Showing posts with label Alzheimer's. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Alzheimer's. Show all posts

Sunday, March 31, 2024

Outreach Revisited

Trans Flag over Cincinnati City Hall.

This week has come and gone, along with  the two outreach events I had.  One was easier than the other. The first was our virtual meeting of the local Cincinnati Alzheimer's group I am a part of. 

The second was much more difficult for several different reasons. The first one was I needed to be there in person. Which meant I needed to navigate the congested area of the University of Cincinnati campus where the Transgender Wellness Clinic was being held. Of course, as predicted, the GPS on my phone wouldn't work, so I made several wrong turns along the way before I made it. 

Once I did manage to arrive, I received a warm welcome plus the closest parking spot available for the event. In fact, the walking distance to the elevators was very close and a welcome respite for the long, congested drive. 

Since the Wellness Clinic was held on a college campus, the crowd was predictably young. As far as the panel itself went, I was a little disappointed in that I was by far the elder of the group. I thought several others in my age category would volunteer to come but I learned they all turned down coming except for me. The organizer said they expressed fear when approached about coming. From that point onward, I made a point of me not having any fear of being seen in public and I am slowly but surely trying to get out more. No matter how stressful it may be. 

As far as questions went, most of them revolved on how times have changed since all the panel members came out of their gender closets. Even though, most of the other panelists were half my age, several of them came out approximately the same time I did, since they had the courage to follow their inner souls faster than I did. Since I have known several of them for years, the reunion was fun. Plus, there was quite a bit of good group interaction from the panel. Even better, was when I found out how many people listened to my introduction and picked up on the fact I am a transgender veteran and thanked me for my service. 

I left the panel feeling better about the world after urging the younger generation to stay politically active and fight all the negative political changes which are under court challenges here in Ohio. On the positive side also, the trans woman who invited me to the Wellness event also was able to raise the transgender flag over the Cincinnati City Hall.   

The trip home was predictably the same with me making the wrong turns and getting lost but somehow I found my way. Which might also describe my gender journey. Don't panic, just try to find another route and keep moving towards a goal. My only main problem I encountered was a huge interstate traffic jam caused by a bad accident. After I arrived home, I finally had a chance to look back with pride that I was included in such a wonderful event. 

Pictures were taken and if I see any, I will pass them along to all of you. 

Thursday, March 28, 2024

Outreach Week


 Unexpectedly, this week has turned into an outreach week for me. 

First of all, recently I virtually attended another Alzheimer's diversity council meeting. The rest of the council is all women so I fit in quite nicely. Every once in awhile, the moderator slips up and calls me "he" but not at all in the most recent meeting. Which was nice. As I always mention, the local Alzheimer's group reached out to me initially and I have been treated with the overall respect on occasion I never see in other groups.  So, if you are facing a dire health situation with a transgender or other LGB relatives when it comes to an ugly case of memory loss, don't hesitate to research your local Alzheimer's Association for help. My passion for this subject comes from the fact my Dad passed at the age of eighty six following a prolonged tragic bout with Dementia. Also, if you happen to be in the metro Cincinnati/Dayton Ohio area, feel free to reach out to me for more contact information.

My second outreach opportunity is coming up later in the week.  Again I was approached by a transgender friend to participate in a panel discussion which will  be held at the University of Cincinnati. It's called the "Transgender Wellness Event" and I am excited to be able to meet a majority college crowd and field any questions they may have about escaping their gender closets later in life. Like I did. It will be my first such opportunity ever and I am excited. Now I have to hope my wonky cell phone GPS gets me there in one piece since I am still fairly new to the tangle of streets which makes up the city and especially the university itself. I rely too much on my wife Liz, who is a native, to get me around. 

At this point, the weather forecast is good, so I still have not decided what I am going to wear. Plus I am thinking of (for the first time in my life) taking a cane with me in case it looks like I will have to walk a long way to make my way into the event itself. 

One way or another, I plan on making it into the venue and witnessing first hand what a portion of the college age students have to say about being transgender. Plus, just being available to be there and answer any questions is also very important in this day and age here in Ohio where we are in a constant battle for our trans rights. Being in a college setting, I don't expect much push back but I am prepared one way or another.

One never knows if getting out more will help me to get out again and explore the world as I used to. Even if I have to utilize a handicapped sticker and a cane.

Saturday, December 2, 2023

Virtual Outreach

Image from the Jessie Hart
Archives.
Ohio River in background...



 Recently I experienced a busy day virtually on the old laptop.

