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Yesterday I needed to go the Cincinnati Veterans Hospital for a colonoscopy. If you are not familiar it is a procedure when they run a small camera up and through your colon looking for what they call polyps. Polyps if left unattended can sometimes lead to colon cancer. If you have ever been through a colonoscopy, you know the prep work before is no fun as you have to essentially fast for two days while drinking copious amounts of a liquid laxative which tastes like salt water.
Recently I have not had to undergo any challenges to my gender. Sadly all of my gains were going to be erased yesterday. First of all, the intake nurse who was taking care of me came out into the waiting room and screamed "Mr. Hart." I cringed and said Mr. Hart wasn't here but would I do. She never replied anything and back to an intake room we went. By this time, I thought to hell with her Mr. Hart, let's just get this procedure over with. I also thought I was done with her so I wouldn't have to go through being mis gendered again. Plus there was always the chance she said it before she ever saw me and they don't see many women in the VA.
Then came the worst part of all, I had to take all of my clothes off and put on one of those infamous hospital gowns, opened up the back. Even though hormone replacement therapy has taken care of most of my body hair, it was impossible for me to shave my backside, the one they were going to see. Again, by this time I just wanted the procedure to be all over so Liz and I could go out and get something to eat. I am sure with my highly androgynous appearance (since I have had no surgeries) at the least I may have given the nursing staff something to talk about.
There was only one nurse who asked what I wanted to be called. I mistakenly thought there was going to be a light at the end of the gender tunnel when I told her my legal first name. Everything went well in our conversation until out of the clear blue sky she called me "Sir". I just said I wasn't a sir and everything was over...for now. The head doctors assistant told me I had four polyps, two of which they had to remove so I will probably be asked to come back in for a repeat procedure in six months to a year. I know the VA is trying to make a serious effort in their treatment of transgender patients, so maybe by then I will see a difference. I try my best to keep into consideration the people I meet who mis-gender me aren't being mean. They are just being ignorant because they have never met a transgender woman. Since I know what I will be facing when I go back too soon for my liking, maybe I can turn a transgender set back into a positive by educating people. Perhaps the next transgender person won't have to go through what I did.
No pun intended but in the end result. all I want is to be kept free of colon cancer.