Friday, July 11, 2008

I'm Sick!

Not really. However I am currently medically decertified from controlling airplanes.

Last winter I decided that it was time to address a condition that afflicts many people today. I also knew that doing so could jeopardize my medical certification--obstructive sleep apnea.

I can certainly understand that sleep apnea is not a desirable characteristic for an air traffic controller. But it seems strange that you would disqualify the controller that has sought treatment. My personal doctor is also the local examining doctor for the Regional Flight Surgeon. At my physical last month, we made sure that all of the information about my diagnosis and treatment was disclosed. For too long, many controllers either just didn't seek help for a condition that they knew they had but never had a doctor's diagnosis, or they got treatment and never disclosed the information for fear of losing their medical.

I shouldn't have a problem demonstrating that the treatment is working. I will have to take a little used test known as a wakefulness test. According to my doctor the FAA is the only agency or company that requires it. I'll get to foot the bill for this test to show that I'm ok to work. Since I'm still on vacation (and not yet home) it will be Monday before I can find out just how long it will take to schedule this test. Until then, SGF will be short a controller during a time of year when we are already short staffed due to vacations. The simple fact that I've been working airplanes up to the diagnosis, continued working from treatment to my physical and continued working with my personal doctor's (the flight examiner) knowledge since my physical has little to do with the Flight Surgeon's decision to decertify me.

In keeping with my last post, I'm trying to keep a positive attitude. I'll be able to convert part of my vacation time to sick leave. I'll be able to do some administrative work if it is a while before I can get an appointment. I only have 3 years, 5 months and 26 days until I'm eligible to retire and say goodbye to such nonsense. And I keep reminding myself that 50% of all doctors graduated in the bottom half of their class!



Bilbo said...

I hope it all works out. More to come in my letter, which I hope to finish this weekend...don't give up hope!

Mike said...

The "system" is now processing you. Cover your butt.

Sicilian said...

Wow! I am so proud of you that you sought help for a problem. I am a little surprised at how the Feds come down so hard. It sure would make anyone having any issue a little nervous about getting help. Seems like the Feds would want their people to get help, and not punish.
Of course the kicker for me is that you have to pay for it.