Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Transgender Blogging Challenge Day 25: Doctor Visits

Today they just gave me a thing:  Doctor Visits.

I don't like doctor visits, but it's not entirely due to my transness.  Part of it is that when I was younger there were cases where my parents (usually my mother) would downplay any medical issue I said I had, telling me it was all in my head.  I get the impression they were mostly worried about what bills they were going to get, but it in many ways wrecked me to see my mom go to the doctor for seemingly every little thing only to have them not take me for things that really were medically significant.  The major example... I have asthma.  I suspected I had asthma for years, but instead of taking me to the doctor I was told it was "just anxiety" and that I should breathe into a paper bag.  Years of this went by, with long stints in which I had constant breathing trouble.  And I mean constant.  I didn't know what normal breathing even felt like.  Finally I went to the doctor when I was I think 21, because my boss made me go, and I was diagnosed with asthma.  Multiple times I've gone to doctors who have never met me and don't have my medical records only to have them say right away "this is obviously asthma."  But I still have a horror of going to the doctor and winding up with a major bill or being embarrassed to find that it was just anxiety (something that has never actually happened at a doctor).

Anyway, right now I go to a doctor who specializes in trans medical care who I learned about from my therapist.  I'm typically not that stressed out to go to her for that reason.  I have some friends who go to less-experienced doctors to get their hormones, and a lot of times they do things like start them on a ridiculously low dose or make them stop when there's even the slightest inkling of a problem (often based on what numbers are expected in women).  So they wind up with a slightly elevated blood count or some acne or weight gain and boom their doctor freaks the fuck out and takes them off their meds.  My doctor is much more knowledgeable than that.  I actually did have some side effects from T that suck... secondary polycythemia and higher blood pressure... and she isn't taking me off T over it.

I think that if she did want me to go off T I'd trust her judgment.  At the very least I've been on it long enough that the important irreversible effects are there.

When I do have to go to another doctor I actually rarely come out as trans, although it's reasonably obvious once I break out my prescription list.  I've had some irritating problems due to that.  One of the most notable was when I was having a work physical that wound up being public and the doctor made me take my shirt off in front of a bunch of cis men.  Luckily I was out at work, but it was supremely embarrassing.  He did apologize later.

Another time I went for what turned out to be, predictably, asthma; she made me go through a bunch of expensive tests I didn't really need because I happened to be on testosterone.  It wouldn't have been an issue for me if it weren't for the fact that these were things my regular doctor regularly tests for.

Another time I got bit at work and had to go get a tetanus shot.  Again, it was more awkwardness surrounding my prescription list.

So that's about it for doctor stuff.