TW: dysphoria, description of female-bodied hormonal issues and effects, ableism
The excitement has officially worn off.
I went to the doctor and fought and I now have a referral for a gynaecologist who is trans-friendly. (I don’t feel comfortable being lumped in under the trans* umbrella because I generally tend to be made unwelcome there, but apparently being genderfluid counts because it’s non-binary. Or something. I don’t feel comfortable with that label for me, and I don’t like labels, so.) There are four in the city. I was mentally willing the doctor to send me to the one in the state hospital, since I’ve had good experiences there and it’s easy to get to. Instead, she just kept talking and talking and not letting me get a word in and I ended up with a letter to some other one who’s nearer to me but isn’t quite so accessible. This one travels, so she doesn’t have an office. This means, apparently, that she can’t have an email or postal address. To make an appointment, one either has to ring a mobile number (and I don’t use the relay any more for reasons I have outlined before), or, as indicated in in tiiiiny tiiiiny letters at the bottom of her website, there is a fax number.
I can’t go in to an office and hand over the referral and make an appointment.
I specifically asked the doctor when she had printed the referral. ‘How do I make the appointment? Does she send a letter with a time?’ The doctor said she could do it for me. I don’t know what ‘it’ was, but. Then the referral was put in an envelope, sealed, and given to me. Apparently, I have to make the appointment myself. With a referral in a sealed envelope. (They don’t like it when you open them – I was in the ER once, and the doctor there wrote a letter to my GP and gave it to me, and when I was back in the ER less than 48 hours later, I handed the envelope back and he told me I was a good girl for not opening it. Demeaning aside, he couldn’t tell I had opened it, scanned the letter, and sealed it back up. But it’s a thing – they don’t like patients seeing their own records.) Which has to be faxed.
The last time I had to send a fax it was okay because I had a job with a fax machine and they ignored people sending the occasional personal fax because their fax plan was bulk or something.
This can’t wait until I can get back into the doctor and ask for a referral to someone more accessible. That doesn’t look good for me, either, but in the meantime my entire torso is ballooning out, so none of my corsets fit properly to provide back support. I can no longer pass as male because even the boatiest shirt and corset and binder cannot suppress the shape underneath. I ended up in tears before the doctors because I was sitting on the car, waiting for the people in the park next to me to finish up so I could get in, and one of them was like “hurry up the lady is waiting to get into her car”. Tears. I was wearing my favourite “masculine” outfit, which still makes me androgyne at best. But.
The pimples are back. Nobody knew why I didn’t grow out of them until they disappeared when the periods stopped. I had enough pimples to get a PCOS diagnosis without imaging. They were gone. They’re back. That’s the most minor thing.
The real reason I had to fight so hard to have my periods suppressed in the first place was because I had them every 3-4 months. I had one week migraine-free, from the last day of bleeding, and then it came back, and it just got worse, and worse, and worse, and when it was so bad I couldn’t eat and was taking 2 ibuprofen an hour just to get through work, I knew that maybe the bleeding would start soon. Then, the week before through to the day before the bleeding stopped, I had dizziness and nausea, and would throw up anything. (I used to just throw up once, on the third day, but it, too, got worse with time.) To even get access to the Implanon, I had to get a boyfriend and parade him in front of the doctor and say we were having unprotected sex. This was at the clinic specially catering to gender minorities and people with disabilities. (They don’t see me now, because I can’t ring to make an appointment. Which is fine by me, really, but it’s still annoying.) You know, people who might have very important other reasons to be suppressing periods.
All this I have again, but now? Now, after having had no periods for four years, and then bleeding so long, and now going through this again, things that I didn’t even know were off then are bugging me. The bloating, for one. The fact that my breasts are stretched out and bubbly, going up a size every two days. My knee, which used to only hurt the week before, and only after a knee injury at 16, now hurts all the time. I used to not sleep for the last few days before the bleeding, and now, I’m not sleeping for ever. Some of this took years to wear off before, so gradually I didn’t notice until like, I was shopping and was handed an XS instead of an XL. Some things I put down to other things, until this go-round highlighted how tied in they are, like the random vomiting with dizziness (as opposed to the vomiting with pain from the paracetamol).
So it’s important that this is fast-tracked, for me, because even if I didn’t cover the bathroom mirror with angel tarot cards and makeup guides so I don’t have to see all this, it’s impacting my ability to minimise my pain. Which means I’m trawling through the internet, being like ‘how do I send a fax?’. I sure as hell do not want to be sending a referral for a hysterectomy through the post office, either. Although I have just had a look at the post office website and you can’t even search for locations which have a fax, so maybe they don’t do that any more. The library does not offer faxing any more, either.
But seriously, I know it’s meant to be cheaper to have an online receptionist, but seriously? Kinda out of options here.