ambu bag in case she stops breathing. (He teetered a little bit there too).
Everything went through xray, fine, but the guy knocked over the oxygen tank and it started to whistle. They all jumped at that noise. WHY IS THAT MAKING THAT NOISE? CAN YOU STOP THAT NOISE? I explained that the tank has to be upright and stood it up. The guy barked at me to lay it down for the xray. Ok, but it's going to whistle. When it came through the xray it was "smoking" and that freaked them out. I told them it was just leaking oxygen (which is why it needs to be upright.)
While all this is going on scary looking guys were whisking right through security without a second look. We were just getting started. They wanded Maggie all over the place. He asked if she could put her arms out to her sides and I told him no, but she could possibly do one at a time. Up until the wanding, Maggie was amused. But when he started waving that thing in front of her she started giving him the stink eye look and I was trying not to laugh. He had no idea that she was DONE with him.
After all that I thought we were too late for the appointment, but we made it into the building with exactly 3 seconds to spare and waited less than a minute to be called. That brief moment of efficiency was not to last, however. Even though the information I received is correct and one can apply for SS 90 days before they turn 18, the computers aren't programmed for someone to enter the system before 18. I figured that out in about 5 minutes. The person doing the intake did not want to give up, though, so we sat there for 90 minutes while he very kindly tried to make it work.I kept telling the guy we could come back and he said, you are here now, let's make it work.
So do I, Maggie. So do I.
Finally we set up a telephone interview for Monday so the computers will recognize that she is 18. Even though I filled out a form for two hours at home, spent nearly two hours getting to and sitting through the meeting yesterday and now I have to do another 90 minutes on Monday, I jumped at the opportunity for the phone call.
Anything to avoid going through security with Maggie again. She is not to be trusted.