In November 2009, Justin applied to the Australian Antarctic Division for a job. Knowing that we wouldn't hear anything until at least February, we had a few conversations about Antarctica and looked at the AAD website but didn't look at anything in too much detail. Well, not until Justin got a call inviting him to two days of interviews, discussions and group sessions in March. The only thing that was important for that was to be himself, work well in a group but be prepared to lead if necessary. Apparently he is good at all those aspects as the next phone call was very encouraging and a position at Davis base was mentioned, providing he first passed all the required medical tests as well as an interview appointment with an Army psychologist.
Everything took time, especially the blood test results. Hep C came back a false negative so that one had to be done again. Not enough blood was taken for the HIV test so Justin had to return to have that repeated as well. In the meantime he was referred to a skin doctor and had a mole removed from his leg. More time passed before the repeat tests came back clear and in the meantime Justin was asked to go to see an Opthamologist. He had a corneal transplant when he was 12 and needed to check that it was going to be okay in the freezing cold of the Antarctic. We waited 3 weeks after that test (by now it is July) until Justin had a call from the AAD saying that they had not received the results.
Last week we got a call from the AAD letting us know that the contract was on the way - all the results were in, they were happy with everything and we could finally celebrate! Until about an hour later when we got a call from another department asking for another Hep C test to be done in order that they would have two negatives after the false positive. We suddenly felt just as we had for the past couple of months... that feeling of not knowing, not being able to plan, not knowing whether we should hold off all ideas of celebrating.
Yesterday we got the all clear. The feeling is great, we can plan for Justin's departure but the need to celebrate is gone. It just IS now. But, we now know what is going on and that feeling is fantastic. This Sunday Justin leaves for Tasmania to spend two weeks in a hospital, training to be a theatre nurse. Chefs, knife skills, logical choice. We don't have a lot of time together now as he leaves again on September 1 for the main Antarctic training and there will only be a few days between that ending and the ship leaving for its two week journey to the South Pole.
Now, if that contract would just arrive so that we can get all the paperwork dealt with (and there is A LOT), we will be on our way to being organised!