After months of delays and some second-guessing on my part, I am feeling renewed in my effort to complete PrideFlight2018. I will admit that this past year threw some curve balls into the mix, but like with anything worth doing there are bound to be some setbacks, I get it. However, one of the most unexpected of those was the deferral of my class III medical certificate during my annual flight physical. In over 35 years of being on continuous flight status I have never been denied my Medical due to health reasons, even if it is temporary.
The day of my physical this past summer was just another routine physical until I broke the unspoken cardinal pilots rule, “Don’t volunteer anything about your medical condition that could potentially affect your flight status”. During conversation I blurted out that I have type 2 Diabetes but I am working on keeping it under control. Earlier in the week I had found out that my A1C blood test came back at 11 when it should have been at 7 or lower as required by the FAA. As soon as the words passed from my lips I regretted it. The Flight Surgeon was now obligated to submit my medical results to the FAA for review and approval, known as a deferral and immediately grounding me.
I have never been grounded for medical reasons before and the shock hit me like punch in the gut. I left the Flight Surgeons office feeling depressed and angry. I drove home mulling over what I had just done to my flying future and myself? Accepting that I am getting older and therefore now have some limitations has been a hard adjustment. I hate having to use readers, getting worn out physically when I do things that never tired me out before and most importantly having to deal with new health related issues that I never had to deal with before. I have always hated taking pills, going to the Dr. or changing my well established habits, but now I am faced with a stark reality, If I want to continue flying I have to finally give in and take better care of myself. I will have to accept that I am no longer 20ish even though my mind refuses to catch up to my body if I want to keep flying.
In a way I am kind of glad that I got this wake up call when I did. I have always taken for granted that I would be flying until the day that they pried the yoke out of my hands in my old age. After a few months of frustration and making some changes to my lifestyle I am almost cleared for flight status. The whole process of getting grounded and dealing with the Bureaucracy of the FAA has been eye opening and educational and I will be much more protective of my medical certificate in the future, that’s for certain.
In the interim I have been working on the ground school refresher endorsements that I will need and will begin flying with an instructor beginning after the holidays to keep my flying skills sharp. Granted I wont be the PIC (Pilot in Command), but I will at least be in the air and for me that’s starting the New Year off on the right foot.