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Medical from Hell
Return to Whitts Flying
Vignettes from Old Age; ...A Change in the Making? 11/2001; ...The Medical; ...The FAA and your Medical Examiner; ...Special Medical Flight Test; ...SODA; ...Why the Delay in Medicals; ...Migraine; ...Internet Discussion;...Moral Argument; ...Medical Discussion; ...Suggestions for the Straight Shooters; ...On Color Blindness; ...A New disease?; ...Decoding a Progress-Resistant Bug; ...And what has been learned?; ...15 Automatically Disqualifying Conditions; ...New about Medicals9-04 ; ...Money Can Get You a Medical; ...
Vignettes of Old Age
--You cannot appreciate the meaning of being alive until you are close to death.
--You cannot appreciate being able to fly, until you can't.
--You cannot undo what time has done to your ability to pass a medical
--You can undo what you have done to your inability to pass a medical.
--If only the Aeromedical Division of the FAA only lived by the basic Hippocratic Oath, "First, do no harm."
--Federal Air Surgeon is the ultimate authority behind the issuance of a medical certificate
--The present medical certification system is vocational euthanasia. The certification requirements of the FAA are antiquated, not reasonably founded, unfair and a failed unethical process.
-- Federal Air Surgeon is the ultimate authority behind the issuance of a medical certificate
A Change in the Making? 11/2001
A meeting between FAA administrator, federal air surgeon and others concerning the delays in issuing special issuance authorization medical certificates resulted in the AOPA offering a revision of FAA's policy. Proposals were to tie the class of medical along with an AME's ability to approve interim medical pending FAA review. Pilot would be able to fly and maintain proficiency.
The newest information is at the top:
The Bob Hoover case is very important to aviation medicine. It proves that fairness does prevail but one must persevere and have financial resources. Make sure that you mention in the Bob Hoover case that his medical was NEVER removed by Australia. Also that this started as a flying deficinecy case that was from the FSDO and dumped into medical . AOPA has excellent coverage of the Hoover case. I put Hoover right up there with Howard Hughes, Bevo Howard, and others. FAA Medical should never have taken the case and they screwed themselves in the process. This is the FIRST case that was referred totally and independently to another sourcd i.e. Mayo Clinic. This case can be cited for future legal precedant.
If you have never experienced confusion, anxiety and frustration in aviation, just wait until you age a bit and are faced with a AME medical examination. Regardless of your age, status, wealth, experience, or knowledge time will expose you to what could be the career ending experience of an FAA medical.
FAA and FAR flight standards are primarily based upon medicine as practiced in the 1930s. There is considerable pressure on the idea of self-certification as practiced by sailplane pilots and ultralights. The medical deficiency as a factor in aircraft accidents is rare but happens. Usually it is because of a concealed deficiency. The intent of the medical is to disallow a pilot to fly with a condition that could lead to sudden incapacitation or death.
The AME is a specially trained, certificated physician who attends regular FAA programs to maintain his knowledge and understanding of how the regulations apply. The FAA process is convoluted and archaic medically. Perhaps it is even broken.
Fewer that one-percent of aircraft accident are related to a medical problem with the pilot. This means either that the medical certification system is not required or that it is working exceptionally well. The effort of the FAA has been to speed up the process whereas the effort should be directed toward evaluating the need for its continued existence as one of the most inefficient parts of the FAA.
The FAA and your Medical Examiner
The right way to approach the ME is to consider that he really works for the FAA and his job is to deny you your medical. Your job is to prevent him from doing his job. If you let that be your guiding principle, you should be OK. In other words, I wouldn't volunteer any information to him which was not required.
PLAN SEEKS TO REDUCE MEDICAL CERTIFICATION DELAYS
Why the Delay in Medicals
I talked to AOPA this morning after verifying that my AME had sent all of my paperwork on to FAA. AOPA maintains a weekly interchange with FAA Aeromedical to keep abreast of the situation.
The causes of current delays, according to the specialist I talked to, date back to Oct. 1999 when the FAA first began requiring AMEs to send in medicals via the Internet. While this will eventually make filing medicals a much faster experience, its beginnings involve training of FAA personnel and working out software bugs. The former involved sending half of the available couple-dozen people who handle deferred medicals to training, and then the other half, resulting in about 4 months where they were only half-staffed.
The software problems have apparently been worked out at this point, but have also caused some delays, due to which the backlog has increased. They are also apparently having some staffing issues due to an early retirement package that was made available last year.
