Do you remember when you were feeling bloody awful, like you'd just lost your right arm in a friendly games of deck ukkers and you wandered down to the bay, and the sick-bay tiffy said "I'm going to turn you in for a couple of days then release you to light duties for two further days, then back to P2 - here's two codene now get back to your mess and get your head down? As I went back to my mess I was thinking that I was lucky, 'cos I am left handed.

I often wondered what would happen if I lost my head and couldn't tell the doc what was wrong with me - still, come to think about it, I get my head down first, then go down the bay when I felt better! I wouldn't need codene with no head - would I?

No, I haven't flipped, I am my usual self, but I can't help wondering as I turn 'things up' what I did all those years I served, and if I did, YOU did it too.

Try this one.  I have just been called down to the Bay for a full medical because I want to sign on. When I get there, the SBA tells me that I need a pullheeeem! A pullheeeem I said, spell it please. Certainly said the doc, PULHHEEMS. No, says I, can't been, that's plural and I have only enough time for one - it's a make and mend today. Is the doc right, or am I right in my thinking that it should be PULHEEM - pulse, urine, lungs, heart, eyes, ears, mouth. The rationale of this thinking is as follows:-

So PULHEEM it is and now for the M & M.

Whether you believe me or not, I am serious, and I survived many a long year in the navy without REALLY having to know what a PULHEEM was, and to just attend them when told to do so. I was told by my sea daddy that that was what each letter stood for and I believed him. What about you. Do you know? It all makes sense - doesn't it?

Just recently, coming up to my 52nd year since joining [1953] [and it has always been a pullheeeem] I got to know what it was all about, so I am going to tell you. Don't be [too] ashamed of yourself for NOT knowing also - it can happen to the best of us. Incidentally, the subject is so serious to the medical fraternity, that there is a JSP [Joint Services Publication] on the subject matter, JSP 346. However back in the late 40's very early 50's it was called PULHUMS, also a joint service expression/function, but at that time each service had it own book.  Ours, the navy's,  was BR1750A.

A P  U  L  H  H  E  E  M  S   [the sick bay tiffy was right] is a medical inspection [got that bit right] and stands for:

P =    Physical capacity
U=     Upper Limbs
L=     Locomotion
HH=  Hearing [Hearing Acuity]
EE=  Eyesight [Visual Acuity]
M=   Mental Capacity
S=    Stability [Emotional]

Go on, be BRUTALLY HONEST, that surprises you I bet.

It is assessed using 8 criterions and those criteria decide whether you are fit and where you can or should serve geographically. Now I am going to stop waffling, and show you a couple of pages from the JSP, so the next time you go for a PULHHEEMS in the Navy or a medical checkup at the local surgery, say for an insurance policy, you will know what is going on and what those cold hands of the doctor are doing.

Click to enlarge Click to enlarge  Click to enlarge  Click to enlarge  Click to enlarge. From the last page, you will now understand that the letter 'P' in Pulhheems is used in the two assessments which dictate your drafting and employability, which are P7R and P2.  So, grab your paybook and have a look at your last PULHHEEMS score, and possibly for the first time ever, you will understand what makes you tick.

Goodbye.