Friday, 4 December 2015

The call

So yeah I got a phone call from Transport Canada, Medical Department within 5 minutes of my conversation with JD.

As I’ve mentioned (many times) I don’t like talking on the phone, but I had to bite the bullet and pick up. We had a brief discussion of what the actual issue was (I’m taking Antidepressants). He asked for a bit of history, timeline dose etc.

Basically the jist of the conversation was that if I was no longer taking them then flying was fine. So once I stopped taking them I could resume flying. I expressed my concern that I would possibly be taking these long term and thus the “wait until you are off them” approach might not work.

I went into the conversation with a certain degree of na├»ve optimism. I know I’m fine, quite frankly I’m probably doing better than I have in years and any side effects I may have are in no way an impediment to flying. So I was kind of hoping, again rather naively, that this would just be an exercise in paper collecting and form filling

This optimism was lost when he started talking about “concern about the use of these drugs in pilots”, “evaluated on a case by case basis”, “possible to initially regain medical with ‘as or with copilot’ restriction”

My heart was in my mouth as I asked what I needed to do next.

Looking at it reasonably, I was completely unrealistic in my thoughts as to how this was going to pan out. I can see that of course Transport Canada are going to be cautious, with a conservative approach. I have to face up to the reality that the time frame I’m looking at might be measured in years and not months.

Now I’ve had time to reflect, I can accept this. The only thing that annoys me is that they might give me the “with or as Copilot” endorsement. To be honest, if I’d wanted that then I needn’t have told them anything in the first place. I can do that right now, even with a suspended medical. The whole point of going through this was to be able to fly, properly. No fricken endorsements.

So much responsibility rests with the pilot to self-monitor. I suspect there are more than a handful of people, who given my situation, would have just kept their mouth shut and kept on flying.
A small part of me feels like I’m being punished for being honest.

Anyways, it is too late now. I’m on Transport Canada’s radar and now I have to deal with that
They need a report from my doctor with the following info

·         Background
o   Start date
o   Symptoms
o   Treatment
o   Compliance
·         Medication history
o   Side effects
·         Current symptoms (symptom free?)
·         Response to treatment
·         Prognosis ( best estimate)

Luckily for me my doctor is 100% supportive and willing to write whatever I need. She also suggested that we include

§  Not a danger to myself or others
§  Flying has positive impact on mental health
§  No side effects that would affect ability to operate plane

She also wants to add that I may be on the medication “for the foreseeable future” to force them to assess me long term rather than just suspending my medical while I’m taking them.

So now the report is currently being worked on. Once it is ready we will fax it to Transport Canada. I’ll let you know what happens next

1 comment:

  1. Just stumbled across your blog; I think you must've trained at the same airport as me – – Mel's house of horrors on the island! :-)

    SOOOO true about the stupid transport Canada medical nonsense; so many pilots, I'm sure, are taking (or *should* be taking) antidepressants, and just don't report it. Wouldn't things be safer if we could just be honest?!

    Good for you for telling the truth and having the courage to write about it. Hope it all works out!