Tuesday, January 20, 2004

The Six Year Follow Up

As part of my upcoming assessment into what I hope will be my next unit, I have to undergo a two part physical. I've already complete part one which was little more than depositing various bodily fluids into various containers, tubes, beakers, cups and a jar or two. Today however was part two, a totally different story.

Part two of the standard US Army Flight Physical began with a quick check up by the eye doctor who promptly discovered that I need glasses. Well, that'll make you feel old. So now I wear glasses, but only when I need to actually see clearly. The next step was to actually be seen by the local flight surgeon. He checked everything, including things that ought not be check by another man. It was not natural or ever intended by our beneficent creator. Besides which, he had fingers the size of my thighs. Anytime a doctor tells you to "clean up" you know you've been through hell.

That done, we sat down for a good old fashioned medical inquisition wherein he asked me questions such as, "Do you have a family history of heart disease?" and "Have you ever had a panic attack?" and "Are you busy Friday evening?" Seriously, after much questioning he said, "Well, chaplain, every looks good!" and with that he proceeded to sign my paperwork so that I could proceed head out and conquer the world. But wait, what's this? This whole thing was going way too smoothly. "I can't sign this!" says he. "Why not?" asks me. "You must be deployable and you are not due to some necessary dental work." Well this was easily explainable. I had a root canal several months back (see my entry for October 21, 2003, Yin, Yang, and the Zen of Dental Agony) which required some follow up work. Said follow up work would require that I be placed on the "Follow Up Work Required" waiting list. Sadly this list is approximately 6 years long. So I was unable to get the necessary follow up work in time for my trip. Thus I was between a rock and a hard place. The doctor suggested I go to the dental clinic, explain my situation, and ask them to fix me up. On the surface this sounds like a good idea. The problem is that because of where I am stationed, my dental records were 2 hours away.

So, a bit later, I walked into the dentist's office hoping there was a good root canal follow up guy there and proceeded to explain to the clerk that I need a root canal but I don't have records with me and I need it right now and you're gonna have to believe me. Basically I was not just between a rock and a hard place, I was sandwiched between to concrete slabs. After pleading my case to the clerk he asked me to have a seat while he conferred with the dentist. Soon out came a dentist looking guy who happened to be the local root canal expert and happened to be free for a couple of hours and who was just dying to fix my tooth. PTL! Two hours later I walked out feeling like a million bucks, except for the right half of my head which was feeling like a dead fish.

That done, I am now able to go and see if my "new unit" would ever want a guy who's had a root canal twice in one tooth. We'll see.