Wednesday, January 28, 2009

My Physical

MEPS was quite the experience.  I went to the hotel on Monday where the Navy was putting me up around 4 and got to read and relax until suppertime.  There were a lot of people there at the hotel, compared to the 20 that were present the last time I went to MEPS.  I'm guessing it was a combination of MEPS being closed for the holidays, and the end of the month when recruiters should be making quotas.  And quite a few people who were going into the Army had waivers for DUI's, DWI's, misdemeanor drug convictions, and other interesting arrests.

After supper, I biked for a little bit in the gym room they had, read for a few minutes, and then went to bed.  Except I couldn't sleep for more than 30 minutes. My roommate had turned up the temperature for the room, which meant the heat would cut on every 40 minutes like clock work, making me hot and sweaty enough to throw off the covers, and then the sweat would get cold and make me freeze, and I'd throw the blankets back on. That went on until 4 in the morning when I got up, dressed, and went downstairs for breakfast and to check out.

I arrived at the military entrance processing station around 5:45 AM and walked through the doors of my liason at 5:55AM.  Paperwork was first on the things to do, followed by even more paperwork.  Somebody screwed up and got the suffix wrong on my name (not a big deal...but that's not the name on my SSN, driver's license, or birth certificate) and corrections were promised to be made.  After completion of the paperwork, I was instructed to go to the medical section.  There my blood pressure was taken by a pert HM2 in Winter Dress Blues who barked, "Honey, you need to RELAX!" when my systolic was high.  So I did my best while the automatic cuff attempted to cut off the circulation to my arm.

The doctor was next who asked me general questions about my health, and then poked and prodded me.  Hearing and vision were tested in addition to a verbal reading test to make sure I didn't have a speech impediment or stutter.  The same HM2 who took my blood pressure also drew my blood.  And it only took her 14 seconds, including prep and tying my arm off!  Upon having my blood drawn, I went along with 15 other people into a room where we performed several different range of motion exercises.  I'm guessing its purpose was to tell if we had any sort of gait, balance, hand eye coordination, or scoliosis problems.  After the exercises, I had to urinate in a cup.

I was amazed at some people's inability to comprehend exactly how to urinate for the lab tech.  "Uhhhh, my recruiter didn't mention anything about this," "I know I haven't gone in 6 hours, but I don't really need to go to the bathroom," "Well I had to go a second ago, I don't know why nothing happened!"  And these people will be defending our country some day. Sheesh.

After that, all the people who provided samples were seated, and we essentially waited on the rest of the guys who had either failed to provide a sample numerous times or were waiting until they needed to go to the bathroom.  About that time I noticed how unusual the group was.  Some of the guys were former active duty who were reenlisting, and they were in their mid to late 20's.  Then there were guys who bald, gray, and over 40 who had served in the military half a lifetime ago.  It beats the hell out of me what they were doing there, but we were all sitting and staring at each other.  And it seemed odd that I was the only one with enough foresight to bring a book to read.

About this time while we were all waiting some of the younger unshaven guys began whispering to each other, and with each reply, puffed up their scrawny chests and jutted their chins out: "Hey, what're you planning to do?" "82nd Airborne Division, man! I know I'm going to make it!" "Screaming Eagles for me" "I'm going to be a Ranger" "1st and 5th!" "3rd and 5th!"  It only took about 3 minutes of this for me to realize that none of them were shipping out that day but were just entering the Delayed Enlistment Program and hadn't met with any counselor to determine their MOS or to be curtly reminded that specific jobs or MOS are not guaranteed.  But what the hey. The military needs clean toilets too.

After a final check with the physician and going over my medical records with another HM1, I left the actual building at 11:00AM after being there for a little over 5 hours.  I should know, according to the doctor, within a week if I'll be cleared medically but he was completely convinced that I would be cleared. Still, fingers crossed.
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