This year was my second re-eval for my special issuance FAA Class III medical. Last year I tried tactic #1: following a schedule. This is basically how it went down:
January 2010: Appointment with FAA medical examiner. Of course as a Diabetic he could not grant my certificate right there, so he typed “Deferred” on the form until I sent the FAA the mountain of paperwork known as my entire medical records since 1998 (the year I was diagnosed).
February 2010: I began the process of releasing my hospital medical records to my parents (since I moved 1,600 miles away from home). After finally receiving them, I made a copy and sent them to the FAA.
March 2010 – May 2010: The FAA corresponded with me several times requesting additional information (eye tests, blood work, etc.). Ugh.
June 2010: The FAA granted me my first special issuance Class III medical certificate back-dated to the date in January when I saw the examiner. This means it expired a year from that date in January 2011. Ugh x2.
So, early January 2011 I made another appointment with the medical examiner, since my certificate would be expiring soon. Again he typed “Deferred” and again I sent all my medical records for the past 12 months with as much extra crap as I could come up with (pictures of my eyeballs from various angles, blood sugar printouts, etc.).
Since this was just a re-eval (not a brand new certificate) I figured botta-bing-botta-boom print me out a certificate. Nope.
March 2011: I finally received my certificate after 2 months of waiting. Ugh x3.
This year I decided to preempt the whole system. I had my endo write a letter in October 2011, got my eyes checked in November (which sucks by the way since it had not been a year my insurance would not cover it, ugh x4), printed out all of my records (thank you Vanderbilt online system), and completed my bloodwork. I packaged everything up and sent the package about a week before I visited the FAA medical examiner.
He typed “Deferred,” as usual, and sent me on my way with the task of sending the FAA all of their useless crap. Little did he know I had already sent said crap a week before.
The outcome? Better. I went to the FAA examiner on 21 January 2012, my previous medical certificate expired on 21 February 2012. The FAA sent my new certificate the same day (although back dated to 21 January 2012), which means I was only off flight status for about a week as my certificate was making its way across the country. Other than having to progressively move back all my dates and pay extra medical bills since I am completing annual checks more frequently than annually, I would say this is about as good as it’s going to get.
It’s not easy trying to play the games Diabetes requires. Having the physical disease is pretty hard, but sometimes the logistics and politics are just as challenging. And of course, I could back off, choose a different career field, and just be happy living within the bounds of Diabetes.
But that’s just not who I am.
It wasn’t who I was before Diabetes came along, and it won’t define my dreams for the future.