So, what does this mean to us in deferment hell? It means that if your medical application was deferred this week, as mine was, you can expect to wait a minimum of 10 weeks before being contacted by the FAA. Until that time it will do no good to call, since your information will not have even begun to be processed. Further, you can expect a 4 to 6 month delay before getting fully certified, longer if you must complete a SODA. They are simply too backlogged and understaffed.
That is the way it is now according to the AOPA, but that is most definitely not what I heard from my AME, who is probably not up to date on the latest info. So, go get that medical early, it looks like it will be a long time before they achieve anything that could be called timely service. Meanwhile, this will give us lots of time to write letters to our congressfolk before election-time.
A short blurb from AviationMedicine.com is:
Migraine headache medication: Individual cases vary greatly. However, after evaluation and FAA review, the agency will permit use of certain prophylactic migraine headache medications. These medications to prevent migraines, beta blockers and calcium channel blockers are primarily used for heart conditions and high blood pressure, but may also be effective in vascular (migraine type) headaches. FAA approval requires documentation that the medication is successful in preventing the occurrence of headaches.
Injectable medications (Imitrex and Zomig) and oral agents used to abort a migraine headache (Imitrex, Zomig and caffergot) once it has occurred are not generally allowed for flight duty use. Pilots who have success in eliminating a migraine with these medications may be allowed to carry them in flight for emergency use only in flight, but will not be approved for using them as a primary means of controlling the headaches. Use of these medications automatically grounds a pilot for a minimum of 72 hours following the last dose and resolution of the migraine.
It is possible to obtain a medical certificate if you are not taking any disqualifying medications, the migraines respond to treatment, and they don't occur frequently. The new migraine medications such as Imitrex and Zomig are acceptable to the FAA as long as there are no adverse side effects.
James, without knowing how many cases get forwarded to them every year, how can you determine that they are understaffed? Perhaps they are simply horribly inefficient. I had a medical issue that had to go through them and on one call similar to Gene's they told me it was still in review. When I called back five minutes later to tell them that wasn't sufficient information and to get cantankerous they told me that they had been incorrect and that the medical had been issued and was in the mail.
To me, that sounds like a poor information-flow model rather than necessarily being a staffing issue. In any case, before you could make any claims of knowing what the problem is you'd have to have some hard numbers that build the picture of how much work with which the group is faced.
Regardless, I agree with Gene: They could build some tremendous goodwill in the pilot community if there were better response time. At the very least, an easier way to get more in-depth information about where one stands in the review process would be valuable.
Joan, The same way that you, without knowing how many cases get forwarded to them every year or having ever even taken a look in their offices, can assume they have "poor information-flow" I suppose. Except, I have a little deductive reasoning on my side.
First off, how many pilots do you personally know (not including here in the NG)? I personally know a hundred or so. Now, how many do you know that have had their medicals "kicked upstairs"? I know of at least a dozen, with a half-dozen SODA's, not just referrals.
I don't recall the estimate of ACTIVE pilots, that is those that need
medicals every so often, but I'm sure it's well over 100,000. Of the pilot's I
know, about 15% needed the medicals looked at again. Let's say I'm atypical, a
fact my wife won't dispute, and cut that in half to 7%. That makes about
7,000. Let's cut that in half again and call it 3,500. That means they get in
13 or more cases per day.
In my case, they called or wrote at least 5 doctors (that's how many medical information releases I had to approve), the local FSDO, etc. etc. Now you may argue with my numbers, but I bet that's pretty conservative on my part. Add to that the required paper beauracracy of the FAA and no matter how you slice it, that's one heck of a paper blizzard . For four people to handle, at least initially.
Does that mean they can't stand procedural improvement? Of course not, I have yet to be in an office that couldn't be run better, especially a government office. But does that mean they're adequately staffed? No. It does, IMHO, point to understaffing. IME, the agencies that actually produce and are required to produce results for the citizens have been, and are continuing to be, cut and understaffed, while those that provide little if any useful purpose are going merrily along. Case in point, how many top-level positions have been eliminated in YOUR area, as opposed to clerical and people with jobs just like the ones we're talking about? I agree that response time improvement WOULD produce goodwill in the pilot community. Hell, all of us agree on that. But maybe, just maybe, the people doing the actual work are overwhelmed. Looking at the deduced numbers, and having never set foot in the door at aeromedical in OKC, I'm willing to give the benefit of the doubt to the PEOPLE that work there. Besides, where's the harm in being polite, friendly, and cooperative?
