segunda-feira, dezembro 28, 2009


As usual, it has been a while since I wrote the last post, but I can still remember most of the things I wanted to write about, so I will do it before it is too late.

They put a lot of emphasis on the importance of these medical exams. Even after you start working as a flight attendant, you have to go there annually for a checkup. They also frighten us by telling that those exams are really severe, and one needs to be in perfect health in order to get the certificate.
I was not so worried about my health at the time, but I started to fear the exams. It is quite expensive and if I fail, depending on what aspect of my health made me fail, I could have to wait for a whole year to do it again. So it was crucial for me to get it now.

I was going for the first day of exams on monday (november 30), so I was really anxious during the whole weekend. On saturday I went to the place where I would make the exams, so I wouldn't be lost on monday morning.

Exibir mapa ampliado

I spent the night at the hospital to stay with a friend who needed monitoring, and that only made me think more about the exams, specially when I saw the food they brought us there (truly terrible).
On sunday around 7 p.m. I had to start fasting for the blood tests 12 hours later.

November 30 - Day 1
Got there as expected around 7 a.m. and waited in line for not more than 15 minutes. When my number was called, I had to fill out some forms with my data and all I knew about my health conditions (if I were taking any kind of medicine and so on). When I finished I was told to go to a counter where I would pay for the exams and from there I would be told where to go.
After I paid, the guy took all my forms leaving me with just one, and told me to wait in line for blood test and urinalysis. I didn't feel like urinating at all because I went to the toilet before I get there. So I thought about drinking a lot of water, but the line was moving fairly fast and soon it would be my turn. In the end I didn't needed any water, and right after that I went to take the blood test.
I don't feel so uncomfortable with needles, so I had no problems with the blood test. From there, I saw many people going to the X-ray room, so I followed them, but realized that all of them had a paper that I didn't. Just a few minutes after I seated, a guy comes and ask for everyone's paper, so I told him that I didn't had mine. He asked me to go to the "protocol control" counter to get that paper, but didn't told me how to get there... and I didn't asked. I went back to the first counter and asked the guy there about the X-ray paper and also about the protocol control, and he told me that I was supposed to go to psychometric evaluation on the second floor.
Getting there I was asked if I had breakfast, and when I said I didn't, they told me I had to eat before I do the evaluation. By the way, this CEMAL exams are known as "the most expensive breakfast in Brazil", but the breakfast was actually free and the food was ok. Not many options though.
Although I had nothing to eat for the last 13 hours, I was not so hungry, so I didn't spent much time there.
After I ate, went back to the psychometric evaluation room (don't know if these are the correct words in english) and started my "test".
Lots of questions about myself and some about popular sayings interpratation. It took me a lot of time because, although they ask you to write the first thing that comes to your mind, in some questions nothing comes up at first. Also, while we were answering the questions, the psychologist there was interrupting, asking us to perform new tests, like looking at figures and write what we see, and draw things like a house, a tree and so on. So, after almost 2 hours and 30 minutes I was completely tired and decided it was time to finish.
After I delivered my tests, they finally told me where the protocol control counter was, and I was told to go there for further informations.
At the counter, they gave me the paper I was suposed to have when I went to the X-ray room the first time. Went back to that room, the doctor took a while longer than the first time, but he called me to take a chest X-ray.
Back to protocol control, I was told to go to dentistry, but it was already too late. They were not making any exams, so I would have to try it the next day.
I met some friends I knew there in the corridor, and they told me that the cardiology session was still operating, so I ran to make it on time. It was quick (and weird), but there was nothing else I could do that day (it was around 12:30 p.m.), so I took the car and went back home.

