When I first heard the words "Navy Medical" my mind conjured up all sorts of weird military images. I had heard stories from several former enlisted military personnel, that made me wonder if this was going to be a huge ordeal. Most of the stories revolved around having to "Bend over, and 'Spread your cheeks'" so I was praying I would not have to endure that part of military initiation.
Since determining that the Lord has called me into the Naval Chaplaincy, I have, for the last 10 weeks, been preparing myself physically to join the Navy. I have lost about 4 inches off my waist and lost 20+ pounds. Yeah! But unfortunately, I was still above the maximum weight standards. So my best hope was that I would be below the 22% body fat standards. Many prayers and worries revolved around that one concern.
Monday night, I left home around 4:15pm and traveled to Meridian, MS to spend the night. If you've never traveled to Meridian, you're not really missing much, since there's nothing there. (Although, someone swears there are two Wal-marts and a Sam's club somewhere) I arrived on base around 9:00 (21:00) and waited for my sponsor to show up so that he could escort me on the base. When he did arrive, I was greeted by a friendly face, and was given the grand tour of NAS Meridian. My final stop on the tour was my room, which was a very spacious hotel room, consisting of stove, two refrigerators, and bathroom facilities.
Tuesday morning I awoke at 5:30 and checked my e-mail and got ready. I decided to do a work out and found a "Fit for Duty" exercise program on the Pentagon channel. It was very intense, but helped me wake up. I followed my workout with a shower, and then breakfast.
At 7:45 I arrived at NAS Meridian Branch Medical. I waited for awhile until my sponsor showed up, and I was put into the system. Immediately I went to the eye exam, which I passed. And then I went right to the lab to get blood work done. Unfortunately, I did not fast for twelve hours so they were unable to do my labs. (I was told, I didn't need to fast) But labs will be scheduled soon at NAS Pensacola. (Yeah, no 8-hour round trip!) However, it was discovered that my birthday had been entered wrong into the system and needed to be fixed. Back to the front desk! After the mix-up was cleared, I went to dental for a full set of X-Rays and a dental check up. The next stop was hearing...
As most people know, men can't hear. At least that's what their wives claim. Well, the hearing test was the worst part of medical. I was in a small enclosed sound-proof room with a set of headphones on. I was told to push the button when I heard a tone. So I did...and proceeded to do so for what seemed like 20 minutes. Mind you, I was straining to hear every little sound and ended up hearing the buzzing of the lights, my heart pounding in my head, myself swallowing and all sorts of sounds that you normally just block out. I managed to push the button the correct number of times and thankfully passed that test.
The next and final test/exam was vitals and physical exam. Here was the time that I had been dreading. After more paperwork being filled out, I went to another room and was told to get on the scale....ACK! I was praying that my height would be higher and my weight would be lower...The Petty Officer had me keep all my clothes on, shoes, jeans, phone, wallet, keys and had me hop on the scale. I weighed about 7 pounds over the limit. Thankfully with my shoes on, I did manage to get an extra half an inch! But in the back of my mind, I was still 7 pounds over and that would not be good...
Next came the physical. It was a breeze. Just following a light with my eyes, getting my reflexes checked, breathing etc...Nothing major. Passed that with flying colors.
My sponsor and I returned to his office and I told him my concerns about the weight. He had one of the enlisted folks get a measuring tape for the body fat test. (I silently pray that I make it below 22% BF) After doing a bit of paperwork, I get measured and....pass the test with 2% to spare! Woo Hoo!!
We then go to the Galley, and eat and around 1:10 I had an interview with the base chaplain. He was a nice man, a southern baptist and it was rather informal. I received a lot of information, and am now more than ready to hurry up and get my schooling done, so that I can get to active duty and start a great ministry with the military.
So right now, I have a few things to do before I get my commission. I have to get my labs finished, transcripts sent, and another interview. So I'm hoping that sometime in February and March, I will be a Navy Chaplain Candidate with the rank of Ensign!
Continue to pray for me and my family as we transition to this new adventure! God Bless.