One of the important stages of the green card process is the medical. This is to prove that you’re not too sick or carrying disease into the States. There are still global pandemics that you would think would be long gone, but strangely polio and other eighteenth century ailments seem to still exist and even worse, are actually a reality in regional parts of Australia. Now you know!
The core parts of the medical consist of checking for any known diseases – particularly tuberculosis, getting your blood and urine tested, being felt up while uncomfortably coughing and getting your knee whacked with a stick to see how fast you can scream out, “For fuck’s sake, stop that!”. But the first part, the icebreaker is a pee test.
In Brisbane, this is almost comical, as the nearest toilet facilities are across the lobby of an upmarket hotel. Throughout the day, the concierge staff views a sporadic procession of shamed patients, carrying identical brown paper packages to the rest rooms. After attending to that piece of business, you wait your turn to enter one of two heavy doors.
Behind door B, you’re greeted by a doctor with eighteenth century muttonchops, probably a mandatory when diagnosing eighteenth century diseases. He’s stoic and humorless at first. It’s like he’s from that time. Gradually he lightens up a little.
The whole consultation takes approximately an hour. We were worried about not having had certain immunizations for many years and I was particularly expecting a procession of injections that would leave me looking like a pincushion. As someone who hates needles, this was one of the biggest hurdles. Gladly they now produce what I can only call compilation boosters, syringes full of the best of’s – several serums in one or two injections. Better still, the doctor has a charming ability to give a sly punch first that actually stops the pain you’d normally get afterwards.
Having passed the pee test (geddit), we had to head down firstly to Post Office Square for a blood test (more needles) and then up to an X-Ray clinic in Queen Street Mall, which for the fellas, is seemingly staffed by a modeling academy.
A day later, we were contacted to say that it was all done and ready for collection. We picked up a couple of unwieldy envelopes and a secret envelope that can only be opened by the Embassy – quite intimidating. Gladly, the doctor intimated that we’d be OK.