First of all, I needed to go through the pre screening process for another colonoscopy. I just had one a year ago but the doctors removed a sizable polyp which fortunately turned out to be non cancerous. Even so, instead of waiting the usual three years between check ups I was scheduled for to come back in a year. If you are not familiar, colonoscopies are not the most pleasant procedures to go through but on the other hand, having intestinal cancer is a terrible alternative. 

I don't know how many of these procedures the Cincinnati Veteran's Administration hospital does a year but the woman doing the intake on the phone almost immediately said, I remember you. Being transgender I am used to being remembered. However, this is one of the times I would have preferred not to be remembered. The woman I was talking to on the phone possibly reacted at my often poor attempt to sound feminine on the phone. Part of my transition I am always working on. Hopefully this time, I won't be miss-gendered when I go in early January for the procedure as I was last time.

The second part of my virtual day occurred later on when I attended the monthly meeting of the Greater Cincinnati Alzheimer's diversity committee. As always the meeting was very gender affirming as the other four participants were all women. It's almost as if I was in another mini girls night out. Plus, I am a big believer in helping anyway I can with the association because years ago, my Dad passed from having Alzheimer's. When I approached them to do more, I was pleasantly surprised to learn the association already had some guidelines in place to deal with LGBTQ patients. However as we all know, being transgender presents more unique opportunities we have to encounter than the rest of the gay or lesbian community. 

One thing I have had to do (which I have been putting off), is write a short post for the Association's Facebook page. It should be noted several of the members have made it a point to go to several of the regional Prides this summer to help publicize what programs are offered to help those in need. So hopefully I will be just aiding in the process. 

I also write for the local transgender - cross dresser monthly newsletter and each time I encourage anyone else to wants to become involved a path to do it. So far, no one has come forward to volunteer which is no real surprise because so many members are still deep in their closets. On a wider scale, if you have ever been touched by Alzheimer's and have time to spare, seek out your local association and see if they have a diversity committee to volunteer with.

One thing with a virtual day is, I need to apply makeup and fix my hair which is always good. In addition to my virtual appointments recently, I also had another one a couple days ago when it was time for the Dayton, Ohio VA LGBTQ support group. I learned then my long time (ten years) therapist is leaving for another job. I was very sad because I have always looked up to her as one of the top three influencers in my life. It will be interesting to learn if anyone else will run the group. 

Now, for awhile, life will settle back down as Thanksgiving has now passed us by and it has occurred to me I have not written about my family experiences yet. Where does time go?


Friday, September 15, 2023

Camera Ready?

Local Alzheimer's upcoming Schedule

 

Today is one of the rare days I have dual appointments with my Veterans Administration providers. 

To attend all my virtual VA appointments, I was sent a tablet which is only for VA use because my old lap top I use for blogging somehow did not work well enough for the system I was working with. Ironically, it seems to work well enough for other online or virtual appointments I have had with the Alzheimer's diversity committee I serve on, so I don't know what the problem is. Plus I have a virtual Zoom class coming up in a week or so with the Cincinnati Council on Aging, so hopefully my old lap top will hang in there.

Regardless, I always have to make myself look presentable as possible. At the least a fresh shave, eye makeup, and lipstick is a must along with brushing back my long hair. Sometimes, I tie my hair  all the way back. The issue I have with the tablet is it provides only a thumb size image to work with. Then again, the days my gender dysphoria is kicking in,  I don't really want to be seen anyhow. The tablet provides me with the next best thing. 

I need to point out also, the VA keeps very strict standards on how someone should look during the virtual visit. In fact, during one of the LGBT group sessions, one participant who decided to attend in a bikini received a call from the moderator and was told to change. Plus, I know for those of us who are under mental health care also, how you look goes into our file. Seems a bit radical to me but I of course don't set the rules. My guess is, if your provider sees your appearance dramatically slip, it is a warning sign.

Also coming up fairly soon will be my chance to make myself available for my yearly blood labs for my nurse practitioners who keep track of my overall health. I have an in person, local visit scheduled with one of them in October. Before then, I have another Alzheimer's diversity committee scheduled for the latter part of September. It is in person All of which have kept me on point when it comes to thinking ahead on my appearance. Already I have been thinking about what I am going to wear.

All in all, it doesn't seem possible time this year is flying by as fast as it is. All too soon it will be time for my birthday to have come and gone and then be time for my wife Liz's operations in late October. Time to quote my Mom again...Life is like a roll of toilet paper, the closer you get to the end, the faster it goes.  

