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Thursday, 10 September 2009


OK, I had my medical yesterday, so here's the story.

We got our Visa Application Approval Confirmation letter on 20th Aug, but until Tuesday had heard nothing further, so I rang the extortion line to ask if they had sent anything yet. Yes, they sent it on Fri 4th Sept, so it should arrive soon (it hasn't shown yet).

I also asked for my case number and was given it, so that allowed us to put in the next set of paperwork today (B. has had it ready for weeks) and book the medical without waiting for their next letter.

So I immediately rang the medical office for an appointment and was told to name a date, so I said today (well, yesterday I said tomorrow, but you get my drift), and was offered 8:55am. Living in London that suited me. Early start = less chance of a long wait.

So bright and early I turned up at 4 Bentick Mansions near Bond Street tube station, after walking right past it a couple of times, because I was desperate for the loo and none of the local shops or cafes have one.

At reception I handed over my passport (which I got back after they photocopied it), my immunisation records, a completed questionnaire (do you use hard drugs, that sort of thing), and a British-size passport photo. They will accept either Brit or American size, so I chose Brit as I had more of them spare (I was carrying a couple of each to be safe). My immunisation record comprised the results of a blood test I'd had done by my GP in mid-July, and the jabs I'd had done to cover things I thought I needed but probably didn't (and at a cost).

Waited maybe ten minutes, one other guy was there before me, and while I waited I was asked to complete another questionnaire and sign a form agreeing to a blood test. I also had time to peruse the celebrity-chasing magazines. Who on earth reads these things?

Then I was called by the nurse, and she said my GP's blood test sheet didn't show anything about Measles and Mumps, though I had immunity to Rubella (Chicken Pox) so didn't need that. Thanks GP surgery for not reading my letter explaining what I needed to show I had - I'm pretty sure I've had both those diseases already, and could have had the jab cheaper from the GP if required.

However they would do a MMR jab for £35, so I had that done immediately. I could have gone back to my GP, but we want to get all our ducks in a row so it wasn't worth fussing over the difference. Barely felt the needle, but I'm warned I may feel a little feverish in 5 days. The nurse was chatty and pleasant, asking about where I was moving to and saying she always meets people off to lovely places (i.e. anywhere that isn't the UK) while she has to stay in London.

Back to the waiting room for another five or so minutes, and there's a lot more people there now. I discover there's a beachwear edition of the celebrity mag, but I'm called very quickly for the X-ray.

X-ray man also very nice and chatty. He weighs me but with shoes and clothes on so they're not massively concerned - I'm about 10 pounds overweight by my GP's assessment. I strip off my T-shirt and make like a chicken in front of the X-ray plate, shoulders up and forward to spread the shoulder blades (the X-Ray man tells me how), and holding an x-ray proof sheet over my backside rather awkwardly. Bingo that's done and back to the waiting room, remembering to put on my T-shirt.

Barely time to pick up the beachwear issue again before I'm called again, this time by the doctor.
The doctor is a lovely American woman, mid-twenties to thirties, asks me all the questions I've already answered on the questionnaire, twice, but in a bit more detail, and a couple of new ones (Have I ever been arrested? How does that affect my medical condition?). I do a quick sight test wearing my glasses, 2nd from bottom line one way with right eye and backwards with the left, no problems.

Now it's time for the genital examination...

I wasn't quite sure what to expect but the Doctor asked me to step behind a curtain, drop my trousers and boxers, and put my hands on my hips. Deep Breath, stand proud, I tell myself, everyone has to do this so let's get it over with. With a dramatic swish she pulls back the curtain and asks me to cough. I do, and she pulls the curtain across again and tells me to get dressed. That's it? A cursory glance at the family jewels as they jiggle? Apparently so.

She asks me to lie down on the paper-covered gurney and listens to my lungs and other internals, from various angles, and now it's blood test time. I'm used to needles from doing blood donations for over 25 years so it was really no bother, I barely felt it. She explains that she uses a size 18 needle (I don't think these match knitting needle sizes) because it damages the red blood cells less, and gets a better result.

She puts a plaster and a cotton ball on the dribbling bloody hole and asks me to hold my arm up for 5 minutes and apply pressure with my other thumb (or was it a finger, I forget) while she checks the blood there and then. Mine's red and drippy.

She does a blood pressure test (I think I was 120/85, anyway it was healthy enough), but apparently there's a bit more blood leak than she expected from my needle hole, so she puts a fresh plaster on, lump of cotton wool, and straps it round with medical tape, telling me to keep pressure on and my arm straight for 10 minutes, and to go back to the waiting room. She also says that the tests are fine, she has my mobile number if she needs to call me but 99% chance she won't, and the results will be with the US Embassy around Tuesday next week.

So back to the waiting room and that magazine (I'm really worried about Victoria Beckham's weight loss, and need to re-check Kelly Brook's beach photos) but almost immediately I'm called to pay the bill (now I'll never know if Jordan gets that 4th boob-job).

I leave the building lighter in wallet, but also in spirit.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the details Martin. My husband didn't enlighten me as to same when he had his medical a week or so ago. At the end of his medical the doctor asked if he had health insurance for the U.S. - my husband said yes and with a wave of his hand the doctor dismissed him saying that was all the authorities that be wanted to know. The all important interview is next week.