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60

OCTOBER 2015

|

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL

AFSA NEWS

FAMILY MEMBER MATTERS

Transfer Trauma: Spicing Up the Medical Clearance Update

Another move, another

Medical Clearance Update

(form DS-3057) with its not-

too-subtle questions trying

to determine whether I’ve

become or am in danger of

becoming a barking lunatic

while at post.

I figure, after 30 years

without incident, I’ve earned

the right to check “no” in the

boxes. But for some of the

questions this time around, I

was tempted to answer “yes.”

Question:

Have you been

treated for any ongoing

medical or mental health

condition? If yes, please

explain.

Checked:

No.

Wanted to answer:

Yes.

Perpetual anxiety from

cumulative transfers.

Question:

Do you have

any physical or emotional

concerns that you feel should

be evaluated?

Checked:

No.

Wanted to answer:

Oh,

good God, yes. Physical?

Alarming chunks of gray

matter flying out of ears as I

prepare for stateside pack-

out. Emotional? Why, yes, I

am, thank you.

Question:

In your life,

have you ever had any experi-

ence that was so frightening,

horrible or upsetting that, in

the past month, you:

(a)

Have had nightmares

about it or thought about it

when you did not want to?

Checked:

No.

Wanted to answer:

That nightmare where it’s

departure time, and we just

discovered that the mov-

ers forgot to pack up three

rooms of the house. Or the

one where we’re wandering

around the airport tarmac

trying to find the right plane.

Or the other one where our

pets have been slaughtered

and eaten by the airport bag-

gage handlers. Or, how about

the one where we forgot to

bring our young children to

post and they are now alone

in our empty house 15,000

miles away?

(b)

Tried hard not to think

about it or went out of your

way not to think about it?

Checked:

No.

Wanted to answer:

Oh,

you mean packing out? I try

hard not to think about it.

However, since the movers

are coming in one week, I

should probably start think-

ing about it.

(c)

Were constantly on

guard, watchful or easily

startled?

Checked:

No.

Wanted to answer:

Is that

them? Did the truck just pull

up a week early? Oh my God,

oh my God, oh my God, no

no no! Oh, wait, it’s a Peapod

delivery for the neighbors.

Never mind.

(d)

Felt numb or detached

from others, activities or your

surroundings?

Checked:

No.

Wanted to answer:

I

wish.

n

Francesca Kelly is a

freelance writer, editor and

college application tutor. She

served as AFSA News editor

from 2009 to 2012 and is a

frequent contributor to the

Journal

. She is married to

Ambassador Ian Kelly, an FSO

since 1985.

the nation: This year, AFSA

received more than 450 sub-

missions from 41 states.

The contest is governed

by an advisory committee

chaired by retired U.S. dip-

lomat Eugene Schmiel. The

judging panel comprises high

school teachers, AFSA staff

and active-duty and retired

Foreign Service personnel.

The winners and their

essays, as well as the 21

students receiving honorable

mentions, can be found at

www.afsa.org/essaycontest.

The 2016 essay topic will

be posted on the website in

November. If you are inter-

ested in serving as a judge

or would like to learn more

about the contest, please

contact AFSA Special Awards

and Outreach Coordinator

Perri Green at green@afsa. org. n

—Maria C. Livingston,

Associate Editor

HS Essay Winner • Continued

from page 49

AFSA President Ambassador Barbara Stephenson with the 2015 AFSA

National High School Contest Award recipient, Thomas Keller. Keller and

his parents kicked off their busy day of meeting foreign policy leaders with

a welcome breakfast at AFSA headquarters.

AFSA/MARIAC.LIVINGSTON