I GOT MY MEDICAL CLEARANCE FROM THE PEACE CORPS
After numerous shots, blood tests, x-rays and doctor visits, I finally got my medical clearance from the Peace Corps.
It’s only been a year since I first applied to serve, but somehow, it feels like forever. As some of you may have read,my first application was rejected, and then on January 14th, 2015, I rewrote my resume and received my invitation to serve on May 14th.
On July 29th, 2015, I finally received my medical clearance, which means, I’m good to go to Lesotho, on October 5th. This may not seem like a long time to you, but so much has happened in my life in the past year, including my divorce, finding a place to live, and passing the TESOL certificate in London.
Now I admit that patience is not one of my strengths, and I realize that I shall need to slow down in Lesotho as this is an important part of our Peace Corps training, while learning to adapt to a totally new and unfamiliar country.
When I look back at how much stuff I had to go through, it seems like it was a full-time job to get my medical and dental paperwork in order.
It’s not like I have any illnesses, or take medication of any kind, but nevertheless, I had to fix certain “problems.”
- A full set of x-rays in digital format.
- A detailed dental exam with measurements of the distance between the gum line and each tooth, (not sure of what the dental terminology is for this.)
I had to have one crown, which then resulted in an unexpected root canal. I was worried sick about the root canal, because of stories I’d heard of how painful it can be, and surprisingly, I didn’t feel a thing. The crown actually hurt more than the root canal.
The following vaccinations:
- MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella.) When I was a child, I had the measles, and there was confusion as to why I wasn’t getting vaccinated against measles. I had several back and forth e-mails with the Peace Corps nurse explaining this.
- Polio: Another vaccination
- Typhoid: I accidentally got two, and paid $150 for one of these. I then worried that the Peace Corps would tell me that I was not allowed to go, as I’d had two vaccinations. I had to explain my mistake, and this also caused some delays.
- Yellow Fever: I had to find a special urgent care that offers yellow fever shots. This also cost $150.
- Tetanus: I got a shot, and actually, that’s the one that hurt my upper arm the most, especially during my shoulder press exercises at the gym.
- HIV/AIDS blood test. I’m clear.
- Tuberculosis: I came out 5mm positive, as I was vaccinated for this in Europe as a child, and they don’t seem to vaccinate n the U.S. I therefore had to get a chest x-ray, to prove that my lungs are clear. Apparently my lungs are long, so the technician had to x-ray them 3 times, and of course I’m worried about all the radiation.
- Colonoscopy: I had one six years ago, and thankfully no polyps, so I’m not supposed to have another for 4 more years. Even that required a personal statement explaining the results.
Now, I’m focusing on the type of backpack I need to buy. I was told 65-85 litres, however that’s enormous. So the researching backpacks at REI, online, and other places, and we also have a long list of items to bring to Lesotho, southern Africa. We are not allowed to leave Lesotho during our 3-month pre-service training, nor can we leave (i.e. shop in South Africa–across the border) for another 3 months after that. So we have to pack the stuff we need. The problem is, we’re not sure what we’ll need, and we’re limited to two suitcases.
More about getting ready for the Peace Corps, and my trip to Thailand, next week.