…I came back for the medical in about a week’s time. This was serious stuff. A full blown medical. Every orifice looked at and probed. This was not the two minute makeover that one sees in the movies.
“Is he breathing? Yes? Approved! Next!
I was a little bit worried about my eye test as I had had a lazy eye when I was a child. It cured itself but left some visual acuity issues in my right eye. I remember my dad telling me how he got through his eye exam in the Army during the war. He held his hand over his bad eye, read the scale then returned his arm to his side. When the doctor asked him to cover his other eye he placed his hand over his bad eye a second time, read the chart and got through the exam with a 20/20 result. I tried the same thing and it worked, primarily because the doctor was focused on the chart and not the patient.
I do remember a story from a naval friend of mine about his experience with his medical on joining. It kind of reflects some of the old military schooled attitudes of the times. My friend had had a severe case of acne when he was young. It left his face hideously pockmarked – had been for all of his life. He did his joining medical only to find out that he failed. He wasn’t told why although he suspected the reason. He left, forgot about the military, and went on his way. About 6 months later he was asked to return to the recruiting centre only to be told that they made a mistake in his medical assessment and would dearly love to have him return. He did. Apparently, the doctor, on examination of my friend, felt that his pockmarked face would not look good on parade and would reflect poorly on the military ethos. He wanted to protect the “Colonel.” So he failed him. Imagine the outcry if that happened today?
Finally finished, then in for another interview. This one was all encompassing but in generalities: the process, basic training expectations, career progression, military life, its rewards and sacrifices, security, threats and on and on he went. This would be the last interview and on receipt of a successful medical examination an offer to join would be given. The candidate, me, would have a few days to think about the decision to join prior to an invite for the swearing in ceremony and “Oath of Allegiance” to Queen and Country. Where was God in all of this? Swear on the bible of course!
In a weeks time I was sworn in. I told my mother, she was thrilled. I told my friends, they thought I was nuts. I also had a few months time before I had to report for Basic Training in August. Not too sure if I liked that break as it provided too much free time to think about my decision. But it also gave me the opportunity to get into physical shape, which I did….