Felt totally sick and nervous when the alarm clock startled me from slumber. Roused myself with difficulty and hurriedly showered and dressed. I was very happy with the choice of hotel when we could peek through the bedroom curtains and see across to the Doctor’s surgery. At half past seven there were a couple of people eagerly queuing up already but we decided not to let that deter us from taking advantage of the continental breakfast included in the price of the room. We packed up all our belongings, trundled our suitcase over to the Bryanston Court Hotel next door (past the queue over the road) and took up residence in the breakfast room. Whereby I found that tummy was exceedingly unhappy that morning and unable to contemplate eating anything anyway. Think I managed to force down a slice of toast and some orange juice by telling myself that if I didn’t I might well fall over when the nurse took my blood sample. Poured a cup of coffee and mainly sat there looking at it miserably knowing that if I drank it tummy would probably explode.
Time to cross the road and join the queue came. We checked out, stuck our bag in left luggage and headed across to the Doctors. They were late. Eight o’clock came and went and the door remained firmly closed. Eventually it was opened and everyone beckoned inside.
On entry I was handed a pink plastic folder containing an instruction sheet detailing what was about to happen during the medical and listing the documents we were requested to place inside the folder and return it to reception. (UK passport, completed medical questionnaire, 1 passport photo (I used an ADIT one) and vaccination records). We were supposed to take a seat in the upstairs waiting room and spend a few minutes reading this sheet before returning the file but I was far too nervous to concentrate on doing that! Actually, I was so stressed, despite going through the list and checking I’d included everything I still forgot to slip the questionnaire in with everything else and had to go back to my seat to pull it out of my bag again.
At this point I bumped into Daveyboy from British Expats who greeted me with a “hello PinKaboo!” as I walked past him to hand my documents in. (I’m a little hard to miss, not sure but it might be my bright pink hair!) Unfortunately I probably came across as rather standoffish as I was feeling extremely anxious and not very communicative. Sorry.
Once the pink folders were all collected at reception we had to settle back down in the waiting room and wait to be called by name. Bill got his palm pilot out and played a game, while I fretted and pestered him and generally felt quite ill.
It wasn’t too long at all before the intercom emitted a shriekingly loud warning noise and the first barely audible name was huskily whispered to those waiting with ears pricked. Ladies first, one by one we left the waiting room and were called back to reception.
Here I had to stump up the £125 examination fee and sign the front of my passport photo which had now been stapled to the front of a medical form and placed inside a green plastic folder. This done I was then told to proceed to the downstairs waiting room with my folder and without Bill. He had to wait upstairs, I didn’t like that.
Remembered to put my green folder in the box on the wall although it was very easy to miss and no one had actually told me to do so. It’s all quite inconspicuous and I sat and watched every other person that came down after me completely walk past the container too.
The nurse called my name first and I was taken through to give a sample of blood. I was very relieved when she only wanted one phial. This nurse was very nice and quite chatty. She also explained, to my dismay, that despite what my GP told me my vaccination record is not up to date to pass immigration requirements and in order to pass AOS later I will need the MMR jab or get a blood test to prove that I am immune to mumps. That really did not help my mood at all.
Returned to the waiting room.
Paul the x-ray bloke then called me through to his part of the building, pointed me towards a cubicle and asked me to strip to the waist and put on a flimsy paper gown. Miserably did as requested. Really didn’t like this bit at all. In the cubicles next to me I could hear a couple of the other women joking around and laughing. I felt totally vulnerable and unhappy, clutching the garment around me and waiting all alone in the cubicle to be called to x-ray. I know that it is a requirement to getting into the US to be with Bill but that doesn’t make me accept a non-medically required x-ray any easier.
For the x-ray I had to go stand in front of the plate and hold a strange position with my arms twisted behind my back while holding my breath, and all the time it felt like my paper gown kept trying to come loose and have a life of its own.
Once done with that I was directed back to the cubicle (they all look the same, had to guess which one I had emerged from!) and told to do some more waiting and stay undressed in the paper gown. “Oh and by the way, you’ve got it inside out.”
Put on correctly the gown has a waistband that I didn’t spot the first time. Though it didn’t really stop it trying to escape and flap open once I had that corrected. I got more and more miserable all alone in my cubicle listening to other people’s banter until finally a lady doctor called me into her office.
This doctor then took my blood pressure, asked me to stand at one end of the room and read the bottom line of an eye chart, and reviewed my vaccination history. Again, explained that because of my age I haven’t had the Mumps vaccine and that I will need to get it to complete AOS in the States. She also recommended getting the blood test done to see if I am immune first though as apparently most UK citizens are. Hopefully I can then avoid having to get the MMR jab, not happy about the possibility of having it because I have already had the Measles and Rubella. Apparently because the immunisation is aimed at children not adults it’s not rare to find anyone willing to give the vaccines separately so I would have to have the triple. Sucks, sucks, sucks.
I was then asked to lie down on the couch while the doctor gave me a breast exam. Really not at all happy about that either. And for anyone calling me silly just because it’s a professional doctor and supposedly necessary for the visa medical does not mean I have to be happy being poked and prodded in places I like to keep private thank you very much.
Then it was back to the cubicle to get changed and wait some more. Was very agitated by this stage and quite relieved when Paul called me back out again, gave me my rolled up and sealed x-ray, informed me to carry it through immigration in my hand luggage and sent me on my way to the Embassy.
Practically grabbed Bill and fell into his arms once that was through and got out of there as quickly as possible. Oh yeah, and I did take a trip to the loo before I pegged it. Not entirely sure what the fuss is all about on British Expats where it seems to have become a bit of a topic of interest, though I think someone did mention it had been redecorated fairly recently. Still, bit of a hobbit hole to be sure…mind your head!
Seemed to take forever in the Docs but Bill informed me that the whole thing had barely taken an hour.