#hormonewar 3.0: Beating the System

Posted: March 11, 2016 in Uncategorized

So today I won.

After battling the enforced one-day-per-month for transgender patients, the refusal to give me any appointment outside that one day, the ignoring of my referral, the (all new, as of this morning) refusal of my GP to prescribe interim treatment even when I was sitting in her office in tears and outright telling her I would end up committing suicide before the June appointment, a corporate response from the hospital that this is all caused by the fact transgender patients prefer the special clinics, and a complete lack of communication by the department…

AFTER ALL THAT.

I won.

On Tuesday, the department called me to offer me a cancellation for Friday (today). Now this got me suspicious. It’s the second Friday this month. The Super Special Trans Day is on the first Friday. What’s going on? Could I possibly have drummed a point into somebody’s skull somewhere along the line? Lord forbid!

I took it (and being British, I am thoroughly disturbed by how frostily cold my voice was on the phone to that receptionist, given it is my cultural, nay civic!, duty to be sunny and unfailingly polite on the phone) but I didn’t cancel my GP’s appointment for the same morning, because I didn’t trust the consultant to actually do anything.

Well the GP did nothing (apart from sit there, watching me sobbing, and repeat ‘it’s against the guidelines’ over and over like a broken and inaccurate record) but the consultant, o miracle of miracles, actually did.

His job, that is.

He actually did his fucking job.

That is all I have been asking for. All I have wanted, from the very beginning, is to be treated like a normal person. And today, I turned up at the hospital, and was told to go to the diabetes clinic. In there was an elderly couple who, from their conversation, were there for reasons to do with the husband’s diabetes. The consultant came to get me. We talked about what treatment type would fit best with my lifestyle, whether my family history had any scary things that would put up red flags for an endocrinologist prescribing large doses of testosterone, and how my treatment would be managed. He was even disturbed by the GP’s response that morning, and said they had had an odd reply from a GP in the same area and it had been flagged as a contrary to the WPATH guidelines. He would check if it were mine, he said, and if so, reply to them in no uncertain terms that they would be overseeing my long-term care and as he had given them the exact doses to prescribe in the first place, they were breaching the guidelines by refusing me. In the meantime, he is going to talk to colleagues at the hospital in my town to see if they will accept me wandering in every 12 weeks to have a nurse stick a big needle in my arse, and I am going to ask my occupational health department at work the same question. Then he called the hospital pharmacy, right in front of me, to ask whether we had any of the drug I’d chosen in stock.

Well, no.

But it will arrive next week. And then I can go back and have a nurse stick the first big needle in my arse. We have 12 weeks to work out who’s administering the next dose, and voila! My life. Back on track.

In one bloody half-hour appointment, where he finally treated me like a normal patient instead of trying to shunt me off to a special day several months of psychological torture away.

And the irony?

When I got home, there was a letter from the clinic director for endocrinology acknowledging receipt and investigation of my complaint. And it began with the words, We take incidents of discrimination very seriously…

No shit. Because it worked. The disciplinary axe hasn’t even fallen, but I have created enough furore to get my appointment moved to an acceptable time, and my treatment started within 18 weeks of referral, as is my right as an NHS patient.

The Brit in me cringes at the amount of screaming, shouting and complaining I have had to do. I hate doing it. I would much rather stick my head in the sand and ignore the whole thing (as I have very successfully done regarding my meter readings, my uncancelled gym membership, and the shoddy customer service at Boots Chemist), but I couldn’t.

And it worked.

So next week, I will not be jumping in front of a train, or slitting my wrists, or taking an overdose.

I will be going cycling. And signing up to a new gym. And shopping for a house.

Because I won.

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