When it comes time to head to Vancouver and have the medical for my K-1 visa application, I have to prove I’m immune to a lengthy list of communicable diseases, including chicken pox, mumps, measles and rubella.
A Canadian girl in the 1970s remembers well her trips to the school nurse to get stuck up like a pin cushion, the boys not needing any rubella shots.
And chicken pox? Yeah, that scar on my right temple is from picking a chicken pox scab. (The one between my eyebrows is from bouncing on my parents’ bed and landing forehead-first on the corner of their dresser. It was a sometimes rough childhood … all my own fault, sometimes Kevin’s.)
But those records are long since gone. Maybe not gone but locked in a room somewhere and covered by layers and layers of dust.
A day on the phone
The quest for my immunity idol … er, records … started last week, a quick email fired off to the Guysborough-Antigonish health authority. A return note said I’d have to call the hospital to see if my records were there.
A friendly gal took my name and birth date, put me on hold and went in search of some boxes. She returned shortly after and said “nope, nothing here.”
You might, however, try the university if you went to St. FX, your parents or your family doctor.
Mom keeps everything and if those records were sent to her, she’d have them somewhere.
How about the family doctor? Hmmm, Dr. Sers has been dead for years but oh wait, there was that awfully nice doctor who gave me free birth control pills. (That also started the chain of events that led to the only time my mother slapped me across the face. Note to kids everywhere: Never ever tell your mother to mind her own fucking business, especially when you live in her house rent-free. Trust me, this is good advice.)
Nope, no records there either. That wasn’t really surprising. I haven’t lived in Antigonish in more than 20 years. Who keeps a file that long?
Off to the medical clinic
Sigh. This is going to mean one thing: a blood test.
Translation: at least one needle is going into my porcelain skin. And by porcelain, I mean scarred, moley and freckled, along with burned and aged by too many hours in the sun.
I sat for an hour finishing a John Grisham novel, glancing up every once in a while to check out the limping and the ill, hoping no one breathes in my general direction.
I read from my phone the list of shots I need to get tested for and the letter I will need as proof of immunity.
The doctor looked at my quizzically and said, “You need all that for your visa?”
“Do they even realize most Americans don’t have those immunizations? It’s not like most of them have actual health care of anything.”
I couldn’t help but chuckle. Most of all, because he may be correct.
But these are the hoops though which I must jump.
After he stabbed me with a tetanus booster, I spent another hour waiting at the medical lab, springing free after a tech filled four vials with my blood. She said it was only four teaspoons worth but I still felt light-headed.
Probably because I’m a pansy when it comes to needles.
All the same, I plan on winning this game. It will be another two weeks before I have my immunity idol in my hands.
And then I wait, wait and wait to play some more games and win the final vote at Survivor Council.