December 1 - Day 2
I didn't knew if I had to fast before the second day of exams, but I did it anyway. I got there earlier than the first day and didn't had to wait in line. At the protocol control they told me to go to the neurology room, which was still closed. There were also two friends from the first day waiting there, so we started to chat as we waited.
The doctor came a few minutes after and the first thing she asked was if we had breakfast. One guy said he didn't, and the doctor told him we needed to eat well before the neurology exams.
I didn't answered the first time and was embarassed to say it then, which was kinda dangerous I guess, but I did it okay. They use a gel to fix the electrodes in our heads, and it was a mess to clean out for everyone who didn't had shaved hair like I did.
With the results of the electroencephalography, another doctor asked me some questions, and then sent me again to the protocol control. This was the only test I was told that I "passed".
It was time for me to face the exam that was worrying me the most: the ophthalmological exam.
I used to wear glasses until I turned 15, but had a normal life without it after that. I even got my dirver's license that way. But lately I feel that my left eye is not functioning the same way my right eye does.
Anyway, they made some tests to see if I am color blind and the reading tests with small print at distance. Since they didn't said anything about it, I guessed it was ok.
I was sent to the next room for the hearing test. It was a soundproof room, so silent that I could hear my own heartbeats with no effort at all. It could be used as a torture chamber if they wished so.
There I was with some huge headphones staring at the doctor through a thick glass in front of me, trying to mute my heartbeats in order to hear the tiny sounds.
Long silent pauses during the test worried me a little, but again no comment was made, so I went straight to the next room. Psychiatry.
After three exams without having to go to the protocol control counter again and again, I started thinking that things were going to be faster than the first day. Too soon for me to start thinking about that.
Me and a private from the brazilian air force (that has the same name as I) were waiting for quite a long time to be called by the psychiatrist there talking about their evaluation method, until we realized that everyone who came after us were already being called. We asked if there was something wrong, and after 1 hour waiting seated there, an officer comes telling us that our files have been sent to the protocol control by mistake. We just had to wait 30 more minutes and the psychiatrist called us at last.
I went first and saw my psychometric test from the first day on top of the psychiatrist desk. I also noticed a huge amount of stamps, some of them over his books, marking the cover. Most of them seemed to have the exact same things writen on it...
The guy just asked me the same questions that were in a part of the test, and then I saw some notes he made. It didn't seemed anything special, and after a few minutes I was free to go.
Went back to the protocol control, and was sent to the clinical exams, but before that I really needed to go to the bathroom. I asked the private there if it was ok and he gave me the directions to the nearest bathroom. I don't know if I seemed too lost, but a few steps later the guy called me and pointed somewhere to the right. I really was lost, but I found the bathroom and it was right in front of me, not to the right.
Finished that and then went to the clinical exams room. The nurse asked my name, searched my file for a while, and then asked someone to search it somewhere else. Great! They lost it again. Not only that, the guy who was told to search it, came back like 10 minutes later asking for my name again, because he forgot. What were you doing all this time then!?
He didn't found it, but the private that was pointing to the right when I went to the bathroom, came in with a angry face and said "I told you that you were to go to dentistry!". Well, I'm sorry I couldn't understand you pointing to the right while I was searching for the bathroom.
Another pointless waiting time and then to the dentistry.
Later I was told that dentistry and the psychometric evaluation are the main reasons for people to fail in these CEMAL exams. Untreated caries, tartar or a missing tooth could be the reason to fail in dentistry.
I had an accident when I was 16, and lost a tooth. It was put back in at the time, but few months before these CEMAL exams, I had to take it off because it was starting to break.
It didn't seemed a problem, but his reaction was dubious.
Only one test remaining, I went to the clinical examination.
Half naked, check blood pressure, hight and weight mesures, clothes back on and I was free to go... and wait for the results.
A few minutes waiting in front of the protocol control counter, and I was told that the certificates would be ready at 1 p.m.
It was still 11 a.m. so we (me and some friends I met there) decided to have something to eat, which was a good idea because I was already fasting for more than 16 hours. Problem: I had no money. And to make things worse, the girls decided to go eat at a restaurant near there. And by near I mean you have to go by taxi.
We tried the restaurant we had breakfast the first day, but guess what, only the brakfast is free. The lunch is expensive and it didn't seemed too good.
Besides this restaurant, they had a snack bar in there. I went there with my friend, and he insisted to pay me my lunch. I tried to refuse, but he had already ordered.
We ate there, talking about why we chose to become flight attendants and what we knew about this job.
We still had sometime before 1 p.m. but someone told us the auditorium where the certificates were going to be handed to us.
Maybe they decided we didn't waited enough, so their system crashed and the certificates were coming 3 by 3, with intervals of 15 minutes. There was more then 40 people waiting with us.
At the end, everyone in our group were approved, except one that failed the psychometric test. He would have to wait a whole year before he could do the exams again...

So, an important part of my path to become a flight attendat was dealt with. I gave my friend a lift to somewhere near the airport and went back home to finally rest... until my classes begin.