TB, or not TB? That is the Question.
See the little markings on my wrist? That’s a positive test for TB. This,my friends – is not good.
Now before anybody starts to call 911, I have a story to accompany this. (of course there’s a story, it’s why I started this – there’s always a story)
A long, long time ago in a country far away (OK, about 20 minutes away. We can call this creative licence ) a boy (me) met a girl (bw) –
halfway as to be equitable to both – just in case things didn’t work out. but it turns out, they did and as such the long process of importing my sorry butt into the USA began.
I spent the next year explaining to the guards at the gate that I had every intention of going back home to Canader after my weekend visits while we waited for papers to be approved, interviews to be had, and medicals to be taken. Finally, we get the go-ahead from Uncle Sam, to come to the USA as a fiance. Sam gave me 90 days to get married and then I had to ‘adjust status’ as I was no longer a fiancee here on visa, but now I am a husband wanting to live with my wife, if it’s OK with the USA.
“Adjustment of Status” forms were sent in March, and that’s been pretty much all we’ve heard since. Until about a week or so ago. You see, back in Canada I had a medical exam done with the usual – a bit of bloodwork, check your reflexes, make sure I am all vaccinated, and I passed with flying colors, or so I thought. I even had a x-ray to prove I was TB free.
Prior to sending in my AOS forms, one of the requirements was to have my vaccination records from the Canada exams transcribed by a special ‘Civil Curgeon’ here in the US. This is not your usual doctor, but one of a select few who can transcribe your info onto the homeland security approved I-693 form. Of course, not being Canada – all this medical stuff is now beau coup bucks and yet I still managed to find one for $20 who would transcribe the Canada form to the USA form.
This is a silly requirement because the Doctor in Canada was also one of two in the Country are approved to do the medical in Canada by the US consulate, so it’s not like I got the medical from my family doctor. The Canadian medical cost me $300, because this is a USA doctor, so of course it was not covered by Canada’s health coverage. But rules are rules, so I get the Canada to US transcription thing done, send in the transcribed form that has to be in a sealed envelope from the Civil Surgeon in the USA, and start to wait as I know this adjustment of status takes a while. In the meantime, I’m considered in a period of authorized stay, so I’m no illegal alien. I’ve got a SSN number, work authorization, driver’s license and earlier today I even got a library card.
What’s supposed to happen next is that I wait and with a bit of luck get a green card in the mail without an interview. I should state here that there’s no guarantee that you will or will not get interviewed at your local office, but if they can they like to approve you without an interview as it takes time and money to interview us. And, my research has shown that if one gets transferred to the California office for ‘faster processing’ that usually means no interview
Unless, of course – you’re me.
The good folks in the California office, despite the fact that I had sent them the transcribed version of the vaccination form they requested, decided that they needed more info and sent me the RFE (request for evidence) in the mail. And, like all government issued forms and letters you really have a hard time deciphering what exactly they were looking for. The way it was worded could be that they just needed the TB results ( which I think is the case) or, they need me to re-do a medical. The fun part is you don’t really get a whole lot of chances to get this right. If you don’t send Uncle Sam what he needs, they’ll just deny the green card, and then that’s a can of worms I don’t even want to think about. BW will kill me if I have to go back to the great white north as she’s gotten quite used to having a clean bathroom, even if her grocery bill is now much higher.
So… to be on the safe side, I re-did the entire medical. $160 for the medical, $40 for bloodwork, and because I tested positive for the TB test, I had to cough up another $50 for the x-ray to prove I don’t have TB.
Here’s the thing: Back in November I already had a chest X-RAY done in Canada just weeks before I moved to the USA, and I have a signed document that states no sign of TB was found. I’ve also been in the hospital over the summer here in the USA for something completely unrelated and got a chest x-ray then too. I’m sure if I had TB, they would have said something. But the Civil Surgeon here would not take the Canadian X-Ray as proof I don’t have cooties – so I’m out fifty bucks for a new X-ray.
Much Ado About Nothing
I get the x-ray results back later next week. The Civil Surgeon won’t sign off on the form I need until she’s satisfied I don’t have cooties, and until I get that form I’m stuck in limbo with this whole green card application. I’ve read that these false positives happen a lot due to the fact that a lot of us immigrants to the USA come over with a TB vaccine already in us and this is the reason why the skin test shows positive. I bet that as a kiddo I was vaccinated at some point. I have no records of this, but us Canadians tend to be a careful lot, so my guess is I’ve been immunized at some point already.
But, until later next week when I see the x-ray results and get the signed and sealed form from the Civil Surgeon, I’m in green card limbo. Waiting for a green card when you’re already with the one you love is easy and it could take months for all it really matters, as really it makes no difference in our day to day lives: I’m still in authorized limbo and I still clean the bathroom. That said, I was kind of hoping I’d see a green card before Thanksgiving for us Canucks, so I could spend time with family, but it looks like if family wants to see me they have to come to me.
How this is all supposed to pan out from here – is that next week my x-ray results are negative, I get the silly little form I need, send to the feds and hopefully see a green card a few weeks to a month later.
Of course, if it all works out I’d have nothing to write about.
Have a great weekend, all. 🙂