The commodity that is at stake when pilots and the FAA Aeromedical Certification Division come into contact is time. A bureauacracy has unlimited life and time is always there as tomorrow. The pilot is time limited. He sees a time when he will be unable to fly. I cry as I write this for my time started too late and I know it will end sooner than later. That the government I served in war and peace as a soldier and educator should needlessly deprive me of a goodly portion of that time, hurts to the quick. There has to be another way.
The purpose of the Aeromedical Certification Division must be directed to let as many fly as possible as soon as possible. Certificates should be granted and deferrals should only come in the most extreme cases. Has anyone ever considered that letting two medically at risk pilots fly together as a means of substantually reducing the probability of a health related accident?
I see my 85+ year old friend parking daily under the wing of an airplane that was once his. He reads the paper while listening to the arrival and departure of aircraft. He would and could fly but has lost his five year effort to keep his medical. He is living only a half life now. I question that our country is better for its treatment of him. I see myself soon having his half life as well. There must be a better way for our government and our servants to serve us.
Those who can, do; those who can't, teach; and those who can't do either, administrate. I said this often about my school administrators. I have been advised that in a government bureauacracy the best way to get rid of an incompetent is to promote him into a position where he is does less harm.
Working myself to the extent that I don't need to think of anything is a blessing. I fall asleep the moment I lie down only if I can get tired enough.. Were I in physical pain it would be different, but I'm not. My wife lies beside me with some moaning and sighing because of her hip and leg. My ears hear these sounds but my mind does not. My mind cuts them out because my mind does not want to hear them. Unless I fall instantly to sleep, I am doomed to hours of semi-wakefulness running over and over the circumstances that have placed my medical certificate at risk. The medical examination previous to this last one, I mentioned an elevated PSA and that I had opted to wait and see. I was issued my certificate. This time during the previous six months I had initiated and completed successful cancer treatment. My condition has to go to the Aeromedical Certification Division. Not a very logical progression, in my opinion.
Sleep is my escape into unconsciousness. Sleep is the one thing I look forward to. Occasionally, I must wait for the fog of sleep to drift in over the valley of my anguish. My mind rests, closed to sound--yet I hear. I hear the newsboy drive by and drop the paper. I lie there a few moments and get up to go to the bathroom. Back in bed, I check my watch. 3:30 4:30, or 5:30 makes no difference I will not sleep again tonight. Get up, perhaps shower, dress, go get the paper, read the headlines, fire up the computer, read and answer email, bring up the rec.aviation.student newsgroup and scan the topics. Answer when I can. Even laugh on occasion. My friends offer support and read my postings.
"You will wait!" So I wait. I stare at the newspaper, computer and the wall. I grow older waiting. It is almost as though waiting causes aging. I would will my mind to think of things other than my medical. It does not obey. 'They' have my papers piled above and below many others. They are lost. Again? No, not again, they just don't come up on the computer. I'm tired, emotionally tired, but I dare not rest. I must keep busy so as to avoid thinking. Thinking is a great mistake. No thinking of the past flying, of experiences never to happen or of vistas never seen.
You can survive the waiting only by living each moment as completely as possible, second by second. Only by being fully occupied can the corrosive effects of this governmental waiting process be prevented from destroying you. It is important that you not question the intent of anything required by or referred to by the agents. Challenge nothing. There is an organized, prescribed order of procedure. An agent's evaluation of work efficiency is based upon how well procedures are followed. That you have been helped or placed into the wait mode is merely incidental. The process is the goal, not results.
If you express a need for anything available from a governmental bureaucracy you will go mad, waiting. You learn not to get angry. Anger is pointless against a bureaucracy. Time is a pointless consideration in the overall operation since unspecified performance quotas must provide for a stable work force with predictable work available. There are neither time constraints nor pressure on the work force. What you do not do today will be there tomorrow; what is not done this week, will be there next week. Mediocrity is the preferred standard. Anyone who should perform beyond expectations is under tremendous peer pressure to conform. Making your peers look bad is bad for relationships and morale. As a public school teacher I lived in such a system and left as soon as the opportunity arose.
When the initial shock of organized bureaucratic inertial first strikes the time driven victim (you), these days, the first month makes all later delays almost bearable. There are many bureaucratic subterfuges that are available to the bureaucratic work force. In my experience I have found the most common to be being placed on 'hold'. This can be done for any number of reasons from break-time, transfer to another agent, transfer to a supervisor, not at her desk or I'm off to use a different computer system. Other subterfuges are an offer to phone you back later today, to advise you that a letter is being sent to you, or a request for a fax of information. The delay factor in my case included the loss of medical records. Always keep duplicates, require delivery receipts, get the names of everyone you come in contact with, and accept the fact that they have no emotional involvement in your problem(s). They have no reason to care. You are a number.
