Australia Antarctic Interview, Stage 2 (Medical)

So! I passed the interview stages, woohoo!! Next on the list, the medical, which I was able to do in Queenstown. I didnt know that a doctor has to be certified to do Antarctic medicals, and I dont know what certification that involves, but, I was able to see a doctor the next day after ringing to make my appointment.

An antarctic medical covers the basics – blood pressure, hearing, sight, height, weight.. It also depends on how long you’re going to be on the ice for – those who will winter over get a much more intense check up. However, Im potentially for summer, so..

The clinic where i went was going through refurbishment, so the hearing test was tricky at times. I was seated, facing away from the nurse, who had me hooked up, via headphones to a machine that ‘made the noises’. Both the machine and the headphones resembled some sort of war time contraption – a morse code device maybe? Anyway, I passed, apparently really well, considering that part of the test was hearing people talking in the room next door.

Next up was an ECG test. Ive never had one of these tests before – which involves being connected via ‘anodes’ to yet another machine, and lying there while it read my heart. Aside from the nurse attaching one of the clips to me and getting a small piece of my skin caught up in the process, it was a painful, easy test.

So, finished with the nurse and into the doctors office. The rest was pretty much a question and answer procedure and an ear, throat, reflex, breast and … anal check. OK, so I wasnt probed, it was more a perfunctory look to confirm I wasnt heamorraghing heamorrhoids – which apparently would look like a bunch of grapes protruding from your anus. Im sure I’d have known if I had heamorrhoids, but.. all in a typical Antarctic medical.

After the doctors had finished with me I went off to the blood clinic to get samples taken and have a ‘mantoux’ test, which will show you’ve been exposed to TB before if it tests positive. Apparently, its quite a common test to have done for employees of various jobs. I’ve had it once before, when I went to the Antarctica with New Zealand. A small dose of TB is injected just under the skin in the forearm, left for five days, and then checked again once the five days is up – as close to the hour as possible. Passed that one fine, and the bloods.

Last on the list was a chest x-ray.

Medical test – done. Gone, posted and, received at the Australian end.

Next post – Psych Test

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