Sunday, February 7, 2010

Radiation sickness.......

Well here's the strangest airport experience of my life and it happened today.
As you may have read, I had to undergo a stress test a little while ago as part of my aviation medical. A part of this test was to be be injected with a nuclear substance to trace the blood pumping through my heart.
Ok, so fast forward to today.
I have been away in the caribbean working as part of my day job and returned to Miami international airport today. Just after clearing passport control I was on my way to customs when walking towards the customs officer an alarm sounded and the officer looked at me as though I had robbed a bank, put a hand on his gun and his other hand up as to say stop right there, and said " Don't move !!"
Well, I laughed for a second and then realized he was serious and was pointing directly at me. Causing a huge scene in the middle of the hall with some 100 or so people edging away from me and staring. The officer approached as I stood frozen to the spot, told me to put my bags on the floor, he started asking questions very quickly and firmly, " where have you travelled from ?", " what is your job ?", "have you had any medical procedures recently?"
Yes, yes I blurt out I had a medical a couple of weeks ago I spluttered, not having any idea what this was about.
"Sir, you need to come with me, right away" and he takes me by the arm.
From where I had come from in the caribbean, I was suddenly worried that someone had planted something in my bags, and started sweating.
So, am taken to a restricted area where there are 4 other officers, non of them smiling. The lady of the group comes to me to ask more questions and then asks for the details of the medical procedure I have had, so I explain, give the name of my doctor, as the others a taking everything from my bags. I ask why I am being stopped and she explains: " Sir, its because you are nearly off the scale being so radioactive at the moment."
I laughed out loud, and protested there must be a mistake. At this point another of the officers came over and put some kind of detection machine near me, looking like Captain Kirk examining a recently encountered alien.
I see his machine reading a number 9 in Green numerals, whilst he is shaking his head.
Mmmm, I'm in trouble here, I felt.
The lady kindly explained that the scale only goes to 12, so I am pretty radioactive.
So I explained further about the Stress test I had gone through, and she explained that if this was true I should have been given a letter/certificate to travel.
The Captain Kirk officer then started to ask pretty direct questions about being a pilot, training etc. and I gave him the details about the TSA approval, the school I am training with. I then also gave them the name and telephone number of the doctors office, which they were able to verify.
"if you can just remove your out clothing please sir, so we can test that."
So, I am stood there in my boxer shorts thinking, "well if I ever get out of here... at least I have a story for the blog"
After a couple of phone calls, and quickly dressing myself I am told its ok and I am safe to leave but must get a letter from my doctor if I wish to avoid such dramas in the future.
So for the time being I am radioactive.

Up and away again..... heading North, a long day and then home.....

At Starbucks in Beirut, thinking about where I'd like us to go away holiday this year The phone rings..... "Can we leave to...