The most difficult part of dealing with a bureaucracy is understanding the system and the rules. You must learn that every agent serves as a firewall programmed to keep you from entering the next level of the system. Once your papers advance to the next 'priority level', you will never again have direct contact with a person who has actual possession or sight of your papers.
Those with power are the easiest to deal with. Your problem is making contact and causing movement in your behalf. Bureaucratic power brokers are beholden to the good will of their agents. Even after making direct contact, you are unlikely to see any movement in your case. Movement initiated from above is considered an abuse of the procedures. Doing things out of order is bad form; bad for morale and best avoided at all costs. The agents like order, numbers that tally and adherence to the process. Going over an agent's head is likely to trigger any one or all of the several punishing delays available.
Once you learn the order and process of the system your papers are likely to survive. You must follow the system without deviant thought, without question as to intent or motive. One of the more difficult problems the uninitiated has in dealing with a bureaucracy is finding out what the rules are. There are no rules, only procedures. Some packets of papers are picked at random, perhaps at the end of a hard day, placed in a different pile or drawer. These papers belong to the reviewers, but they may take months to rise into sight again because there is some 'difficulty' that the reviewer would rather not deal with. These faceless, nameless people are protected from any responsibility or accountability for any decision or lack of decision. I have tried, without success to determine just what qualifications are required of a reviewer. They are not medically trained; no educational level specifics are required in their job specifications that I can determine. I must research the tables of organization. I need some help. Wish I could fall asleep.
I am getting used to the idea of not being able to fly again. My initial response was emotional, the response of a man who has something live for. But as I painfully wait week after week, I can see the rational side of what is happening. The system will not even favor me with the merciful release of rejection. I could live far more easily that way instead of the waiting, waiting, waiting. I am time limited. I began this trek through the Aeromedical Certification Division an old man. I am older now. I don't see how I can ever be the person, pilot or instructor I once was. I now have this Demosthenes (The champion of lost causes.) Sword hanging over my head that must have long lasting and unavoidable effects. Since I have no way of knowing if these effects on my life are intended or unintended consequences of bureaucratic bumbling, I can only hope that future research will reveal the why and wherefore.
It is not going to be enough for me to get my certificate. Not after the time they have taken from me. I will not sleep well until I find just what it was that triggered the elongated process to passage into my hands. I would like to probe the innermost thoughts of the people who read my papers and then piled them below others or worse yet never even looked at them before adding them to the bottom of the pile.
I am now sending out a request that anyone, out there who sees this, put me in touch with present, past, or retired employees of the Aeromedical Certification Division. I intend to make as intensive study as I can about the modis operandi(sp), the congressional direction, the organizational tables and just what the individual employee senses he should be doing, perhaps, in contradiction to what he is doing. It's a dirty job. I feel I must do it, regardless. Perhaps, here is the book that everyone says I should write.
I'm sorry to prove Godwin's law(*) but as an analogy, if a Nazi official asked if you were harboring jews or gypsies, would you have felt that "being honest" was "the right thing to do"? Of course not, and the reason is not simply that their intentions were unreasonable, it's also because a resident doesn't have a consensual, free relationship with the Nazi state.
Now, the interesting thing is that any government fits here. You can't choose certification under another authority, because governments rule by force and coercion and give you no choice. Their intentions, while not always evil, assign little priority to fairness, and there is not even an attempt at impartiality or promptness.
The entire issue of medical certification is pretty hard to defend. There is absolutely zero evidence that pilots will fly when about to be incapacitated, or that the medical cert process even prevents it, and even if there was it isn't clear that an extra accident or two is worth the loss of freedom and burden of regulation, with all the usual unfairness that govt regulation always has.
(*) Godwin's Law of Nazi Analogies: As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.
A Second Opinion
As a physician I am a little familiar with problems like this. The records just may not be available at the physicians office but usually someone else has obtained them (another physician in town) or the family has them in storage. If there is still an office to go to go now and get your records. If the office records are gone you can reconstruct most of the data by calling the hospital that the surgery was performed at and speaking to the medical records chief. Tell her/him that you will be coming down within some set time frame and that you need a copy of your records for that surgery. What you really need is the admission h&p, op report, path report, lab work (x-rays reports) and discharge summary. Expect to pay a small fee for this.
