IT’S THAT time of the year again, Precious Reader. Roll of the dice, shell game or single bullet in the chamber (sorry for the morbid metaphor), call it what you will, but the parchment that permits our stay in Disneyland to earn our pieces of silver another year needs to be renewed, based on many factors but mainly on whether or not the job we perform is important enough that even non-permanent residents like me should be left alone to do it. And continue staying in the land of milk and honey by the way.
But that’s not our topic du jour prepared especially for you Precious Read. Rather, every now and then (as opposed to every year, at least they’re not that cruel) Immigration New Zealand sees it fit that we guest workers submit ourselves to medicals and physicals to determine whether or not we are fit and healthy enough to continue working in this paradise. That is what I wanna talk to you about today, how I went about doing it. Or rather, how I went about having it done to me.
I had to in summary, submit to a basic physical, give blood and urine, then see the doc again if there were any issues based on the bloodwork and other tests. Easier said than done, but it’s not like we had a choice. Moreover, the entire thing would set me back roughly $500NZ, a pretty penny but well worth it. The doctor, a white Kiwi in his mid-50’s tried to be as professional as possible, but I couldn’t avoid getting a creepy feeling. I remembered him from last time, which wasn’t difficult because he touched my family jewels for a little longer than a few seconds. He also tickled my smelly heels with a semi-sharp instrument, ostensibly to check my responses but likewise to see how Asians laugh. But that’s just me.
Just before that was the usual twenty questions, which any sane worker wanting to continue staying in New Zealand would answer no to. Have you ever been exposed to : tuberculosis, HIV, drug abuse, any communicable disease, ever been treated for mental illness, ever been operated on, ever stayed in bed for more than a week, etc. etc. etc? His tone was cordial, but his demeanor and eyes were screaming : you would be crazy to answer yes to any of these apocalyptic-sounding questions, and, as I had been doing the past eight-plus years, answered no no no no no no, and for good measure, a resounding NO! To which he replied, with deadpan understatement, that’s good then.
All very good then, but my general denials had to be backed up by my blood chemistry, x-rays and related stuff, which had to be sorted out and organized in two different clinics nearby. Said establishments were very quick and efficient, much like seasoned workers herding obedient cows and goats to the milking stations. Which was in a sense what we were, since body fluids and other unmentionables were gonna be secreted out of us nervous individuals.
[I say nervous because let’s face it, I had recently reached my half-century mark, and this was the time for all good men to face the reality of middle age, where lifestyle diseases start to make their presence felt, where Mother Nature tries to cash cheques your body wrote out years and years ago, and where you start paying for the foolishness of misguided youth. You can’t blame me for thinking if any of this silliness starts looking for payback in the form of red marks on physical exams.]
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Coincidentally I had a lung capacity, blood pressure and eye/hearing test done at the workplace the previous week, but for slightly different reasons. Occupational hazards like unacceptable noise levels, dust levels and the realities of physical exertion required that we maintain a certain level of fitness, and that we haven’t broken down from said occupational hazards, and the only way to determine this was if the employer itself conducted physicals. My BP was an acceptable 125/60, hearing and lung capacity roughly the same as last year’s, but because I brought an old pair of spectacles to work that day, I didn’t pass the eye exam. Let’s just say if I was taking a driving test that day, I would’ve been sent home for a retest.
All told, I’m generally as fit as a fiddle for a man my age, but I’m still waiting for the results of my blood and x-rays. We never feel as mortal as when confronted by the reality of the state of our bodies, and I try to be as realistic as the next human being. We are only as good as our last physical, and thank you God for every sunrise that we wake up to! Thanks for reading!