Peace Corps Videos

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Medical Screen Completed

I’ve finally completed my medical screening for the Peace Corps. I had read online that this could be a laborious process and my recruiter had told me the same thing. It was time-consuming but not for the reasons I expected.

The Peace Corps provides an online site where you can check the status of your application at any time. On November 1st, my site was updated to say that the Peace Corps had shipped my medical forms to me and that I should make my appointments to have the exams completed. I did that almost immediately. I quickly got a medical appointment and went to a walk-in eye glass exam place. I had to wait a while for the dental appointment, but I was put on the stand-by list and got in a few days later. As it turned out, I completed ALL of my appointments before the official forms arrived in the mail. Fortunately the Peace Corps had downloadable form online that I was able to take to my appointments.

The eye exam was confusing because they wanted information on fitting me for a frame but they only provided pictures of frames and the optician was not comfortable “guessing” about the frame size. The dental exam was a bit time consuming but I also had a hygiene appointment at the same time. The medical appointment required some lab work including an HIV test and a Blood Type test. The HIV test turned out to be a bigger deal that I expected. Once I got to the clinic, I had to sign two forms, one consenting to have the test done and then another saying the results would be reported to my doctor and I had to give consent to that. It seemed like a bit of overkill to me since it was my doctor who ordered the test in the first place. As far as the blood type test, my doctor told me that was not a common test, which surprised me. I figured it would be routine. Turns out it was a good thing. I have never given a lot of thought to my blood type and only vaguely remembered that I had Type O positive blood. Turns out, that is not correct, I’m A Positive. Not sure why I had thought otherwise, but that’s what the lab reported.

On Wednesday morning, I was taking my dog out for a walk and a guy came out of my neighbors house and said “Do you live there?” pointing at my house? I said yes and he said, I’m taking care of the Heller’s house and I just found a bunch of your mail in their mailbox. I put it in your box. This is my neighbor’s second home and they don’t use it a lot. The mail could have been in their box for weeks. I went to my mailbox and sure enough there were my Peace Corps documents. Fortunately, the medical and dental forms were identical. However, there were now two additional forms I had to have my doctor complete…one was my physical capabilities…could I sit and stand for long periods of time, can I lift 50 pounds, etc. The second form contained additional medical questions based on my application. These asked about my allergy to Shrimp and Lobster and my high Cholesterol. They also wanted additional lab reports on my Cholesterol. I got the new forms back to my doctor who filled them out and I was finally done. I had gotten concerned that I had not received the paperwork and as it turns out, it was probably a Postal error that caused the delay and not a delay with the Peace Corps. Last night, I make copies of everything then drove to the main post office and dropped my forms in the mail. Next week is Thanksgiving week so I’m guessing they won’t even get looked at until after the holiday. My hope is to receive my clearance before the first of February. That is two months away. If I can get my medical clearance and my invitation then I should have plenty of time to get my house on the market, resign my job and get my other affairs in order. I’m also hoping to spend some time traveling and visiting family before I depart.

I’m flying to Virginia on Thursday for Thanksgiving Day. Mom and Dad want to spend some time chatting with me about my plans. I’m looking forward to that.