Saturday, June 11, 2011


While I have absolutely no problems writing for my other blog, I'm still a little bit stumped about this one.

I've always been very guarded about sharing information about my medical condition. It stems from all the job interviews that I went through when I finished Uni in 1995.

I was looking for a position in the food manufacturing industry, so each and every interview had a medical questionnaire. I knew that I had to fill them out truthfully, but I also knew that as soon as they knew about my condition, I wouldn't make it through to the next round of interviews, no matter how high my marks, or my relevant experience and qualifications.

When I finally did find full time work, it was in manufacturing, but not food, and I was down to my last $12.
There was no medical questionnaire and I didn't have to voluntarily disclose anything (thankfully).

But then. two weeks after I started, I was told that I had to go and have a pre-employment medical. I started to panic.

The pre-employment medical took place at one of the local medical clinics. First up, one of the clinic nurses took me through to perform all of the relevant tests, and then I was to see the doctor, and he would check the results and discuss my relevant medical history.

Everything was going along swimmingly until the nurse took me into one of the rooms and I spotted the spirometer.  She attached the nose peg, and asked me to take a deep breath, and then blow as fast and hard as I could.... which I did.

She had a puzzled look on her face, and then asked me to do it again.

After the second try, she turned around and said, "I think the spirometer is broken", and so I had to break the news that the spirometer wasn't actually broken at all!

It's quite amusing to me to go back and look at these results from 1996.

At an FEV1 of 49% of predicted normal in 1996, I could still do everything that I wanted. I was even still able to play sport. No-one would have ever guessed that there anything wrong.

Sheesh, how things have changed!


Michelle said...

I know exactly what you mean. Scott had the same issues when he went back to work after a year off (he'd had severe RSI so resigned from his job). All the government employers (and the super fund) required detailed medical histories, which I think is nothing short of discriminatory at times. He ended up having to tell half-truths, which made him feel bad - but he knew he was up to the job, even if the doctors doubted him!

Fiona said...

Was your employer OK with the results, Cam?

Leonie said...

Are your results the same now? Or have they decreased a lot? Makes me wonder what my normal values are.

Jennie said...

Wonder how far you would have got if you'd agreed the machine was broken?

Jennifer Rose said...

hmm i would say write what you feel and how your health problems effect you, but that might be a bit too personal for you to write down. writing about health problems can be hard sometimes, as often you don't want to be seen as someone who moans all the time :/ meh, its your blog, screw what other people might think.

i think this is a great blog post, funny too :)not about the problems finding a job, but i would have liked to have seen the look on that nurses face :)

i know for a fact that if i apply for a job here, that employers are not supposed to discriminate because of the MS, but as soon as they might find out, they would find a reason not to hire me or if i had the job, to fire me :/

Renae said...

Just because I'm curious - did you study food technology?

It's unfortunate to hear that you were discriminated against because of your medical condition. We like to think it doesn't happen don't we...