Once you receive the ‘Golden Call’, you have to complete a whole series of pre-employment medicals. You have to be 100% medically fit to take on the role of cabin crew, due to the nature and physical demands of the job! They are very very strict on this! You also have to be dentally fit to get the ‘Final Approval’, so when i first received these forms- i immediately thought…yeah, thats you pretty much screwed :/
Having neglected my teeth for my 5 years at Uni (ok that makes me sound like i have a set of gnashers a witch would be proud of- i dont for the record). But i did have two gaping holes in my teeth that needed the dreaded root canal treatment.
Enter obstacle number 1.
You get sent a Declaration Form to sign and send back within a couple of days. This has a lenghty list of illnesses/ diseases/ allergies- whether you have had history with any of them. You simply tick Yes or No. One thing listed on the form was ‘Anemia’. Now i have had history of this in the past. Im going to get all ‘sciencey’ on you for a moment, just to explain what it is.
Anemia is is a condition in which your blood has a lower than normal number of red blood cells. You have a lower Haemoglobin count than everyone else. Because a low red blood cell count decreases oxygen delivery to every tissue in the body, having anemia can cause dizziness, weakness, fatigue, shortness of breath.
Now because of the cabin altitudes, having anemia whilst flying can mean you will just literally pass out and faint. And you certainly wouldnt be able to keep up with the demands of the job.
X- guidelines are- candidates MUST have a Hemoglobin count of OVER 10.
I had NO IDEA. Absolutely none. I can’t believe i didn’t know this. I have had history of this but not all the time. It is usually just when i eat bread (as im Coeliac and allergic to wheat flour, so when i eat bread, i cannot absorb iron- and thus leads to iron defficency. COMPLICATED YES!) Anyway. I just never thought it would ever affect me in terms of getting a job- but how little did i know.
A normal person’s Hemoglobin is around 12-16. When the whole C saga kicked off. I couldn’t eat properly- just because i couldnt physically stomach anything, my stomach was in knots for months. I found it a struggle to get up and out of bed. I would get up, make my bed- then continue to lie on it all day wailing like a mad woman. Oh god! I can’t believe what i was like. Cringing at the very thought right now. I was so stressed out all the time, it was an extremely upsetting period of my life and i went through a very emotional time (ask my friends….in fact, ask my mum, dad, sister, auntie…the postman…….the man in the corner shop- yep, basically anyone who would cross my path and willingly or not- loan an ear ). Anyway, it did have a serious affect on my health, and when i went to have a blood test back in March my blood count was actually X. Now when the normal level for a woman is 13-16, im in seious shhhh here. We were driving and i remember my mum glancing over at me and gasping saying i frightened her as i looked like a corpse! HA! Cheers mum.
I get put on to Ferrous Sulphate tablets- as if you go on a course of these for 3 months you increase and get back to normal. I felt like they were making me put on weight and bloated so i stopped taking them. When i sent off my declaration form, X came back and requested further information. I thought that’s it- its game over. They will see how bad i was at the beginning of the year, and because its such a serious issue you have to be FIT with- i didn’t think i stood a chance now. Blew it. I rang my mum when she was on holiday and cried telling her its all over.
Enter SUPERMUM to the rescue.
We phoned my doctor and explained the situation, she put me on another course of tablets. I changed my whole diet- i cut out bread entirely- and was strict with myself, this was worth too much! I went for countless blood tests at the hospitals, having to keep going back to Stoke to do them- as my doctors is back home. I owe my mum and dad so much for helping me with all of this, will just never forget what we have all done to get me here!
I had a few blood tests, but could see the level was now increasing. CUE- SIGH OF RELIEF. It went from 8.2/ 9.8. I sent the record off at 9.8, but was then given three months by …… to get myself even higher. My date had now changed to 26th October. WHICH WORKED OUT PERFECT- as one of my friends Cat who i did two seasons with in IBIZA- is flying on the same day.
TOLD YOU- Everything happens for a reason.
Anyway, i finally sent off the last blood test- 11.7. YOU DID IT JESS- Actually did it, i really did turn things around- and now, it meant i was back on track, and could now see the finishing line.