Dear Doctor

ring from the medical college of the univ of pennsylvaniaMy physical is tomorrow. I suppose most people call it an “annual physical,” but I haven’t had one in a couple of years because it’s been a while since I saw that physician. So it’s more my biennial physical, bordering on every 30 months at that.

For regular checkups regarding my hormone therapy, I drive out to Portland, Oregon, because I haven’t found a doctor in Walla Walla who knows anything about the whole gender transition thang, and this particular doctor sees more than 1,000 trans patients. Plus heck, it’s a pretty enough drive along the Columbia River, and I suppose it keeps my stamina up for long car rides.

But seriously, I need a physician close to home, especially since the little blueberry/dragon/flutternutter will be here soon and I won’t be able to take a day to keep hair on my chest. (Note to young transfolk: once you get chest hair, it pretty much stays there.)

This appointment, tomorrow afternoon, doesn’t mark the first time I’ve met this doctor. I saw him once before, in January. That was the time he told me to lose weight and be sure to follow up for a prostate exam. So okay, maybe I should have come clean with him then. I plan to this next visit. But just to give an overview of what I’d prefer to have happen:

  • Please use the medical standards for men’s health for me, not women’s. For example, I have a higher red blood cell count than I used to. So please don’t look alarmed when the labs come back.
  • On the other hand, things like my respiration and body temperature are the same. Apparently, I’m still human.
  • Please don’t tell me transsexuals are rare. I’ve noticed this little bit of trivia already.
  • I don’t need to hear warnings about liver damage. I get my liver checked regularly. And no, I don’t take T orally; I inject.
  • Yes, I have been trained in giving myself injections.
  • I appreciate that having a sex change is a radical thing to do, but seven years, one surgery, and hundreds of dollars in legal procedures later, I’m sure about my decision. Let’s not discuss it.
  • Also, let’s avoid talking about cancer in my unused reproductive system. I already know what few statistics are available, and I get a regular PAP smear.
  • Please don’t offer to do a PAP smear. I’ll just see the other doctor in Portland.

I enjoy stopping at Burgerland after my cervix has been scratched, anyway. They’re soothing, those milkshakes.

It’ll be great tomorrow, I just know it.

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6 Comments on “Dear Doctor”

  1. Dusti
    June 5, 2011 at 10:58 am #

    There’s an endocrinologist in the Tri-Cities I’ve heard good things about. Its a bit closer than Portland.

    • evmaroon
      June 5, 2011 at 11:04 am #

      I’ve heard of him, too, but this doc in Portland has something like 1,000 trans patients. She’s like a personal study director. Still, when we get busy next year, I may switch.

  2. IrishUp
    June 5, 2011 at 1:54 pm #

    Thank you for this post.
    Would you be comfortable with my linking this on some sites that get medical student/young physician traffic? I think this would be great for them to read, it gets at so many things they really *should* think about.

    • evmaroon
      June 5, 2011 at 3:30 pm #

      Oh, sure, link away! That’s sweet of you. I hope it helps.

  3. Jen
    June 5, 2011 at 6:14 pm #

    I hope it goes well! Just know that even if the doctor does make missteps — if he bumbles through it, but has good intentions — he may still be alright. I’m sorry you have to go through these awkward moments, and spend so much time educating the rest of us, but I want you to know, it’s helpful — and this post is helpful. And yes, Burgerville shakes are also helpful. I wish we had one here. (I’ve got a cervix-scratching coming up soon and I’m not looking forward to it.)

  4. Brenda
    June 6, 2011 at 5:32 pm #

    cervix-scratching…ugh! but now I’m going to use it as an excuse for a milkshake!!!

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