Last week was a bit of a medical mystery. I made the mistake of telling the doctor my throat was scratchy on Wednesday, so she went all Monty Python me and hid behind a box of specula while printing off a referral for a Covid test. That resulted in a further day off school and a Zoom interview for a job. I hope I get that job, because the other one I am being considered for requires a little more of me. One of the things is a medical examination.
I’ve heard of people being subjected to a medical when they are hoping to become a pilot, or joining the police force, or applying for a place in an elite sports programme. Not as part of the interview process for teaching English in a school. And to be clear, I haven’t had the final interview yet.
When I walked in the door of the treatment room, I was presented with a specimen cup. I dutifully peed into it, and all over my hand. It’s quite hard to aim as a woman. I was weighed and had my height measured. Why would the school need to know those details? Will I not get the job if I am shorter than my students? Or if they think I’m overweight? You’ll be pleased to know that my blood pressure is normal – whatever that means.
Then I was tested for colour blindness – obviously so I will be able to tell my students apart. My eyesight and hearing were checked – no doubt so that I can hear a hurled missile coming my way and see it before it hits me. My balance was checked – which could be in case I do a field trip on a boat, with 27 students, teaching English. My flexibility – bending backwards, forwards, sidewards – and turning my head were next – I expect this was to check I’ll be able to dodge bullets Matrix-style.
This is when it gets bizarre. The doctor waved a stethoscope at me and asked me to lift my dress so she could listen to my hearbeat. There I was, with my dress bunched up above my boobs while she checked that I was still alive. Luckily I wore (fairly) new, matching underwear. Then she told me to lie down on the bed and she lifted my legs in turn, turned my ankles, checked my reflexes and bent my knees. As if that wasn’t enough, she got me to drop my bent leg to the side, an action reminiscent of my child-birthing experiences. I’m not sure where my dress was at this stage – probably over my face so I could pretend I wasn’t there.
Bizarrer still, she said she needed to check my lymph nodes. She poked my underarms and my throat. Then she moved lower. Let’s just say the last time anyone poked around that area, he at least had the decency to buy me dinner.
I left there, bewildered and perplexed, feeling like I had been probed by an alien. But with the knowledge that I am quite flexible ‘for my age’.