Continued quest to find a new doctor (a good fit?)Posted: February 26, 2014 Filed under: Testosterone | Tags: coming out, doctors, gender identity, genderqueer, health care, hormone replacement therapy, lgbt, lgbtq, non-binary, physicians, testosterone, trans, transgender 11 Comments
I have been seeing a doctor that I don’t like for about a year, in order to access testosterone. I’ll be going to his office tomorrow actually, hopefully for the last time. For a few weeks now, I’ve been actively trying to find a doctor that I would want to go to. My therapist thought she had a good lead on someone who works with trans* patients, but it turns out this person works with adolescents and young adults. Whoa, when did I stop being a young adult?!!!! According to this doctor, it’s when I turned 27.
I really wasn’t sure where to start. As far as I was aware, I had exhausted my resources for trans* specific health care. Ideally, what I’d have done next was turn to all my local trans* friends, and ask them who they see and who they’d recommend. But, I’ve been out of the loop for a while now, and it felt daunting to drop in on a social group or support group just to ask about this. So I turned to my local gay alliance’s resource webpage and wrote down the names of a couple of “LGBT friendly” doctors. I narrowed it down somewhat arbitrarily because, hey, I gotta start somewhere.
I called the first number and left a message. Then called again 2 days later. And again the beginning of the following week. And a 4th time the next day. My faith was waning; it hit me it was probably a really bad sign I couldn’t get through to anyone. I finally got a message back from them, but I’d started to lose interest and was already moving on to the next doctor.
I got through immediately and asked if this doctor was taking new patients? I was told that if I’m a friend or family member of a current patient, then yes. Or if I was being referred to her by a doctor of any sort, then yes. Wait, you need a referral for a primary care physician?!! I asked, “In what form should this referral take? Like a note from a doctor or an email?” “No, you just tell us their name.” I said OK thanks and hung up.
So basically, I can see this doctor through the powers of nepotism and name dropping. (Warning, I’m still highly suspicious of doctors. Doctors, please, prove me wrong!) I felt more determined than ever to see this doctor, just on principal, because I think this policy is fucked-up. She should either be taking new patients or not taking new patients. Period.
I called my therapist (technically, she’s a doctor) and asked her if she would refer me to this doctor. She said sure, she’d do whatever, and that she’s never heard of needing a referral for a PCP. She suggested that maybe I just misunderstood, and they just want to know how I heard about / was referred to this doctor. So when I called back, I gave them the benefit of the doubt, but it was reinforced that yes, I need a verbal referral.
I then said that I have a therapist who will vouch for me. (The term “vouch” was never actually used, but that’s what seems to be going on?) I was then put on hold, and they seemed to be attempting a stalling tactic. She (receptionist) said she is short staffed and busy, could I call back Thurs. or Fri. of this week? I was assured that I’d be able to make an appt. at that time, and I was directed to name-drop whoever at that time.
So I followed these directions and finally got an appointment! (For 3 months from now.) A few days later, a packet of paperwork arrived in the mail, and I immediately opened it and started to peruse. Their pamphlet states, right on the cover, “Designed by Women / Delivered by Women / For Women Like You.”
Whaaaaa? Apparently, I got myself a doctor through a women’s health group without even knowing it! I just have to take a giant step away from this situation and laugh. And laugh and laugh some more.
Is this going to be a good fit? I thought it through quite a bit, and decided that I’m going to try it. And I’m going to make my decision based on the doctor, and not the Women thing. Because really, although I am definitely not a woman, I am closer to a woman in some ways, and closer to a man in other ways. And being at this health center is not going to mess with my identity or psyche or ego.
As long as they can understand what I am saying to them, as long as they can use my preferred name and male pronouns, and as long as I’m getting good treatment, I will be proud to go here.
(And if it doesn’t work out, then it doesn’t work out.)
Wow! What a path! Reminds me of Stone Butch Blues where Jess has to go to a Women’s clinic for a *”FAAB”* problem and they don’t believe her. Best of luck to ya!
oh yeah! I had forgotten that – I definitely need to reread that book; it’s been too long. It’s probably been 12 years!
Three months until they have an opening? Yikes. Hope it works out.
I know, right? We’ll see…
Even in SAN FRANCISCO it took me months to find a good doctor who also took my insurance (got bit by some huge bills in my naive meantime). I can’t imagine doing this in any other city/town. Yikes.
PS: you can always email me and I can blast a message to the social mediae for local referrals. I think there are more friendly doctors out there than we know of, it’s just hard to find them.
I think I will take you up on this! I’m curious what info might come back. Will email you shortly…
It is absolutely imperative to have a family doctor who gets the whole trans thing, and who is also cool with prescribing hormones. When my doctor left the area last summer, he contacted dozens of doctors in the area, none of whom were willing to take his trans patients. Even the local endocrinologists would not take us. (this is rural Pennsylvania ) Yet doctor K. had 25 trans patients, of all flavors, so obviously he was filling a need here.
So, finally I found a friend of a friend who is a doctor. She had never even really considered he existence of trans people, and yet had not a second of hesitation that she would be willing to take us at her practice.
The moral of the story is that all you really need to find is someone who has some basic human decency, and who also happens to be a doctor. Hormones are not rocket science.
That is an incredible story! Very impressive that you were able to make that connection on behalf of a whole group of people who were in need.
And you are so right – hormones are not that complicated! They are much more predictable in what they’re going to do than most psychotropic drugs, in my opinion.
I think that my new doctor ended up taking 6 or 8 new patients. I guess that everyone else goes to Philly or somewhere now.
It was a good feeling to know that I helped some people who are in the same boat as I am. I worked pretty hard at it, even tellng the whole story to virtual stangers in coffee shops. That is actually how I finally made a connection.
Damn, they really put you through the ringer! I’m with you that the “women” thing is both hilarious and not necessarily a bad sign. I hope it works out!
By coincidence, my fiancee and I were talking the other night about how I found my trans-friendly doctor, and I had never realized just how big a role nepotism/who you know had played. My doctor is one of two who sees trans patients in the small city where I grew up; the other one is my step-mom (my mom’s partner). They know each other, I’m not sure whether through the doctor connection, the lesbian connection, or both. So I got a very personal referral, haha.
Good luck at your appointment!
Haha, wow, very unique situation in how you came to find your doctor!
And thanks, I hope it’ll work out too.