Friday, October 14, 2022

Gender Embarrassment

Yesterday was a big day for several reasons which involved my first visit to my Veteran's Administration primary provider. A primary provider role in the VA is similar to a family doctors in the civilian world. The significance to me was once again I would have to break in another medical provider into what makes me who I am.

Who I am of course can become quite complex to the average person if they allow it to be. Yesterday I was really surprised when one of the first questions I was asked by the nurse checking me in was how I identified. I knew the VA was attempting to learn more about transgender patients so I answered "transgender lesbian" and then added she and her as my pronouns.  From there we settled into the real reasons I was there.

Jessie Hart in Civil War 

As I have attempted to explain before, not only are my gender issues a point of separation between me and the "normal" other patients the staff may see but also trying to explain why my care is separated between two VA hospital centers. Add in the fact I am bi-polar and questions can become a little personal. Yesterday I needed two issues resolved above all others. One of which was getting my bloodwork done here in Cincinnati which saves me a trip to Dayton, Ohio to get it done. Fortunately after I learned each center has different systems, it would take some work and patience to accomplish the relatively simple task of blood letting. Then the major problem became was what was this estrogen and testosterone test for anyway. To make matters worse, to get it done, they had to ship it out to somewhere else. I lucked out and was assigned to a tech who stuck with the process, made a few calls and finally ended up drawing eight vials of blood. It seemed everyone wanted a sample of my blood.

Now, where the embarrassment came. Finally when I was able to see my provider for the first time, she and the nurse did a fairly decent  job of using my name in place of pronouns. Then in rapid order they screwed up twice and called me the hated "he" word. They apologized completely. So much so I was embarrassed for them. Plus I didn't want to be too much of a pain because I knew I still had two shots coming. One flu and one pneumonia plus I had another big favor to ask. I held my sharp tonged response back and mumbled something similar to it's all right. Which of course, it wasn't. 

The other favor I asked was admitting I was old and I needed a handicapped sticker to place in the windshield of our car when parking spaces are sparse and far away from where we are going. Of course all the worrying I did was for nothing as in five minutes later I had a legal document from the VA to take to the motor vehicle office to apply for a window placard. 

What seemed like hours in the clinic was finally over in probably a half hour and oh yay, I was tagged to for needing another colonoscopy. I was let free to stop at our favorite fast food chicken place NOT called "Fil A" and picked up lunch.

Now it is on to finishing up our wedding prep and picking up a new member of our feline family to replace the two who passed on last year. Hopefully, all the blood work will come back fine and my providers won't have to live through their self imposed gender embarrassment again.  


  1. Cyrsti, Have you signed up for the My Healthy Vet site? If you haven't it offers you the ability to look at almost everything contained in your records ( the exception is some doctor's notes). I found that I can look at recent lab work so I know without waiting to hear the results from my PCM. It also allows you to communicate with PCMs and specialists in the VA system.
    Michelle Hart

  2. Hi Michelle! Yes I have signed up for the My Health Vet site and use it regularly. In fact I just did! Thanks!!!