Tell them you need it NOW and don't use the "lawyer" word. Some of these records may be on microfilm and can be hard to retrieve so call in advance, get a name and let them know what time you will be there. Usually these people are bombarded with paperwork so a courteous but decisive attitude is necessary. You do have a right to copies of your charts but you may have to pay a fee. Next, go to a general surgeon with your records, let him/her review your chart and do an exam nd send a report for you. A flight examiner/surgeon will probably be able to generate a report that will be better for you than a non-flight examiner as they know the in's and out's of the faa. I hope this helps you. Anyone with a history of a serious medical problem should have a copy of all of their records. Incidentally, when you bring a copy of your stuff to a surgeon make sure that you keep a duplicate for yourself as the surgeon will probably want to keep the copies in his chart.
Whether you go to a non-AME or not for care is up to you. Just rembember you're probably going to have to disclose the same information to the AME. It might just go the determining qualification for a medical certificate. Hiding it can help you lose it pretty quick, too. I discovered that long ago.
Not at all. Assume, for example, I have stomach pain. I go to my AME for the medical and mention it to him, he might have to defer since we don't know the cause and for my $75 he's not going to do a bunch of diagnostic tests to figure it out. On the other hand I go to my MD (or DO) and get some tests, get a diagnosis, I might be able to have my medical issued on the spot when I go to the AME because
a) it might end up being something that doesn't require any treatment at all--just indegestion from too many bean burritos, or
b) it will require treatment, but with a note from my physician with the diagnosis and treatment, the AME might be able to issue immediately (depending on the diagnosis).
Even if it can't be issued on the spot, having the documentation ready for the AME will speed up the process.
Using the medical as a checkup (and therefore risking discovering something on the medical) is, IMHO, stupid. Get yourself checked out and get everything squared away BEFORE the medical. If something is wrong, get it documented and fixed (and give AOPA a call to see what they recomend).
A Third Opinion
Go to Gene Whitt's web page to read the horror stories about medicals. Basic rule of thumb, don't check anything that could cause a problem unless you know they can find it. If it ever comes back to haunt you, "I forgot!" I have asthma and never had it diagnosed until about 10 years ago. Got either 1st or 2nd class medicals for years with the symptoms raging. After I was diagnosed and the symptoms were under control with medication, the problems started. Now, each year the FEDs want a letter from my physician. What a pain in the ass. If you want to fly, NEVER go to a doctor, except for medical time, or at least don't admit to it!
Suggestions for the Straight Shooters:
At the time of the first application for medical certification after starting blood pressure medications, the airman must make available to the aviation medical examiner a current (within last 6 months) cardiovascular evaluation that includes:
a. A report of pertinent personal and family history, including an assessment of risk factors for coronary heart disease, a clinical examination that includes at least 3 blood pressure readings, and a summary of medications, dosages, and presence, absence, or history of side effects;
b. A resting electrocardiogram (within the preceding six months);
c. A laboratory report of fasting plasma glucose, blood lipids, including > total cholesterol, HDL and LDL, triglycerides, and potassium and creatinine levels if on diuretics.
On Color Blindness
Hope this info helps or encourages others. I know I've read lots of posts about color defective vision. In fact, some time ago I got an e-mail from the guy who runs the avstop.com web site saying that he had seen my "vision" section on one of my personal webpages and asked if he could use the info. I gladly granted him permission, and he has put together a nice aeromedical section at http://avstop.com/medical/index.html with a great deal of info.
Color Blind Test
Before you do it officially with the FAA, visit a local tower and ask the controller if he will let you try to identify the lights. Then take a handheld and have him flash you a few to practice identifying them. A little practice can make you much more likely to get the requisite 100% when you do it for real.
A New disease?
Aeromedical Certification Branch Creates New Disease
FAA Agents who review medical applications in Oklahoma City have stunned the medical leaders of the scientific community with the creation of a new disease.
They recently announced the creation of this most debilitating disease that
can be directly attributable to having an Aeromedical Certificate Application
sent to one of their divisions. The disease, tentatively named Bureaucratosis,
is transmitted initially via the U.S. Postal Service. Victims' attempts to
create movement by FedEx, the telephone or fax are firewalled initially in a
mail room for at least three weeks as the Bureaucratosis growth process
progressively slows. The surest way of mail out of the mail room is to have an
agent go get it and carry it by hand. Manditory qualification for being in the
mail room is ability to leave medical papers in the envelopes without anyone
noticing. This alone will create a three to six week delay.
