I do not have tuberculosis! Au Pair Adventures pt 3.

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Becoming an Au Pair in the US of A requires a lot of paperwork. Not only do you have to show that you have enough childcare experience, that you have a person in your vicinity who’s willing to vouch for you through a character reference, that you don’t have a criminal record and make copies of your passport, drivers license and your degree diploma. You also have to fill out a medical form and have your doctor fill one out and sign it. So being the good girl that I am, I delivered the form at my doctor’s office with the plan to pick it up later that afternoon. I didn’t think it would be a problem as I’m a pretty healthy person.

Which is why I was surprised when a few hours later I had my doctor on the phone who said the following sentence: ‘ehmm.. there’s a bit of a problem’.

Turns out that good ole America won’t take my doctor on her word when she signs a form that says I’m healthy. They also need proof in the form of medical tests. Luckily, I have had nearly all the vaccinations they ask for except for TB, which I haven’t had because TB does not occur in this country often. So my doctor told me that I needed to do a Mantoux test, where they inject you with something or other (I’m not a doctor, okay?!) and then you have to wait 3 to 4 days to see if a bump on your arm forms. If the bump is bigger than 10 mm in diameter (I think), you’re positive and need to get a chest x-ray.

I am happy to say that my arm is completely bump-less and that I thus TB free! Yay! I shall not die of anything soon.

Even though I didn’t think for a moment that I would actually have TB, it does make you nervous and I spend a lot of time inspecting my arm over the last 3 days.

I’m glad that the US government doesn’t ask me to do any other unnecessary medical tests because this little thing was €26 and my finances already are bruised okay? Apparently they used to ask the applicant to get tested for HIV as well but they don’t anymore. They just ask if my doctor thinks I have HIV. I don’t.

So tomorrow I’m going to get my official statement that I don’t have Tuberculosis and then I’m going to my doctor’s office to get her to sign the form which I can then upload onto the au-pair website. And with that I will have gathered all the information that I need to complete the first part of the application. Now I will have to contact the agency, go back to Enschede, get an interview, do a psychological test (apparently they need to weed out the crazies for some reason) and THEN I will be able to start the ‘matching process’. It’s all very exciting.

In other news, I’m going to go on a mini-vacation with my mother to the very most southern part of my little country for the next three days. This is where I’ll be staying:

Yup. I’ll be staying at an actual castle. In an actual tower. Jealous yet?

We’re going to spend the days walking around the beautiful environment most likely, if it’s not too hot to function. I shall post the beautiful pictures I plan to make. Just so you can live vicariously through me. Nice of me, huh?

So, see you in a couple of days! In the meantime, you can follow me on twitter if you would like to keep up to date on my life. Click the little twitter icon in the top right corner to be directed there.

Till soon!

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Author: EMK

Just blogging away in my free time while I try to make something of my life

11 thoughts on “I do not have tuberculosis! Au Pair Adventures pt 3.”

  1. It’s interesting that you don’t get vaccinated against TB, it very rarely occurs in the UK yet everyone here still carries the scar from the vaccination. I got mine at the age of 15 and that was actually quite late because the council ran out of the vaccine… I thought it was still given everywhere so I’ve learnt something here tonight!

    1. Yea I did some reading on it and apparently it was decided that since tb is not a big threat and since the vaccination can do more harm than good, it isn’t part of the regular vaccinations anymore. Funny to see how counties so close can be different on these matters!

    2. TB is rampant in SA and as far as I know we don’t even have vaccinations for it. They did trials with a vaccine recently but it didn’t work. Over here they just treat you when you get it. Of course we also have drug-resistant TB, for which the regular treatments don’t work either.

      1. I thought this was really interesting and being the nerd that I am I looked it up!

        It seems that we no longer vaccinate in the UK (as of 2005 which means I must have been one of the last to get it) and that actually a number of European countries have stopped in the last decade. Apart from the Netherlands and Belgium who never vaccinated.

        Also Herman, the website says that SA do vaccinate and have done since 1973? But they give the injection at birth so maybe that’s why you don’t know about it?! Drug-resistant TB sounds pretty scary though.

        Most of the world give it at birth, I wonder why the UK opted for adolescence… (This is my reference if you’re interested, I like the way the map zooms around! http://www.bcgatlas.org/)

      2. See, I’m an impatient googler. I only saw about studies with a new vaccine that failed and didn’t search further.

        Still, the prevalence of TB here tells me that not everyone gets the vaccine or it’s not working. If you knew anything about our state healthcare system that wouldn’t surprise you. Of course the majority of infected here also has HIV, which renders the vaccination useless.

        Drug resistant strains are a big problem, yes, but also exists only because people infected with regular TB stop their treatment when they start feeling better while it’s crucial with TB to complete your treatment. Consequently the virus comes back bigger and badder and now we’re even getting first-time infections of drug-resistant strains.

        Thanks for the link. Always appreciated.

      3. I’m surprised they’re still looking at new vaccines, I know there’s always room for improvement but given how long we’ve been using the TB vaccine and how successful it is I’m surprised they’re still looking. As long as it’s given of course but that’s an entirely different problem unfortunately.

        You’re right about HIV of course, anything that destroys your immune system is going to make it less likely that you will respond to a vaccine and it seems the UK withholds the BCG from HIV positive people (as I’m sure most of the world does).

        One of the problems is that treatment of TB takes a long time and the longer you’re expected to continue treatment, the less likely people are to complete the course especially if they start to feel better. It’s a huge problem in every area of healthcare and as you say can lead to drug-resistant strains especially with bacteria as they evolve so fast (I feel compelled to point out TB is a bacteria, not a virus. Sorry, it’s a professional thing!)

        All this research has also turned up the fact that the BCG in only effective for up to 10 years so I may no longer be protected :/

        Also, going back to the original point of Emma’s post, that link I posted before shows that the USA doesn’t and never has vaccinated so I think it’s a bit rich of them to demand that you prove you’re negative before moving there!!

      4. They’ve always done that. If European immigrants arrived at Ellis Island in the late 1800s they were simply placed back on the ship and sent home if they showed signs of being infected (I read once).

        To be fair, when I went to the UK on a working holiday visa I had to travel with chest x-rays in my carry-on luggage for the same purpose.

        Total treatment period for TB is six months. Imagine a course of antibiotics that lasts that long.

      5. I guess it makes sense if they think they’re totally infection free to be cautious as to the status of people they’re letting in.

        I had no idea you’d have to do that! Did you get to wave them around? It’s interesting itself in a way since my mum was once told by a doctor that she had no right to look at her own medical records because they’re private property. So by that logic I wouldn’t be allowed to carry a copy of my own X-ray but they assume that people from other countries can.

        Exactly, you can see why people fail to complete the course but it’s so important.

      6. Didn’t get to wave them around, no. But Heathrow was a total madhouse when we landed so I think they just wanted to keep the lines moving. But we were told we had to have them available in case we were asked. I think it only applies to working holiday visas, not tourist visas.

    1. It’s a 12 month minimum job and then you get an extra month on your visum to travel if you want to. But, if the family is really fond of you, you could stay another year. So could be there for a long time!

      I really hope so, too. You hear these horror stories about au pairs coming in horrible families and I’m really hoping that doesn’t happen to me 😛 Fingers crossed 😛

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