Medical Done, But I May Need A Monocle…

So the trip to London was a success! Passed the medical (pending chest/blood results) and I’m ready for an interview with the US embassy. Another step done, and we’re both very happy with that.

However, there was one thing I discovered from the day that I found rather alarming. But before I explain what (though the title gives a fairly obvious hint about what I’m referring to), here’s a brief rundown of my London experience.

The Trip Down

In Durham, I was boosted by the news I wouldn’t be alone while I was in England’s capital; my friend Abbie was going to keep me company before and after the medical (she lives not too far away)! So I was in pretty high spirits when I boarded the train, casually forgetting that I still had a cramped three-hour journey to complete first.

Urgh. I’m not built for economy travel, whether that be on a train or plane. I’m simply too long-legged for it. Awful. This time I was assigned a table seat for some reason (I don’t recall picking it), and had the misfortune to be opposite a man who thought the entire area was solely for him. Seconds in, I found his knees bumping into mine. Being the timid, conflict-avoiding person that I am, I would politely shuffle my legs out the way and offer him the space, only for this gentleman to move into my space again because, well, why not make the person opposite you, who is already suffering from an inability to stretch out, feel even more uncomfortable? This silent game played out for the first hour (it was like the awkward moment you and a stranger try to pass but keep sidestepping into each others path, only much, much longer) until he finally moved, leaving me with all the room I could wish for. Yes! Comfort!

Uh, not quite; the arm rest wouldn’t go up properly, so any change of position would result in the hard lump offering an unwelcome and rough back massage. And the guy adjacent to my table liked to put his legs across the walkway and rest his shoeless feet on the edge of my seat. Joyous.

Other than that, it was all right.

London!

Surprisingly sunny in London, but it was also unsurprisingly busy and congested so I can’t say I was too appreciative of the weather. Met up with Abbie easily enough though, and her first task was to point me in the right direction as I began to walk the completely wrong way. Turns out my Street View plan would have worked out better had I learned which exit out of King’s Cross I needed to take to start my route. Whoops.

Anyway, once I was on the right road I got to the doctors easily enough. Yes I knocked on the wrong door first, but other than that it was easy as pie (I only had two minor panic attacks!). I was on time and ready to go!

Medical Time!

First impressions were somewhat underwhelming; it just looked like any old doctors surgery. Was a lot busier (and hotter) than I expected, and I wasn’t the youngest there. For some reason I thought I would be, because I’m supposed to be the only 22-year-old moving countries. Hmm.

Anyway, the first thing they did (after asking me to fill out a form) was the chest x-ray. I pressed up against this weird metal plate (had to pull a chicken pose…very graceful) and once that was done I then stood awkwardly behind the doctor for a few minutes until she told me I could go back to the waiting room. Sat in there for another thirty minutes until a different doctor called me up for the rest of the medical. I was asked some questions and then she went through the routine; checked my vitals, took my blood, asked some more questions etc. After about fifteen to twenty minutes I was done. Perfectly healthy, a complete pass!

Well…just about. One part of the medical was an eye exam. I covered my left eye, aced every line. Moved onto my left and I…I really struggled. Most of it was blurry, and it took some guesswork to get some of it. It isn’t unusual for one eye to be dominant, but you don’t notice there is a difference unless you do a test. I was shocked…how I have never realized lefty is a miserable failure compared to righty before is something I can’t understand. Yeah, I don’t often go around with one eye closed but surely I would have picked up on it sooner?

Understandably I was a little concerned by this. I’m probably making it a bigger deal than it actually is (I keep closing my right eye and trying to read things), but there is definitely a difference in quality between the two. Ever since the medical I’ve been testing them both out, with the results varying from ‘oh god I’m blind!’ to ‘hey, I can read that!’. It seems like bigger words are fine (like on the television) but once we get to the writing in this blog or in a book, I do struggle at a distance. Sometimes light or angle improves lefty’s vision (tilting the screen or moving my head), but overall it is like switching from High Definition to Standard when I shut my right eye. Vanna said that sometimes one eye is blurrier than the other for her but it passes after a few days…so hopefully that’s what I’m experiencing now (mind you, Vanna needs glasses so I can’t be too relieved by this news). Otherwise I might have to invest in a monocle.

That concern aside, I was pretty pleased with how it went. It was quick and it wasn’t as expensive as predicted, which was definitely a bonus (a lot of the tests we included weren’t necessary for me). And now I should be ready for when I (hopefully) get into America. So, blindness paranoia aside, it was a good trip.

Waiting For The Train

Abbie and I walked around for a couple of hours. I’m afraid I don’t have any pictures because I, uh, forgot my camera. Sorry folks. If it is any consolation, I didn’t see anything worth photographing. Except for some weird-looking pigeons (not a single one had all its toes), a huge birdcage with a children’s swing in (that adults used because that’s a normal thing to do on your walk home from work) and St Pancras, it was all very mundane. We had some food and sat on a bench for a bit. No big deal.

Journey Home

Train was on time, and the time went by pretty quickly. I somehow had a worse seat than before (my knees were shoved against the hard plastic of the chair in front), but thankfully the person who was supposed to be sitting next to me the entire trip didn’t turn up, so I was able to stretch my legs across. I read my book (False Impression by Jeffrey Archer; never read anything of his before but I really enjoyed it) and listened to music. Nothing special. Got home around half nine, and relaxed. Job done.

Aaaand that was my London experience. Happy it is over and can’t wait to hear from the embassy. Hopefully they’ll send the letter to me soon. It’s supposed to take six weeks, but we’re optimistic it’ll be here sooner. We’ll just have to see.

Right then. I’ll speak to you later, providing of course that I can still see my screen tomorrow. Bye!

Alex

 

P.S There wasn’t a single bin in or around King’s Cross Station. What’s up with that London? Backwards city…

 

 

 

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