As part of our green card application, we have to get a medical examination, by a Homeland Security authorized physician. It’s no ordinary examination. This one his a bit more than your normal visit to the GP, and takes a little over an hour per person.
The majority of that time is spent by the doctor completing a whopping 6 page report, for each person, as well as a general inspection of our health. Thankfully the doctor did not require me to do the cough test, which may have crossed the boundary of my flexibility.
Logically, it would have much more sense to have the medical BEFORE we actually arrived to the US, as part of the visa application, for the simple reason that we’ve already been here 1 year. So, if we had been carrying any viruses or other interesting illnesses, then I’m certain CDC would’ve been alerted already.
Anyway, the entire family needed to complete this compulsory step in the application process, so we made the appointments and went “happily” to the clinic.
In order to make it more manageable for us parents, we agreed that my wife would take the youngest kid with her, and I would take the two oldest kids. And, based on the report issued by my wife after their visit, it sounded like she had chosen not-so-wisely.
The youngest kid reenacted scenes from “The Exorcist”, climbing the walls, letting out loud screams of horror and refused to sit still. This would make it extremely difficult for any well-trained doctor to check the vitals; heart, pulse, reflexes, etc., and not to forget the TB skin test. It made it even more difficult for my funky cool wife to stay calm and focused, when the doctor is trying to give her the required vaccines. You can only say “Oooommmm” so many times!
After her 3 hour ordeal, TB tests, blood samples and vaccines, my wife called it a day and went back to the house. Changed quickly and went straight to the village pool.
If you’ve ever received any vaccinations, you would remember that the hours and/or days after, your arm is numb and sore. The slightest touch would send pain flashes through your body – and this is exactly what my wife experienced.
As previously mentioned, I was going to take the two oldest kids with me, to get our examination done. How hard could it be? The kids are bigger and tougher, and I would bribe them with toys if the behaved.
Despite my manly attitude, my wife insisted that she would come along for moral support. I reluctantly agreed and brought the iPad along, just in case.
All five of us headed off towards the evil doctor and once again we had to spend a fair amount of time completing long forms.
After the routine checks of the kids, it was my turn. The nurse place measured my blood pressure, temperature and heart beat. She kindly asked me if I was nervous, to which I replied “no offense, I hate doctors and needles, so yes!”. She nodded and stated that that would probably be why my blood pressure and heart rate were high.
On to the next trial – TB skin test aka PPD test. For some reason, all patients over the age of two have to be tested for TB. There are a few ways of testing if you are positive, and the most common is the skin test. Effectively they inject approx. 0.1 ml into the top layers of skin, which then creates a little bubble on the arm … the bubble remains there for a little while (about an hour) and leaves a red mark. Nothing serious, unless you have a phobia for needles.
… and I do!
But, to show the brave face to my kids, so they wouldn’t cause havoc in the already tight doctor’s room, I jumped into the seat ready for my TB test. The nurse moved closer with the needle and started aiming at a good spot on my arm. Inside my head, I was screaming loudly and my brain told me to move my arm. Instead, I put an awkward smirk on my face as the needle pierced my skin. Blimey that little fecking needle hurts!
The nurse slowly injected o.1 ml of liquid under my skin, which felt as an ounce and lasted forever. The horror – The pain.
Despite my agony, I swapped seats with my daughter, and attempted to encourage her by saying she wouldn’t feel anything, well knowing that the fecking thing hurts like hell. She was so brave and finished in no time. She was close to tears, but remained focused. She even insisted on looking at the nurse inserting the needle and pumping the liquid under her skin.
My son was even tougher and just sat there while the nurse did her thing. Secretly, I thing he was looking at her boobs, wondering how he could get his hand sin there – just like in the old days.
Suddenly it was my turn again. This time I had to donate some blood for the local laboratory so they could check whether I needed vaccines or not.
I “calmly” jumped in to the seat. As soon as my butt hit the seat, my forehead was covered in sweat and I was getting light headed. Again, I couldn’t let me kids see me in this state, so I attempted to fake a smile, but somehow it didn’t work. The fact that I was pale, sweating and nervous was a dead giveaway!
In fairness, it was a very friendly nurse, and she started to prep my arm for the needle. It pinched and then she sad what I didn’t want to her “Oops, it game out again!”. Then my daughter said calmly “you have blood on your shirt now dad!”, to which my cold sweat become more serious and I had to ask for more cold water.
Take 2 worked and I could feel the energy leaving my veins. I kept smiling to my family, but deep inside I was shitting it. I honestly believe I was close to fainting.
I’m such a wuss!
The draining of energy lasted for about a minute, but it was the longest minute in my life. I now know what it’s like giving birth … the pain – the horror.
After the procedure was done I was given orange juice, a few minutes to relax and then kicked out of the room.
For some reason my wife insisted on driving home. She claimed that I wasn’t fit for driving in my condition!