Continued quest to find a new doctor (a good fit?)Posted: February 26, 2014
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.)