Doctor Doctor, I feel like a pair of curtains!

My car is due an service this week and it’s going to cost me peculiarly a lot because it’s the first full service it will have, it’s probably going to need loads of work done and more to the point, it’s the last full service it will get on the warranty. My body was also due its service this week, and I went along to Capita Health solutions to get my body serviced.

You see, in order to be able to work offshore you need to be of fit health. Or, have someone high up in the industry to get it signed off as essential personnel – basically waiving all rights to being able to sue if you die offshore. The medical is pretty rudimentary, usual stuff; eyes, ears and bollocks, but the important part for me is the hearing. More on that in a bit.

The medical it's self is fine. I'm not a prude in anyway, so when a lady asks me to "take off your clothes but leave your pants and socks on" i'm not bothered, and probably more annoyed that she stopped at my pants. After being given a little gown and a newspaper, I have to pee into a cup. "Can you go right now?" she asks, as I am positively bursting for pish. I fill the cup half way and then finish off into the bowl, not flushing. I assume for security reasons. Anyway, I pass all the tests and then, go onto the hearing tests.

You see, I’ve had bad hearing since I was a child. My earliest memories are of a massive black room, with a woman on the other side looking at me as little BEEPS and BLOOPS appeared in either ear and I had to indicate whether or not I had heard them. 15 years later it’s not more scientific, except I am now pressing a little Who Wants to be a Millionaire button in a soundproof booth. The results didn’t surprise me.

I’m deaf in my left ear. Its upgraded from been partially deaf to being HSE Category 3 deaf, or susceptible to total loss of hearing. Not good news. So the man, presumably a doctor, spoke of protection, the the theory behind it all and why, even 10 minutes of noise in a day instead of none will reduce the protection of my ears for near total 100% to a quite scary 30%.

So take this post as a warning on several counts:-

- Ear protection offshore is important. Especially for me.
- I will start asking for sympathy every time I am at a concert/in a club/sitting watching TV/asleep.
- I will say “What?” a lot when talking to you.
- I will say “WHAT?!” a few times when talking to you.
- Prepare for it to be used as an excuse for not playing football/going out/seeing friends/not hearing an insult/wanting a compliment repeated
- Most importantly: talk to me in my right ear, not my left one please.
- and finally: I am seriously considering taking up sign language.

But, importantly, a man felt my balls, looks at my genitals and had a glance at my bum. The fact that he was german, with curely grey hair and wearing a bow tie, made me think erotically of some mad sexual porno fantasy involving Albert Einstein and a german SS officer. I wonder if I should have typed that...

"Pull yourself together!"