Our efforts to get hold of the appropriate visa continue. The most recent step was to have a medical. In our innocence we had just presumed this would be a quick chat with the doctor, possibly a blood pressure measurement or two and off we would go, declared healthy with the appropriate boxes ticked. I even thought that we might be able to do this whilst the boys were in nursery, surely they wouldn't want to examine the boys?
How wrong can you be? 6 hours, 6 Doctors, many nurses and quite a lot of cash later we finally got our signed bit of paper.
The following are my top tips for anyone else considering embarking upon the application process (especially those with children).
1. Make sure that you call someone who knows someone who knows someone in the hospital. This can help ease your route through the process and bumps you up to the front of many queues. This also means you must arrive at the hospital (children in tow) at 7.15am before any queues have yet to form in order to be able to jump them.
2. Find a doctor who knows how to take blood. Let him practice first upon an adult to get his eye in and ensure that if anyone is going to have a bruise from bicep to forearm it is an adult. Female doctors are much better at taking blood from wriggling, screaming children.
3. If you give an un potty trained toddler a urine sample pot, it doesn't mean that you will get a urine sample from him. It you write his name on the lid, it doesn't mean he is anymore likely to pee in the pot. Remember, if you can get unpottytrained toddler to pee into the pot, the mother might well kidnap you and take you home until you train the toddler to pee in the potty.
4. Potty trained toddlers are also going to find peeing into a tiny urine sample pot difficult. They aren't going to be able to repeat the attempt to do so either.
5. Neither toddler will stand still long enough to take a chest x-ray without their mother in the room (and even then it is not guaranteed). The toddlers will also take off any special apron thing put around their waists.
6. It is impossible to keep toddlers behaving well for 6 hours. At some point they will leap off the waiting room chairs and run screaming at the top of their voices into a consulting room. They will repeat this several times.
7. They will also crawl under benches, chairs and generally roll around on the floor. They will probably take down giant cardboard displays and use them to build a fort. It doesn't matter how many times you tell their mother that the floor is dirty, they've been there for 6 hours and it is playing on the floor or running screaming into adjacent consulting rooms. You choose.
8. Please don't ask the mother of a toddler if she gets headaches as the toddler is bashing her over the head with a train.
9. Don't ask if she gets enough sleep either. What do you think?
10. At some point the children will have to be fed and given something to drink. This should not mean that they lose their place in the queue.
For me the highlight of the day was when we were given a psychological test. Seriously. It felt like something out of Joseph Heller's Catch 22. If you are applying for a Bosnian visa you must be mad. Therefore we deny you this visa on the basis of insanity.
The quest continues...