Any application or related medical papers that should be forced to an agents attention must be coded into the computers. a major part of the computer problem is not Y2K, rather it is Y1K+98 The Certification Branch has several divisions. Any one of these divisions has a dual set of computers. The old computers are slow and getting relatively slower. Old data is retrived with the recognition that it is out of date and useless. There is no limit to this kind of datal. it can be used to misdirect any applicant's efforts to cause movement. the new computers are usually down or being uploaded with training material. Agents have been undergoing training for a considerable length of time. It is just possible that the combination of the two computer systems have been instrumental in creating a hybrid form of bureaucratosis that has resulted in a vastly improved slowing process. Agents can now claim not to have authorized access in addition to having two computer systems that can be down.
This disease is neither a virus nor a bacterium but is capable of completely incapacitating anyone wishing to be a pilot or who is presently a pilot. Any pilot, who continues flying for long enough and does not quit for a reason other than health, is sure to be come infected. Bureaucratosis has one managing sensory neuron, 125 motor neurons, 75 vice-dendrites and 111 assistant vice-dendrites who's sole purpose in existing is to assure that nothing moves so fast as to create a decrease in the supply of applications on hand. As a group these delay-cell elements are known as 'Feds'. These 312 feds are held together by a force that involves the continuous exchange of lepton-like terminal ends called agents. For every four agents there is an Agent. At the center of the cell is a large seemingly inert mass called an "Mgrr".
Research continues in an attempt to discover howBureacratosis got there and what it actually does. Since it has no observable biochemical energy, Bureaucratosis is chemically and biologically inert. Unlike any other nerve-related cell, its sole purpose for being is to reduce the frequency of information transmittal from one part to another. However, it can be detected as it impedes every reaction it comes in contact with. The very absence of progress is its best identifier. It feeds on its own inertia.
According to the creators, a minute amount of Bureaucratosis has caused one wrong word to take over four days to study. Without Bureaucratosis a second would have been sufficient. In its fully developed form, Bureaucratosis is capable of bringing all movement to a halt. Bureaucratosis also acts as a catalytic cancer by creating a pulp like substance called "paper" in quantities so vast it has yet to be explained. Bureaucratosis has a normal life of about six-months, at which time it does not decay. Instead it reorganizes and introduces a different, even slower form.
Reorganization is a reaction in which the assistant dendrites, vice dendrites and assistant vice dendrites simply exchange places. The slower information goes the more likely this exchange of places is to occur.
This reaction was observed for many years but the actual deliberate creation is of recent origin. In fact, a Bureaucratosis sample cell actually INCREASES its ability to slow down after each reorganization, since some of the agents are moved into a higher level of incompetence. This type of change is called entering a region of higher priority. Additional firewalls are installed to prevent any contact with those in a region of higher priority. An agent who becomes a reviewer is capable of being promoted to a Mgrr. This allows the creation new and potentially dangerous Divisions to the flying public.
Reorganization does not have any observable effects on the agents. ;Small 'a' agents who answer phones are required to limit access to the 'A' class agents. No agent is allowed to give information that might allow contact with a reviewer. Promotions are a function of longevity. Live long enough and you will move up. Superior performance is measured by how well any slow-down escapes outside notice This characteristic of inter-promotion within the Division leads some scientists to speculate that perhaps Bureaucratosis is a spontaneous mutation formed whenever the feds reach a certain quantity in concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as the "critical morass". More office space is required to contain the increased backup. Then the line moves up a notch to make way for more agents.
The most noteworthy characteristic of Bureaucratosis is that anything made of it doesn't work or move. Its existence depends on conservation of energy, the less an Fed cell does, the more certain the future. None of these cells have been known to implode from their own inertia and disappear into a black hole. Instead, an additional infusion of money is sought because the backlog of applications keeps increasing making ever more critical the need for more Fed agents to keep things from moving. Capital 'a' Agents will on occasion hand carry applications and their related papers. There is some reason to believe that such activity reduces any chance of advancment but it happens. When it happens the aviation community rejoices with congratulatory email around the country. Such an event occured just the other day.
Bureaucratosis is a disease that every pilot has potentially in his or her future. Any pilot who does not get out of flying for another reason will eventually be exposed via an application for a medical certificate. What can happen as a result is very problematic. The experiences of others would indicate that months or years will be extracted from your life. You can be deprived of your livelihood without warning or notice. There is even superficial evidence of vindictive infections being extended to those who draw attention to Bureaucratosis. Bob Hoover is a classic
The creators of Bureaucratosis are quite defensive in justifying the guidelines and processes which makes the very survival of Bureaucratosis possible. Bureaucratosis protects the creators from any accountability, responsibility for what happens and even from what does not happen. This disease is a win-win product for its creators. The aviation community has every reason to suspect that new varieties are soon to enter production. Waiting is the name of the game. Waiting never takes a holiday nor a vacation.
