Wednesday, January 05, 2011
Peace Corps Application Status Update
Things are still plugging along over here. I'm still trying to get all of my medical work done for my PC application. I was warned this is the most time consuming part, and they didn't lie. Oh how I wish all it took was one phone call to a doctor's office, and a quick physical. But oh no! That is so not how this works. Especially not in my case.
Allow me to elaborate!
A few months ago I filled out a 200 question form about my health background. It asked everything you could possibly imagine about your medical history. Even if you think you are the picture of perfect health they would have found something on you in this form.
Then in my in-person interview, they asked a lot of the questions all over again and documented it again. And now, anything I may have said yes to on that form I have to get checked out. Have you ever had pink eye? Sore joints? Headaches? Liver problems? Brain tumors? A freckle on your left big toe?
The basic version of this is I have to get a full physical, blood work, x-rays, dental check, eye exam, and lady exam. The long version of this is that I have to get appointments with a dentist, optometrist, ophthalmologist, lady doctor, general practitioner, and get copies of any vaccine I have ever had. (And trust me, I got a LOT before going to Haiti.) And chances are the GP is going to request I see a neurologist to comment on my vertigo. And if ANY tiny thing pops up in all of this, I have to get treated, cured, and re-visited.
But we're getting ahead of ourselves. Obviously, perfect health is important before joining the PC. But here's the good and bad part. I don't have health insurance. (I haven't been to a doctor in years.) So I have opted to take advantage of the PC offer to use the Veteran's Administration hospitals and doctors. So far my experience has gone like this-
Look up nearest hospital. It is 3 miles away. Call them.
They reject me because "they are too busy to handle PC applicants." I have to call some other VA hospital.
I call the Richmond VA, approximately 3 hours away.
1st call- get stuck on hold for an hour with registration, finally give up and enter my phone number in their queue system, to be called back when they reach me in line.
3 days later realize they never called me back, and call again.
Get through immediately to an operator who has no clue what to do with me. Get bounced and bounced till I find right person. She knows everything. She says she will set up my appointments, and for me to call back in 3 days when the doctors are back in their offices.
3 days later I call back. I lost her personal extension, and get stuck in the registration queue again. On hold for 20 minutes I give up, enter a call back number and wait.
1 hour later I call again, get an operator, and explain my situation. 10 minutes later I'm finally connected. I have the right woman, but she has forgotten to set up my appointments. She transfers me to her supervisor. Supervisor tells me they will set everything up, and for me to call back tomorrow. She takes my email address.
Few hours later the other lady emails me to say they need all of this information on me before they can set anything up. She sets up a time for me to call her to set up my appointments.
I call and give her the info. She tells me to call back in 2 days to find out when my appointments will be.
They had mentioned a few times how the "lady clinic" (their word, not mine) is currently closed and hard to get into. So I suggested that since I live several hours away and that I have to get a TB skin test, which will require me to drive back to Richmond just for them to look at my arm and say all is well, that maybe half of my appointments could be on that second day. That way I could have 2 possible days of getting into the clinic, and not have to start my appointments at the crack of dawn, after having driven 4 hours.
I swear to you they nearly nominated me for a Noble Prize for such thinking. Apparently this was some pretty genius, out of the box stuff for them.
So my appointment to find out when my appointment is is tomorrow afternoon. Wish me luck. We are now a mere 3 weeks into this process, and I still don't actually have an appointment set up!
In the meantime, since the PC strongly recommends volunteers not wear contact lenses, and instead to wear glasses, I am trying to slowly move myself over into glasses again. I haven't worn glasses full time... ever?
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