You may recall that way back in January we had a little bit of a health scare. The prognosis was, and remains, extremely good. And because there was no hesitation to allow me to come back to Cotonou, we figured getting back my full worldwide medical clearance – the clearance I would need to join the Foreign Service (I’m on the Management register) – would be a snap. All we would have to do is fill out the paperwork.
Our first inkling that it might not be so simple came when Alex was bidding on her next tour. To our surprise, we were told I wasn’t fit to go to places that seemed far more developed and with far better medical facilities than Cotonou. It was even implied that it might be a couple of years before those places could be possibilities for me – meaning that my quest to join the Foreign Service would have to wait a long, long time and that I would have to go through the entire arduous testing process again.
Then we filed the paperwork to officially upgrade my medical clearance and this request, too, was denied.
Armed with what seemed like pretty clear regulations supporting my case, we appealed this denial. Thankfully, and much to our relief, we found out on Thursday that our appeal was approved. I once again have worldwide medical clearance.
So what does this mean? Well, it means that I am once again able to join the Foreign Service.
Now the tricky part is trying to find a way for Alex and me to be posted together. After some discussions with another Foreign Service Officer with far more experience than us in navigating the issue of tandem couples, we’ve decided that our best bet is for me to join A-100 as soon as possible. This could be as soon as January. Even though Alex won’t leave Cotonou until July and isn’t scheduled to get to her next post until September, we think that if I join as soon as possible, it will allow us more time to figure out a solution for arranging our next post together. It may mean more time separated now, but it could give us a better chance down the road.
There’s always a chance there won’t be an A-100 class in January this year, or even in March. If that happens, we’ll figure out a plan B. For now, though, we’re just going to take another day or two to enjoy overcoming one hurdle. Then we’ll start making plans to overcome the next.