Decoding a Progress-Resistant Bug
Bureaucratosis thrives in lunchrooms, coffee breaks, meetings, discussions and distributed bulletins. It can withstand more criticism than President Clinton can.
The Aeromedical Certification Division has used Bureaucratosis it to help perpetuate the vast accumulation of misplaced letters and medical reports in the mailroom. The place of Bureaucratosis' origin is a mystery, but some scientists wonder how it acquired all the hardy properties required of perpetual inertia.
It is just a tiny aspect of the entire governmental operation, but in deference to its awesome powers scientists have named it Bureaucratosis, a Greco-Latin amalgam meaning weird, progress-resistant bug. Hoping to learn the secret of its origins and amazing resistance to progress, scientists at the Institute for Genomic Research in Bethesda, Md., have decoded the 33,284,156 letters of its genetic message.
And what has been learned?
"The bottom line is that Bureaucratosis has no reasonable answer as to why the bug is so progress resistant," said Dr. Jonathan Hsiootar of the Uninformed Services University of Government Health Sciences in Bethesda and a co-author of a new report about it.
Dr. B. D. Cooper, a Bureaucratosis expert at Alabama State University in Birmingham, who was not involved in the genome decoding, said, "The part that is absolutely amazing to me is that there is no obvious explanation for its amazing progress resistance." Still, the sequence of the strange bug's genome, described in today's issue of the National Inquirer, hints at many of the little organism's survival stratagems.
"The $4.16 million cost of the project was paid for by the Commerce Department as part of a program for sequencing industrially important microbes. The department hopes the microbe will migrate to high activity sites and yield information about training people in the finer art form of procrastination, said Dr. Can DeLay, a senior official.
Bureaucratosis was first isolated in 1812 by watching the distribution of jars of jelly
that had been left in storage, or so it was thought. When the Bureaucratosis is given extra doses of fluids such as water or coffee, some bugs can survive exposure to paper files for up to six months without moving those files.
Scientists have studied the possibility of Bureaucratosis being replaced by a legislative induced mutation -- damage to individual DNA (Do not advance) units has occurred-- but is not deadly to Bureaucratosis cells because it can survive governmental flip-flops. Most bacteria can repair a couple of double legislative breaks but cannot open with more. Bureaucratosis can knit together its DNA even after the genome has been blasted into more than 100 pieces.
Even more surprisingly, Bureaucratosis somehow recognizes and corrects all the mutated DNA units. "It repairs double-strand breaks and keeps the genome totally free of mutation; it truly is extraordinary," Dr. B.D. Cooper said.
The genome sequencing team at the Institute for Genomic Research has now found that bureaucratosis' DNA (Do not Advance)is arranged in the form of four circles, which between them code for 3,187 genes. The team, led by Dr. B.D. Cooper Jr., has identified the role of some 2,000 of these agents by comparing them with agents of known function logged in DNA data banks. The other thousand agents have no match and have unknown roles in their effect on delay.
All Bureaucratosis cells have a kit of special procedures, known as guidelines, which repair damaged DNA. Dr. Cooper said Bureaucratosis seemed to have much the same type of guidelines in its DNA repair kit, although in several cases it possessed more copies of the guideline agents. "Bureaucratosis is like bugs in many other governmental agencies: it doesn't have any new features the other agencies don't have, it just happens to have ALL of them," he said.
One special capability, though, is a family of delays that evict damaged DNA units from the cell. Eviction is a smart step because it prevents the damaged units from being reincorporated into DNA and reintroducing a mutation. Any effort to change the process or guidelines is subverted to maintain the existing status quo.
Bureaucratosis maintains at least four copies of its genome in each cell, and Dr. Cooper believes that identical circles of DNA are stacked up like lifesavers in a tube. When a double-strand break occurs in one circle, the repair kit enzymes can refer to the neighboring strand's sequence for mending the break. Nothing changes regardless of exterior influences.
Evolution teaches that an organism will possess only the abilities that it needs to survive. So where in the world did Bureaucratosis live that required it to withstand so many years of damming criticism? Because the normal process of criticism nowhere reaches the barest fraction of any administrative level, Dr. Cooper believes that Bureaucratosis evolved to withstand conditions of extreme dryness and isolation.
Bureaucratosis, he said, will produce the same double breaks in DNA (do not advance) as
Radiation, and probably mutations as well. "So radiation resistance is just a fortuitous consequence of that evolutionary process," he said. Delay is an essential element for the continued existence of the Aeromedical Certification Division.
