A Step Forward

I received the following email from the Coast Guard yesterday…

Important information concerning your credential “MMC, Reference Number: 123 and Application ID: XYZ” from the National Maritime Center.

Your application has cleared the safety and suitability vetting and medical screening/evaluation processes and is currently awaiting a professional qualification evaluation.


National Maritime Center

Apparently I am no longer incompatible with maritime safety. Now after all this I actually get to see if they are going to give me what I asked for in the first place.


8 thoughts on “A Step Forward

      • What is a “professional qualification evaluation”? What is that next step, and what does it mean? Are these just “hoops” that you must jump through? I mean to say, are these just formalities, or is there real meaning behind these procedures aside from the doctors signing off on documentation that states that you are no longer taking benzos. I’m still not clear on why that would even hold water. What’s the rate of alcoholism in this community? A person relying on alcohol for a long period of time would have a damaged liver; their judgment would be impaired, possibly far more than a person who abstains from “legal” substances but used prescription drugs in a safe and prescribed manner. I used to work with men who were recovering alcoholics. Some of these men could hardly recall information due to their longterm use of alcohol. Anyway….I’m sure I’m preaching to the converted on this matter. I’m must curious….I find your situation riddled with inconsistencies on so many levels–from a policy level to implementation and hiring to the idea of what the definition of “safe” is. It makes no sense to me. I’m getting off the soap box now….

    • Oh you are definitely preaching to the converted. Somewhere on this blog, maybe in a comment, I went on a rant about this. I worked with alcoholics on the boats. There was no booze on the boats and getting caught with it meant your career. The captains actually had this strips they could make you blow on that measured blood alcohol. You should have seen these guys three or four days into a 14 day trip. They were in bad shape. I also pointed out a less PC scenario where guys with learning disabilities and adult ADD were running boats in one of the busiest harbors in the world with extremely complex vessel traffic. Application of written and unwritten rules to dynamic situations is all that prevented collisions. I am not necessarily saying that someone with an LD shouldn’t be there, but was I really any more dangerous? I had been treated with a low dose benzo for ten years. The situation was as stable as it was going to be, and certainly more stable than it is now. I felt no side effects from the drug. I was told my reaction times were slowed by it, but it is a rare case at sea that hundredths of a second are the difference between life and death, and I doubt I was slower or had a more questionable decision making processes than an untreated generalized anxiety sufferer. How taking a stable controlled situation and turning it upside down makes me and the general public safer will never make a lot of sense to me. They don’t look at these situations and an individual basis. Some medical bureaucrat cites some study and says “Klonopin bad” and that is the end of the discussion.

      In terms of the hoops to be jumped through, and yes that is exactly what is amounts to, there is not a lot of real meaning in any of it. They have documentation from my doctor that he got me off Benzo’s and documentation from my pharmacy that they have not prescribed me any since November 1st. That is all that they have done. If I was getting the stuff from a new source they would not know. I am too damn honest for that, but not everybody is for sure. It is more of a CYA for the government than anything else it seems. In terms of a professional evaluation this is a renewal so they are going to check that I have the appropriate number of days on the appropriate type of vessels to renew all my credentials. It sounds simple, but I have never had two evaluators look at the same application and give me the same answer as to what I was “qualified” for so you never really know. It sure would have been nice to know what I was going to get before I committed to the joy of Benzo withdrawal.

      • Wow…..that’s sort of what I thought….not to sound like a 2nd grader, but that’s not fair. But, life seldom is. I suspect you’ll get what you want here. Admittedly, I really hate hoop-jumping. You’re doing a good job.

      • Anything that involves the government involves hoop jumping. Sad but true. I could go on another rant about the two really destructuve four letter “f” words, Fair and Free. In the interest of brevity I will keep it simple… Nothing is free and nothing is fair.

      • So unlike me–brief and to the point. Yep. Government=hoop jumping. In your case, I think they’re lighting those hoops on fire while demanding that you perform tricks. It’s one reason I hated attending a state university after having attended a private one. I felt like a circus poodle what with all the things I had to do just to attend one damn class much less get a degree. But…that’s the way it is–“Here’s your hoop…now start jumping.” If you’re going to be a member of civilized society, it’s part of it to one degree or another. If you’re going to work in a government job, then I suppose you have to master it.

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