Thursday, August 31, 2023

Working with the Public

 

Image from Brooke Cagle
on UnSsplash


This week I have had several occasions to do a bit of out reach in the community.

One was a meeting I went to for the Greater Cincinnati Alzheimer's Association. I serve on the diversity council and yesterday was my second meeting. During the meeting I told them I was able to write an article for the support group (transgender and cross dresser) concerning my activities on the diversity council. Plus, I also invited any other interested members in the group a chance to participate. And, to increase the reach of my blog, I am sharing one post a month to the group's membership publication.  

During the meeting yesterday I was surprised with the question of just exactly what was the function of the support group I am representing. Since I was caught off guard, I needed to explain to civilians the group provided a connection for transgender women and men as well as cross dressers who are mostly in the closet. I tried to condense my reply so that everyone could understand. In the process, I also used an example from my own family about a recent encounter I had with an VA insurance sales person.

It all started during a virtual meeting with the representative who never questioned my gender. By not outing myself as transgender, I unknowingly set her up for failure when she overstepped her boundaries and called my daughter because she is named as a beneficiary. In my defense, I saw no reason for her to call her at all but she did. The problem arose when the insurance person referred to me as "he" twice. For insurance purposes, since I have had no surgeries, I still am a "he" but not to my daughter. My daughter is especially sensitive to gender pronouns because she has a transgender child of her own and is a fierce ally. What eventually happened was I called the woman and asked her what exactly was she doing calling my daughter anyhow and I was transgender. Naturally, since she is trying to sell me something, she profusely apologized and maybe learned a gender lesson. 

For the group, I tried to keep my explanation brief and impactful so they could understand a little of the family dynamics which can extend into elderly care. Especially when it comes to Alzheimer's. I have been reassured the larger group has guidelines for treatment of the LGBT community but as we all know, the "T" can get lost in the overall shuffle. So maybe I can be a voice in the darkness for change.

The other outreach meeting I have this week is meeting six of my Veterans Administration group virtual LGBTQ get together. Once you join, participation is mandatory and is for the entire LGBT community so we have the full range of individuals from transgender to gay men to lesbian women. It makes for an interesting discussion at times when we all discover we share many of the same problems when it comes to dealing with the public and the VA. 

My overall goal of participating in both groups is to improve my outreach skills and do a very small part to help us all.

Thursday, July 27, 2023

Acceptance

 

Image from Damir Kopezhanov
on UnSplash



Recently I attended my first Alzheimer's of Cincinnati diversity group session.  

There were five people including me and truthfully, they were not very diverse. The group included one African American, one Jewish woman with her daughter and a couple of other women. I didn't enter the group looking for much more, in fact, I didn't know what to expect. The only thing I didn't want to happen was for anyone to disrespect me by using the wrong pronouns. It was new for me because I was the one seemingly adding most of the diversity. 

 The meeting went smoothly with me being responded to as "she". Where it will go from here will be interesting also. The moderator was pressing me to "recruit" other members of the "Crossport" transgender-transvestite organization of which I am a part of. I told her it would be easier said than done because even though the group is fairly large, the over- whelming largest portion of the members are still firmly in the closet. 

I wonder too, when the monthly diversity meeting in two months will be held in person, will anyone have a different reaction to me. I wouldn't think so but sometimes my gender dysphoria just gets a chance to work overtime. The next  meeting in August  will be virtual too. So it won't be until September until I meet everyone in person,  so I will have plenty of time to worry about it. 

Anyway you cut it, acceptance is nice. Especially when I have another chance to be out on the world as a proud (sometimes confident) transgender woman. My goal is to become an outreach person who has information about where to go for elderly care assistance in the area. So even though, a person's parent my not be LGBTQ+, I still will be able to relay any information I may have when it comes to Alzheimer's Elderly care of any type. 

Now, coming up next will be my third (out of ten) virtual meetups with the Dayton, Ohio Veterans Administration. They are trying their own outreach to LGBTQA+ veterans within their system. I am particularly wanting to provide feedback because of the initial failings I encountered when I first came out years ago. I will say now, in their (the VA's) dealings with me I have seen a noticeable improvement in many areas and I don't feel so much as a "trail blazer" like I did when I first entered the VA system. 

With both personal attempts to do more with the public to help others struggling with their gender issues, I will be paying forward the good karma I will need in the future. 

The Gender Waltz

Image from Clarisse Meyer on UnSplash Since the beginning of time, the two binary genders have done a special dance with each other.  Being ...