The completed sequence of the Bureaucratosis genome confirms the suspicion that it is quite closely related to Papirius Philus, a bacterium that lives in near-total darkness on dirty shelving. This common ancestry may have equipped Bureaucratosis to live in another kind of extreme environment, that of high aridity without coffee machines or drinking fountains. Bureaucratosis has been found in the interiors of Antarctic mountains that have not seen any natural liquids for thousands of years, Dr. Cooper said.
Dr. B. D. Cooper, senior, sees Bureaucratosis as a scavenger, probably adapted to feedoff other less developed forms of DNA. The microbe is found all over the world and wherever offices exist it is very common. Its strategy may be that of a survival specialist. Other time-wasting creations will outgrow it in the near term but will eventually succumb to drought or downsizing; Bureaucratosis will always outlast them, and dine on the carcasses.
Fortunately, while having no taste for recognition, this incredible bug is recognized for what it is: a total waste.
Cancer is NOT one of the 15 automatically disqualifying conditions which require Special Issuance. Those would be the following:
1.. Diabetes mellitus requiring hypoglycemic medications
2.. Angina pectoris
3.. Coronary heart disease that has been treated or, if untreated, that
has been symptomatic or clinically significant
4.. Myocardial infarction
5.. Cardiac valve replacement
6.. Permanent cardiac pacemaker
7.. Heart replacement
9.. Bipolar disease
10.. Personality disorder that is severe enough to have repeatedly
manifested itself by overt acts
11.. Substance dependence
12.. Substance abuse
14.. Disturbance of consciousness without satisfactory explanation of
15.. Transient loss of control of nervous system function(s) without
satisfactory explanation of cause.
These are the only diagnoses which automatically invalidate your medical certificate and require you to immediately seek a Special Issuance certificate. If your cancer caused one of these conditions even briefly
New about Medicals
A new program that took effect earlier this month allows Aviation Medical Examiners (AMEs) to expedite the renewal of special-issuance first-, second- and third-class medical certificates. The program, called AME Assisted Special Issuance (AASI), means that once an application requiring a special issuance (SI) for one of 20 specified conditions is reviewed and issued by the FAA, pilots then can go to their AME for a renewal, provide all the necessary medical reports, and if the condition has not changed, walk out the same day with another valid SI medical. The AASI program was implemented in 2002 for third-class SI medicals, and has now been expanded. In effect, it bypasses the often time-consuming review by the FAA Aeromedical Certification Division in Oklahoma City, which receives thousands of applications and medical reports each day and processes about 450,000 every year. The Federal Air Surgeons Medical Bulletin credits AOPA with proposing the program.
Before the new rule took effect, AMEs had to get permission from the Federal Air Surgeon, a regional flight surgeon, or the manager of the Aerospace Medical Certification Division to issue medical certificates to a person who has a medical condition that requires a special issuance. Under the new rule, the first time the special issuance is requested, it still must follow that procedure. But now, subsequent renewals -- for certain specified conditions -- can be approved by the AME. The conditions that qualify for the streamlined renewals include: Arthritis, asthma, atrial fibrillation, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, colitis, colon/colorectal cancer, diabetes Type II, glaucoma, hepatitis C, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, lymphoma and Hodgkin's disease, migraine headaches, mitral or aortic insufficiency, monocularity, paroxysmal atrial tachycardia, prostate cancer, renal calculi, and sleep apnea.
Money Can Get You a Medical
So I hired Pilot Medical Solutions (www.leftseat.com). It took me about 3 weeks to get all the required documentation from way back in 1991. I personally called/badgered/chased down all the records myself from all the doctors I had seen since 1991. Then Pilot Medical Solutions got my Class III medical approved in "ONE" day. Two days later I called FAA, since I could not believe that anyone could get anything approved in a day from FAA and was informed that my documentation was not complete. The folks at Pilot Medical Solutions sent me a letter stating that I should be getting my class III in the mail.
It took FAA another 10 days to type it (to my shock, I found out that FAA still has a typing pool where everything is typed) and then they put a SUPER SLOW sticker on it so the USPS would take a week to deliver.
The day after I got it, I solo'd at about 50 hours. Yesterday I did my solo to a satellite airport and next Tuesday I do my first cross country.
Don't get discouraged. If anything, this should further strengthen your resolve !
Good Luck !...Robbie.
I have indirectly heard of a pilot who spends seven-thousand dollars every year for his medical
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