Tuesday, 1 December 2015

I need help

I’m not joking, I honestly had no idea how to go about informing Transport Canada about any of this. Bearing in mind that one of the manifestations of issues was a high level of anxiety associated with making and receiving phone calls, well phoning up a random government office and saying “Hey, I’m crazy*, just thought you should know” wasn’t really an option.

You might think the obvious place to deal with my Medical certification issues would be the guy who signed me off as fit in the first place. The Civil Aviation Medical Examiner or CAME. Well, maybe but there are a few issues with this.

Firstly, I’m not even sure I remember who that was. For those of you who think this sounds weird, some context might be in order. Most newby pilots, who don’t have any significant health issues, see getting their Class 3 medical is just another hoop to jump through. I didn’t actually pay much attention to the whole process. I made an appointment, turned up, was prodded a bit, peed in a cup and then eventually I got a piece of paper in the mail.

Secondly, what I do remember from the process of booking and attending the CAME’s office doesn’t exactly fill me with confidence. Although the Dr. himself was fine, the other staff not so much. I remember having language barrier issues both on the phone and in person. I recall there being a great deal of confusion because I had to pay. I also remember that they gave me the wrong information on the phone about what I needed to bring (good job I’d done some research beforehand) and then both RTH and I suspect that they were the ones that messed up the data entry which led to my certificate going to the wrong address.

So while it wouldn’t have been difficult for me to figure out who to call, it was a lot easier for me to put it off.

I just needed some help to start the process and that help came from an unexpected source. I’d attended a Transport Canada Safety seminar with my pilot buddy E. The subject matter was interesting, winter streamers and lake effect snow. As part of the sign in process I’d checked the box for “please sign me up for some newsletter or the other”

A couple of days afterwards I got a call from JD the safety officer who ran this particular seminar. I’ve chatted to JD before, so we at least know each other. It turned out that he couldn’t quite make out my email address. I gave him the correct one. We exchanged a joke or two as to how I adopted this particular address (I use the localflighteast one for all flying related stuff) and made polite conversation.

I’m not sure why the little voice in my head chose this time to be useful and say “hey LFE, he’s a SAFETY officer” and put the idea into my head that maybe he would be someone who would at least have a contact for me. But I’m very glad it did

I bit the bullet and said “Hey JD, you might be able to help me with something……”
I explained the situation, told him I didn’t know where to start but I wanted to get flying again and would appreciate even just the contact details of someone to talk to.

Well JD, in his infinite kindness simply replied “no worries LFE, I’ll stroll over to the medical department and get someone from there to call you.

He did

And they did

And the contents of that call, next post

* I'm allowed to refer to myself as crazy! I also encourage friends to do the same. Humour is really the only way I can deal with this and believe it or not, inappropriate stuff like referring to my therapist as my "crazy doctor" is actually a sign I'm getting better

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